More and more research shows the benefits for companies of being sustainable and inclusive. The benefits of embracing diversity, having a sustainable (employer) branding strategy, and having an inclusive people and culture strategy are clear.
Some companies opt for window dressing or greenwashing because they recognise that something needs to be done. However, they are not (yet) ready to fully integrate all of this into their business strategies.
Some companies are reluctant to do anything because they are not sure of the return on investment. They are unsure of the long-term benefits and do not know how to fit it into their business strategy.
Why is it so hard to make the investments that are essential to future-proofing organisations and that are scientifically proven?
Jonah Berger a marketing professor at Wharton Business School and best-selling author, taught me about the COST-BENEFIT TIMING GAP. This means that the costs of change are certain, but the benefits of change are uncertain…
This is one of the reasons why people and organisations are reluctant to change…
People and organisations do not like costs.
People and organisations do not like uncertainty.
This cost-benefit time gap means, for example, that you buy a product or service first and only get the benefits of that product or service after your investment.
To close the cost-benefit timing gap, smart marketers have found several solutions to remove this uncertainty:
The same applies to any decision that involves change, such as people changing jobs.
The costs of changing jobs are certain: candidates leave their comfort zone, their colleagues, the rewards and the work they know, …
The benefits are uncertain: it looks good on paper, but will it be better? The new employees will only find out when they start to work… If candidates are not given enough clarity and confidence throughout the recruitment process, or rather the candidate journey, they will put on the parking brake and stay in the situation they know. Their minds will be full of counter-arguments against change and as a result, they will stay in the situation they are in and reject your job offer.
People who are reluctant to change are very creative to feed their resistance to change…
If you are hiring people, responding (proactively) to all the possible counter-arguments that candidates may have will give them comfort and confidence.
How can you do this?
With a careful candidate experience: for example, organise the following before the candidate has to make the final decision
🥁 Offer a company visit: show the new working environment…
🥁 Provide a day in the life of the new job
The same is true for companies that are on the verge of becoming more inclusive and more sustainable.
Even if the benefits are scientifically proven, all stakeholders need to get a better sense of the benefits. This needs to happen before they will invest in it. This needs to happen before they take on the role they need to play in bringing this new, more inclusive and sustainable culture to life.
How can you give them a taste of the benefits before they will invest in the change?
🥁 For the factual people: show them the numbers, the facts, and the research. There is a lot of it out there.
🥁 For the competitive people: show examples of what your competitors are doing and the benefits they get in terms of volume, talent attraction, awards, etc.
🥁 For the more intuitive people: let them experience what sustainability and inclusion feel like, not by showing them, but by making them feel what it means. Don’t speak to their mind (only) with facts and figures but make them do something combining different senses.
🥁 For the ‘human connectors’: give inclusion and sustainability a face by offering testimonials, true stories of people who feel included, what it means to them, what they expect, how it has changed their (professional) life, etc.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Just as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainability and inclusion. Your sustainability strategy is embedded in your corporate culture and the way you make people aware of its benefits needs to reflect that culture. Being aware of this cost-benefit timing gap will help you find ways to act proactively and bring all your stakeholders on board with the change you would like to bring to live.
With this blog I would like to inspire you, decision-maker, to build an inclusive work environment, welcoming to all, and conscious about its impact on the world we live in.
How would you like to manage the cost-benefit timing gap related to your sustainability strategy?
Thank you for reading to the end and I look forward to reading your reactions in the comment section below 🙏.
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Always happy to discuss your challenges and approach to this matter. Feel free to book an intake meeting below so that we can discuss your challenges and find out if we are a good fit to work together.
Cheers to your inclusive culture, cheers to you,