Staff engagement is a vital component in the success of saving energy across the Rezidor Hotel Group, which is using a firefly as a mascot to spread its message. Janet Harmer reports
A firefly called Lumi has lit up Think Planet!, an ambitious programme that targets a 25% reduction in energy consumption throughout the Rezidor Hotel Group by 2016.
Reducing its energy consumption by 25% is a tough call, but the company believes it is tangible and, through a clear and vibrantly communicated programme, helps to focus all employees, at whatever level they work.
"A crucial factor of the energy-saving initiative is staff engagement," explains Inge Huijbrechts, director of responsible business at Rezidor (pictured left). "It is what makes all the difference. If the housekeeping department is engaged, you can very quickly make energy savings of 5-10% by turning off lights and televisions and ensuring there are no draughts."
Huijbrechts says Lumi helps to give Think Planet an identity, which has captured the imagination of staff. "We chose a firefly as our mascot as by creating their own light, they are 100% efficient."
Lumi features on all the training material - including the back-of-house posters - distributed to every hotel, and in three training videos for the housekeeping, events and meetings and kitchen departments.
"The videos have been a great success as they have been made relevant by featuring members of staff and tell funny stories, alongside good and bad examples of saving energy," adds Huijbrechts.
A Lumi Quiz is held once a month - with an iPad as the prize - which has proved a big hit, particularly with the young staff, with more than 15,000 players taking part to date. And in one hotel in Jordan, the staff canteen has been renamed the Lumi Café.
"We didn't want to run yet another corporate programme, which in some remote regions where environmental awareness is not very high, would be ignored," says Huijbrechts. Lumi has helped create a campaign that is both fun and informative, which everyone has been able to engage with."
RADISSON BLU PORTMAN
For Simon Pearson, who was chief engineer of the 272-bedroom Radisson Blu Portman until July 2012 and is now responsible for the 36 Rezidor hotels in the UK as regional chief engineer, Think Planet has helped put the consideration of the environment at the forefront of the minds of all staff.
"Think Planet has really helped to refocus everyone on the energy we are trying to save," he explains. "Even though the staff previously undertook responsible business training, now it has become part of the culture. Now everywhere you go in the Portman, there are posters telling you to turn off the lights or turn the air conditioning down.