3 Ways Your HR Brand Can Be More Sustainable in 2024

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The appeal of building a sustainable business model for your HR brand is clear from both an operational and marketing perspective. But which are the best ways to cater to sustainability in a cost-effective and efficient manner?

Sustainability is a priority for consumers, so much so that data suggests 90% believe businesses are responsible for their carbon footprint and should do more to reduce it. 

Likewise, more than 80% feel that companies should take part in solving societal problems, while a recent IBM survey showed that 57% of respondents would be willing to alter their buying habits to reduce their environmental impact. 

What does this mean for HR brands? In a nutshell, you could put your reputation in jeopardy and risk losing out on your leads if you don’t make an effort to clean up your sustainability credentials. 

Fortunately, it’s never been easier to bolster your environmental and societal efforts in a manageable way. Research and Markets data suggests that the market for green technology and sustainability is set to grow from $28.6 billion in 2024 into a $134.9 billion industry by 2030, representing a CAGR of 29.5% throughout the second half of the decade. 

This means that the options, initiatives, and tools available to businesses across a vast range of industries are constantly growing. 

But how exactly can your HR brand become more sustainable? The answer revolves around knowing what it means to be sustainable as a business. 

Many decision-makers can struggle to differentiate between sustainability and green marketing, which instead focuses solely on environmental protection and awareness. When it comes to sustainable business practices and marketing, there are a great many more ideologies that come into play, including: 

  • Transparent operations
  • Environmental awareness
  • Recycling and waste reduction
  • Social activism
  • Social responsibility
  • Community initiatives
  • Social equity

Now we know the more intricate aspects of sustainability for brands, how can these initiatives be incorporated into your HR operations and marketing? Let’s explore three essential ways that your brand can become more sustainable in 2024: 

  1. Build a Sustainable Brand Culture

To embrace sustainability throughout your brand, it’s important to look to incorporating more environmental and social initiatives throughout your entire organizational structure. 

This means adopting a sustainability-first mindset when it comes to making decisions concerning your HR business. 

Can embracing cloud technology help to limit your paper usage? Should you be conducting virtual interviews via Microsoft Teams rather than asking candidates to travel into your office? Are you really using all the physical resources that you habitually order from suppliers? 

For HR firms, many environmental and social practices can complement each other. Embracing more flexible working hours and a work-from-home (WFH) culture can not only significantly improve your carbon footprint, but also improve employee wellness and motivation levels. 

Thanks to cloud-based technology, remote jobs have become far more functional in the post-pandemic landscape. Tools like Slack and Monday have helped to foster remote collaboration and delegation at an unprecedented scale and its impact on sustainability can’t be understated. 

According to Forbes data, WFH initiatives make employees 20% happier on average, while the National Academy of Sciences estimated that remote workers could reduce their carbon emissions by 54% compared to office workers.  

Blending Sustainability with Onboarding

Sustainability needs to be at the forefront of your hiring strategy, too. Thanks to the emergence of AI, it’s possible to utilize job-matching algorithms to identify candidates with a strong sustainability mindset. This can help both your brand and clients to strategically recruit prospects who are more in tune with your initiatives. 

You should also seek to implement a sustainability focus throughout your onboarding process when providing employee training. 

Be sure to clearly set out your goals throughout the training process to ensure that your employees are fluent in your practices from the start.

Share Goals with Consumers

When it comes to HR branding, sharing your sustainability goals with consumers can be a major component in establishing brand value and client loyalty. 

By seeking to educate your audience about your sustainability goals, your brand can optimize its marketing efforts and create a value-driven content strategy that underlines your commitments while helping to build acceptance for wider sustainability-focused initiatives. 

Crucially, educating your audience can help to improve your bottom line as consumers learn more about key environmental and social issues. Publishing educational content helps to build a level of engagement that boosts brand recognition and grows a positive brand image. 

  1. Embrace Sustainable Causes

Your sustainability efforts don’t have to stay in-house. Allowing employees to take part in company volunteer programs, taking time off work to help charitable causes, and recommending organizations or causes to support can all help bolster your commitments while improving employee wellness. 

For example, establishing a volunteer program for one month of the year where employees can take time to participate in key environmental and societal causes can help to improve in-house education of your goals while simultaneously helping your brand to break new ground in achieving them. 

This can also help you to discover the causes that your employees are most passionate about and provide you with a platform to support them and the things they value. The effective implementation of these measures can also improve your employee retention and HR workflow automation

Building a Sustainable Image

Actively embracing sustainable causes can also be an excellent tool for HR brands to build a positive sentiment surrounding their image and position themselves as businesses that care for the initiatives that consumers hold dear. 

There are countless examples of brands successfully embracing sustainable causes in a way that improves their wider image. 

One key example can be found in US outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, which has pledged 15% of sales to the preservation of the natural environment in a strategy that stretches back to 1985. This has paved the way for a total of $140 million raised for eco-friendly causes in the proceeding years. The brand has also targeted to become a completely carbon-neutral company by 2025. 

One famous example of a brand that’s a vocal supporter of sustainable initiatives is ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s. The company regularly posts its activities and causes on social media platforms like this recent example on Instagram. 

Ben & Jerry’s has long positioned itself as a protest brand, which has naturally carried a polarizing effect among some consumers. However, the company’s defiance in supporting valuable causes among societal and social justice causes has aided the brand in sustaining a level of consistent exposure that’s supported its position as a market leader. 

For HR brands, becoming actively involved in causes that have strong ties to sustainability can help support your wider goals and demonstrate value. It could be worth looking to your team to understand the specific causes close to them and shape your campaigns around your in-house sentiment. 

  1. Encourage Wellness and Mindfulness Among Employees

Finally, it’s essential that your HR brand promotes wellness and mindfulness among your teams, and seeks to instill similar values throughout candidates and your onboarding process. 

There are many reasons why promoting wellness and mindfulness brings value to your brand. Firstly, every employee is a representative of the culture and outlook your brand represents. This means that whether they’re in the office or not, their interactions with those around them can have an indirect impact on your company’s image. 

Secondly, prioritizing mental and physical health is an excellent means of employee retention that can help to improve productivity and engagement among your staff. The approach can also help to limit absenteeism in a manner that can actively save your business money. 

Catering to employee wellness by offering access to professional help if they feel that they’re dealing with stress, or setting up extra-curricular fitness-focused programs like sports clubs and social activities can all help to keep employees happy and motivated in a way that can bring wider company benefits. 

Managing the Relationship Between Sustainability and Image

The role that sustainability plays in growing your brand image is symbiotic. As you focus more on upholding sustainable initiatives and developing goals, you’re more likely to see an improvement in audience sentiment towards your brand. 

This makes catering to sustainability causes a consideration that brings widespread benefits for your HR brand and its employees. By engaging directly with your staff, it’s possible to fine-tune your causes and involvements to build in-house engagement and motivate your workforce. 

Combining these initiatives with your marketing can help to underline your value and build a loyal consumer base. Be sure to continue monitoring both employee and audience engagement in a way that can help you shape your goals and missions for a sustainability strategy that continues to pay dividends long into the future. 

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