There is no question that green is definitely in fashion these days, from the White House organic garden to the Cash-for-Clunkers program aimed at getting gas guzzlers off the road. And as businesses are awakening to the fact that going green is not only the responsible thing to do but can also be good for their bottom line, they are often looking to their own HR teams to get their in-house green initiatives off the ground, or as a recent Entrepreneur Magazine article put it, to reduce their environmental impact “one employee at a time”.
But for the HR professional looking to make their workplace greener, where is a good place to start? What is meant by Green HR, green recruiting, or “the greening of HR”? These questions are the topic of much discussion on blog postings, web forums and journal articles of late, and there appear to be two perspectives on the topic emerging. For some, green HR practices involve directly addressing their organization’s carbon footprint by reducing paper use, cutting back on unnecessary travel and generally looking for ways to streamline processes for more efficient use of resources. For others, a more holistic application of the concept of sustainability to their organization and workforce is the key to practicing what is coming to be known as “Green HR.”
As a leading provider of Applicant Tracking and Talent Management software, we at iCIMS see a definite awareness of the need to reduce the volume of paper involved in recruiting and on-boarding processes among our clients as they implement our solution. In addition, many are happy to take advantage of our Platform’s CRM capabilities, as the .3 grams of carbon produced to send an email message is far less than what would be required to send hard copy notifications to prospective talent. But by selecting iCIMS as their solution of choice, our clients cannot be accused of “Greenwashing,” as by partnering with iCIMS they are working with an organization that has made a firm commitment to the environment and going green.
For those who choose to take a more holistic approach to the greening of their organization and HR processes, topics to consider include how to attract top candidates who value a commitment to the environment, how to retain knowledge gained by their more experienced workers, and keeping in contact with and recalling employees lost due to the economic downturn. To address these needs, clear green messaging and branding on corporate career sites and in job descriptions is recommended, or even the use of “alumni” career sites to stay in touch with and recall former employees. I know that one of the things that attracted me to iCIMS was their commitment to the environment, so don’t underestimate the power of greening your recruiting message.
While the word green has in recent years come to symbolize a commitment to conservation and the environment, it has had many other connotations in the past, including young and inexperienced. And I have found that in many ways, the discussion around Green HR is still a young one with room for many more voices and opinions. So, let us know what Green HR means to you!