The 5 definitions of sustainability recruiting

Performance tools can allow the client to:

1. Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) at the launch of a search
2. Apply those KPIs as screens during the search
3. Check after 90 days of placement to assure the new recruit is on the right track (Full disclosure: My search firm has developed one such tool.)

3. Aligning with values

Some companies choose to align the company's purpose (also referred to as mission, vision and/or values) in their recruiting of all staff.

Sustainability recruiting exists when sustainability is built into the company's purpose and that purpose is tied to recruiting. Two companies apply sustainability recruiting to all their employees are IKEA and VanCity.

"We recruit based on our values and expect everyone to take responsibility and learn on the job," says Mikael Ohlsson, president and chief executive officer of the IKEA Group, in IKEA's 2012 Sustainability Report.

Ellen Pekeles, VanCity's senior vice president of operations, puts it succinctly: "We screen for skills and hire for fit with our values and vision."

4. Using sustainability as a recruiting tool

The most oft overlooked value of a sustainability program may be the value of that program to its employees. Beyond employee engagement, a company's sustainability commitment is a draw to new recruits.

Take PepsiCo, for example, and their "Performance with Purpose" initiative. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says this initiative is the strongest recruiting tool they have:

"It is the most important and exciting factor," she says. "It's unbelievable. Sometimes people are sitting on the fence, a highly regarded person, and they agree to come to us for one reason. They say, 'We want to be part of the Performance with Purpose agenda,' and that's been the single biggest recruiting tool we have in Pepsico today."

Anecdotally, many college recruiters from companies say they only bring their CSR reports to campus recruiting events.

Next page: Matching employees