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In recent years, sustainability has taken a lead position in the hiring and retention of employees. Many job seekers are evaluating potential employees based on their ‘greenness’ (environmental and social sustainability) and the benefits the company offers. Companies that can adapt quickly to this new trend are easily attracting and retaining top talents.


Talent attraction and retainment are not only critical for an organization’s success but also a top priority. While talent attraction ensures that the best talent is recruited for a job, talent retention ensures productivity and growth within the company. One way companies can take advantage of the current hiring trend is by subscribing to a sustainability certification program to earn the reputation of a sustainable business that can offer both social and financial benefits.

The Business ROI of Sustainability

Sustainability ROI White Paper

This ROI Model for Sustainability covers 4 categories: Cost Savings, Increased Sales, Employee Recruitment & Retention, and Risk Reduction. This paper is ideal for building a Business Case for your Sustainability Program.

Why are employee attraction and retention important for a company?

Successful businesses understand the importance of attracting highly qualified talents and keeping their employees for a long period. A company that regularly loses its employees constantly hurts their bottom line because the replacement of an employee costs money and leads to a temporary loss of efficiency. It is practically difficult for a company to be successful if its employees are constantly leaving.

Also, companies that can attract and retain quality talents experience high spikes in productivity.  Research carried out by Mckinsey & Company explained that quality employees are 400 percent more productive than average employees. Besides, the retention of an employee eliminates the need for a company to waste productive time in screening, interviewing, and training a new employee for the job position and it helps ensure that a company’s trade secrets, operations, customers, and culture are secured.

What attracts job seekers to a company?

According to a survey carried out by Glassdoor, nearly 3 in 5 people strongly take benefits and perks into consideration before accepting a job offer. A survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that aside from health insurance, job seekers placed the highest value on social benefits such as more flexible hours, more vacation time, and work-from-home options. About 80% of job seekers would consider taking a job that allows them to work from home. These benefits which are also popular among millennials and parents are cost-effective and sustainable for small businesses that wish to offer appealing benefits but can’t afford an expensive benefits package. In addition, current employees also value these social benefits because 71% of workers are willing to leave their current jobs if they are offered flexible hours in a new role.

Other employee benefits that job seekers take into consideration include tuition assistance; student-loan assistance; paid parental leave; free-day care services; free snacks; free coffee; team-bonding activities; on-site gym and free fitness classes among others. Small companies who are unable to offer these benefits because of their financial cost can offer a reasonable alternative. For example, instead of an on-site gym center, small companies can offer employees coupons to use at local gym facilities.

How sustainable certification programs help companies to attract and retain employees?

Research has shown that millennials are fast making up the largest workforce generation in the US, and this set of workers have high expectations concerning job satisfaction. According to a Deloitte study, two in three millennials would quit their job if they don’t find fulfillment or if they sense that their current job has no ambition beyond profit. Also, almost 9 in 10 millennials believe that the success of a company should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance. They think that companies should not only be concerned with their financial performance, they should also pay attention to the environment and care about the social life of their employees. Millennials are willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary to work for a company that is sustainable and can provide social benefits.

Also, a survey carried out by Fast Company shows that millennials are likely to choose to work for, and stay with, a company that has a strong sustainability plan. In other words, companies have a high chance of attracting and retaining employees if they can demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability. One way companies can demonstrate that they are committed to sustainability is by investing in a sustainable certification program such as the Green Business Bureau Certification Program.

Sustainable certification programs help ensure that companies make a significant commitment to sustainability by providing several initiatives that can be implemented to reduce environmental footprint, improve job satisfaction, increase employee loyalty, productivity, and efficiency. In addition, sustainable certification programs make it easier for companies to provide social benefits that can attract and retain top talents. For example, a company that implements sustainability initiatives such as donating a portion of its profit to an environmental cause and allowing employees to work from home is more likely to attract, and retain employees than a company that does not commit to environmental or social sustainability.

Also, benefits like flexible schedules, paid family leave and others demonstrate that the employer recognizes that employees have complex lives with competing interests and motivations (not just a job, job, job), and understands that truly good employees should be trusted to balance those interests in a way that benefits both the employer and employee. That level of recognition and trust is a key driver for great employer-employee relationships and sustainability programs provide that kind of benefit/program for employees.

Sustainability certification programs recognize that employees care about sustainable business and they help provide a framework for businesses to become sustainable.

Grace Olupinyo

Author Grace Olupinyo

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