37% of employees say they would steer clear from working for a company with poor green credentials, according to a recent YouGov poll.
Conducted in partnership with YuLife, the survey polled 2,093 employees of varying ages to understand the impact environmental and social practices had on workers attitudes and employment decisions.
The survey revealed that almost 37% of all respondents said they would not work for a company lacking “green credentials”. Within the 18 to 24-year-old age range, that number increased to 42%, indicating a shift in the values of the younger generations entering the workforce.
However, companies appear to be falling behind the demand, with 61% of employees saying that they feel their current workplace doesn’t currently make a positive impact. A result that lines up with 2021’s research by British Chambers of Commerce that found two thirds (64%) of businesses have not yet implemented environmental a sustainability policy.
When asked about ways companies can support their employees in being sustainable, half of respondents (51%) said they would be more likely to walk or cycle to work if their employer incentivized them to do so. Furthermore, 53% agree that they would be more likely to volunteer for causes if their workplace arranged it for them.
For some, while it may not be a deciding factor in their decision to work for a company, being ‘green’ is still seen as important. With 56% of people believing their company should buy products and services from diverse and sustainable brands, and 90% feeling that their workplace should donate to charitable causes.
The sentiment towards environmentally and socially conscious companies is likely to grow over the next few decades. Around 50% of the workforce currently comprises Millennials and Gen Z, and this number will only increase as more enter the market after completing higher education. Younger generations have been found to be more environmentally and socially conscious, largely due to the risks climate change poses on their future. In a recent study from Bupa, in which two in three Gen Zs (68%) said they are anxious about environmental issues. These generations have also been raised during the digital revolution, with their identities inextricably tied to being online, making them more likely to share and create communities around their values and concerns and hold them to a higher importance. This will continue to impact how workplace practices are perceived.
“A high salary for work that feels meaningless can only satisfy one for so long” said Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health Bupa, “feeling like we’re contributing to the greater good and making a difference has a positive effect on our self-esteem. It can even reduce feelings of burnout”.
In addition to generational changes in opinions, the pandemic has created an environment where workers are less likely to stay in roles they are dissatisfied with, namely ‘the great resignation’. Data released by the UK’s Labour Force Survey in November 2021 showed that, of the 1.02 million people who moved jobs between July and September 2021, 391,000 (39%) of them had simply resigned – the highest spike ever recorded by the LFS.
“In the wake of the ‘Great Resignation’, employees are increasingly conscious about choosing a workplace which best fits their needs, preferences and priorities,” said Sammy Rubin, CEO, and founder of YuLife.
Across the entire market, it is more important than ever for companies to understand the values, ethics, and priorities of these employees. It is imperative to build and retain engaged, and invested teams and reduce the costs incurred through replacing staff.
According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, poor staff retention is costly. Suggesting that replacement of a salaried employee can cost 6 to 9 months of salary on average after recruitment and training expenses are accounted for. By investing in sustainable practices, organisations can not only hire and retain the best, it may be the most economical way to work.
You can find the full infographic here.
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