Attracting Top Talent to Drive Sustainability Success

Sustainability is no longer just a “nice to have” or a buzzword. As we advance into 2024, integrating meaningful sustainability practices into your business strategy is crucial for success. This includes understanding that sustainability needs to be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent for your company.

Align Your Mission and Values

As Alan Furley of ISL Talent and I discussed recently on my podcast “Green Business With Impact”, today’s top candidates look beyond salary and job titles when considering roles. Purpose and values alignment matter more than ever. Companies committed to sustainability initiatives have a built-in advantage. Thus, you need to highlight your commitment to sustainability across your employer brand and weave it throughout your website, job postings, interview process and more.

Top talent wants to feel they are contributing to solutions, not just problems. Help candidates see clearly how your product or service drives impact.

This is especially true for A-players as they can pick and choose where to work. So your ideal next team member is highly skilled, motivated, driven, capable AND want to contribute to solving a problem that you with your business is also working on solving. This is the real match made in heaven.

Look Beyond Skills to Find Passionnbsp;

A sustainability focus allows you to look beyond technical skills when recruiting. Not instead of but on top of. You can seek those intrinsically motivated by your mission as way to ensure you get people that will love working for and with you and most likely also will be ready to go the extra mile when needed. But don’t overlook competencies in favor of passion alone. You need diversity of talent focused on abilities to execute and innovate.

This could be an area where those of you that lead a very purpose driven business might have to make a note to self. I know how it can be tempting to hire or partner with someone where there is really strong alignment with purpose and values. You can almost get blinded by it and downplay the signals of the less attractive sides to the person and maximize the good ones.

Don’t go there – you will end up with a great team ready to go to war for your purpose, but not able to take your company forward and thus create the impact you want!

Retention Starts from the Inside

Retaining top talent long-term ties directly to your sustainability mission and your results. To build an outstanding culture, start with your own team. Discuss what sustainability means to them and why it matters in their work. How can they see that you can utilize the business you have to create more impact. To solve your clients problems in an even better way that also makes the world a better place.

In other words – involve your people in the strategic journey you are on and let them in on the potential next developments. When making new circular/sustainable initiatives it is important that the strategic approach (top down) meets the tacit knowledge of the people on the floor (bottom up). So, adapt your policies and practices to support autonomy, mastery and purpose for each individual.

Lead with Story

Leverage the power of storytelling in your outreach and branding. When your purpose includes addressing global challenges like the climate crisis, you have an impactful story to tell. Lead with that vision as much or more than job details. Stories that inspire action attract those poised to take action with you.

And then be ready to back them up, unfold and answer questions as many of your candidates will ask questions and expect good answers. They will most likely test you to ensure that you are not just talking and setting up a vision a so many businesses do. They will want to know that you are genuine and really pushing it to make your company part of the solution – a force for good.

Sustainability is proving a powerful talent magnet now and for the future. As priorities shift, having an authentic and meaningful focus on sustainability will increasingly set you apart. The right leaders and innovators will take note.


Let me know if you have any other questions!