Step 7: Motivate Your Workforce for Continuous Improvement
Both program administrators and local building energy professionals are interested in delivering high-quality services to customers, reducing service delivery costs, and becoming profitable and sustainable. Program administrators can play an important role in helping all parties achieve these goals by sharing business solutions and best practices for service delivery and developing systems to recognize high-performing companies.
Establishing a transparent system for recognizing strongly performing energy professionals can help motivate partner companies to do their best work at all times. Such a system can also serve to enhance consumers' confidence in the professionalism and quality of the workforce and increase the likelihood that they will proceed to complete an energy upgrade.
You will not be able to recognize top performers unless you know who is doing the best work. One qualitative approach for tracking performance is to create a mechanism to capture customer feedback on the work your partners have completed. This feedback is most often generated via a follow-up survey—conducted either by phone or online—at the completion of an energy evaluation and/or upgrade. Survey questions should be direct and to the point so that answers are easy to analyze. The feedback can be displayed on the program's website.
Other types of energy professional performance that might be worthwhile to track and recognize (or penalize) include timeliness in returning reports, results of quality assurance inspections, and rates of conversion from evaluation to upgrade, among others. In all cases, you will want to be clear about the criteria and timeframe for collecting and publicizing performance information among your energy professional partners.
Clean Energy Works Oregon uses an online platform to help coordinate the work of the program's various service providers.
- Each building upgrade is divided into stages, with each stage composed of a series of tasks.
- A customer service representative keeps track of progress on tasks.
- Energy upgrade professionals and other service providers are assigned tasks via emails.
- As tasks are completed, service providers log into the system to input any necessary documentation and close out the task.
The process is structured to reflect the standard workflow prescribed by BPI. Standardizing the process allows Clean Energy Works Oregon to identify trends in the program's business processes and to work with contractors to establish new approaches that are more efficient.
A Clean Energy Works staff person described the advantages of their approach this way: "This point-in-time approach for recording task outcomes takes a large burden off of service partners to consistently maintain a project record that can be used for program reporting, which should result in significant productivity gains and reduce the total cost per retrofit."
Recognize High Performers
Efficiency Maine made the performance of their contractors more transparent while keeping the process of eliciting and presenting customer feedback quite simple. A feature on the website helps homeowners locate participating energy advisors via a ZIP code look-up and a distance filter. The results show each energy advisor's areas of expertise, the number of projects completed under the program, and a field indicating customer satisfaction with the program on a 0 to 5 scale. All fields are sortable. The customer satisfaction rating is based on the answer to one question that each participating homeowner completes: "On a scale of 0 to 5, how likely would you be to recommend the Efficiency Maine Home Energy Saving Program to a friend or neighbor?" The website explains that satisfaction ratings represent an average and that the ratings are posted after at least five homeowner reviews have been received.