Hiring and retaining high quality employees is tough in the aftermath of the Great Resignation. Being known for ethical practices can give your company a competitive edge in a candidate-driven hiring market.
There continues to be a greater number of job openings than there are unemployed individuals in the wake of the Great Resignation fueled by the Global Pandemic. As of December of 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are only 0.5 unemployed individuals for every job opening. Given the current state of the hiring market, employers must compete to attract and retain employees. In this article, we will explore why promoting an ethical workplace culture serves as a powerful recruiting tool.
Research confirms that a workplace’s culture, values, and ethics are top priorities for job seekers. This is especially true for Millennials and members of Gen Z, who will collectively make up the majority of the workforce by 2025. In a study by Beyond Blue Consulting, which surveyed 753 business leaders, HR leaders, and knowledge workers in the United States and Canada, over 75% of respondents indicated that their employer has an obligation to be a force for good in society. This number was even higher for respondents under age 45, with 80% holding this belief. The study also found that only 1 in 4 knowledge workers would be likely to accept a job if a company’s values did not align with their own. Furthermore, a survey by job recruiting site, Glassdoor, found that 77% of adults would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job and that 73% of adults would not apply to a company unless its values aligned with their own values.
While the desire to work for ethical companies is not new, job seekers have recently gained an increased opportunity to choose jobs based on personal values. According to the BBC Worklife article, “Are workers really quitting over company values?” by Alex Christian, “… the conditions the Great Resignation has created – an overabundance of positions for workers to pick from as well as options for better perks and higher salaries – have given some people the chance to choose companies that better align with their values, especially skilled workers.” This fact is also highlighted by the Forbes Human Resources Council in the article, “Here’s How Companies Can Stand Out In A Candidate-Driven Marketplace”, which states, “Today’s prospective employees have higher leverage when it comes to the decisions they make about the role they’ll play in the workplace and which companies they’re willing to spend time with on a daily basis, for the short- or long- haul.”
With the above in mind, what can employers do to promote and advertise an ethical workplace culture?
The Fast Company article, “How creating an ethical workplace can boost your bottom line – and attract top talent,” by Emily Miner, provides the following practical steps for promoting a more ethical workplace culture:
Assess the current state of your culture.
Be honest and transparent about where your organization stands.
Respond to cultural strengths and critical risk areas.
Acknowledge all key stakeholders and keep them engaged.
Assess, track, and report on progress.
The article emphasizes that fostering an ethical workplace culture is an ongoing process. Miner writes, “The moment leadership thinks, ‘We’ve arrived,” your culture has stopped growing and advancing. Cultivating a strong culture in an organization is like raising a child in that your responsibility never stops, but it does evolve as the child becomes their own person.”
Employers must make their ongoing commitment to ethical practices known to job seekers in order to attract talent. This message is emphasized by multiple Forbes Human Resources Councilmembers in the article, “Here’s How Companies Can Stand Out In A Candidate-Driven Marketplace.” According to Maria Leggett, “Next-gen talent expects recruiting companies to clearly define their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives. Company websites, social media and financial reports should all reflect the commitment to ESG goals.” Similarly, Camille Fetter states, “To attract top talent, employers must communicate what makes their company a fulfilling place to work. This is done by developing an employer brand – mission, values, culture – which is equally as important as a customer-facing brand to remain competitive.”
Finally, giving your employees a voice through open door communications and an independent hotline can help to ensure that unethical behavior is quickly detected so that it can be promptly addressed.
In summary, the candidate-driven hiring market has placed increased pressure on employers to stand out amongst their competitors. Today’s job seekers are looking for employers who demonstrate a strong commitment to ethical practices and whose values align with their own. For this reason, promoting an ethical work environment has become one of the most powerful tools for recruiting talented employees.
Want to learn how to promote ethical behavior in the workplace? See our article here.