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The relationship between sustainability and talent acquisition in the talent war

19 October 2021

In the war for talent, sustainability is an extra weapon in your EVP arsenal to help attract hard-to-find talent.

Now more than ever, talent wants to work for companies committed to sustainable practices that align with their values.

In this blog, we discuss the growing relationship between sustainability and talent acquisition and why it should be an important part of your EVP strategy to attract great talent.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability refers to a business approach where organisations consider the social, economic and environmental ramifications of all their business activities. These companies recognise key global issues and their publicly perceived responsibility in addressing them.

Sustainability comes in many forms. A café might use fair trade coffee beans or recyclable cups. A Government department might only partner with companies demonstrating diversity in their workforce. A tech company might rely solely on renewable energy to source their high-power needs. A builder might only use ethically sourced raw building materials.

Whether its social, economic or environmental sustainability, what was once considered “bad business” has now become “smart business” to appeal to mounting stakeholder pressure and intensifying global issues.

Why is sustainability important to talent?

History is littered with corporate tragedies tied to unsustainable practices. Ecological disasters, high carbon footprints, poor working conditions are examples of unsustainable activities that have destroyed company reputations. Bluntly put, people don’t want to work for these companies any more given the choice.

Talent wants to work for companies that align with their values. They want to be proud of what they do and the companies they represent. A passionate environmentalist is unlikely to work for a company that mines coal. An ambitious female graduate is unlikely to join a government agency where none of the senior leaders are women.

If your business doesn’t align with the values of your increasingly finite talent pool, particularly those who value sustainability, your company won’t be considered as a realistic employment option. This will hinder your EVP and affect the calibre of talent you can attract and retain long term.

How can you attract talent that value sustainability?

Employers not leveraging sustainability in their EVP are doing so for two primary reasons. Either they aren’t acting sustainably, or they’re not effectively communicating the good work they’re already doing to help attract talent. The second reason is a wasted opportunity.

Communication is key to attracting talent that value sustainability. You need to be concentrated, consistent, compelling and creative in all your communications to reap any benefits for your EVP. Make it clear what issue(s) you’re committed to, how you’re addressing them and what tangible impact you are having on them. How? Update your content to include sustainable language. Identify touchpoints with your target audience and showcase the efforts that you’re making. Benchmark your activities with competitors to see where you sit in your sector. Create internal objectives and update stakeholders on your progress. You don’t need to solve world hunger or fix climate change to prove sustainability. It could be as simple as introducing recycle bins, fundraising charities or sourcing ethical materials. If talent perceive real effort towards sustainability, it’ll naturally enhance your EVP and make talent want to join your business and contribute to the cause.

The link between sustainability and talent acquisition is ever-increasing. Employees want to work for companies that are actively trying to make the world a better place now more than ever. If you can translate these efforts into your EVP, then talent who value sustainability will more than likely want to work for you. At Ignite, we are focused on sustainability primarily around diversity, inclusivity and parity in Australia’s workforce. We are passionate about connecting talent from all walks of life with likeminded companies and boosting the number of under-represented talent in Australia’s top employment sectors. For more information, visit our website.

Talk to our team to find our more!