One of the most important starting points to successfully engaging a staff population in pro-environmental behaviour change is to raise awareness. But are there good and bad ways to go about this?

Yes there are! Research has shown that one of the best ways to get people to change their behaviours is to make a public pledge detailing what it is they are going to do. Whilst the article mentioned below refers to a specific way of doing this, the principle upon which it is based is what is important here.

Why does public pledging work to help engage staff? There are two key reasons; the first is that by making the pledge public, many more people know what you are committing to i.e. if you don’t then do it, many more people will know you failed compared to if you kept the pledge private.

The second reason is that when people pledge to do a specific thing, they are much more willing in the future if you ask them to do something that is related to their original pledge. For example, if someone pledges to reduce the amount energy they use at work, they are much more likely to recycle more when asked in the future because the underlying goal is the same; improving the environmental performance of the company.

This article illustrates this very well, but when reading it remember the two key principles about why public pledging can work so well for staff engagement.