They are known for selfies, texting, and hashtags, but millennials are also gaining a reputation as the green generation. They are the biggest supporters of climate change and 73 percent of millennials say they would be willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services.
Millennials are also the fastest growing generation in the American workforce, and a shocking number of them are in the market for a new job – 71 percent, according to a recent iCIMS study. Connecting their passion about the environment to their place of work is a key factor in their job search. When it comes to attracting and retaining millennial talent, businesses might want to think less about foosball tables and happy hours, and more about building and showcasing a Corporate Social Responsibility Program (CSR).
According to a recent study by Deloitte, 6 in 10 millennials said “sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose their current employer. Hiring companies should jump at the chance to attract more millennial workers while also helping the environment, but there are a few important factors for creating a successful program that will yield real results. Companies need to have a targeted approach, encourage their employee base to participate, and follow through on their promise. Making a donation to an environmental organization one time and pasting the words “green initiatives” all over your career site just won’t cut it. Millennials are savvy on these issues and won’t be fooled by a few buzzwords. Here are some guidelines for going green in a genuine way that is sure to grab the attention of millennial candidates.
A CSR is part of your employment brand, so it should fit in with your company’s overall mission and organizational values, and not serve as a distraction. It should serve as one of the pillars of your brand message to candidates and should be clearly communicated when describing the company culture.
When building out your CSR initiatives it is important to focus your efforts and be realistic about what you can accomplish. Develop a set of metrics for goals around donations from employees and employee participation and share those goals with your employee base. Think local – while it is great to tackle a widespread issue that affects people across the globe, you may be better off starting small. Choosing a local cause can also inspire more employee participation since they can easily identify with the goal. If your company chooses to clean up local parks, employees can later visit with their friends and family and see the impact they’ve made on their community. Millennials are known for wanting instant gratification, so focusing on projects that involve some quick wins is a great way to keep this audience engaged in the program.
If it’s not on social media did it really happen? Once you launch your program, you now have to showcase the results and create a conversation. Warning: slapping up a posed photo of employees at one green event doesn’t count. Millennials spend nearly 30 hours a month on social media, and recent research from iCIMS found that 57 percent of job seekers use social media to learn more about potential employers, so social is a great place for your sustainability efforts to be seen.
Provide regular updates about your company’s green progress on your social media platforms, including donations to environmental charities, events at your headquarters, and off-site activities. Encourage employees to engage with your organization on social media and help build the conversation by sharing photos of their participation and articles related to corporate responsibility. This will show authenticity and that employees are connected to the cause. Consider creating a dedicated hashtag for all corporate responsibility related posts, so you can track engagement, follow the conversation, and respond to your audience.
Once you’ve successfully established your CSR program, be sure that your recruiters are using this as a key message when engaging with candidates and using this as a recruiting tool. They should be well-versed on these programs so they can share details about how the organization is planning to make a positive impact on the environment. It may help grab the attention of millennial talent that aspire to work for a sustainable, caring company with a cause.
Include information about your green initiatives through recruitment marketing strategies, such as building email campaigns for passive candidates, to showcase your program to people who have already expressed interest in your brand. Millennials are part of the information age and they appreciate updates on topics they are passionate about, so share highlights of your CSR program including any media coverage, awards, or recognition the company has received related to these efforts. Also include photos and videos on your career site that accurately display your company’s green efforts – and be sure to keep it real by using actual employees, not stock images.
Millennials will soon make up the majority of the workforce and companies need to focus on strategies for attracting and retaining the best millennial talent in order to grow their businesses. Developing a CSR program shows that your organization is forward-thinking and cares about its employees and its environment, which is an attractive quality to many millennial job seekers.