What some still overlook about ethical business and recruitment

If you want to hire the talent of tomorrow, it’s worth understanding how tightly entwined ethical business and recruitment have become over the past decade.

This is something that Gen Z – the generation of people born between 1996 and 2010 – feels particularly strongly about. But it’s not just confined to them.

Because more and more people are starting to place greater emphasis on sustainability and ethical decisions in the businesses they use and work for. Here’s what business leaders need to know:

What is CSR and ESG?

CSR and ESG tend to be used interchangeably. Yet there are big differences between the two.

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a loose framework that suggests how companies can act more responsibly towards people and the planet.

Corporate Social Responsibility practices tend to be qualitative and thus difficult to measure. Think of things like switching to renewable energy or treating your team more ethically.

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), on the other hand, is the idea that companies should use set metrics to track their improvement in those three key areas.

That said, both CSR and ESG are used to encourage or measure businesses as they become more sustainable, responsible, and ethical while still being successful.

Why are ethical business concerns on the rise?

Concerns over whether brands are behaving ethically have risen sharply in recent years. This seems to be due to several factors:

  1. The climate emergency – seeing half the world on fire, record temperatures, biodiversity loss, and extreme weather constantly on the news does tend to have an eye-opening effect.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic – made many people aware of unfairness in society and in business and reoriented how many people think about work.
  3. Growing inequality – the silent third partner is the increasingly obvious inequality between different demographics and parts of the world.

Why is ethical business important for recruitment?

Compared with previous generations, millennials had a less favourable financial situation when starting out in life.

But Gen Z has got it even worse. They seem to be the first generation to be definitively poorer than their parents. Thanks to current financial conditions, they can probably expect to remain so.

This situation is refined and viewed through lenses that have left Gen Z exposed. COVID-19. Climate anxiety (because they’re the generation who are going to live to see the consequences).

Gen Z is also (sometimes denigrated as) the “social media generation”. That tends to mean the average member of Gen Z is more aware and connected to events both locally and globally.

Whatever the cause though, over 94% of Gen Z in a recent survey said they expected companies to take action on social, environmental, and ethical issues.

Recruitment specialists are fully aware of this. Other business leaders should be too.

Seeing ethical business benefits not costs

There are few brands out there who don’t see the benefits as well as the costs of being more ethical in the way they do business.

“Greenwashing” is a thing for a reason. Even companies that can’t really pretend any kind of ethical or environmentally conscious stance (think: oil companies) often claim to. They know its value:

  1. 55% of consumers will pay more – for goods and services that are perceived as being positive as far as CSR values go.
  2. 24% of consumers will only buy – from businesses with values that match their own. Making your brand values clear through socially and environmentally responsible action is important.
  3. 63% of consumers will give the benefit of the doubt – to a business going through a crisis or hit by negative news if they perceive it to have a “good” reputation.

Survey after survey shows that it’s not just your recruitment that benefits when your business is perceived to be ethical. Now is the time to start signposting the positive way your business is acting.

One of the best ways to start having better governance and sustainability is to improve your IT.

Dial A Geek has already helped over 1000 businesses in Bristol and across the UK master their tech.

Set up a cost and commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today. Let’s talk about how we can help you improve yours.