The Impact of Your Footprint on Your Workforce

Some business owners and HR managers may think that getting the best employees means offering the best benefits, including 401(k) contribution plans and an easy-going working environment. However, those aren’t the only things applicants want to see. Those types of benefits make something a good job. More and more, people want to work for companies that are environmentally-conscience and contribute to product/service development that makes a positive impact. These types of benefits make something a great job. Businesses that are greener have a chance to differentiate themselves in a recruiting marketplace where standing out from the crowd is already a challenge. Your carbon-footprint and sustainability impact new hires’ decisions about where they want to work.

Responsible Recruits

Companies who are more conscience of the world around them can attract some top talent without constant worrying about offering top-notch salaries to employees. Whether your employees are Gen Y, Gen X or Baby Boomers, the majority of workers (61-70%) indicated, in a 2012 NetImpact study, that they have a personal responsibility to make things better for society, rather than leaving it to others. By indicating in job postings and interviews that this is a focus for your business, you’ll be able to appeal to the majority of workers who want to make society better. Your company’s carbon footprint can play a role in recruiting if a candidate is choosing between two similar positions and companies. A recent survey by Bain & Co. showed 30 percent of workers would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a more globally-conscience, sustainable company. Salary, clearly, isn’t everything when it comes to recruiting and hiring.

Long-Term, Loyal Employees

Your long-term commitment to being eco-friendly will bring in long-term employees. New hires don’t like seeing companies who are in things for the short-term. If your company’s values and mission align with a more sustainable business, you have a better chance of attracting long-term, loyal employees. An iOpener Institute survey of 18,000 Gen Y’s uncovered that a belief in the firm’s economic or social purpose, and pride in the organization and its work, had a strong correlation with staying at a company. People want to feel as though their work is valuable, even if not immediately. If your employee sees value in what they’re doing and the benefit to society that it can provide, they’re more likely to stick around should your business hit a bump.

Happy Campers

No business owner or manager wants an unsatisfied workforce. The quality of work, inter-office communications and sales numbers will suffer. Happy employees who have a passion for what they’re doing will lead to a more successful business. In the same NetImpact study mentioned earlier, 45 percent of employees who say they worked directly on a product or service that makes a positive social impact are very satisfied with their jobs, compared to 29 percent of those who don’t. Again, employees who see value in what they are doing are more likely to be satisfied with their work and a company than those who don’t. An SHRM survey found that improved employee morale (44%) was the top positive outcome from their organizations’ environmentally responsible program and 61 percent of employees whose organization participated in environmentally friendly practices reported that they are “very likely” or “likely” to stay with their current organization because of their organization’s environmentally responsible program.

These numbers and studies indicate that a more eco-friendly business will better attract candidates as their concerns in the world around them increase. Not only that, a more sustainable business will build loyal employees who find satisfaction in their work. If you think going green may end up costing your business more money than you wish, consider what your business could be missing out on by not incorporating green initiatives: socially responsible recruits, loyal employees and happy employees. 

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