If we value the environment, will employees stay?
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If we value the environment, will employees stay?

19 May 2022 By Steve Dilley - Managing Consultant at Consultancy+

Employees in office

It's no coincidence that International HR Day 2022 is themed around embedding a culture of workplace wellbeing, creating a supportive working environment, and fostering a sustainable business.

One third of your employees are considering leaving in 2022.

Research by the HRD website confirms ‘The Great Resignation’ or ‘The Big Shuffle’ is still in flight, with 29% of respondents suggesting they were considering a new role. Imagine one third of your high performing team leaving in the next few months. That thought, or reality, is a huge concern for leaders. Which is why HR must focus on enhancing the employee value proposition (EVP) to make it relevant, impactful, and unique.

It's no coincidence that International HR Day 2022 is themed around embedding a culture of workplace wellbeing, creating a supportive working environment, and fostering a sustainable business.  This is what your people care about today - environment, social, and governance (ESG) policies, or the lack of them, play a key role in corporate strategy and investment decisions, alongside customer demand.

Research over the years tells us employees care about the impact of their work and their organisation. They want to work for companies with strong ESG initiatives. Much research is driven around productivity. If employees work for an organisation that "does good", or they perceive has a positive impact, then they will work harder. However, does that mean they will stay? 

Donating vast sums to charity, or pledging carbon neutral policies, can look great to the external consumer and investor market. Or you may be worried your ESG approach is weak and has no chance of impacting your EVP. But having a strong, or weak, ESG proposition doesn't necessarily translate to your EVP. 

There are several key questions to consider when thinking about your employees: 

  • Do they know what your ESG approach is? 
  • Does it reflect their social values? 
  • Can they get involved?
  • Are there tangible benefits? 
  • Is it embedded in your culture, not just for appearances? 

You don't have to be Google and donate $250 billion to the World Health Organisation. Small day-to-day initiatives that truly reflect your employees’ values can have a big impact. As with all things EVP, it cannot be just ‘lip-service’. If your employees do not believe you, or do not identify with your initiatives then it can have the opposite effect. It's vital to get it right within the context of your organisation when designing, embedding and then promoting ESG initiatives. Get it right and then help to allay fears of ‘The Big Shuffle’.

Reed is a recruitment company with a strong environmental policy with clear targets, but employee engagement is crucial in delivering those targets. Co-members (the employees) have a dedicated channel to discuss key environmental issues, pick up tips on having a positive impact, and get involved in monthly challenges, and they'll be awarding an ‘Environmental Achiever of the Year’. 

Recently appointed ESG Lead, Steph Harle, said: “The environmental roadmap of a business is made 100 times more effective if employees are engaged in the changes that are being made and are making positive changes themselves. It is the responsibility of the business to supply the boat, the tools, and the support - but the ship won't sail if the employees aren't onboard.” 

Enhancing your value proposition is even more important than ever to attract and retain talent. Your EVP is built by many elements (not just ESG). However, using International HR Day 2022 as a catalyst for your ESG approach is a great place to start in building strategies and initiatives to enhance your EVP. 


If you have any questions or would like to know more about our Managing Consultancy and Professional Services framework and how YPO can help, please get in touch with the team!

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