13-1: HR and the 3 Legs of Sustainability
When you think about the word sustainability, what tends to come to mind? Often, people go straight to the environmental aspect of the term, imagining an eccentric hippie forcing them into conversations about honeybees and living a zero-waste lifestyle. While those topics are indeed important in the pursuit of a healthy planet, there is so much more to sustainability. Sustainability, just like it sounds, is the ability to sustain or maintain something at a certain rate or level. In this way, sustainability through a business lens is often thought of in terms of the ability to continue current operations or production activities and levels into the future.
The goal of any business is to find success in their area of expertise and leverage growth opportunities to achieve even greater things moving forward. In order to continue to grow, a solid foundation of well thought out business practices that are reliable and efficient must be established. One such area of focus is HR. Listed below are the three pillars that determine how sustainable a company’s HR practices are: environmental, social, and economic. Considering these pillars provides some food for thought regarding what ways your own HR procedures excel and areas for potential improvement.
Leg 1: Environmental
Efficient use of resources reduces the organization’s environmental impact. Making changes towards environmental sustainability in the workplace often leads to discussions of limiting waste or retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency. This means something a bit different in terms of HR. By recruiting efficiently, you will reduce your turnover, and in-turn, reduce your impact on the environment. Having clear objectives and processes throughout the hiring process will eliminate unnecessary steps that do not have a meaningful or measurable contribution. That could mean less paperwork for candidates to fill out, or switching to a primarily online hiring process to reduce paper usage and eventual waste. Additionally in today’s world of remote working, utilizing online interviewing is not only a safe option, but reduces emissions attributable to transportation, which is the second highest contributor to carbon emissions, after the electricity sector, according to a February 2020 SHRM article.
Leg 2: Social
By recruiting for the right cultural and values fit, you will increase the productivity and success of your workforce. When employees feel comfortable in the company’s culture and align with its values, they are much more likely to stick around. This increases overall job satisfaction, thereby improving retention and team well being. Diversity should always be at the forefront of an HR professional’s mind. Prioritizing strong diversity of thought and experience while considering candidates leads to a sustainable business where employees play off their unique perspectives to find new innovations. Social sustainability also refers to actively helping employees grow their knowledge and skills through learning and development programs, positively benefiting both the employees and employer. Creating an environment employees wish to stay in for the long haul is much more sustainable than hiring new employees for the same positions every quarter.
Leg 3: Economic
There are very few things HR professionals can do to directly impact the bottom line. That being said, making the wrong hiring decisions can have serious consequences for the company. For instance…
25% of new hires turnover within one year (SHRM) The average cost of an entry level new hire $4,129 (SHRM, 2016) The average cost of turnover for a mid-level employee is 3x their salary (Robert Half) The cost of a bad hire includes: damage to reputation, lost customers and revenue, disrupted production, potential bias and litigation suits (SHRM)
Hiring the wrong candidates costs the organization both in investments in time and money. These are valuable resources that need to be handled with care. This is why taking the hiring process seriously by finding an individual that is a qualified good fit for both the position and culture is so critical. Leveraging tools like the Priority Bridge Cultural Fit Assessments help you to make more data-driven hiring decisions to improve employee satisfaction and retention. Utilizing sustainable recruiting practices will increase your efficiency and add to the corporate bottom line.
By keeping the three legs of sustainability in mind and utilizing a well balanced sustainable hiring plan, HR can directly impact a company’s personality. Recruiting for the right cultural fit, a company with 5,000 people could save over $3 million annually, directly attributable to sustainable HR Practices.
Priority Bridge LLC. Is dedicated to helping organizations of all types achieve greater success by using a proprietary analytical process that increases the cultural fit of employees to an organization. Eliminate Bad Hires. For Good. Hire right the first time, every time with the right cultural fit using Priority Bridge.