Surveying your colleagues

Module two

As a starting point it’s a good idea to survey your colleagues to find out their levels of understanding, engagement, interest and opportunities for your company’s net zero journey.

It can be a helpful tool to help you construct an internal sustainability engagement action plan. You’ll be able to see who can help you by becoming a net zero champion, potential areas for training and opportunities to make changes in the business.

Sending out the survey yearly is beneficial – you’ll be able to compare data and explore new opportunities as colleagues become more engaged and their understanding increases.

Here are some questions you can use as a basis for your survey. We encourage you to make it unique for your business, so add or remove any questions to make it your own! It’s useful to have answers in a variety of formats, so use yes/no answers and written responses. Written responses are particularly helpful for the levels of interest and opportunities for your company’s net zero journey sections.

Suggested questions

Levels of understanding

  • Do you know what climate change is?
  • Do you know what net zero is?
  • Do you know what a carbon footprint is?
  • Do you know what Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are?
  • Do you know why it’s important for our business to be working towards and become a net zero business?
  • Does sending an email have an environmental impact associated with it?
  • When you’re working from home, does the energy used to power your workstation such as computers and lights contribute to your personal carbon footprint, the company’s carbon footprint or both?

Engagement

  • (If you have an environmental policy) Do you know what our environmental policy is? Would you like more information about it?
  • (If you have a cycle to work scheme) Are you aware that we have a cycle to work scheme? Would you like more information about it?
  • (If you have a public transport season ticket loan scheme) Are you aware that we have a season ticket loan scheme? Would you like more information about it?
  • Where do you get information about our business? Examples are the intranet, through colleagues, notice boards, emails
  • Tick the options below that you incorporate into your working day: turn off light, switch off computer, recycle, don’t print unnecessarily, print double sided, print in black and white, turn down radiator, report maintenance issues, use a reusable cup, reuse stationery

Levels of interest

  • Are you interested in sustainability?
  • Why are you interested in sustainability?
  • Have you made any sustainable changes in your working life?
  • Have you taken any action in your personal life to be sustainable?
  • Would you be interested in becoming a net zero champion for the business?

Opportunities for our company’s net zero journey

  • Do you have any suggestions for how we can become more sustainable as a business and work towards net zero?
  • Are there any areas of your work where changes could be made to be more sustainable?
  • If there was one thing you could change to be more sustainable, what would it be? Examples are become a paperless office, stop throwing away office furniture, donate items, stop flying

Analysing the results

Once you’ve collected the results from your colleagues, you should start analysing them. Some actions you could take in response to the results are:

  • Arrange training sessions for colleagues who have limited understanding of climate change and net zero, and signpost them to our climate action toolkit. This is a great opportunity to upskill colleagues and bring them on your net zero journey with you. Training means people will have a greater understanding as to why changes in your business might happen, and they’ll be less resistant to future changes. And you never know, it might spark a passion in someone who could help drive forward your net zero agenda!
  • Where there are low levels of engagement with your company’s existing environmental work, it’s useful to build a communications strategy to increase engagement. It’s an opportunity to discover how people engage and interact with materials as employee engagement will significantly impact your net zero journey in the future.
  • Ask people who are really interested in sustainability to become net zero champions. Workload can be spread out between champions and they’ll be able to provide an insight into other areas of the business that you may know less about.
  • You should explore all the suggested opportunities for your net zero journey. Colleagues who are experts in their fields may be more aware of possible changes than you. It also gives you the opportunity to take initial action on matters which people have highlighted as important to them, which can make them feel valued. Colleagues who have been consulted and contributed ideas are more likely to engage with any changes you want to implement.

This was last updated in September 2021 by Heart of the City. 

Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action is funded by the City of London Corporation in support of its Climate Action Strategy targets for a net zero and resilient Square Mile.

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