How Being Sustainable Helps Attract Better Talent

Businesses who embrace sustainability often do so out of a responsibility to the planet or to attract more customers. Yet, there’s another reason why they should consider it: to attract better talent.


Employees are looking more and more to get hired by companies performing well on environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Take Unilever as an example.


A sustainability leader, the consumer products giant recently reported that employees in 54 of the 75 markets where it tracks staff engagement cite sustainability as the main reason they joined the company’s ranks.


New research by IBM, however, shows that their experience is part of a much larger trend.


Out of the 16,000 people asked, 2 out of 3 said they were more willing to apply for and accept jobs from organisations they consider to be environmentally sustainable. Yet, only 1 in 4 felt their current employer was sustainable.


This puts those businesses at risk of losing talent, and there are even more findings to back this up.


Over a third of respondents who had changed jobs in the last year accepted a lower salary to work for sustainable or socially responsible organisations. On average, they took a pay cut of 28%.

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These findings highlight just how important sustainability is to employees today, and showcase a huge opportunity for business that are focused on protecting people and the planet.


This doesn’t even need to be recruiting new talent, but simply engaging the staff you already have.


The research showed that 74% of people who say their employers are environmentally sustainable feel encouraged to contribute new ideas that support environmental sustainability in the workplace, compared to only 56% who don’t.


Yet, businesses don’t seem to be making the most of this, with only 60% of respondents saying they’re aware of the progress their organization has made toward their environmental sustainability goals, and just over half that their employer provides learning opportunities for fostering sustainable practices in the workplace.


So, how can you make the most of your sustainable efforts and attract the best talent to your business? Thankfully, IBM gives three suggestions based on what they found out.

Be transparent

Create an open dialogue and feedback loop. Be transparent about the organization’s environmental impact and foster a culture where people feel welcome to propose new ways of working—even if it could have a negative impact on the bottom line. Take action

Become a talent magnet

Build a sustainable brand that attracts top talent. Inspire people to take actions to support environmental sustainability by recognizing and rewarding positive actions. Showcase employees who are making an impact to highlight why your company is an employer of choice.

Boost collaboration

Collaborate with partners, suppliers, and industry groups. Insist on more robust environmental commitments and actions across your supply chain, and consistently make those commitments known to your employees and shareholders. Consider joining green buying cooperatives and other sustainable initiatives.

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