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Earth Day: how HR can use sustainability to attract top talent

Green credentials and sustainability initiatives are a good way of attracting top talent, according to a new study by sustainability consultancy Anthesis.

Over half (53%) of the UK’s workforce said the amount of effort and resources an employer puts into sustainability is now a key factor when deciding to work for a company or not.

Working sustainably is most important to young employees, as 67% of Gen Z (16-to-24-year-olds) workers said it was essential that the business they work for is sustainable.

Similarly, 64% of Millennials (25-to-34-year-olds) said the same.

Caroline Butler, head of HR strategy, reward and employee relations at Hertfordshire County Council, recognises that climate change is now a key element people look at in choosing where to work.

She told HR magazine: “As a county council, sustainability and the climate agenda must be and is high on our agenda.

“We have a sustainability strategy that focuses on both our operations as an organisation in the services we deliver and how we deliver them, but also on the influence we can have across Hertfordshire as a county educating and supporting residents and businesses driving behaviour change.”

Butler said that now is a vital time for HR to show leadership on this agenda.

She said: “The pandemic has pushed forward changes in how and where people work and as we support our organisation’s leaders to consider the ‘new normal’, the thinking around hybrid working is a vital element to consider.”

Daisy Roach, head of HR and payroll at Better Food, believes that climate change is something every single person should be making a priority.

Speaking to HR magazine she said: “HR has a responsibility to promote this just as they would any other area of wellbeing, be that financial, physical, mental.

“With the major changes which have been going on over the last 18 months, for example COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, the world is a very unstable place.”

Roach said that as people struggle to find areas over which they can exercise control, channelling this energy into climate change is a positive and constructive route and well overdue.

“There has been a hugely positive impact on the climate during worldwide lockdowns, Earth Overshoot day was moved from 29 July in 2019 to 22 August in 2020, and a move to more remote working has been a major contributor to this.

“There are many ways which can help workforces work better, smarter, and more happily whilst also benefitting the planet,” she said.

Anthesis surveyed 1,113 employed UK residents between 12 and 15 February 2021.  

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