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Promoting green initiatives through employee benefits, such as cycle-to-work, can not only support employee fitness, but can also help tackle the climate crisis.
Gen Z (the generation of people born between 1995-2012) has grown up amidst global climate strikes and environmental protests, and is thus anticipating nothing short of sustainable initiatives and green benefits from their employers. This was a key finding in Pacific Prime's Global Employee Benefits Trends Report 2022.
As with any new generation entering the workforce, Gen Z is being compared to the previous generations, along with expectations, anticipation, and generalisations of how the generation may disrupt the workforce. With Gen Zers set to take over the workplace, companies are looking to make changes starting from their core values to workspaces and corporate structures with ideologies and resources that matter to the new generation.
Before diving into their benefits' preferences, let's step back to identify the key factors that have shaped their worldview, per the report:
- The ‘Great Recession’ and the following 10-year-long recovery where Gen Z witnessed their parents losing their jobs and their Millennial siblings moving back home.
- Growing wealth gap where Gen Z realised that the high-income group saw its earnings increase 1,425% more than the low-income group.
- Rise in cost of living and non-discretionary expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine on housing, food, transport, and healthcare.
- Effect of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change on the planet, as global climate strikes and environmental protests intensify.
As such, to Gen Zers, financial security matters as much as their beliefs and core values, making it important for them to work in organisations whose values align with their own. They want to associate themselves with companies and employers concerned about the bigger picture of societal challenges, such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger.
Against that backdrop, companies can attract young talent by introducing green benefits.
Per the report, here are five ways companies can include green benefits into their employee benefits programme.
#1 Remote working options
In this day and age, remote working has helped improve the work-life balance of employees across the world. But remote working also supports the environment. If your team commutes to work only a few days a week and works from home the rest, your team reduces collective carbon emissions.
#2 Carpooling and cycle-to-work schemes
Promoting green initiatives through employee benefits, such as cycle-to-work, can not only support employee fitness, but can also tackle the climate crisis. Encouraging your team to commute together or carpool by offering incentives is another way to reduce their carbon footprint.
#3 Paid volunteering days
Offer a paid ‘green’ volunteering day each year where employees can volunteer for an environmental organisation or cause of their choice. By doing so, you will be able to help build a sustainable future for the environment and promote eco-friendly habits among your employees.
#4 Green budgets
Your employees might need a little help in leading a sustainable life. For example, avoiding single-use plastic and growing one’s own vegetables can be expensive and time-consuming. Consider offering a sustainability budget that lets the team invest in eco-friendly initiatives - without the financial strain.
#5 Electric vehicles as company cars
As an employer, you could consider investing in electric vehicles as company cars. Doing so will set an example for your employees and inspire them to consider buying eco-friendly electronic cars.
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