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20th October 2011

Aon Hewitt Releases Best Employers In Canada List

aon hewittResults 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

Rank Organization Headquarters
1 EllisDon Corporation London ON
2 Cisco Canada Toronto ON
3 WestJet Calgary AB
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
16 OMERS Toronto ON
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
27 HATCH Mississauga ON
28 TD Bank Financial Group Toronto ON
29 ATB Financial Edmonton AB
30 LoyaltyOne Toronto ON
31 Keg Restaurants Ltd. Richmond BC
32 Graham Group Ltd. Calgary AB
33 Conexus Regina SK
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

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2011 at 8:52 am and is filed under Awards, Business News, National News, Research Studies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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