Can Sustainable Firms Attract Top Employees?

By Ryan M. Pinney

Every successful business owner and operations manager understands the importance of human capital: the individual contribution that each employee bestows upon his colleagues and organization is what ultimately drives an organization to succeed.  Our best employees are intelligent, equipped, motivated, amicable, and capable.  They enjoy conversation and collaboration; they look for opportunities to improve processes, customer satisfaction and relationships.  They enable organizational success.

We know who they are; the question is: do sustainability focused companies and managers stand a chance in acquiring and retaining this fine talent?

To answer this question we must examine an employee’s inspiration.  What is it that motivates our best employees to do all of these positive things?  Surely money is a motivating factor in the mind of an employee, but what is frequently overlooked is the fact that a person will often times take less pay in turn for job satisfaction or more aptly stated: employment bliss.

Job satisfaction, as it turns out for most of us comes from our accomplishments, and in our contributions towards making a difference in the world.  This one powerful piece of information should not be taken lightly and must be considered good fortune to all sustainability and CSR minded companies.  You have an inspiring mission behind your insignia.  You seek to change the world by tackling seemingly impossible opponents on both political and economic fronts.  You pursue your endeavors to benefit your communities and our economy.  You strive to protect our health and our planet.  What you do each and every day is righteous and just.

We must believe that sustainability will find no shortage of talent.  To the contrary; it will attract the most inspired and motivated minds in science in business.  Stay true to a socially responsible mission statement and the next time you think you can’t afford a particular employee make sure that you wax intellectual to them about social responsibility, the negative impacts of the alternative, the future, and what role they might play in it.  You may just surprise yourself, and hire your best employee yet.

Ryan Pinney is the owner of Alpha Public Ltd., a sustainability focused staffing agency in Cleveland, OH.

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