slide image

What Caught My Eye: Gas Guzzlers Are More Eco-Friendly Than EVs

A series of weekly outside-the-box news stories and the lessons they hold for recruiters by TAtech CEO Peter Weddle

Who Should Drive an Electric Vehicle?

Ashley Nunes, the Labor & Worklife Program fellow at Harvard Law School, will be doing the Opening Keynote at the TAtech Leadership Summit on Recruitment Marketing, coming up in Boston on December 1. He and a colleague have also recently published research that is sure to be giving fits to Elon Musk.

Nunes and Lucas Woodley, a Harvard undergraduate economics “concentrator,” have found that buying an electric vehicle (EV) doesn’t help the environment one bit … unless you drive it … a lot. It turns out that many EV owners are wealthy persons who like the tax credits owning such vehicles bring but not the ride they provide when cruising the neighborhood. So, they purchase them as trophy cars – their dewey button as pseudo-environmentalists – and leave them sitting in the garage.

And that’s a problem. Manufacturing an EV is actually an environmental nightmare. The culprit is its lithium battery. Mining that material is twice as greenhouse gas intensive as making a conventional internal combustion engine. It has to be leeched out of high-latitude salt flats, a process that both abuses the environment and consumes a huge amount of carbon-based energy, and that’s before even more carbon-based energy is expended to manufacture the vehicles.

Once they’re produced, of course, EVs are cleaner to operate than conventional cars and trucks, but that advantage is only realized if the initial environmental deficit to build them is overcome. And, that takes time and use. In fact, according to a report in Harvard Law Today, “If a household purchases a new EV and drives it as the primary car, it will take 28,069 miles of driving, or about 2.73 years, to gain a green lead.” Said another way, the advantage of EV technology is only achieved when it’s effectively used.

How can that insight help recruiters?

Technology is the foundation of modern recruiting. It’s not a nice-to-have or even a differentiator. It’s table stakes. And recruiters are increasingly aware of that new reality. According to Aptitude Research, almost three-quarters of employers – 72 percent – are upping their game and investing in new talent technology this year.

That financial commitment, however, brings with it a new obligation – a fiduciary responsibility. It’s now the recruiting team’s job to ensure their employer actually achieves the return on investment it expects and deserves from the technology. And, of course, the only way recruiters can accomplish that goal is to ensure the technology is used in a way that delivers the KPIs identified as justification for the acquisition in the first place.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for an employer to fall short on reaching those goals. For example, if current AND future recruiters (and often hiring managers, as well) aren’t well trained on how best to apply a new technology – and convinced that it’s worth their while to make it a part of their daily work – their performance and the employer’s ROI will suffer. As with EVs, it takes effective use to gain the advantage of the technology.

There is a difference, however – a significant one. You can learn to drive an EV with a handbook and a little practice. To become a competent user of talent technology, on the other hand, recruiters must commit to a deliberate and well managed implementation process. The solution provider they select will assist, of course, but it’s up to the recruiting team to ensure it’s done correctly.

They must involve all of the stakeholders in the organization who will be affected in any way by the technology’s introduction. They must assess whether there are any practices, procedures and even policies that might require revision. They must examine the impact the technology could have on the culture of the recruiting team and their interaction with hiring managers. And, they must effectively communicate – to the stakeholders’ respective organizations and the chain-of-command – the need for any changes and the budget to bring them about.

It's a large and complex assignment and it can’t be outsourced to the IT team – they’re clueless about how the technology can and should affect the talent acquisition mission. The only individuals who have the experience to understand that role and the vision to judge its potential perturbations within the organization are recruiters. To do the job competently, however, they will have to acquire the skills and knowledge of talent technology implementation management. They will have to become SMEs in how to get the technology from the business case that justified its acquisition to the improved capabilities among recruiters that will make the ROI real.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.