These days, it takes more than good pay and benefits to bring in the best employees. With employment at a fifty-year high and demand for workers at levels not seen in decades, employers are searching for new ways to attract and retain top talent. 
In recent years, environmental sustainability in business has surged to the top of considerations for many job seekers who can afford to take their pick among several would-be employers. These workers evaluate companies based on their environmental and social policies, and the importance of sustainability in their business initiatives. 

As more and more workers want to be part of a positive mission in their employment, companies can utilize environmental sustainability in business to appeal to job seekers and advance their organizational goals, while benefiting society and protecting the planet — all at the same time.

What makes a company attractive to employees?

People are drawn to employers for a variety of reasons, depending on any number of personal and professional reasons. Among the top:

Good pay and benefits

Employees will always be motivated by financial incentives, including salaries, bonuses, generous vacation time, and perks such as childcare services, flexible onsite-remote hours, or paid memberships at health clubs. But these are just a baseline. Today’s workers want much more than a paycheck.

Career building opportunities

Another group of employees are attracted to advancing their careers, receiving recognition, and being accomplished in professions they are passionate about. Many have spent time and money gaining education and experience in these careers, and they are eager to reap the personal and professional rewards of working in their field of choice. 

Sustainability policies

A growing number of employees are attracted to companies that make it their responsibility to contribute to the social good, embrace environmentally conscious initiatives, and practice sustainability in business. They often take it as indication of how the company values the wellbeing of its employees and their communities. 
Corporate sustainability policies are rapidly becoming a hot issue for employees. According to a Rubbermaid Commercial Products study highlighted by Sustain Life, 90% of millennials make working for a sustainable company their highest priority, while 84% of Gen Xers rank it at the top of their list, followed by a significant majority of Baby Boomers at 77%. Another study by Cone Communications found that almost two-thirds of millennials would outright refuse employment at a company that lacks strong corporate social responsibility values. 

Why do employees care about sustainability in business?

We know today that people need more than a paycheck to feel satisfied in their work. They want to believe that what they do matters, and adds meaning to their lives. They also want to be in alignment with their employers on fundamental personal values, such as the importance of taking care of the environment, and improving overall quality of life. 
Employees recognize that implementing sustainable business initiatives contributes to the future wellbeing of society as well as the organizations that enact them, which can only be good for employees themselves. It’s natural, then, that they would care about sustainability in business.
This is just as true of smaller companies as larger corporations. Most employers can integrate environmental sustainability in business and use it as a compelling recruitment and retention tool because of the value workers place on its beneficial effects, not just on the environment, but on their employment security and job satisfaction, as well. 

How ESG strategy and corporate sustainability programs help attract and retain employees

Workers have become increasingly conscious of how organizations and businesses impact the environment, treat their employees, care for their communities and contribute to society as a whole. To many job seekers, company culture and work-life balance are taking a front seat to mere financial considerations.

These workers think companies should not only be concerned about revenues and profits — they should also truly care about the environment, as well as the social, emotional and physical well-being of their employees. Responsible-minded companies who pursue sustainability in business appeal to employees who want to do more than just punch a time clock. Millennials have even reported being willing to give up some of their salary to work for a company that makes sustainability a priority.

Be aware, however, that employees want meaningful, authentic sustainability in action, not just lip service or “green washing.” Job seekers do their research on companies, check their social media feeds, read their websites, and Google news stories to find out whether their words match their deeds. They want to know that their potential future employers put people and the environment above bottom-line profits.

Learn how ASU CareerCatalyst can help you attract top talent through sustainability programs

Companies can capitalize on the current hiring trend by acquiring the latest skills and knowledge for implementing sustainability policies and initiatives in their organizations. High-quality online ESG programs such as those offered by ASU CareerCatalyst are designed to help employers attract and retain top talent by developing forward-looking environmental and social programs.

Arizona State University has developed relevant, in-demand curriculum that empowers learners to make informed, ESG-aware business decisions. Developed by world-renowned faculty from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business and the first School of Sustainability in the U.S., these courses in foundational sustainability and ESG concepts will prepare any organization to build and direct an effective ESG strategy.  

As a top-tier university for innovation, ASU applies its unparalleled core of knowledge to support organizations and learners in critical areas ranging from skill development to immersive leadership experiences. Through CareerCatalyst, ASU develops world-class workforce education solutions that align with business priorities and strategies and empower all learners to thrive in the future of work at every stage of their careers. 

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