One of the major advantages of being a green hotel is that the reputation of the company will attract like-minded people who are interested in working for an eco-conscious employer. Even in an employment market where jobs are scarce, today’s workforce is searching for a meaningful work experience where their personal values are in alignment with their organization’s values. The ability to find and employ quality candidates that fit into the company culture can be strengthened by effectively communicating green practices during the recruitment process.
A company’s reputation for social and environmental responsibility is becoming an important decision factor for job candidates. According to a survey conducted by Lightspeed Research and published in National Geographic Magazine, 80 percent of U.S. workers believe that it is important to work for a company that implements environmental practices into the workplace. Ninety-two percent of college graduates surveyed by MonsterTRAK stated that they would select an environmentally friendly company. Engagement and satisfaction are also linked to green business practices, according to a study conducted by Kenexa Research.
As per the study, the research indicates that working for an organization where employees positively view green efforts has a significant, favorable impact on how they rate their pride in the organization, overall satisfaction and willingness to recommend it as a place to work. Furthermore, employees with favorable opinions of their organizations’ green activities are more likely to state an intention to stay, relative to those who have unfavorable opinion.
Identify Potential Employees with Similar Values
For a green hotel, it is vitally important to identify potential employees that possess similar philosophies relating to sustainability, so that they will acclimate well to the company culture and contribute to the business’ environmental goals. Managers of green hotels can protect and enhance their green distinction by hiring employees who will not only be faithful to follow established green work practices, but will readily offer suggestions and observations to enhance environmental performance.
When planning to recruit for a greener workforce, one of the first steps should include an examination of current employment documents to be certain that there is a firm foundation to build upon. Ensure that the employee handbook includes a statement of environmental commitment and a formal environmental policy. Incorporate into job descriptions a reference of employee responsibility to work in such a way that reduces negative impacts to the environment. In performance evaluations, include a section for reviewing the employee’s adherence to green practices and willingness to proffer suggestions.
For advertisements of open position announcements, include information about the green accomplishments the hotel has achieved. State your desire for candidates whose values are in line with the company’s green philosophies. Consider using some of the less conventional job posting channels that are frequently searched by the type of candidates you’re looking for, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and use relevant search terms and hashtags. Don’t underestimate the power of social media networks for recruiting green-minded individuals onto your team.
When interviewing for open positions, incorporate questions into the interview that will help determine a job candidate’s green behavioral tendencies. Examples include:
• Are you familiar with the concepts of green business?
• How important are environmental practices to you?
• What are some ways that you can perform your job duties in an environmentally conscious manner?
Keep a ‘Green Facts’ Sheet Nearby
During the interview, keep a “green facts” sheet nearby that can be referenced by the interviewer to accurately describe the green initiatives that set the property apart from a conventional hotel. Be sure to highlight third-party certifications, awards and any other recognition that the hotel has achieved for its environmental efforts. The interviewer should also be prepared to clearly communicate the essence of the hotel’s environmental commitment, including an official environmental policy statement.
While environmental concerns and green business practices are becoming more mainstream, the use of green recruiting strategies is still mostly underutilized. This gives recruiters the chance to differentiate their hotel in the employment marketplace, especially in competitive markets where it is difficult to stand out. Quite often, hotels in the same market offer very similar compensation and benefit packages. Therefore, the advantage of being able to confidently speak to the hotel’s green identity could be the determining factor for that perfect job candidate who is evaluating multiple job offers.
The bottom line is this: all things being equal, employees will choose to work for a company that is doing its part for the environment. Individuals who have chosen the hospitality industry as their profession already show a propensity for service to mankind; it is a natural complement to be in service to the environment as well. Providing an opportunity to combine these functions allows employees to feel part of a larger effort. The green connection can help contribute to overall employee satisfaction and employee retention rates, which of course translates into higher quality service, improved guest satisfaction, and reduction in employee recruitment and training costs.
Julie A. Baylor, CHA LEED GA, Julie Baylor Hospitality Consulting, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.