What is corporate sustainability and where does HR – specifically hiring and talent management – fit into the sustainability picture?
For an organization to be sustainable – successful for the long term in the eyes of its employees, stakeholders and community – it must align its business strategy and activities to optimize its triple bottom line (TBL): the total impact of operations on the environment, on society, and on the economy.
Sustainability represents a company’s ability to meet present business needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Why Sustainability Matters
Sustainability and the TBL are key factors in shaping a company’s reputation and future business prospects. Countless surveys show that working men and women want career opportunities with organizations that support their personal values. Companies that practice sustainability, starting with their hiring and HR policies, have an advantage in the war for top talent.
Sustainability is increasingly essential to shareholder value, as investors and employees alike look to employers to be good corporate citizens.
The Impact of HR on Sustainability
These traditional HR deliverables are crucial to sustainability and ultimately, to ongoing business success:
- Fair, reasonable pay and competitive benefits
- Workforce diversity
- A happy, healthy and productive workforce
- Useful training and career development
- Human rights for all employees and suppliers
- Positive community relations
- Good working conditions for employees and contractors
Most customers base their impressions of a company’s social and environmental responsibility largely on the way it treats its employees. If employees are well treated – from hiring and onboarding throughout their tenure with an organization – the result is a “halo effect” shedding positive light on all aspects of the company.
Sustainable HR Management
In any organization, the HR function should help formulate and achieve environmental and social goals, while at the same time achieving traditional financial performance metrics. HR tools and resources should be used to develop a workforce that has trust, values, skills and motivators to achieve a positive TBL for the long term.
- A robust TBL bolsters your talent pool. Companies known for their pro-environmental and societal image can more readily build a pool of highly-qualified candidates to meet immediate and future recruitment needs. In some cases, a company’s pro-environmental and social stance are more important than pay or lay-off potential.
Essentially, all aspects of a company’ HR infrastructure should support corporate sustainability. To support this, all core HR functions should be periodically reviewed to ensure protection of employee rights and ongoing opportunities in recruitment, training, development, employee health and safety, compensation, organizational culture, and communications.
Some of the most successful global companies, from Starbucks and the Gap to PriceWaterhouse Cooper, PepsiCo and the Wegmans grocery store chain, have reached their pinnacles as leading employers via employee-centric strategies based on values alignment and consistent with enhancing TPL and as a result, maximizing financial results. Why? Because their employees consider their commitment to sustainability a benefit of working there.
As you strategize to build your corporate sustainability through the best possible hiring and HR practices, learn more by contacting the expert recruiting team at Employment Professionals Canada. We’ll help you set the standards for success – right now, and for the future of your organization. We look forward to working with you!