How to Create a Sustainable Workplace That Attracts Talent

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

flowersBuilding 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.

Like what you’ve read here? Check out Magazine for more, including the simple way to make one more placement every month.

Read more in Social Responsibility

As president and chief revenue officer, Pat Bakey leads the global Leonardo & Analytics sales teams. Their mandate is to manage the practical application of real-world technologies (AI, ML, IoT) that help SAP's customers succeed in the era of the intelligent enterprise faster, more effectively, and with less risk. Pat was previously president of SAP Industries, responsible for leading industry go-to-market strategy and execution at SAP, which covers 25 industries globally, the SAP+Apple partnership, and the SAP Transformation Navigator venture.