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IT'S ABOUT PEOPLE: What Green Means

Business Management, Green Issue

More and more "Millennials" entering the job market prefer to work for environmentally friendly companies.

Bill Arman | September 10, 2008

A recent study came across my desk that nearly made me fall out of my chair. 
 
It stated that college students and recent college grads from 433 U.S. schools and universities would prefer to work for environmentally friendly companies. In fact, more than 80 percent of Gen Y-ers – these are the “Millennials” entering the job market, the best and the brightest  who you’ll be fighting your competitors tooth and nail to hire – say it’s important to work for a “green” company, meaning a business that is either green-friendly, green-conscious or green-certified.
 
In addition, nearly 80 percent, when evaluating two similar job offers, would be more apt to accept a job offer at a “green” company over another company. A recruiting and HR firm called Experience Green conducted the study.
 
Well, I might as well pull up my stakes and purchase that Boca Raton retirement condo because my services won’t be needed anymore. 
 
Why, you might ask? Think about it. What industry is more “green” than our industry?
 
In fact, we put the “green” in the green movement, and we’ve been greening things up for decades, through our turf programs, irrigation and water conservation efforts, landscape designs and backyard environments.
 
With that said, recent grads should be clamoring to our doorsteps, banging on our doors with resumes in hand, desperately trying to get their careers started at our landscape companies.
 
Unfortunately, despite this generation’s emphasis on “green” and its importance as a factor in their lives, we have done a poor job presenting them with the fact that we are “green” providers.
 
So how do we bridge this gap? Consider the following points as you “green” up your recruiting efforts.

Being Green Shows Innovation. Who doesn’t want to work for a cutting-edge company? Where there is vision, there is growth. Landscape companies who convey to recruits that they are actively making the world a better place will ignite excitement and interest in their businesses. And remember, innovation inspires more innovation, and ultimately this is what you want as you develop your talent.

Green Shows Responsibility. Show prospective employees that your company’s culture is driven by more than the bottom line. Instead, your company’s mission keeps in mind the community it calls home and your green industry services provide your clients with a more meaningful life. In addition, you are responsible for following industry-guided best practices that make you a steward of the environment.

Being Green Means In The Office, Too. If you’re not doing this, then get with the program. These are the simplest ways to reduce waste, cut costs and impress candidates that your “green” message is 360-degrees. Pursue paperless office practices through online advertising, encourage e-mail resumes, manage digital files and records and engage in video conference and phone interviewing as alternatives to travel. Likewise, develop recycling programs for job site waste, encourage employees to carpool and investigate a four-day work week.

Green Means Service. Get active in local green causes. Donate your time, your people, left-over resources and materials to community beautification projects. Most importantly, get involved in GreenCare For Troops (www.projectevergreen.com).

Remember the old motto: “Practice what you preach?” To take advantage of our place in the green movement and to attract the talent coming out of today’s colleges and universities, this industry needs to start preaching what it’s been practicing all along. LL

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