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Bill Roth headshot

HR Directors Must Sell CSR To Win Millennial Job Candidates

By Bill Roth

New research by Global Tolerance found that 62 percent of surveyed millennials “only want to work for an organization that delivers social and environmental impacts.” Rosie Warin, CEO of Global Tolerance, describes this as a values revolution in millennial generation recruiting. It is the Green Economic Revolution reshaping how HR directors win and keep millennial generation work associates! Warin's warning to all companies is that failing to live up to the CSR or values expectations of millennials can mean “only having access to one-third of the millennial generation talent pool.“

How millennial generation’s values now drive recruitment

The millennial generation is distinct in how they appraise a company around corporate social responsibility. They expect CSR to be integrated into core business functions. Even more, they expect CSR to be integrated into their job.

These are the three CSR criteria that millennials use in evaluating a company, a job and job offer:

  • How does the candidate job position directly link to achieving CSR goals?

  • How does CSR goals align with every job and activity within the company?

  • How authentic is the company’s commitment to CSR?

HR Director’s expanded business role

The millennial generation's focus on CSR is transforming the HR director’s role. HR Directors must be able to achieve the following three steps to successfully recruit top millennial generation talent:

  • They have to have a strong command of the company’s CSR story

  • They must believe in the company’s CSR commitments

  • The HR Director must be able to personally articulate their participation in achieving the company’s CSR commitment.

As Warin describes it, HR Directors must be able to know the story, believe it and make it “my story.”

Four steps to increased millennial generation recruitment success

In this expanded role the HR Director will need to initiate and engage their company in activities that increase the authenticity of a company’s CSR commitment to millennial generation recruitment targets. Example steps include:

Find each job function’s CSR passion. Millennials prioritize values and work-meaning over money. They have increased motivation when their jobs align with their passions. Aligning with the millennial generation’s passions for sustainability and social responsibility will require outreach across business functions to identify such values in each job function. For example, millennial generation engineers will be attracted to manufacturing operations that deploy zero waste best practices that are an emerging business norm at Dupont and GM.

Offer collaborative and energy efficient work environments. By now most companies have figured out that the millennial generation expect to work collaboratively. In response they have adopted more collaborative space designs. These more collaborative space designs are often more energy efficient because they use sustainable building design best practices like natural lighting. Their higher occupancy per square foot typically results in increased energy efficiency. The interior designs that use repurposed fixtures go even further in aligning with the millennial generation’s focus on sustainable use of resources and their affinity for a sharing economy. Offering work space that is “cool with a purpose” is a HR recruiting best practice for winning millennial generation work associates.

Timely and transparent communications. This is the generation that drove the success of Twitter and Facebook. They expect communications to be personal, authentic, succinct and transparent. For example, vague HR cliches like “we will be in touch” fail in being transparent on the candidate's real potential for winning a job. Leaving a voice mail message appears old fashion. Providing millennial generation job candidates a brochure about the company’s CSR department looks like propaganda. What does work in recruiting millennials is to provide them access to work associates that are making a difference through their jobs.

Feed them sustainably sourced food. The millennial generation is very focused on food. It is a point of social engagement. It fulfills their desire for diversity. Food grazing is their eating norm. Their diets are typically foreign to most company’s boomer generation senior officers who could benefit from their best practices for controlling their weight. Offering the millennial generation free food and the opportunity to graze in the work environmentis hugely attractive to potential millennial generation job candidates. Even more so when this food is sustainably sourced and promotes healthy living.

Exclusive video interview with Rosie Warin from Global Tolerance

The following edited 3-minute video interview with Rosie Warin was conducted at the Sustainable Brands 2015 conference. It is a must watch video for HR directors. She offers great ideas for how HR directors can be more successful recruiting millennial generation job candidates. If you are a CSR director then schedule a time with your HR director to show them this video. You two have more in common than you thought!


Image credit: Samuel Mann, Flickr

Bill Roth headshot

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

Read more stories by Bill Roth