Every employee plays an important role in the successful operation of your hotel – that is, after all, why you hired them! Just as it is vitally important that every employee understands their role in contributing to the company’s financial success and service objectives, employees must also know and accept their responsibilities for performing their jobs according to the Green Policies & Procedures that have been established. Including a green segment in your employee orientation program will help employees to embrace the identity of a green employee.
Add a section in your employee handbook that outlines your hotel’s environmental mission and vision, and clearly states your commitment to operating in a sustainable way. Explain that every employee is responsible to work in a manner consistent with the goals of the hotel.
Add a paragraph or bullet point to each job description that requires a commitment to follow the green standard operating procedures related to each position.
Commit to providing clear and dedicated training to each new employee that gives them the tools and instruction they need to fully understand how to work in support of your environmental goals.
For hotel employee training products, please visit Department Training.
An Environmental Compliance Program is a written system designed to ensure that your business will remain in compliance with applicable laws and regulations and will adhere to your established Green Standard Operating Procedures. This written program will outline HOW you intend to monitor your efforts, and WHO is responsible for monitoring and evaluating your environmental performance.
The Environmental Compliance Program is important for a Green Hotel for several reasons:
- Provides accountability and outlines responsibilities
- Sets checkpoints to verify that green initiatives are being followed
- Provides system for evaluating effectiveness of green initiatives
- Provides system for measuring and analyzing performance
- Ensures business remains in compliance with government regulations
- Requires top management support and commitment
For help with writing your Environmental Compliance Program, check out these resources.
Is being green a selling point? It could be; it should be. But it depends on if your sales staff approaches it as a feature or a benefit.
Getting back to Sales 101, a feature is meaningless unless you can relate it directly back to a need that the client has acknowledged. The way a salesperson communicates green initiatives to their clients and prospects is the determining factor of whether or not being green is a selling point.
Being green is NOT a selling point if: A) your clients are unaware; or B) your sales team cannot relate the benefits to your clients in a meaningful way.
Not only does the sales team need to understand the reasons why sustainability is important for your business, but they need to know why it is important to your clients.
Green Selling Basics for the Sales Team:
1. Know what makes your business green.
The best sales people are experts on the products and services they sell. For a green business, this means understanding what your company does differently that makes it green, and how this benefits the customers, the employees, the owners, and the community. Take the time to fully understand the concepts of operating sustainably, and be ready to answer your client’s green questions.
2. Know your clients needs.
Although many of your clients may buy the same products or services, they do so for various reasons. Every client is motivated differently. You must find “the need behind the need” before you can use green initiatives as a selling point. Do your homework on your prospect or client to learn what motivates their buying decisions. Find ways to relate your green initiatives directly to your clients needs.
3. Connect the dots: #1 + #2 = SALE
#1 builds confidence, for both you and your client.
#2 demonstrates true desire to meet your client’s needs.
#3 creates winning partnership.
Realize that not everyone has the same reasons for doing business with a green certified company, but everyone does want to feel that they are making the best buying decision. Understanding the many benefits of doing business with your green company and effectively communicating and relating those benefits directly to the client’s needs will be the key to turning your green status into a valuable selling point.
Greening your business operations may seem like an overwhelming process. Just getting started can be the hardest part. We know it’s important, but where do we start? You can demystify the process by breaking it down into manageable steps.
- Define Your Goal
Having a goal to “be green” is like saying “do better.” Without a clearly stated objective, how will you know if you achieved it? Decide on a specific measurable goal, such as “Achieve Green Seal Certified at the Bronze Level.”
- Make Sure You Really Want It
Your convictions should be strong enough that you won’t get talked out of it. You will face challenges and adversity – be ready to stand strong. BELIEVE you are meant to do this. Let the strength of your commitment shine through. “Desire is the starting point of all achievement.” ~ Napoleon Hill
- Build Your Confidence
If you believe in the concepts of sustainability, then you know you are doing the right thing for your business. Trust yourself, and know you are making your company stronger. Remember – if you decide that failure is not an option, then success is inevitable.
- Plan it Out
Realize that sustainability is a journey, and you wouldn’t take a trip without planning things out in advance. The things you consider when planning a trip are the same to consider here:
- Where are we going?
- When will we leave, and how long will it take?
- Who will go with us?
- How will we get there?
- How much will it cost?
- Do we anticipate any detours or road blocks?
- Get on a Schedule
Your goal will remain an idea until you put it on a schedule. Without a timeline, the goal has no sense of urgency. It will sit on the back burner while more “time sensitive” tasks are attended to. Hold yourself accountable with deadlines, and you’ll be amazed what you can get done.
- Get Busy
Don’t wait for the stars to align to get started. Take action now. Every step, no matter how small, moves you closer to your goal. Plus, the more you do, the more you learn. The sooner you start, the closer you get to achievement.
- Rally the Troops
You may be good, but no one can do this alone. Greening your business requires the strength of the whole team. Besides, why should you have all the fun? Let others be part of the process – they can share in the work and the successes. Keep people motivated by giving them short-term goals and celebrating the successes along the way.
- Don’t Get Emotional
You will get frustrated at some point, but don’t take it to heart. Bear in mind that emotions, both positive and negative, are energy-intensive. You want to be energy-efficient, and conserve your energy for constructive action. So, if you are tempted to feel discouraged, disheartened, or even angry at a setback, try to channel that energy into positive action that will move you toward your goal.
In business, it’s all about connections. We decide to go into business because we’ve identified a need and a solution, and we want to connect one to the other. Once we establish our business’ goals and mission, we want to help our employees get connected to it. We want to connect our customers to the products and services we offer. And we want to connect with systems and communication methods that help us spread the word to our target audience.
To be a sustainable business, we need to take connectivity beyond the obvious. A sustainable business meets the needs of its customers, employees, community and owners. That means a business must truly understand what those needs are, which usually go deeper than what we see on the surface. If we are not contributing to the long term good of our stakeholders, we are not operating sustainably.
To meet the needs of our stakeholders, we need to achieve financial stability, exercise environmental stewardship, provide advancement opportunities, promote equity and fairness, and ensure balanced growth. Sustainable initiatives must connect each of these dots.
“All is connected… no one thing can change by itself.” ~ Paul Hawken
All is connected – to act and think otherwise is to ignore reality.