Your Organization’s Sustainability Record Will Attract and Retain Talent

Category: Articles
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 05-13-2024 05:33 AM
Views: 180
Synopsis: Talent recruitment in the first two decades of the 2000s centered around free snacks, nap rooms, happy hours, and on-site gyms, but as we inch closer to 2030, those tactics are seen as trivial and meaningless. Instead, today’s top talent is drawn in by development opportunities, work/life balance, and – perhaps most importantly – shared values around hot-button issues like climate change and sustainability.

High-performing employees aren’t messing around when it comes to the sustainability of their employers. In the Bentley-Gallup Force for Good Study, 77% of Americans between the ages of 18 – 29 said it is “extremely important” that businesses prioritize environmental sustainability within their operations. As the next generation of leaders grows into their careers, they aren’t giving businesses a pass on sustainability, further solidifying the need for a corporate strategy to center environmental values no matter the industry.


Sustainability in Practice


So, what does “sustainability” actually mean for businesses? It’s a multi-faceted topic with no one-size-fits-all solution. Centering sustainability and related values takes hard work, financial investments, and an organized approach. Recruitment professionals need to be prepared to answer hard-hitting questions, provide evidence, and showcase sustainability efforts with ease.


Remember, today’s potential employees have more access to information than ever before and they’re more educated on sustainability than the generations that came before them. If a business wants to keep up with the best candidates, its leadership team needs to develop a full-fledged sustainability strategy that considers the following:


1. Operational Opportunities


In order to turn sustainability into a true company value, it’s important to look at all business processes internally. What materials are you using to ship products? What technologies are you using to manufacture products? Can your company make adjustments to curate a more sustainable outcome? If you haven’t made updates to your operations in the last five years, chances are, there are plenty of opportunities to swap for sustainable alternatives.


2. Office-Centric Sustainable Practices


Sustainability isn’t just about production or transporting products in environmentally friendly ways; it’s a holistic undertaking. As such, companies can do more to champion sustainability than opt for green packaging or carbon-neutral transport options; things as simple as ensuring all the lights in the office are energy efficient or getting rid of single-use plastic in the cafeteria can make a massive difference. These types of changes are fantastic from a recruitment perspective because they are tangible and their impact is measurable. 


3. External Organization Support


One of the best ways to multiply the positive impact that your organization has is by supporting external organizations that are making a difference in their own ways. Developing charitable giving initiatives to donate to climate warriors who are on the front lines of saving the planet is a great place to start. Asking current employees about causes that are close to their hearts can make their loyalty to your company even stronger.


Do your teams want to help clean up drinking water in communities around the world? Do they want to support organizations working to change legislation around climate laws for corporations? There are endless ways to get involved in sustainable work – don’t overcomplicate it. When candidates are navigating the interview process, chances are they’ll ask about how your business helps the community or broader world, and by including this in your sustainability strategy, you’ll have an answer to share.


4. Vendors and Business Partnerships


It’s not just about what your organization does on its own, it’s also about how your organization changes the narrative in your industry. If you’re working with vendors and suppliers who are notorious for being unsustainable, wasteful, or harmful to the environment, that signifies to potential talent that you’re willing to overlook your value base for financial gain – and let me just be frank, that is NOT the message any company should be sending.


5. Investments


Most businesses have cash reserves or investment funds that they use to make money with cash that isn’t being used. Investment strategies for businesses vary depending on their goals, but if leaders can center ESG investing – focusing on companies that operate with positive environmental, social, and governance practices – climate-conscious candidates will feel even better about coming to work for them. Supporting oil companies, weapons manufacturers, and non-socially conscious ventures can raise red flags and create reputational damage amongst those candidates.


Walking the Walk vs. Talking the Talk


When it comes to making a change, having good intentions is only half the battle; organizations need to take charge and take ACTION. Don’t be one of the companies that gets accused of “greenwashing” – using creative messaging to make it seem like your business is a sustainability champion – and instead, focus on doing the hard work to truly become a sustainability champion. If you can’t back up your claims, the talent that you’re trying to impress will see right through the messaging.


Sustainability as a Recruitment Tool


Once your organization has committed to putting sustainability at the center of everything it does, those efforts can become one of HRs strongest recruitment tools. In a time when employees are looking for more than “just a job” but rather, a company that aligns with their values, sustainable business practices aren’t just a perk to potential employees; they’re a key driver in getting applicants in the door.


But of course, external applicants are walking in with no knowledge of what your organization is doing to make a difference. It’s up to HR to publicize sustainable initiatives, communicate internally and externally about what’s going on to make it easy for people to get involved, and track the results of every project. How much money was raised for a certain cause? How many trees were planted on that volunteer day? How much energy was saved by swapping out the office light bulbs? Making hard data accessible and understandable will draw in the right candidates and help retain your current top performers.


Top Talent Has Their Pick


For far too long, HR has gotten comfortable operating in an employers’ job market. The mindset that candidates will be glad to accept a job offer anywhere is outdated and untrue. Now more than ever, candidates are taking the time to look for companies that they feel good about working for. Do you feel good about working for your company? If not, what would make you feel better? Perhaps that’s the simplest place to start when trying to attract environmentally-minded candidates.

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