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5 Facets to Sustainable Recruitment (And How to Do It in 6 Steps)

Rachel Lark - March 8, 2024

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HR and recruitment teams are bogged down with the constant hamster wheel of hiring and firing. Not only does it hemorrhage finances, but tools and strategies for getting employees in the door are historically damaging to the planet. Have you ever considered how much energy and resources go into getting you to the first day? Sustainable recruitment is possible, which all agencies must consider for a climate-friendly world.

What Is Sustainable Recruitment?

Sustainable recruitment is the process of acquiring talent with the climate in mind. Another critical factor is embedding environmental, social, and governance objectives into onboarding. It is useless to invest effort into hiring employees sustainably without making green employment a part of the organization’s culture. Prioritizing this in the early days of an employee’s tenure is crucial for establishing a behavior and mindset precedent.

The concept also requires diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. Sustainability, social justice, and equality overlap. With diverse and fair hiring practices, talent acquisition can be genuinely sustainable. 

This requires support from the rest of the staff, so ingraining the right culture is vital. A disjointed workforce with varying priorities risks inconsistencies, making ESG and DEI projects more likely to crumble. 

The more aligned the workforce is in its foundation, the higher the retention rate. Sustainable recruitment is an essential part of long-term corporate resilience and sector-altering behaviors. 

people taking notes and having a discussion at a table

What Are the Aspects of Sustainable Recruitment?

Sustainable recruitment is more than telling prospective employees you care about the planet. It is a well-rounded, comprehensive approach to an ethical workplace. It includes, but is not limited to, these qualities.

1. Universal Approval

Everyone from management to staff to shareholders must be on board with promoting and committing to sustainable recruitment strategies. People who oppose it should receive education on why it is crucial for the company’s advancement.

2. Ethical Operations

Having moral hiring and firing guidelines won’t make sense if the rest of the business isn’t transitioning to a more Earth-friendly model. It’s impossible to make every change overnight, but at least publicize current initiatives and regularly update all parties about progress.

3. Green Software

Enterprises using primarily digital tools for hiring and onboarding should consider third parties and resources with low carbon impact. You can do this by viewing their commitment to renewable energy, decreasing resource use from data centers, or leveraging the cloud.

4. Transparency and Accountability

This stretches from legal to practical realms. Companies must be honest about their hiring and firing practices, how they act upon nebulous climate goals, and how their impact manifests to inspire the rest of their industry. How well does a company adhere to compliance? Are they in trouble with regulators based on their HR practices? This is all part of sustainable recruitment.

5. Curiosity 

Ask these questions:

  • Is a company exploring low-emissions applicant tracking systems? 
  • Are employers interviewing new and old employees about how their recruitment experience influenced them? 
  • Are organizations taking these values and opinions into account during development? 
  • Are corporations looking into impact investing, spreading the word about up-and-coming sustainable recruitment practices and tech? 

The answers are essential because your progress will continue by critically analyzing green behaviors. With this dedication, this revolutionary way to entice talent will gain traction.

How Do You Set Up a Sustainable Recruitment Strategy?

Now that you know the process’s ideas, let’s build a viable plan for HR and talent acquisition teams.

Step 1: Know Your Objectives

You’ll have your company’s lifetime to achieve every green metric, but you must start with a few important ones regarding talent. Here are some ideas of green recruiting elements to implement that achieve long-term success:

  • Do virtual job interviews.
  • Eliminate paper applications.
  • Reduce in-house staff to go remote.
  • Streamline wasteful onboarding processes.
  • Outfit buildings and staff tech with low-emissions or smart alternatives.

Step 2: Identify the Ideal Workforce

If you want to stand by the planet’s welfare, you want passionate staff. You’ll want to get insights from existing employees, making them feel like they are a part of growing a mindful team. What do they think is missing in a sustainability-focused dynamic? What qualities in top-performing staff should all employees embrace for a greener mindset?

Knowing who you want to hire is influential in minimizing turnover, which yields financial and resource waste. Having an image in your head of who the perfect employee is will make decision-making streamlined.

Step 3: Make Your Brand Identity Cohesive

Modern applicants want to work for sustainable companies, so you must be sure everything from social media posts to job descriptions represents these ideals. It attracts talent who wish to discover these organizations, and they will prioritize working with you instead of guessing whether another agency cares about the planet. Additionally, promoting green recruiting may increase applicant pools.

Step 4: Treat Labor Well

Flexible work options, good wages, and sizable benefits packages go a long way toward reducing poverty, eliminating inequality, and promoting new standards in worldwide workforces. Being kind and consistent with employee treatment is crucial for a long-term recruitment plan. Invest in good onboarding and retention check-ins for a more holistic approach.

Step 5: Network and Partner

You will not immediately have all the resources you need to be 100% eco-friendly. This is a golden opportunity to join other businesses with similar goals. New partnerships are crucial because collaboration is the centerpiece of saving the planet. Discover new products, consultants, and projects that make hiring and firing even greener and savvier.

Step 6: Create an Assessment Plan

Expect obstacles and triumphs in equal measure. Unless you have proof, you won’t be able to tell how thriving, diverse, and eco-conscious recruiting is. Determine key performance indicators early on and schedule regular evaluations to ensure you stay on track.

for hire sign

Making the Job Market Greener

Though hiring someone usually involves looking at digital applications and delivering the word “You’re hired,” there are plenty of wasted resources and unaccounted-for climate impacts during recruitment. Hiring and firing are usually behind-the-scenes business needs, but that doesn’t mean it should avoid attention from green goals. 

Everyone from stakeholders to employees should convince HR and talent professionals of the necessity of sustainable recruitment for improved operations and decreased emissions.

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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.