Results from the annual Best Employers in Canada study, conducted by global human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions business Aon Hewitt, identifies those organizations with the highest employee engagement. At the same time, the data provides insight into the types of workers that are least engaged and thus more likely to leave to join competitors and other organizations. The list of 2012’s 50 Best Employers appears in the October 31 issue of Maclean’s magazine, available on newsstands today, and the November 3 edition of La Presse.
Two hundred and sixty-one Canadian employers took part in the 2012 Best Employers studies. Organizations were selected as Best Employers primarily on the basis of survey responses from more than 112,000 Canadian employees to gauge their level of engagement.
According to Aon Hewitt’s definition, employees are engaged when they “say, stay and strive”: they speak positively about the organization to others, are committed to remaining with their current employer, and are motivated by their organizations’ leaders, managers, culture and values to go “above and beyond” to contribute to business success. The average engagement score for the 50 Best Employer organizations was 78 per cent; the average for other participants was 58 per cent.
“Those organizations ranked highest on the list have employee engagement of close to 90 per cent,” said Neil Crawford, Aon Hewitt’s leader of the Best Employers in Canada study. “That’s an impressive accomplishment, particularly now when many parts of the Canadian economy are showing signs of recovery and employee attraction and retention is becoming more challenging.”
Participants in the Best Employers study are able to use the engagement scores they receive to identify whether any segment of their workforce is a potential retention risk – and then take action. However, when the study data is considered in the aggregate, certain trends emerge regarding the most and least engaged employees, using various demographic factors.
- Years of service: Employees with less than one year of service have the highest average engagement score (75 per cent), but that number drops dramatically – to 65 per cent – in the second year. It then dips further to 59 per cent between two to five years of service, before gradually starting to rise. This trend holds true for even the 50 Best Employers, but in their case, engagement is higher in the first year of service, and the decline through the second to fifth years of service is more modest. “This information clearly shows that once the honeymoon is over, organizations that don’t focus on engagement run the risk of losing experienced, trained staff along with the significant financial investment that accompanies the hiring and onboarding of new employees,” said Todd Mathers, a principal with Aon Hewitt in Toronto.
- Generation: Generally speaking, engagement levels increase with age. The youngest employees are most likely to consider alternate job opportunities. However, Best Employers are better at engaging younger (Millennial) employees and consequently are more successful in retaining them.
- Job role: Perhaps not surprisingly, employees in executive roles are more engaged than those in more junior positions. The exception is administrative/clerical support workers, who may be the least senior, but are more engaged than front-line employees or those in professional/specialist/technician roles. Best Employers distinguish themselves from other organizations by creating consistently high levels of engagement across all roles.
- Company size: The number of employees in an organization seems to have little impact on engagement levels. Organizations with 10,000 or more employees have an average engagement level of 67 per cent, while those with 200 or fewer workers score 66 per cent, on average,
“We also see that average engagement is higher in certain industries,” said Mathers. “Employee engagement is high at construction and engineering firms, as well as at pharmaceutical companies and banks. IT services and the retail industry have lower engagement on average, although there are companies within these segments that have highly engaged workforces.”
The Best Employers in Canada study, now in its 13th year, provides an opportunity to not only measure employee engagement, but to conduct special research. “We take advantage of the opportunity to ask the opinion of over 100,000 employees each year to test theories on what impacts and drives employee engagement,” stated Crawford. “One area that our research has shown is critical to high engagement is manager effectiveness – how people are coached and motivated by their direct supervisor. We gathered feedback from employees who believe they have effective managers and those who don’t, and also asked managers what support, coaching and resources they receive to manage people effectively.”
In addition, the Best Employers study looked at human capital risk this year, surveying leaders on how vulnerable they were to various people risks (attraction, retention, leadership shortage, etc.), and what their organization was doing to mitigate these risks. Aon Hewitt will release the results of both the manager effectiveness and human capital risk research within the next month.
Aon Hewitt’s 2012 List of the Best Employers in Canada
|1||EllisDon Corporation||London ON|
|2||Cisco Canada||Toronto ON|
|4||CIMA+ Partners in Excellence||Laval QC|
|5||Bennett Jones LLP||Calgary AB|
|6||Farm Credit Canada||Regina SK|
|7||OpenRoad Auto Group Ltd.||Richmond BC|
|8||McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited||Toronto ON|
|9||Delta Hotels & Resorts||Toronto ON|
|10||Federal Express Canada Ltd.||Mississauga ON|
|11||PCL Constructors Inc.||Edmonton AB|
|12||Edward Jones||Mississauga ON|
|13||JTI-Macdonald Corp.||Mississauga ON|
|14||Marriott Hotels of Canada Ltd.||Mississauga ON|
|15||Birchwood Automotive Group||Winnipeg MB|
|17||Flight Centre||Vancouver BC|
|18||BBA Inc.||Mont-Saint-Hilaire QC|
|19||Chubb Insurance Company of Canada||Toronto ON|
|20||Coastal Community Credit Union||Nanaimo BC|
|21||Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (Canada)||Toronto ON|
|22||Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP||N/A|
|23||Scotiabank Group||Toronto ON|
|24||The Co-operators||Guelph ON|
|25||BC Biomedical Laboratories Ltd.||Surrey BC|
|26||GlaxoSmithKline Inc.||Mississauga ON|
|28||TD Bank Financial Group||Toronto ON|
|29||ATB Financial||Edmonton AB|
|31||Keg Restaurants Ltd.||Richmond BC|
|32||Graham Group Ltd.||Calgary AB|
|34||Novotel Canada||Mississauga ON|
|35||Co-operators Life Insurance Company||Regina SK|
|36||Clark Builders||Edmonton AB|
|37||Stikeman Elliott LLP||N/A|
|38||Canadian Western Bank||Edmonton AB|
|39||Earl’s Restaurants Ltd.||North Vancouver BC|
|40||Aecon Group Inc.||Toronto ON|
|41||National Bank||Montreal QC|
|42||ING DIRECT||Toronto ON|
|43||MNP LLP||Calgary AB|
|44||Island Savings Credit Union||Duncan BC|
|45||G&K Services Canada Inc.||Mississauga ON|
|46||Procter & Gamble Inc.||Toronto ON|
|47||British Columbia Automobile Association||Burnaby BC|
|48||La Capitale Financial Group||Québec QC|
|49||Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.||Montreal QC|
|50||Régie des rentes du Québec||Québec QC|