Why Environmental Sustainability Should be a Priority in Recruitment

human resource management

Environmental sustainability has gained traction in recent years as businesses and governments become increasingly aware of the need to reduce their environmental impact. The sustainability strategy describes the practice of developing and maintaining economically and environmentally responsible processes to ensure the long-term health of the environment. It may include reducing energy consumption, utilising renewable energy sources, implementing Corporate Sustainability Programme, limiting water usage, and more. 86% of people believe focusing on sustainability will boost revenue next year.

Why Is Environmental Sustainability Important?

The world’s natural resources are finite, meaning they will eventually run out if we continue to consume them without regard for their sustainability. By implementing and promoting environmentally sustainable practices, we can help protect our planet’s resources for future generations. Commitment to sustainability can also lead to economic development and job creation as businesses invest in new technologies and processes that are more efficient and reduce their environmental degradation.

Environmental Sustainability and Recruitment

The relationship between environmental sustainability and recruiting is vital as companies look for ways to attract and retain talent while reducing their environmental impact. As more job-seekers become aware of the importance of environmental sustainability, it has become increasingly important for employers to emphasise this aspect of their organisation regarding recruitment.

By highlighting the company’s efforts towards environmental sustainability, employers can demonstrate that they are serious about reducing their environmental impact while showing potential candidates that they are an attractive workplace. As of 2019, 40% of millennials would take a lower salary to work for a sustainable company.

Challenges to Overcome in Adopting Sustainable Recruiting Practices

  • Limited Knowledge and Resources

Many employers need more knowledge or resources to implement sustainable recruitment practices successfully. Companies may not have the financial resources to understand and make environmental sustainability initiatives a reality. Some employers may feel uncertain about how sustainable recruiting practices could benefit their organisation and hesitate to commit the necessary resources.

  • Lack of Senior Leadership Buy-in

Organisational change is often driven by leadership, and gaining senior-level buy-in is essential to any successful recruitment initiative with an environmental focus. It can be a challenge for organisations just starting to explore sustainability initiatives, as senior leaders in management may still need to be made aware of the benefits these efforts can bring.

  • Finding and Retaining Skilled Talent

Employers may find it challenging to recruit and retain talent with the right skill set for sustainable recruitment initiatives. Sustainable recruiting requires specific skills, such as knowledge of environmental regulations, green technology, and more. Employers need help finding candidates with the necessary experience and qualifications to fill these roles.

Benefits of Environmentally Sustainable Recruiting

  • Increased Morale and Engagement

Environmentally sustainable recruiting practices benefit the environment and positively impact employee morale and engagement. By prioritising sustainable practices, companies demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and attract like-minded individuals passionate about sustainability issues. It creates a sense of purpose and pride among employees, which can translate into increased productivity and loyalty. 

Sustainable practices can lead to cost savings, which can be passed on to employees through better wages and benefits. Environmentally sustainable recruiting creates a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. 85% of Indian employees value an employer prioritizing environmental sustainability.

  • Improved Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture can attract and retain employees passionate about sustainability and the environment. These employees are more likely to be committed to reducing the company’s environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices.

A supportive and inclusive workplace culture can encourage employees to share ideas and collaborate on environmental initiatives, leading to more innovative and effective solutions. A strong workplace culture can help create a sense of purpose and shared values among employees, motivating them to work towards a common goal of sustainability.

  • Cost Savings

Implementing environmentally sustainable recruiting practices can lead to significant cost savings for companies. Companies can reduce their carbon footprint and save on transportation costs through virtual job postings and interviews.

It comes under the HR roles and responsibilities to implement green office practices, such as using energy-efficient lighting and equipment, which can lead to cost savings on utility bills. Adopting a sustainable approach to recruiting can also improve a company’s reputation and attract environmentally conscious job seekers, leading to a more diverse and engaged workforce.

  • Positive Impact on Brand Image

Customers, investors, and potential employees look up to companies prioritising sustainability and environmental responsibility. By implementing sustainable recruiting practices, companies can showcase their commitment to social and environmental responsibility, attracting like-minded individuals passionate about making a positive impact. It can also increase customer loyalty and brand recognition, as consumers are more likely to support companies that align with their values. 

Sustainable recruiting can help companies reduce overall environmental impact, which is increasingly essential in today’s world, where climate change is a pressing issue.

Creating a Sustainable Recruiting Plan

  • Assessing Current Processes for Environmental Impact

Always assess the current process and strategies available for recruitment. It comes under the HR roles and responsibilities to gather data from the workforce plan. It will help the recruiting team understand corporate priorities and decide the competitive compensation.

Companies should ensure their employees know their environmental impact and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices. It can be done by providing incentives for sustainable behaviour or offering educational opportunities on environmental issues. It’s best to create an environmentally-sustainable impression on recruits early since 20% of employee turnover occurs in the first 90 days of hire.

Incorporating sustainability into the company’s mission and values can attract candidates who share similar values and stay with the company long-term.

  • Setting Sustainability Goals for the Organisation

Once the current processes have been assessed, companies should set sustainability goals. These goals should be measurable and achievable, focusing on reducing environmental impact while achieving recruitment objectives.

Sustainable companies can also set targets for new hires, such as aiming to increase the percentage of new hires with a background in environmental sustainability. Setting clear and measurable goals can help organisations track their progress and ensure their recruiting efforts positively impact the environment. According to a CNBC report (2021), 48% of Indians are worried about climate change globally, and 45% feel its impact locally.

  • Creating an Action Plan to Achieve Those Goals

Once the goals have been set, companies must create an action plan to achieve their sustainability objectives. The plan includes specific actions, timelines, and metrics for measuring progress. Companies can also implement sustainability training for employees and managers to help them understand the importance of green practices in recruiting and how they can benefit the company’s bottom line. 

The action plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is effective and that sustainability objectives are met.

  • Identifying Resources to Meet Those Goals

Once an organisation has identified the resources necessary to achieve its sustainability goals, it should look for ways to obtain them. Many organisations, such as NITI Aayog, assist with sustainable recruiting.

Companies can also seek partnerships with organisations that share similar values and can provide resources to help achieve sustainability goals. For example, a company may partner with a local environmental non-profit to increase the number of candidates with experience in environmental sustainability.

Wrapping Up

Environmental sustainability is increasingly essential for businesses of all sizes. Companies can reduce their environmental impact by creating a sustainable recruitment plan and setting achievable goals while achieving their recruitment objectives. By identifying resources and seeking partnerships with other organisations that share similar values, companies can ensure that they take the steps necessary to create a more sustainable future.

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  • How does environmental sustainability affect employees?

Environmental sustainability can help create a healthier, safer work environment, improve the corporate culture, and enhance employee engagement. Environmental sustainability initiatives can reduce operational costs and make the business strategy more efficient.

  • How can HR contribute to environmental sustainability?

HR teams can contribute to environmental sustainability by setting goals and objectives that focus on reducing environmental impact while still achieving recruitment objectives. HR teams can incorporate green practices into their office environment, such as using energy-efficient lighting and equipment and encouraging employees to use public transportation.

  • How do environmental factors affect employees in the workplace?

Environmental factors can be essential in the workplace, affecting employee experience, morale, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Poor air quality or unhealthy work conditions can lead to physical and mental health issues for employees, while excessive noise and bright lighting can disrupt focus and concentration. A lack of natural light or access to outdoor areas can lead to feelings of restlessness and fatigue.

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