People working for an organization are probably the main ambassadors of the organization’s brand. In front of customers, co-workers or within their social circle, they represent and reflect the values and the image of an organization’s brand. Therefore, employees should be carefully selected and their career path properly followed-up to ensure that such brand image is well conveyed. Within any organization Human Resources activities are perceived to be limited to some core functions such as hiring people, following employees’ development, setting employees’ benefits and managing leaving personnel. However, according to Andrew Savitz, senior consultant at SBS, HR functions are essential to Brand strategy in sustainability.
Based on an organization needs and budget, HR professionals attract talents by using the brand image and values of the organization. Since today’s organizations tend to include sustainability values, sustainability-related values have become essential criteria not only in employees’ selection, but also employer’s selection. So, how to attract talents to come work for one’s organization based on sustainability values? Simply with proofs! What better than tangible examples about initiatives taken and realized by an organization rather than mere words?
TOMS has proven again its commitment to its famous business model One for One®. In 2013, TOMS has launched its marketplace dedicated to social entrepreneurs that totally embraces the concept of One for One®. For each purchase made from a brand, a cause is supported in a specific region or country.
Besides, on the hiring page, the founder Blake Mycoskie celebrates the 7 years of TOMS in a video by telling not only all the great achievements of the past 7 years, but also by presenting the culture and some of the core values of the company.
Another way of attracting talents: Heineken approach! Last year, the beer brand came out with a new way of hiring people: what matters was not how much ready a candidate was for a classic job interview, but how actually his/her personality was and could match with the current team. The recruiting process was putting candidates in atypical and awkward situations to test if what is usually said – such as “I can work under pressure”; “I adapt myself easily” – is real:
- Holding the hand of the recruiter
- Assist the recruiter who fainted
- Act in an emergency evacuation
Employees develop their career through the experience they acquire within the organization on daily activities and trainings. The role of HR here could be to offer opportunities to raise awareness about how economic, environmental and social issues can affect the organization and all around.
Rewards are usually set according to employees’ performance and objective achievements. In the same manner, sustainability-related objectives, such as brand image representation, could be rewarded with incentives encouraging employees to go on.
Levi’s has combined both employees’ development and rewards through their Community Involvement Teams. The famous jeans company encourages its employees to get involved in local charities by giving them up to 60 hours paid time off per year to do so. Furthermore, every year since 2000, on Community Day in May, Levi’s employees around the world volunteer for a day with local nonprofit organizations. Such initiative contributed last May to:
- Thousands of employees participating in nearly 170 projects in 46 countries related to addressing sustainability, equality and fighting against HIV/AIDS
- A total of $ 300.000 granted to nonprofit partners by the Levi Strauss Foundation
10 years ago, positions such as “community manager” or “digital marketer” just started to pop out from job offers. Organizations need talents with up-to-date knowledge, skills and mindsets. Sustainability-related jobs have also invaded careers opportunities to become even more specific such as “Carbon accounting specialist” or “Lifecycle analysis specialist”. Aman Singh, Editorial Director at CSRwire said: “It is encouraging that companies are opening their doors, slowly but surely, to eager and skilled graduates who want to use their careers to make a difference.”
Managing leaving employees
People who worked for an organization keep on carrying the brand image of its previous employers. Whether an employee leaves or s/he is retiring. Therefore, benefits or pension policies could be a mean for sustainability policies of an organization: the organization is caring beyond the work life time.