Retail sustainability leaders seem to appeal to purpose-driven employees
This strong employee engagement among retail sustainability leaders may, in part, be driven by the composition of their workforce, according to Lupine Skelly, US retail industry research leader for the Deloitte Consumer Industry Center.
While 80% of all retail workers surveyed said they are “concerned about environmental issues and want to see companies do more to address them,” those who work for retail sustainability leaders tend to be more personally invested in this issue (86%). They are also more likely to lead an environmentally sustainable lifestyle (82%) when compared with those employed by retailers with lagging sustainability programs (41%), according to respondents.
People who work for retail sustainability leaders are almost twice as likely to refer friends and family for open positions, too. “People who worked for organizations that were seen as leaders say they are ambassadors who pitch the organizations to friends and family,” Skelly says. “That’s huge to have someone out there saying: ‘Hey, this is a great company. Come work for us.’”
Authenticity matters to employees, so they expect to see action
Employees can be powerful brand ambassadors, but corporate values should be consistently demonstrated to be credible, and there can be a disconnect between board-level commitments and the on-the-ground experience for those on the front lines, Gutierrez says.
Deloitte’s research seems to point to precisely such a gap between how employees experience—and perceive—their company’s sustainability programs based on where they sit within their organization.
While 86% of senior managers from across all respondent organizations say they understood their organization’s sustainability goals and the practices adopted to achieve them, only 59% of those in nonsupervisory roles report having the same level of understanding.