How many of you have seen this symbol in an email signature? Over the past few years this symbol has taken on a viral effect and today is often seen in corporate email signatures. It's a sign of the times. In a simple way, this symbol shares the concept of saving the planet through lower consumption and this is just one of many examples we can identify with. Terms such as 'eco-friendly', 'green' and 'carbon footprint' have all emerged as prominent expressions commonly used recently in business terminology.
How does this awareness and new mindset about saving the planet affect your brand? For starters, customers and candidates alike expect organizations to be socially responsible. When an organization can demonstrate not only their commitment, but positive actions to sustain or improve the environment, their brand is strengthened and becomes more appealing. Customers want to do business with companies that are making a difference in the community and throughout the world. Candidates want to work in organizations that have strong social responsibility policies and can demonstrate them through actionable examples. Having a good policy is one thing, but providing real stories with compelling messaging about what your organization is actually doing to make a difference—is key to success. It also provides a more attractive message to potential candidates.
More than ever, companies are making a point of messaging positive examples of what they are doing to positively impact the planet. I was recently in Bangalore and passed by a long caravan of wind turbine blades that will be part of a wind farm planned to be operational in March 2012. It was quite a sight to see almost a mile-long stretch of large vehicles carrying these massive 100+ ft. silver-coated blades that will one day provide clean power to the state of Karnataka. This project, sponsored by Chennai-based Orient Green Power Ltd., has received a tremendous amount of positive press. This is helping them not only reach their business goals, but their staffing goals amongst a competitive landscape of 250+ green power projects commissioned in the state.
What is your organization doing to promote a 'green' environment? Here are a few examples our clients have instituted that promote 'green':
- Solar panels installed in a corporate parking lot which provide shelter/shade to cars and power to buildings
- Rooftop urban garden that doubles as an employee sanctuary
- Corporate battery and electronics recycling programs
Large or small, the point is to communicate your organization's great examples of making a difference in the community, nationally or on a global scale. These stories give candidates so much more to think about over and above the potential job or career path. They foster the sense that individuals working together in the organization can and will make a difference.
Think this doesn't matter much? Seventy-eight million Millennials born between 1979 – 2001 do*:
- 78% of Millennials believe that companies have a responsibility to make the world a better place
- 74% are more likely to pay attention to a company's messaging when they see a deep commitment to a cause
- Nearly 80% of Millennials want to work for a company that cares about its impacts/contributions to society
- 56% would refuse to work for an irresponsible company.
So, how 'green' is your brand? Perhaps 2012 is the year to adapt 'green' into your Employment Brand messaging.
* Cone 2006 Millennial Cause Study