Chapter 5: Implementing the Action Plan
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Training is an essential and cost-saving investment for the company to ensure all personnel are aware of EMS benefits, objectives, procedures and targets. Training also enhances team work, improving personal relationships and encouraging collaboration to find solutions. Importantly, training helps employees feel that they have been recognized, motivating their performance and stimulating their thinking.
Staff training significantly and immediately improves staff competency and quality of service. Well-trained staff can better understand how to perform in a focused manner with available resources.
Management should encourage staff participation in implementing its EMS, since employees have practical experience related to their areas and can be a great source of information. They can assist the environmental task group in duties such as drafting procedures, and creating preventive and emergency plans.
Selecting Staff for Training
There are different types of training and requirements, and it is important that the environmental task group identifies the staff's training needs. Companies (SMEs) benefit by training a wide range of participants because every employee can provide ideas and contribute to the implementation of EMS.
The following table suggests audiences for various types of
Considerations in Assessing Employee Training Needs
Note: Changing employee incentives to emphasize quality, lowering defect rates and cutting waste will improve employee awareness and reduce resource use and waste.
Selecting Training Programs and Methods
Once the needs and training objectives have been identified and defined, training programs and methods will be selected. The environmental task group will research material for creating an effective training program.
Support material for training and awareness programs can often be obtained at standardization organizations, business associations, chambers of commerce, and other sources such as:
The next step is to schedule training sessions and workshops to raise employee awareness and provide required training. Training sessions are good opportunities to gain employee commitment and share the environmental values that will make the EMS an effective process.
Suggestions for Training
Communicating EMS Information
Good communication is vital to the success of EMS implementation. A good communication system should reach all levels and functions of the organization. Such a system demonstrates the company's commitment to environmental issues, gains the support of employees and the community, raises employee awareness, and enhances participation in the EMS implementation.
Regular communication is also the way to gain employee involvement in developing and implementing an EMS. It motivates the workforce, demonstrates management commitment and informs all personnel about the results of EMS performance.
A good communication system includes both internal and external lines of communication. It is important that employees and those outside the company (such as investors, customers, suppliers, shareholders, the local community, environmental groups, government, control authorities and the general public) are aware of the organization's commitment to sound environmental management.
A positive communication process improves the organization's image, facilitates future business relationships, increases employee satisfaction and pride in working for the company and encourages public understanding and acceptance of the company's efforts to improve its environmental performance.
Since employees are often an excellent source of information and ideas, create ways for staff to communicate their ideas. Keep in mind that external help is also available from sources such as consultants and other companies.
Communicate progress as it is made. A good internal and external communication system helps build trust and gain support.
Selecting Internal and External Target Audiences
External publicity is a positive marketing tool. Promoting the company's environmentally-friendly actions helps improve its public image and enhance acceptance of the organization's efforts to advance its environmental performance.
Internal publicity helps achieve positive environmental results. For instance, employee motivation can be enhanced by recognizing work in achieving environmental objectives and targets. For example, the CEO from a company personally signed over 250 letters to all his employees, explaining the importance and benefits an EMS would add to the company and asking for their commitment and participation. Employee response was extremely positive. Staff from all levels were involved in the process, and suggestions and feedback came from all departments.
Selecting Information to Share
The company should effectively provide much information as possible to both internal and external audiences, transparency is an important part of this process. Information may include:
Suggestions for Communication
Communication Procedures and Standards
The communication system in small and medium-sized enterprises are less complex than in large corporations. This is an advantage. Keep communication simple and efficient.
Promote two-way communication with suggestion boxes. Add space for environmental issues in the company's journal where employees can write their ideas, accomplishments, contributions and experiences during EMS execution.
Ways to Communicate with Staff, the Community and the Government
Maintaining the Flow of Information
A responsible person or group should handle communications. This task could be performed by member(s) of the environmental task group or human resources staff, for example.
All material, especially when intended for external release, should be checked prior to release that it accurately communicates the company's environmental performance, actions and concerns. It is also important to keep records and files on all communication of environmental matters, both internal and external.
The final part of the implementation phase is preparing a preliminary budget for each project's development. Costs will include staff and employee time, training, some consulting assistance, materials and possibly equipment.
The cost of EMS implementation is difficult to quantify. Most significant costs are due to personnel expenditures. The benefits are equally hard to quantify, since many of the benefits are intangible. However, in a global economy in which labor, materials, and capital costs are likely to converge over time, effective management of environmental performance may become increasingly important in determining corporate winners. Evaluation shows that many of the investments in EMS implementation provide substantial positive returns and adds lasting value to the firm. In short, the benefits outweigh the costs.
It is critical that the company accurately and consistently measures its inputs and outputs. Without cost information, it is not possible for the company to adequately assess the results of improvements or the profitability of its products, departments or services.
Environmental costs are incurred by society, organizations or individuals resulting from activities that affect environmental quality. These impacts can be expressed in monetary or non-monetary terms.
Since cost is the primary concern for most small businesses, low-cost, low-tech changes should be identified and implemented first. These options are easier to implement and their benefits are readily apparent. More capital-intensive options should be implemented later.
In today's highly competitive business climate, companies gain sustained competitive advantage by reducing both environmental costs and operational costs and procedures which produce negative environmental impacts.
Low-cost Options with Immediate Payback
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