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Sustainability Hiring: Incorporate your green values into the hiring process

Sustainability matters to job hunters. Employees, more than ever, want their work to not only provide for their material needs, but to also help support the greater good and create a better world. In the battle for top talent, especially when recruiting the younger generation, prospective employees need to know that you’re committed to a greater purpose and that both sustainability and social responsibility are important to your company. In a recent Millennial Survey by Deloitte, 60% of millennials chose a sense of purpose as part of the reason they worked for a company. Through sustainability hiring and incorporating your values into the recruitment process, you can be sure to attract purpose-seeking individuals wanting to better the world.

Promote your sustainability and let the world know you care

Businesses cannot fake sustainability. Employees and customers will see right through any greenwashing. Companies need to make sustainability part of their mission, brand, values and culture. They need to clearly feature their green mission, social values and purpose on the corporate website and in communications. Be sure to mention sustainability values in the obvious places: the Careers page, the About Us page, in blogs and on social media. Leaders in talent recruitment should speak to the values of the people desired in the job descriptions.

Engage the employee and discover their purpose

During the interview process, ask candidates what causes they believe in and what their life purpose is. You want to understand how they want to contribute, what their values are, and what issues they care about most. If they are environmentalists, have them tell their sustainability stories and get them to talk about their green journey or initiatives they were involved with at previous companies. This creates the opportunity to confirm the candidate is aligned with your sustainability goals and also demonstrates your commitment to sustainability. Bottom line, you want to understand the candidate’s life priorities and values, so look for certain interests, soft skills, and roles where fairness, ethics, and relationships were important.

Communicate your sustainability vision, mission, goals

Candidates should know exactly what a company is doing to be more environmentally and socially responsible and what the company is doing to reduce its carbon footprint.

During your sustainability hiring process, share with them current active and completed green initiatives. Be aware that employees are skeptical of greenwashing and company claims. They want tangible proof of sustainability and purpose-driven action. They want to understand what role they can play in your sustainability program and initiatives. Some companies include their completed initiatives on their website as part of their corporate sustainability profile. You can also include green team and sustainability committee members in the interview process. You want to show that your company’s purpose is real and embraced.

How to hire a sustainability leader and champion

If you are an executive in charge of creating the green culture and implementing a sustainability program, be sure to look for the following traits when choosing a sustainability leader or putting together a green team:

  • Sincerity – Individuals need to believe in sustainable business and social responsibility. It must be a true internal passion.
  • Pragmatism – They should understand how to identify real world sustainability drivers for your company and implement initiatives that are practical and achievable.
  • Evangelism – Individuals must be convincing, enthusiastic, passionate and be able to sell their ideas.
  • Inclusion and Equity – They need to truly care about all people and understand what matters to employees of all genders, ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds.

Conclusion: Hire for Purpose with Purpose

You can’t create the right purpose-driven culture without purpose-driven individuals. It’s almost impossible to instill values and a sense of purpose in those who don’t have them. Instead, screen for purpose during the recruiting and hiring process. Find the perfect employees who truly care about sustainability, the planet, fairness, ethics and human justice. They are out there and when they join, their positive behaviors and attitudes become contagious.

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