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The term sustainability is used in different aspects to refer to “adequately meeting the needs of the people today without compromising the future generations from obtaining their own needs.” Sustainability is synonymously used to refer to durable, long-term, systematic, or sound.

In Human resource management, sustainability is used to refer to human resources that foster a conducive working environment and positive human and social outcomes without focusing on financial strategies and results.

There are several reasons why human resources must embrace sustainability. The following are some of these reasons:

Sustainability attracts top talent

Upholding sustainability as one of the core values helps a company to attract the best talent. Bright and talented employees are often interested in working for organisations that prioritise ethics over profits and work towards creating a better world. Consequently, this helps in raising recruitment standards and build better teams.

Human resource can help to build momentum in adopting the culture of sustainability

Since human resource involves:

  • recruitment

  • onboarding

  • training

HR professionals can ensure that sustainability is instilled in new employees’ culture. Therefore, such practices can help reduce wastes during the process of onboarding and training hence set the foundation for more sustainable practices.

Competitive advantage

Social legitimacy is the basis with which competitive advantage is created. The competence that is acquired through the evolvement and development of employees to stop environment pollution is a resource that cannot be emulated by competitors. Besides, product stewardship is associated with the sustainable competitive advantage since it helps in accumulating sophisticated resources, such as a smooth flow of communication across different departments, functions, and organisational boundaries. Nevertheless, sustainability helps in creating a competitive advantage by encouraging and maintaining a collective sense of the social environment in the organisation.

Sustainability also brings positive culture in employees

Sustainability ensures that there is a positive culture in an organisation. Such behaviours and cultures stem from human resource where diversity and inclusion programs are integrated. Through sustainability, the organisation is able to nurture a positive culture towards pay equity, workforce inclusion, diversity, fewer cases in sexual harassment. Such tenacity in educating and maintaining new employees makes them instil significant practices that consequently become the culture of the organisation as a whole.

Sustainability helps build ethics

Human resource department is regarded as the agent of sustainability in any given organisation. Evidently, there is no department in any given organisation that can own the responsibility of installing and maintaining an ethical culture. Therefore, the HR department is responsible for coordinating ethics, sustainability, and compliance teams so that they can work together and create cultures of integrity. Ethical culture is what is required to foster growth of ethics in the workplace, to reduce cases such as data breaches and leaks, sexual harassment, and even discrimination.

Therefore, it can be noted that sustainability is coherent and essential in HR as it hosts all the activities, actions, and resources that are present in any organisation. HR must embrace sustainability so that it can ensure a smooth flow of events and operations, utilisation of scarce resources, and create a conducive environment for working.


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