With the heightened awareness around anything ‘green’ companies are starting to realise the value communicating their environmental initiatives has in attracting and retaining talent.
International employer brand strategist and author, Brett Minchington MBA discusses the role of ‘green’ recruiting and provides some tips for companies planning to trial ‘green’ initiatives.
Minchington defines, your employer brand as, “The image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders. How your company is perceived as an environmentally friendly employer may well be the difference between whether talent choose to work for you or your competitors.”A recent survey of more than 2,200 adults carried out by US market research firm Harris Interactive found that 36 per cent would be more inclined to work for a ‘green’ company, while 59 per cent believe their current employer should be doing more to improve its environmental performance.
More than two thirds of Generation Y workers, typically characterised as people born after 1980, said they wanted their employer to be environmentally friendly compared to just 52 per cent of baby boomers.
Adopting strong green policies may also save you money when looking to recruit younger staff. Almost a third of respondents said that they would be willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary to work for an environmentally friendly firm with Generation Y workers saying they would sacrifice, on average, 6.2 per cent of their wages. In contrast, environmentally conscious baby boomers would be willing to sacrifice just 2.5 per cent.
One of the best known cases of promoting green initiatives for recruiting advantage is GE. In 2006 GE posed a challenge to University students, asking them to develop an environmental project on a budget of $25,000, which they could implement on their own campus. The contest called the Ecoimagination Challenge had students come up with brilliant ideas.
An Internet site reported the progress of the contest and the website even had a link at the bottom saying ‘Jobs at GE.’
The final winners were students of Massachusetts Institute of Technology for their design of a solar powered processor and some of the winning team were subsequently recruited into GE.
The concept was simple; GE was declaring its campaign to save the environment through the contest and at the same time inviting job applications. This was a nice piggyback campaign to woo the best talent from colleges.
Whilst the prize money offered by GE may be out of reach of most SME’s they can learn from how the world’s top employer brands are leveraging their environmental initiatives to attract and retain talent.
The Body Shop uses its career website to promote its environmental commitment – ‘At the heart of our business are our values. In everything we do we are committed to helping protect the planet, defend human rights, activate self esteem, and support Community Trade and creating animal cruelty free cosmetics. It's not just part of our jobs, it's part of our DNA.’ Your career is a cost effective way of communicating your ‘green’ philosophy to potential hires.
Minchington recommends the following initiatives which can assist to enhance your employer brand through promoting your commitment to a ‘greener’ environment:
- Only accept job applications and resumes online – it will save paper, envelopes, stamps and fuel
- Reduce your reliance on newspaper job ads – online sourcing and advertising reduces the size of newspapers, magazines and newsletters. Post open positions on your career site and connect electronically to job boards
- Include corporate social responsibility statements on your web site, in recruitment and product brochures
- Include details about your commitment to the environment in offer letters and job descriptions
- Offer subsidized employee bus pools to encourage commuting employees and provide them with free or subsidized parking
- Made a video that shows how your employees are environmentally minded, and post it on YouTube and your career site
- Enter your company in environmental awards and contests
- Add environmentally friendly footers, such as ‘think before you print’ to your email signature
- Reward employees that use public transportation or walk/bike to work
- Give to charitable contributions to organizations that fight global warming
- Send stories about your ‘green’ initiatives to the media and get written about.