Home Business Why Your Business’s Recruitment Strategy Must Emphasize Sustainability

Why Your Business’s Recruitment Strategy Must Emphasize Sustainability

by Olufisayo
Business Recruitment Strategy

Sustainability is no longer just a socioecological or ethical concern — it’s quickly becoming a serious business issue.

Organizations that fail to acknowledge and act in response to this global cause may risk alienating their customers, almost 90% of whom want brands to help them to be more environmentally friendly in their daily lives. Unfortunately, 43% of respondents believe brands actually make it harder to do so.

It goes without saying that prioritizing sustainability is a good way for your company to boost its reputation. But as well as winning over customers, it could also be an excellent means of improving your recruitment strategy.

As well as helping you integrate sustainability into your wider company culture, paying special attention to this subject throughout the hiring process may improve your ability to attract and retain talented employees.

Sustainable recruitment means sustainable leadership

Corporate change tends to happen from the top down, which means your company needs leaders who are committed to sustainability and keen to prioritize it within their business strategy.

“Conversations around sustainability have never been louder, yet this is not always translating into action on the ground,” Clarke Murphy, chief executive at recruitment specialists Russell Reynolds, told Raconteur.

“Sustainable business cannot happen without sustainable leadership and change will only occur if companies find leaders with the right skills and motivations to drive sustainability outcomes alongside financial success.”

Research by Russell Reynolds revealed that only 2% of role profiles listed sustainability credentials as a candidate requirement. Meanwhile, Deloitte found that just 5% of boards prioritise corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and social impact in their recruitment efforts.

It’s also important to remember that leaders are supposed to embody their brands’ ideals and those who don’t could be easily exposed via social media. “Increasingly, companies that do not live and breathe their values are called to task by their own employees,” Murphy warned.

“If a company brands itself as supporting the environment, but employees know executives do not act that way, they are going to tell the world.”

This is why many businesses are turning to management consultants to source designated sustainability consultants. As executive recruiters Egon Zehnder note, these individuals can work directly with businesses, helping to “[build] leadership teams that will make a difference — contributing to environmental quality, long-term economic prosperity, and social quality”.

For example, Chr. Hansen, who in 2019 were named the world’s most sustainable company in the Corporate Knights Global 100 Index, emphasize sustainability in all business areas. “We believe that change-makers are needed in every corner of an organisation, not just in a designated sustainability department,” corporate vice president Alice Larsen explained to Raconteur.

“We need to have professionals in every part of the organisation who are capable of making conscious, sustainable decisions, whether they are scientists, number-crunchers, or marketers.”

Sustainable recruitment attracts talent

Successful recruitment is all about attracting the best talent, and you’re much more likely to do this if sustainability is involved. This is especially true when it comes to millennial jobseekers — the largest generation within the US workforce.

According to Fast Company, nearly 40% of millennials have taken a job due to company sustainability, with some even willing to take a pay cut.

The same survey revealed that sustainability is also important for retention and performance. Nearly 70% of all respondents said this would determine whether they stay in a role long-term, and 30% have left a job because of a poor sustainability plan.

Brands are aware of the benefits associated with making sustainability a core part of their image, hence why many leading organisations have introduced their own environmental initiatives.

For example, Ford uses sustainable materials to create its vehicles and focuses on fuel efficiency, Similarly, Nike relies on renewable energy sources for manufacturing, and has encouraged hundreds of its suppliers around the world to develop and implement their own environmental policies.

Your business’s reputation will be bolstered by following similar eco-friendly practices, and highlighting this within your recruitment strategy could improve your chances of attracting the most talented candidates in the market.

Sustainable recruitment creates purpose

As well as appealing to candidates on an ethical level, making sustainability central to your recruitment strategy will also give new hires a refreshing sense of purpose.

According to a Gallup poll, 85% of employees function below their potential in terms of the value they offer and the fulfillment they get from their work.

However, this dissatisfaction can be combated by allowing employees — especially millennials — to feel like their jobs are making a difference. Additional Gallup research revealed: “For millennials, work must have meaning. Their compensation is important and must be fair, but they’re motivated more by mission and purpose than a paycheck.”

Highlighting sustainability as a crucial business value during the recruitment process is an effective way to convince candidates that working for you means contributing to the greater good.

In fact with one in three employees worldwide strongly agreeing: “The mission or purpose of my organisation makes me feel my job is important.” This satisfaction will especially be felt if the workforce are involved in sustainable initiatives.

For example, you could organise training sessions and group discussions on different environmental topics, and invite them to share ideas for policies and projects. Showing candidates that they’ll have a voice means working for your company is far more likely to fulfill the sense of purpose they crave.

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[…] Prioritizing sustainability not only elevates your business in the regard of your clientele (which is naturally followed by a rise in engagement and profits), but it also elevates your business in the regard of your current and potential employees. […]

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