Human Resources and Skill Development
  • Arundhathi Baburaj
  • 04-11-2019

In a zoo at Lusaka, Zambia, there is a cage titled “the most dangerous animal on earth”. The cage has nothing but a MIRROR. Human activities pose grave threats to the nature and the fellow creatures. Global warming, shift in climate change, greenhouse effect, natural calamities, submerging of lands, water scarcity, epidemics, wildlife extinction etc. are all the results of human activities and negligence towards the environment. These are serious matters of concern. Fortunately, the education system and initiatives by organizations have started creating a change in the human attitude towards the environment. “Go green” has become a motto in many organizations – green technologies, green politics, green movement, green chemistry, green pharmacy etc. has now one more to the cart – Green Recruitment under Green Human Resource Management (Green HRM).

  • Human resource management: the art of procuring, developing and maintaining competent workforce to achieve the goals of an organization in an efficient and effective manner
  • Green Human Resource Management (Green HRM) is the integration of Environmental Management with Human Resource Management, where HRM policies are used to promote environmental sustainability and the wise and judicious use (conservation) of resources within business organizations.
  • Recruitment: It is a simple positive approach, of establishing contact between employers and applicants and requires less time. It encourages large number of Candidates for a job.
  • Selection: It is a complicated negative approach, of picking up more competent and suitable employees and requires more time. It attempts at rejecting unsuitable candidates.
  • Green recruitment and selection: is the integration of Environmental Management with recruitment & selection, where HRM policies are used to promote environmental sustainability and the wise and judicious use (conservation) of resources within business organizations.Green recruiting is a system where the focus is given on importance of the environment and makingit a major element within the organization. It provides the employer withan opportunity to stand ahead of the crowd and further increase their chance of attracting the candidatesand retain them after induction


Few firms have made a concerted effort to leverage the company’s environmentalstance as a critical point in recruiting pitches. Firms like Google, Timberland, and yes, even oldschoolGeneral Electric have led the way by undertaking major efforts to make being environmentally friendly acritical element of their employment brand. Google, the world’s only “recruiting machine,” leads the way notjust in its environmental practices but also in publicizing their environmental record and approach. Like manyemerging green companies, Google has hired a director who coordinates corporate environmental efforts in anattempt to match their corporate business strategy with their environmental efforts. While some companies adopt the grassroots approach to going green, others start at the top and work down. General Electric is one of a small handful of companies that have an environmental effort driven by their chief executive officer, Jeff Immelt. If you watch television or read national magazines, you might recall seeing oneof hundreds of ecomagination advertisements GE has spent millions on in recent years to “greenwash” theirimage. The ecomagination campaign is one of the boldest approaches to capture intangible value by toutingenvironmental efforts in play by any global company.

The extant literature in the HR field on the topic of sustainability suggests that more and more HRexecutives are keen to modulate their corporation as such to become exclusive environmentalchampions. A great extent of empirical research highlights the impact of environment managementpractices on performance of the organization using different parameters (Iraldo, Testa, & Frey, 2009;Yang, Lin, Chan, &Sheu, 2010).

Green HRM depends on the unique and identifiable patternsof green decisions and behaviors of HR managers (green signatures; Jackson, Renwick, Jabbour,& Muller-Camen, 2011).

Distinguished policies in the field of recruitment, performance andappraisal management, training and personnel development, employee relations, and rewardsystems are considered powerful tools for aligning employees with a company’s environmentalstrategy (Renwick, 2008).

Distinguished policies in the field of recruitment, performance andappraisal management, training and personnel development, employee relations, and rewardsystems are considered powerful tools for aligning employees with a company’s environmentalstrategy (Renwick, 2008).It becomes definitive to have effective human resource management practices including presentationof strict recruitment strategies (Grolleau, Mzoughi, &Pekovic, 2012)


  1. Wipro Technologies:
  • There was a time when the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board indicted the IT solutions arm of Wipro Limited for dumping huge volumes of hazardous electronic waste in illegal recycling units in Bangalore.
  • The eco eye: an initiative that had several goals to reduce the organization's carbon footprint, manage its water and energy efficiently, develop new benchmarks in recycling waste, minimize the use of hazardous substances, become ecologically sustainable, and motivate all employees to follow green practices in their professional and personal lives -
  • They extended their green mission to physical infrastructure and substitute CRT monitors with LCD monitors
  • The company also had a green testing lab, practiced a Carbon Disclosure Project (to report the internal carbon footprint), reduced employee travel,.
  • Wipro was the first IT company in India to launch eco-friendly desktops and notebook computers that adhered to the RoHS (restriction of hazardous substances) regulation specified by the European Union (EU)
  1. Suzlon Energy
  • The “green banking” initiative: State Bank of India tied up with SUZLON to become the first Indian bank to take lead in harnessing wind energy.
  • The Suzlon One Earth Campus, the corporate headquarter of Suzlon at Hadapsar, Pune, India is the most energy efficient building built ever in India with insulated green roof, energy efficient - lighting system, construction time, renewable energy based hot water system, reduced landscape and building water requirement, recycle, reuse and recharge of water, waste management and waste water treatment, health and energy of occupants, carpooling, zero waste management, green education etc. are policies practiced by the companies
  1. ITC Limited
  • ‘Ozone-treated elemental chlorine free’ bleaching technology for the first time in India.
  • An entire new range of top green products and solutions: the environmental friendly multi-purpose paper that is less polluting than its traditional counterpart.
  1. HCL Technologies
  • "Go Green": a multi-layered corporate program running campaigns to initiate individual action towards environmental issues. It has designed and developed a comprehensive Green Edge sustainability framework that caters to the specific needs of manufacturing industries.
  • They are active members of India Council for Sustainable Development
  • First company in India to launch an Antimony & Beryllium Free laptop
  • The company extends its take-back service to customers for disposing off their equipment through HCL Green Bag Campaign, and recycling collected E-waste in an environment-friendly manner.
  1. Tata Consultancy Services
  • Spotted 11th under Newsweek’s annual rankings of the ‘World’s Greenest Companies’ with a Green Score of 80.4 globally
  • They focus on improving the agricultural and community needs of the region, where its offices are located make it one of India's most environmentally proactive companies.
  • Its 16 facilities do composting, some have bio-digesters turning waste into kitchen fuel.
  1. Oil & Natural Gas Company (ONGC)
  • ONGC is all set to lead the list of top 10 green Indian companies with energy-efficient, green crematoriums that will soon replace the traditional wooden pyre across the country.
  • Mokshada Green Cremation: An initiative that will save 60 to 70% of wood and a fourth of the burning time per cremation.
  1. Idea Cellular
  • ‘Use Mobile, Save Paper’ campaign
  • Green Pledge campaign: at Indian cities where thousands came forward and pledged to save paper and trees
  • Currently is working to set up bus shelters with potted plants and tendril climbers to convey the green message
  1. Induslnd Bank
  • The bank is running ATMs on solar power and has pioneered an eco-savvy change in the Indian banking sector.
  • Has been awarded the NASSCOM IT User Award 2012 for "Environmental Sustainability"
  • The bank is planning for more such initiatives in addressing the challenges of climate change.
  1. Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited
  • Own power generating facility to make it 100% self-sufficient: installation of 61.18 MW Power Generating equipment (TG Sets) at the paper mill site. The surplus power generated is being exported to the State Grid.
  • The innovative bio - methanation project: This project contributes to the sustainable development in terms of generating in-house renewable energy and reducing green - house gases.
  • Other initiatives: Eco - friendly technologies in process, its proactive role in reducing the use of fossil fuels, increasing the green cover, using energy efficient systems, recycling and reuse of solid and liquid wastes in the process.
  1. Tata Metaliks Limited
  • Every day is Environment Day
  • According to the company’s policy, working on Saturdays at the corporate office is discouraged.
  • Lights are also switched off during the day with the entire office depending on sunlight.


  • Conducting “energy audit”

o   Auditing the energy efficiency and energy conservation activities and initiatives in the organization on a regular basis. This will create a mandate sense of energy conservation within the organization helping in molding green employees.

  • Green purchases

o   Buying raw materials that has undergone recycling, or purchases to be made from green companies

  • Computerized Human Resource Information System (HRIS): the use of computer software to manage data about movement of human resources in an organization
  • E – signatures and biometrics for documents
  • Maximum use of LED technology
  • GREEN SIGMA: From the concept of lean six sigma, it’s time to move to green sigma now.

o   Six - sigma is a data driven approach and methodology to eliminate defects.

o   Leans six sigma is a managerial approach that combines six sigma methods & tools and the lean manufacturing to eliminate waste of physical resources, time, effort and talent while not compromising on quality in production and organizational process.

o   Green sigma is the adaption of Lean Six Sigma to environmental and climate protection.

o   The principle of Green Sigma: 1. combination of methods (outcomes and results are stronger when a combination of methods is applied rather than specific methods), 2. Continual improvement, 3. Fact based decision making (concentrate on the vital few things), 4. Accountability and responsibility, 5. Everybody can contribute.

IBM’s Green Sigma solution, which applies Lean Six Sigma principles and practices to energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas emissions throughout a company’s operations. The solution combines real-time metering and monitoring with advanced analytics and dashboards that allow clients to make better decisions about energy and water usage, waste and greenhouse gas emissions to improve efficiency, lower costs and reduce environmental impact.

o   Under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, the state of Gujarat had brilliant idea to cover its canals with solar panels.

o   The Andhra Pradesh state Cabinet has now gone paperless. It has conducted a meeting of what is being called “eCabinet”, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. This is expected to become a permanent feature of the Cabinet meetings.


  1. Identify candidate decision criteria.

If you can’t show that a large number of quality applicants consider a firm’s environmental record as one of their primary criteria for selecting a job, you’ll never get senior management to buy in to a major green recruiting effort. Start by holding focus groups at industry conferences to identify what “green” factors would be important to individuals seeking a new job. Next, ask candidates during interviews and on the website to list their decision criteria. During orientation, ask those who accepted the job what criteria they used to make the decision. Finally, contact those who rejected your offers three to six months down the line to identify positives and negatives. Use this information to modify your recruiting processes and focus.

  1. Benchmark.

Search the Web, benchmark with college recruiters, and work with recruiting consultants to identify the best practices of other firms. Use this competitive analysis to gauge your success and to plan your future actions.

  1. Your website.

Make sure that both “what you do” and the results of those efforts are prominent on your corporate careers website. Include your recycling statistics, as well as whether you are carbon neutral, limit greenhouse gases, or win environmental awards. Include narrative or video profiles of your environmentally conscious employees. If your company policies allow, link your corporate jobs site on major (but primarily nonpolitical) environmental websites.

  1. Be talked about. If you have a strong environmental record, it’s important to get “written up” in business, professional, and industry publications as well as in newspapers and on TV. Work with the PR department to identify which of your practices are most likely to be appealing to the media and designate an individual to be available for interviews. It’s also critical to constantly scan the Web to identify and quickly counter any “negative” comments on your environmental record (Starbucks has done an excellent job but Apple is currently struggling in this area).
  1. Recruitment advertising.

Advertise in magazines that candidates who are sensitive to the environment are likely to read. Highlight a few “eye catching” facts and any environmental awards you might have won in your recruitment ads. If you use brochures or paper recruiting materials, make sure it’s from recyclable stock and that it says so on the document.

  1. Job descriptions.

Make sure that, where possible, job descriptions for high volume hiring positions include responsibilities for minimizing negative environmental impacts. This is critical because if they don’t see being environmentally friendly integrated into “every job” at the company, they might see your “green recruiting” as merely a PR effort. If you’re really serious,

  1. Interviews.

Provide managers with “green” fact sheets to use during interviews. If you are really aggressive, provide candidates with a side by side comparison showing how your firm’s environmental record is superior to other firms they might be considering.

  1. Sourcing.

One of the best ways to strengthen your environmental image is to hire lots of environmentally friendly employees who can spread your “green” story through word of mouth. Have your recruiting team identify the sources that produce the highest quality

environmental friendly candidates. Source at environmental organizations (i.e., Sierra Club). Also, recruit at environmental events and use subscription lists from green publications or email and direct mail recruiting.

  1. Employer referrals.

Having your employees spreading the word will help both recruiting and product sales. If you have the resources, proactively seek out employees who are highly visible in environmental circles and ask them specifically to talk up your firm, to seek out candidates, and to provide you with names.

  1. Awards.

Winning awards for excellence is always a major element of building an employment brand, so obviously winning “environmental” awards should be a major element of your strategy.

  1. Advisory group.

Ask the advice of six to eight environmentally friendly employees, measuring the quality of the message you’re sending and how to reach and convince more applicants of your strong “green” record.

  1. Products.

Obviously, applicants want to know that the products they are helping to produce are environmentally friendly. This means putting pressure on product advertising and marketing to include the fact that your products are eco friendly in your product ads and packaging. In some industries, how you treat vendors and outsourced work can be important (i.e., Starbucks, Nike).

  1. Value statements.

Make sure that your corporate goals, values, and even corporate business objectives include environmental elements.

  1. Annual report.

Because some applicants take the time to read your annual report, make sure it includes sections that highlight your environmental record and the fact that you recruit environmentally friendly employees. If your firm uses biodiesel fuel, pays fair market value to suppliers, is energy efficient, or if it buys “carbon offsets,” highlight these selling points.

  1. Employee benefits.

Consider adding holistic health options, paid time to volunteer for environmental causes, matching donations to green causes, and support for alternative transportation options to your benefit package.

  1. Reward criteria.

Include this factor in the performance appraisal system for all employees. Obviously, use it as a hiring criterion, but also use it as a critical element in promotions, bonuses, and pay increases.

  1. Develop metrics and rewards.

Because whatever you measure improves and whenever you add rewards to the equation the behavior improves even faster, your green recruiting effort must have metrics and rewards tied to it. Some of the metrics you want to include are the percentage of candidates aware of your strong environmental record, the number who reject offers because of a poor record, and the percentage of new hires who say your environmental record was one of their top five reasons for accepting the offer. Hold post exit interviews with your top performers to identify whether environmental factors contributed to their exit.


  •       Employees seek greener companies: An ethically and environmentally responsible company gets added value when professionals seek job, as employees also seek a value addition to their profile while working with a company. Moreover, the young generation has awareness about the environmental issues and hazards (Thanks to the education system).
  • Job descriptions: while providing job description, the company can specify the environmental aspects of the organization – this may include the health and safety tasks, greener campus and surroundings, the incentives system for green initiatives and activities etc.
  • E recruitment & online recruitments: instead of conducting in the traditional lengthy way, recruitment procedures can happen via online. this contributes reduced usage of transportation, papers and thus reduced carbon emissions
  • Recruit employees specifically for the green jobs
  • Selecting green candidates: candidates who are green aware to be given higher priority during a selection process
  • Green orientation must be an integral part of the orientation program
  • Shut down computers instead of switching to hibernating mode during break times of recruitment and selection activities
  • Using both sides of paper while printing and photocopying (applications, forms, guidelines etc.)
  • Plants inside the building and in cabins to absorb pollution (interview cabins and areas)
  • Reduce commuting
  • Saving electricity

Green HRM is still at a nascent stage in India. It has a lot more to expand. The major bottlenecks to be cleared include:

  • ·         Cost
  • ·         Willingness and cooperation of all employees
  • ·         Availability and manufacturing of green goods
  • ·         Pipelines for collection of used cooking oil
  • ·        Continued dependence on traditional system of submitting hard copies in spite of online applications and communications
  • ·         Technical obstacles

 Environmental issues are on most everyone’s mind, so if your firm has a competitive advantage in this area (or it can develop one quickly), it’s incumbent on both individual recruiters and recruiting managers to integrate that message into your recruiting processes and your employment brand. This is especially true if you don’t pay at the top of scale, if you are in a crummy location, or if you’re not a well-known company. Green recruiting is a chance to differentiate you in a recruiting marketplace where standing out from the crowd is already extremely difficult. Incidentally, not only does green recruiting improve your chances of tracking and selling candidates, it’s also your chance as a recruiter to do your part to improve the environment by showing senior management the dollar impact it has on recruiting, retention, and product sales.