How to Create a Sustainable Workplace That Attracts Talent
Building an attractive workplace is an ongoing challenge for companies of all sizes. Employers are constantly striving to stand out from the competition, and while offerings like ping-pong tables and unlimited vacation might appear to be the perks employees want, it’s actually a company’s internal values that attract and retain talent.
Millennials make up more than a third of the American workforce today, totaling 56 million workers. Given that 90 percent of millennials consider sustainability a top factor in their employment decisions, it’s crucial that executives looking to recruit this generation emphasize sustainability, purpose-driven work, and their commitments to doing good in the workplace.
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) created 17 Sustainable Development Goals that can help organizations achieve purpose-driven, environmentally-friendly business cultures. By adopting the following UN goals, companies can make an impact, create sustainable organizations, and attract employees who are seeking greater purpose in the workplace.
Clean Water and Sanitation
The global population will increase by 4 billion by the end of the century, and the percentage of the earth’s population living in water-scarce regions will grow from 36 percent today to 50 percent by 2050.
Corporations are the largest users of water, with about two-thirds of all water consumption taking place in the production of ingredients for corporate supply chains. To become more sustainable, companies can take steps to ensure they are being mindful of their own water use.
For example, water company Anglian Water has implemented technology solutions such as mobile platforms and educational programs to ensure employees and the company’s 6 million customers work together to manage limited water supplies efficiently. Sustainable business strategies like monitoring water consumption are key to capturing the attention of the millions of millennials in today’s workforce.
Sustainable Cities and Communities
More than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities. By the end of the 21st century, experts estimate that the 100 most populous cities will hold close to 20 percent of the world’s population. Many of the world’s largest companies are also located in these densely populated cities, as this puts them in a better position to attract new and young talent.
Technology is a key driver of economic growth in cities, and it can benefit companies that are working to become sustainable businesses, too. For example, smart technologies like smart lighting and climate control can assist companies in reducing their environmental impact and electric consumption. Smart technology can also make a company more attractive to millennials, who will appreciate the innovative approach to social responsibility.
Affordable and Clean Energy
An example of a company successfully adopting the affordable and clean energy goal is Mobisol GmbH, which works to provide clean energy through a sustainable business model. Mobisol GmbH combines solar power with microfinancing and mobile payments to offer clean, affordable energy to low-income households. Through its efforts, the company has given more than half a million people access to energy, including people in Tanzania and Rwanda. Mobisol GmbH stands as a prime example of a company with a mission to increase sustainability across the globe, not just within its own business.
It’s important for companies to understand that millennials are already familiar with and prefer to use renewable energy resources like battery, wind, and solar. Companies that invest in these types of clean energy sources are proving to their employees and candidates that sustainability matters to them.
Recruiting With a Purpose
By adopting the UN sustainable goals, companies can craft purpose-driven missions that attract new talent and retain current employees. Companies that tout strong sets of internal principles and leverage next-generation technologies to do good are better positioned to attract millennial employees, who care a great deal for workplace sustainability efforts. When businesses share their employees’ socially conscious values, they can create better organizations, better workforces, and even a better world.
Pat Bakey is president and chief revenue officer of SAP Leonardo and Analytics.
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