CIET's Ask Us Anything series is a free monthly Q&A session with industry experts.

Lisa Vanlint and Kady Cowan dove into the world of successful engagement strategies in our Organizational Engagement: How to Create Successful Energy and Sustainability Campaigns Ask Us Anything session. The experts shared their experiences, shedding light on both the challenges and triumphs they have encountered in orchestrating effective engagement campaigns.

Together, Lisa and Kady answered questions, offering valuable advice on engaging both internal and external stakeholders to create a campaign that truly leaves an impact.

If you missed this session, we're highlighting a topic that was discussed so you can be inspired to develop your own engagement strategy and campaign.


Question: You've both accrued experience and success implementing engagement strategies in institutional and healthcare settings. How did you engage people in settings where there are a lot of competing priorities, and where energy or sustainability sometimes needs to be secondary to crucial health service needs?


Kady: Competing priorities is basically my middle name. That seems to be universal. I've never been in an organization where people have abundance of time and abunance of resources to show up and have innovative and novel conversations about topics they may not know that much about.

That's the starting condition, so what I recommend is actually understanding your starting condition and then working with that condition. So, assuming that everybody's going to come running towards you with wide open arms and hang you over all their ideas and their inspiration, or even their complaints (because complaints are data too), is unrealistic. As a person who is designing any form of engagement at an organization level, it's incumbent upon us to understand the realist of the people we're trying to engage. That takes some fact finding, it takes a lot of listening, it might takes some observation, and it certainly takes some patience.

By doing that, you have this opportunity to meet people where they are. So you're designing engagement that is relevent to them and so that those competing priorities can almost evaporate, because what you're offering actually helps to solve some of their challenges. You're not adding to the list; you're actually neutralizing some of what they've already got. For example, if they have budget challenges, you have a sustinability or energy initiative that you want people to participate in that has some savings assoicated with it. This is the low-hanging fruit of engagement around being able to attribute some of the savings to them.

Not adding to the burden or creating more competition through the priorities.

Lisa: I think that is a perfect way of phrasing it, which is the "I'm thinking about what's in it for me?" from their perspective. As Kady was mentioning, think about how does this solve their problems?

I'll give you an example of something that we've been dealing with here, which is in the healthcare setting.

We have a lot of waste of supplies that are brought into patient rooms and for people who may not realize this, if you bring a lot of extra supplies into a patient room, when that person is discharged, a lot of this stuff has to be thrown out never having been used. So worse than single-use is no-use whatsoever.

We're collaborating with the clinical teams to be able to put together a video and collaborating with our Green Team. This is also our secret weapon at UN. We have a Green Team and we're constantly trying to engage anybody who shows any sign of being sustainable. "Please join the Green Team because then you can help us. Help walk the talk and help engage your teams."

We had the Green Team work on a video that showcased all of the waste of supplies and then use that to be able to communicate to the people who are most bothered by it. Getting a distribution list for all the nurse managers who have to order those supplies and reorder the supplies, and are often very, very, very upset byt his kind of waste.

Giving them the opportunity to do a quantitative analysis, I was surprised. I thought no one is going to have time for this. These are very, very busy people. There's absolutely no way we'll get any engagement.

Not only did we get a pilot group of volunteers, we have 6, so we actually have too many pilots. We'll see how this goes in January.

Annabel: Is there such a thing as too many?

Lisa: There's no such things as too many, so we're just working on making sure that this worked out for nicely for all of the teams.

Annabel: That's amazing. And Kady, I just want to come back to what you said about neutrality. It's true that we tend to forget that sometimes competing priorities are intersectional, right? Even if one might be more urgent or less important, it's important to look at the context when it comes to wanting to address these priorities. Once an issue is solved, it's going to trickle down into solving another issue.

Interested in learning more about Energy Engagement Strategies?

CIET's Energy Engagement Strategies program is intended for participants who have or want to create an energy engagement strategy incorporating the various aspects of behavioral and holistic organizational energy management. The program will focus on the practice of influencing and modifying individual and collective behaviors to promote more energy-efficient and sustainable habits. 

Learn more about the program, learning objectives, and find an upcoming session.




Newsletter subscription

Yes, I consent to receiving CIET communications. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

Share your training needs with us!

Would you like to be trained on a specific topic? Just let us know!

Express my interest
Send us your question

Send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.

This is to inform you that the course date is too close to be able to ship hard copies of the material to you on time. If you are willing to use the material in secured PDF, receive the material later (likely after the course) and pay upon registration, please click OK to continue the registration process. Please note that the shipping process will start only when the course fees are paid in full and delays are to be expected. Many thanks!

Skip to content