Numerous studies have demonstrated the value that Millennials and Gen Z put on finding purpose in their work — although in fact this point applies to workers of all ages. Companies are still adapting to the expectations of new hires seeking to make a positive impact through their careers, and they are increasingly tasked by employees, jobseekers and even investors with articulating their social purpose and maintaining a high bar for integrity. While the HR team is on the frontlines of these demands from current and potential employees, the sustainability team often owns the programs that can help make staff feel good about their work.
At the same time, recent movements calling for resolution on pay equity, sexual harassment in the workplace, workforce inclusion and diversity, and CEO compensation are just a few examples of how sustainability concerns have come home to roost. In the wake of these shifts, your sustainability team may find itself investigating how your company is performing when it comes to providing good jobs and meaningful diversity and inclusion programs. Addressing these challenges, which are deeply rooted in workplace culture, requires close partnership with your human resources (HR) team.
While you and your colleagues already may have close relationships with the HR function through collaboration on employee engagement and volunteerism, companies are increasingly recognizing the need for deeper partnership between these two functions to better build and sustain an organization where employees are happy, motivated and ethical.
The HR and sustainability teams hold different but complementary responsibilities when it comes to building and maintaining a workplace culture. Your sustainability team often may be tasked with articulating corporate “purpose” and “values,” while your HR team holds most of the keys to bringing these values to life, through identifying and recruiting diverse talent, ensuring employee well-being, engaging and retaining employees, and establishing incentive programs. Separately, HR teams may find that their work is driven primarily by compliance concerns, while sustainability teams may struggle to reach the company’s employees with sustainability messages and initiatives. (…)
Sara Enright and Maria Lovi
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