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How to Build a Sustainable Recruitment Strategy

1 year ago by Gravitas Recruitment Group
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​As the world faces growing challenges related to sustainability, it has become a critical consideration within many long-term business strategies. It's no longer enough to focus solely on profits; companies must also consider their impact on the environment and society. It can also be a contributing factor in attracting and retaining candidates, as they look for more meaningful work, considering factors such as sustainability, the company’s purpose, and the difference they make in their community. A survey of Gen Z workers stated 70% of respondents ranked purpose as more important than pay.

This mirrors our own experience whilst talking to our networks of talent and employers. We’ve noticed that the organisations attracting the best talent are those that recognise sustainability is not just about the environment, but encompasses a broader perspective, including business plans, environmental care, and social well-being. It’s clear that integrating sustainability into the recruitment process is vital for building a better future for businesses, candidates and ultimately the planet.

In this article you’ll discover:

  • What is sustainable recruitment and why it is important

  • How business growth and staff retention plans go hand in hand

  • How environmental care goes beyond greenwashing

  • Tips to create a more sustainable recruitment strategy

What is sustainable recruitment and why it is important?

Generally, sustainability focuses on fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being.

Sustainable recruitment is when recruiters or businesses emphasise building networks of sustainable companies and candidates, utilising techniques to ensure long-term, productive hires. It can also involve building an employer brand that features sustainability along with other important values and initiatives.

A study by Deloitte reported sustainability is a very important topic for Gen Zs and Millennials, with 48% and 43% (respectively) saying they have put some pressure on their employer to take action. According to the company, two-thirds (65%) of leaders are feeling pressure from their employees to act. On the other hand, as stated by the World Economic Forum, 90% of executives believe sustainability is important, but only 60% of organisations have sustainability strategies. However, the organisation also says sustainability is among the top ten trends that will shape the future of work, highlighting its importance in the recruitment process.

How business growth and staff retention plans go hand in hand

The consideration of how to build a long-term business plan is crucial, as opposed to focusing on short-term gains – one that is sustainable. Mauricio Vianna, CEO of MJV Innovation and a leading sustainability advisor to Fortune 500 companies, suggests the first question every business needs to ask when planning a sustainability strategy is, ‘How do we develop a business model based on sustainable principles without cutting into the company’s bottom line?’ It should consider a triple pronged plan around profits, people and the wider community or planet.

Sustainable hiring it is about looking beyond immediate skills and qualifications to assess long-term fit of candidates. It can also include producing a plan around diversity and inclusion, as this can support employee well-being and lead to increased productivity. It’s important to support initiatives that foster a culture of inclusivity, belonging, and continuous learning. We find that organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, and actively promote opportunities for underrepresented groups, are those that are able to attract and retain the best talent.

By prioritising long-term business growth along with a sustainable people plan, you can build resilient teams that can thrive in an ever-changing business landscape. Sustainability doesn’t stop with onboarding; employers must build a retention plan that nurtures their new employee, considering their career development, long-term goals, and mentoring needs.

How environmental care goes beyond greenwashing

While environmental care has become a hot topic in recent years, it's important to go beyond greenwashing and truly integrate sustainability into the process.

What is greenwashing? This is when a company claims to be environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but isn’t making any notable sustainability efforts.

Things to consider when creating a more sustainable business:

  • Produce a framework and reporting system so you can see what you are going to aim to change, and how you are going to report on progress.

  • Consider how your company sources and consumes energy. If you can reduce carbon emissions and use clean energy this will help.

  • Investigate how much your company wastes, considering recycling, zero-waste policies etc…

And remember, companies that are sustainable, or working towards improvements, attract a wider pool of candidates that are looking for more environmentally conscious companies to work for.

Tips to create a more sustainable recruitment strategy

So, how can you better integrate sustainability into the recruitment process? Here are some key steps:

  • Partner with like-minded organisations: Seek out suppliers, organisations and individuals who share commitment to sustainability. Those with a genuine commitment to economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being.

  • Assess long-term fit: Go beyond short-term gains and assess the long-term fit of candidates. Look for candidates who are aligned with your values who can contribute to long-term success. Consider a sustainable retention programme that will ensure your employee stays and builds their future career with your business.

  • Start conversations: Discuss what your employees care about, encouraging new ideas and transparency. Consider establishing internal committees, programs, and initiatives to ensure that important topics such as sustainability remain at the forefront of discussions, then work with your team to bring your programme to life. By placing sustainability at the centre of the table, the aim is to drive positive change in the recruitment sector and promote education among individuals towards a more sustainable future.

At Gravitas we have considerable experience in building sustainable, diverse, and inclusive recruitment processes, both for ourselves and the organisations we work with. Our expert technology, insurance and financial service consultants can help advise you on how to build a more sustainable recruitment strategy.

Contact us today for an informal discussion about your specialist hiring needs. 

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