More than ever, employees now want to work for sustainable companies. An IBM survey found a rising interest in workers wishing to apply for and accept jobs from environmentally-friendly companies, with 67% stating that they are more willing to apply for and 68% more willing to accept employment from such organizations. 35% of employees who changed jobs in 2021 took a position with a company they consider sustainable, while 1 in 3 reported receiving lower pay to work for such companies. Okay, enough stats.
It has become increasingly clear that sustainability is necessary - demanded by your employees (or potential candidates), your suppliers, and your consumers. Even when up against the most desirable employers, sustainability can help make a company especially attractive - a unique competitive advantage that not only attracts more job seekers to apply but increases the company’s chances of hiring and retaining top performers.
Below we list three reasons why sustainability attracts job seekers and how to leverage them.
#1 Sustainability helps boost employee pride
Sustainability initiatives often enhance a company’s image and status, causing job seekers to believe they would be proud to work for a reputable company praised for its sustainability efforts. 70% of workers and job seekers state that a sustainability program makes an employer more appealing, while 44% of executives consider sustainability efforts to be an effective tool for hiring and retention.
The bottom line is many employees want to feel proud, as where they work often an expression of who they are. Sustainability and community-focused programs are events that most individuals can’t wait to tell others about as a means of basking in reflected glory.
Here are some starting points to emphasize that anticipated sense of pride:
Implement sustainability practices that surpass industry norms and set your company apart from other companies - for example, by incorporating and imprinting sustainability with your company’s products and services.
Connect sustainability to the company’s prestige by applying for awards and recognition from esteemed third-party organizations.
Display employee pride through testimonials and by letting people know how you celebrate sustainability accomplishments.
#2 Sustainability implies that the company cares about its employees
To most employees, sustainability efforts indicate that if an organization sincerely cares about the well-being of the environment and society, it would stand to reason that it most likely values its employees as well.
Emphasize the belief that the organization cares about society and the environment and connect this belief to your ‘people’ initiatives. Here’s what you can do:
Show employee-driven sustainability efforts to demonstrate how your concern for sustainability is linked to efforts to develop purposeful and rewarding experiences for your workers.
Convey to job seekers how your sustainability initiatives are linked to your ‘people’ practices through tailored messages such as - “We aspire to reduce our environmental footprint because we care about how we treat the environment, just like we care about how we treat our people.”
But whatever you do, avoid greenwashing. Suppose new or current workers find that the messages about your company’s sustainable efforts that previously attracted them are just a green veneer. In that case, most will become hostile, and some may leave. So make sure that your messages about sustainability match the reality that employees can experience.
#3 Sustainability connects organizational values to job seekers’ values.
Multiple studies have shown that culture fit and value match are the main drivers of job choice decisions. Job seekers want to be in a company where its values are a good fit. Particularly for millennials, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, it makes good sense then that companies should connect their values even more so, as the majority of this gen is seeking to work with companies that share their values when it comes to contributing to the environment.
So connect your sustainability practices to specific company values and remember to demonstrate their authenticity. Below are some excellent examples:
Clearly outline company values that drive certain sustainability practices, such as values about caring for the planet, handling relationships with external stakeholders, managing employee concerns, and being a responsible corporate body.
Emphasize your management’s devotion to sustainability. Use managers as role models, as they are the ones who set the tone for company values and culture. Show job seekers and employees how sustainability is incorporated into daily work tasks, programs, operative practices and goals.
As the significance of sustainability grows, so do the number of schemes and strategies for actually attaining it. But these strategies, when done right, would bring immense benefits to the environment and your company, your consumers, and your employees.
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