How does your organisation’s approach to environmental and social issues influence job candidates and employees?

A recent survey by GHD concludes that a company’s environmental credentials have a bearing not only on whether a candidate accepts a job, but also on how favourably employees perceive their current employer. A company’s approach on social and environmental issues can include diversity, inclusion and charitable giving initiatives as well as environmental volunteering days and so on.

Twenty-two percent of workers thought a company’s environmental credentials were “very or extremely influential” when deciding whether to accept a job, with 19% saying they would consider changing an employer on the grounds that another had a better record on environmental issues.

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Organisations that value purpose as well as profit are highly sought after. The pandemic has accelerated this shift, particularly for younger workers. They want to work for organisations whose values are compatible with their own.

People have watched what’s happened during the pandemic, including the Black Lives Matter movement and action on free school meals, and they want to do more. If their employers aren’t willing to take action on these issues, it throws their relationship into question.

Sustainability and climate interest has been growing since 2016 but there’s been a real shift in the last year. With renewables meeting 97% of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2020, the desire to do what is right for the planet will only continue.

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New research shows that at least 130,000 green jobs could be created in Scotland in the next two years, enough to replace every job lost from Covid-19 and more. This will happen if the government invests in key areas including care work and renewable energy. The analysis by Green New Deal UK shows that thousands of new jobs would be created in every region of Scotland, helping people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, rebuilding our communities and creating a greener Scotland.

Alongside areas such as renewable energy, public transport and digital infrastructure, the research includes jobs in the care sector as an example of low carbon employment. And with the government’s mission to create new jobs, good jobs and green jobs – investing some £100 million in a Green Jobs Fund – this ethos should be well received by those considering which companies they’d like to work for.

Communicating the organisation’s purpose both internally and externally has never been more important but what does that mean for the company and the employee? Whose responsibility is it to drive this agenda – senior leaders, HR or the employee? We believe it’s a combination of all three.

Sandra Innes is client relationship director with TMP UK