Sustainability: A Key Part of Your Company Culture to Engage Talent

In the current tough competition for top talent, having your company culture that values and practices sustainability can help give you an edge in hiring.

Millennial and Gen Z workers seek socially responsible employers

Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey showed that millennials and Generation Z are rating the issue of climate change as a top concern. Michele Parmelee, Deloitte’s global chief purpose and people officer, said in a DiversityInc article: “They continue to push for a world in which businesses and governments mirror that same commitment to society, putting people ahead of profits and prioritizing environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and income equality.”

A study from EY found that Gen Z is highly invested in global issues and where they fit into larger systems, according to DiversityInc. “Publicly championing sustainability can help employers capture the attention of younger applicants, especially those who want their jobs to make a difference in the world.” A survey of large employers reported by Fast Company found that 40% percent of millennials preferred to work for “environmentally responsible” companies.

Workers seek employers aligned with their values

Concerns about sustainability are shared across generations. An eye-opening 71% of employees and employment seekers say that environmentally sustainable companies are more attractive employers, according to a 2021 global survey from the IBM Institute for Business Value. More than two-thirds are more likely to apply for and accept jobs with environmentally and socially responsible organizations – and nearly half would accept a lower salary to work for such organizations.

Steve Rice and John Lamy, from The Globally Conscious Leader, one of EBC Associates’ strategic partners, receive regular feedback from Sustainability Mentors in their program. They say, “Business leaders are starting to see long-term impacts and risks related to their organization’s sustainability They’re starting to understand that their most important stakeholders may actually be their current and future employees who care deeply about the environment and the world that they will contribute to through their work.”

How to deliver on sustainability

What can your company culture do to become or remain more attractive to employees with these values and concerns? Having a written statement of higher purpose relative to sustainability issues is a start, but back up your words with action. Don’t engage in “greenwashing” (making exaggerated or misleading claims).

HR and EBC Associates can help

Because job hunters say they want to work for companies that are taking action on environmental and climate change issues, employers are seeking to promote the ways they are taking this requirement seriously, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). An October 2021 Gallup poll revealed “70% of US workers said that a firm’s environmental record is important to them and is a consideration when deciding whether to take a job with a company.” One-quarter of those surveyed referred to corporate environmental records as a ‘major factor’ in their decision.” SHRM also notes that a 2021 study by WTW found that most HR professionals believe “it is essential for the employee value proposition to contain environmental and climate change strategies.”

Your company culture

Take a holistic approach. Be sure your recruitment process includes a clear message about what your company is doing. Make this part of your corporate branding to help attract qualified talent. If your company has received any recognitions, feature that on your website and on social media. If you’re recruiting on college campuses, leverage this in your branding with soon-to-be graduates, who may be especially drawn to work for companies with a sustainability focus.

How are your organization’s sustainability initiatives aligned and meaningful to your customers, applicants, and employees? We’d love to learn more. Please contact us here.