Article 13 and the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) launched sustainability training and development as part of the Council’s communications strategy for sustainable development (SD).
The project’s objective of embedding sustainability in everyday employee behaviour is based on social marketing principles of customer orientation; insight; agreed behavioural goals; segmentation; exchange; competition; an appropriate methods mix and relevant theory.
This CSR case study focuses on the methods used by the Learning & Skills Council to deliver on its strategy to demonstrate best practice in sustainable development within the further education sector.
Background & context
In its 2007/08 Sustainable Development Action Plan, LSC had committed itself to becoming an exemplar organisation for SD within the further education sector. To help achieve this, it commissioned Article 13 to provide expertise in developing “a strategy to communicate and embed sustainable development in everyday working across the LSC”.
Method & practice
Article 13 consultants applied their expertise in stakeholder engagement, insight research, learning and development, social marketing and sustainability to build the insights necessary to inform an internal campaign and achieve lasting behavioural change.
See below for a summary of how the eight social marketing benchmark indicators were applied to the project.
- Training for over 80 employees across the UK over 2 years (in regional locations).
- Some of these employees signed up to the Northern Council for Further Education (NEFCE) as part of the CPD level 2 accreditation in CPD in Sustainable Development.
- Raised awareness and understanding of sustainability and how to influence and implement behaviours in the workplace and within the organisational structure measured in the Board, the trainees, the trainees’ direct workplaces.
Application of social marketing indicators
See below a summary of our approach to the sustainability learning and development project using the social marketing benchmark indicators developed by the National Social Marketing Centre.
- Defined through:
- Secondary web-based research;
- An interactive review of staff engagement programmes;
- Direct staff primary research, insight and early pilots.
- Involve the audience in unpicking old behaviour and identifying the support they need in taking on new behaviour (Charharbaghi and Newman).
- Staff wanted to be involved in creating the training and learn more either from a personal or a professional interest.
- They wanted an opportunity to learn about and discuss sustainability.
- They wanted to be able to put into practice personal beliefs in their work time.
- The focus was on ‘early adopters’ (50%) and personal interest (50%).
- This segment comprised 20% of existing LSC staff in a series of 15+ interviews and events (9 in total with between 5 and 30 participants held in each region) with LSC staff and others.
- Set up a regional SD action plan underneath the overarching goals.
- Communicate to at least 10% of employees. Build real behaviour change and capacity regionally.
- Over 200 people have been through some form of workshop.
- Staff didn’t just want to talk about how to communicate SD at the LSC; they wanted to talk about SD actions and what the LSC was doing about them.
- They also wanted to know what they could be doing about SD in their everyday work.
- Other regional priorities.
- Changing organisational structure and roles.
- Web-based organisational communications, an online team site developed for CPD plus group teleconferences.
- Face-to-face groups in regions; support mentoring sessions with action groups in regions; individual mentoring as required.
- Sat within the over-arching communications branding.
For more information on social marketing, please contact Jane Fiona Cumming on firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Article 13 – CSR Case Study Series, September 2010
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