How Sustainability Can Solve Your Talent Crisis 

happy work environment with employees

TLDR Summary (Too Long, Didn’t Read):

  • Sustainability should matter to you because it matters to your current team and potential job candidates.
  • By bringing meaning to your workplace through sustainability, recruiting new employees and retaining current team members will be easier.
  • Inauthentic sustainability efforts can undermine your credibility and the impact of your recruiting campaign.
  • Showcase your sustainability efforts in your recruiting tactics, including an annual update, content marketing, website updates, and volunteer events. 

Once upon a time, recruiting and retaining employees was a breeze for many businesses. As I chat with current and potential clients, they fondly recall the days when top talent flocked to their doors with little effort.

However, the winds of change have blown in, and the intensifying global talent crisis has companies scrambling to find new ways to attract and keep the best employees.

The short answer of how to stand out in a world of “recruiting same”? Creative solutions to talent acquisition and employee engagement are essential; one such approach is embracing and showcasing sustainability in your workplace. 

See, conventional strategies such as improved diversity hiring practices and new training initiatives are essential for achieving recruitment goals. However, many employers have not yet taken advantage of the benefits of sustainability.

And sustainability has been skyrocketing as a top concern across industry benchmark data, especially in the professional service sectors we serve. So, we know it’s of concern to you as business leaders.

As marketing strategists, it’s our role to predict how these ideas may impact your business. So, join me as we delve into how integrating sustainable practices can benefit the environment and become a game-changer in recruiting and retaining top talent for your organization.

What You Need to Know About Sustainability for Business

TLDR: Paying attention to sustainability issues is becoming increasingly critical for all companies across all industries.

(I’m briefly touching upon some information that you may already be familiar with, but it’s essential for our SEO strategy. If you’re well-versed in this area, feel free to skip ahead)

The reality is that sustainability is no longer just ‘nice to have’ or the right thing to do. Sustainability is now an integral part of business success for large businesses, and it’s also trickling down to mid-sized and small businesses.

Incorporating sustainability into strategy and operations can lead to significant competitive advantages in many industries, including receiving coveted spots on preferential vendor lists. Implementing sustainability tactics is proven to decrease costs and can improve your company’s reputation.

So, it’s no surprise that the discussion around sustainable business practices is growing. Not only are consumers driving much of this conversation, but sustainability represents long-term thinking and creates a holistic view that your business must consider to attract and retain talent, enhance your brand image, and positively impact your bottom line.

How Sustainability Can Drive Your Talent Acquisition and Retention

TLDR: Like it or not, Millennials and Gen Z want a job that feels worthwhile. Younger employees care about the environment, so recruiting and retaining employees will be easier if you can bring meaning to your workplace through sustainability.

In today’s job market, it’s increasingly important to provide younger employees a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. And while you may think that bringing home enough money to pay bills should be purpose enough, it’s not what young people are looking for out of a job. Millennials and Gen Z (rapidly approaching 75% of the job force) are particularly attuned to the impact their careers can have on the world around them, especially when it comes to sustainability and the environment. When you incorporate sustainable practices into your workplace, you not only contribute to a healthier planet, but you have the opportunity to attract and retain top talent who are looking for a job that aligns with their values. As a business leader, it’s essential you recognize the importance of purposeful work, and leveraging sustainability efforts is a powerful recruitment and retention tool.
“Gen Z‘s and Millennials want their employers to support and empower them to make sustainable decisions in their own lives, and to develop the skills needed for the transition to a low carbon economy.” – Deloitte 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

Sustainable practices such as reducing environmental impact, creating a positive social impact, and promoting ethical business practices are important factors that attract employees who are passionate about making a difference in the world.

How Sustainability Can Help You Attract Top Talent

How Sustainability Can Help You Retain Great Employees

Important Factors For Authentic and Impactful Sustainable Recruiting Campaigns

TLDR: Inauthentic sustainability efforts can undermine the credibility and the impact of your marketing campaign.

Before you jump straight into implementation, you need to consider how your company is currently, or should be, practicing sustainability. Because if you don’t “walk your talk,” your sustainability efforts might come off as fake, making your recruiting campaign less effective and hurting your credibility.

1. Determine Your Purpose

Traditionally, brands prioritize profitability as their key performance indicator. However, sustainability challenges this perspective by encouraging companies to look beyond profit and identify a larger impact.

In other words, find your meaningful “why,” as Simon Sinek suggests.

Talk to some of your younger colleagues if you are struggling with this culture shift. They can (and want to) point you in the right direction.

2. Think Long Term

Your company needs to employ a holistic approach to sustainability, which means examining every aspect of your business: from materials sourcing to hiring practices to energy consumption.

If you recruit based on social responsibility, but new employees don’t find your sustainability culture reflected in policy once onboard, retaining will become an even bigger issue. (Glassdoor exists, and people talk!)

3. Remember, It’s Not About You

Don’t forget that recruiting is quite similar to marketing, and the first rule of marketing is putting your consumer first.

Savvy marketers remember that you have to show your customer how they’re changing the world by choosing your product or service. In return, recruiters must showcase to potential employees how they can help change their corner of the world by accepting your position.

4. Be Honest

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword. It can be a part of doing ethical and responsible business that resonates well with current and potential employees, consumers, your board, and the general public.

But sustainability marketing only works if your company’s actions match your claims.

If you claim to be sustainable but fail to implement those practices, you will lose the trust of your customers and your employees; and your credibility will suffer.

In other words, It’s OK to not meet milestones. It’s not OK to lie about it.

Effective Tactics to Strengthen Your Recruiting Efforts

TLDR: Promote sustainability efforts in your recruiting tactics, including an annual update, content marketing, your website, and volunteer events.

Job seekers are more likely to accept an interview if they have a positive perception of your organization’s online presence, according to research. This includes having up-to-date information on your website about your people and projects and active social media accounts with engaging content.

Here are some additional tactics that you could implement, knowing that sustainability can help recruit and retain.

1. Showcase Your Progress with an Annual Sustainability Update: 

Highlight your company’s ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility by publishing an annual sustainability report, detailing your goals, this years achievements (including environmental social and governance – esg – factors), and future initiatives.

Incorporate this information into job listings, job ads, and recruiting packages to attract top talent that shares your values and passion for sustainable practices. Being transparent about your sustainability efforts builds your trust and credibility with your stakeholders and fosters a workforce dedicated to making a positive impact.

2. Highlight Your Commitment to Sustainability on Your Website:

By showcasing your sustainability goals and practices on your website, you demonstrate your dedication to environmental responsibility and attract like-minded partners who value ethical business operations.

52% of job candidates first seek out 1) your company’s website and 2) your social media to learn more about you as an employer. – LinkedIn

3. Empower Employees to Champion Sustainability Through Volunteer Efforts: 

Encourage your team members to actively participate in sustainability efforts by volunteering for eco-friendly initiatives within the company and the community.

You foster a sense of pride and purpose in their work by offering support and flexibility for employees to engage in environmental projects. This enhances job satisfaction and reinforces your organization’s commitment to making a positive impact in the world, creating a more engaged and motivated workforce.

4. Encourage Employee Testimonials on the Power of Sustainability in Your Workplace: 

Set your organization apart in the eyes of potential job candidates by showcasing the powerful influence of sustainability initiatives within your workplace through employee impact testimonials.

These genuine and compelling stories will highlight your company’s dedication to environmental responsibility and a culture of innovation, resonating deeply with eco-conscious professionals seeking purpose-driven careers.

Candidates trust the company’s employees 3x more than the company to provide credible information on working there. – LinkedIn

5. Amplify Your Sustainability Story through Social Media: 

Engage with your audience by sharing the story of your progress, celebrating achievements, and offering insights into your sustainability journey through your social platforms. By fostering an open dialogue and actively participating in relevant online conversations, you can position your brand as a leader in environmental responsibility and inspire others to follow suit.

In Closing...

Incorporating sustainability into your organization’s talent crisis solutions may be challenging at first, but proof of its effectiveness is all around us.

Employees want to work for a company with values aligned with their own — many of which are rooted in sustainability initiatives.

Bottom line: When you invest in sustainability, you will benefit from increased employee engagement and higher levels of retention, plus more interest from job candidates.

It’s no longer just about having an attractive compensation package; it’s about driving positive change for yourself, your coworkers, and the environment. That’s what true success looks like in today’s world.

Ways that Move Digital Group practices sustainability:

  • We use SAAS and cloud-based platforms to reduce the need for paper.
  • We recycle our electronics.
  • We use laptops which generally consume around less electricity than desktop computers.
  • We have a work-from-home policy (and have for 11+ years).
  • We hold virtual meetings.
  • We have a culture that champions physical activity and supports mental health
  • We discourage overtime and have a work culture that prioritizes a good work-life-balance.

Do you need help attracting the top talent?

Contact us to discuss how marketing and talent acquisition go hand in hand.