Why Going Solar Helps Human Resources

Hannah Stephanz

Every smart business leader knows that, in order to compete at the top of their market, he or she needs to recruit and retain exceptional candidates. Traditionally, implementing a variety of human resource practices — such as creating programs for recent graduates, ensuring streamlined onboarding processes, implementing flexible employee policies and offering professional opportunities — helps attract and retain top talent. While these conventional HR methods are important ways to build the best teams possible, another perhaps surprising way to set your company apart from other competitors in your market is to install a solar system.A recent study by the Network for Business Sustainability found that “job seekers reported greater attraction when they believed the organization was more environmentally-friendly.” Prospective employees, particularly among university talent, have shown an increasing desire to work for sustainable-minded companies. Thus, emphasizing and exhibiting a strong commitment to sustainability can provide a competitive advantage for a company by attracting a larger applicant pool and increasing the chances of hiring a top performer.So why is sustainability important to prospective employees on the job search? The Network for Business Sustainability’s study also found that HR trends suggest that potential employees view how the company interacts with society and the environment as indicative of how the management treats their employees. Additionally, employees often feel more committed to a company whose beliefs align closely with their own (The Guardian). By 2020, millennials will make up 40% of the American workforce. Those millennials care about the environment; the Neilson Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility found that almost 75% of millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings. The Harvard Business Review even noted a growing segment of employees who would accept lower compensation in exchange for working at a company that is environmentally conscious. What better way to demonstrate your commitment to a healthy environment than by installing an on-site solar system that directly offsets the energy used by the facility?Advocacy can also be a great resource for recruitment. If an employee works for a company that has visible sustainability goals, he or she is more likely to speak positively about working for that company. Employees can feel that their work is a part of accomplishing a larger, worthwhile goal. One of the best ways to reach talent is when current employees become advocates for the business and champion not only their own work, but also the broader work of the company.One company that is pushing the envelope on sustainable practices is Swiss Re, the global reinsurance company. The company encourages its employees to reduce their personal carbon footprints through the COyou2 Program, which allows them to claim grants for investments, such as energy-efficient household appliances that help mitigate carbon emissions. After the success of the first seven years of the program, Swiss Re has decided to launch a new seven-year program that will extend until 2020. Swiss Re is also a founding member of RE100, a group of influential business that have decided to commit to 100% renewable electricity. Recently, Swiss Re and PowerFlex partnered on a large ground-mounted solar project at Swiss Re’s U.S. headquarters in Armonk, NY, bringing them closer to reaching their environmental goals.

In order to take advantage of the benefits that sustainability offers for recruitment and retention, companies must set environmental goals and take the necessary steps to meet them. If your business is interested in pursuing sustainability initiatives that can attract top talent, consider installing a solar system. Solar has become increasingly easy to install on-site and is already a major component in the sustainability initiatives of many prominent U.S. corporations (see our blog: The Case for Corporate Solar).  If you would like to learn more, PowerFlex can provide a tailored, complimentary technical and financial analysis based on your real estate portfolio, energy usage, and available state and utility incentives. PowerFlex is agnostic to project structuring and provides a turnkey solar solution for corporate clients. You can reach us at info@entersolar.com or 888-225-0270.