I am not a big fan of “the best company” type surveys. They can be so easily manipulated and quickly become an end rather than a snapshot they’re supposed to be. Nevertheless, they’re out there, and they can give some insights into trends, so I do watch them. The Canadian “50 Best Employers” 2009 has just been released. It appears in the January issue of The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine and in La Presse, and represents one hundred and forty-five Canadian organizations registered to participate in the study. The results from this year’s study were based on survey responses from more than 115,000 Canadian employees, with additional input from over 1,200 leaders and human resources professionals.

The Executive summary is quite interesting and relevant:

“As the world enters a deep recession, those companies businesses with high employee engagement have a competitive advantage in their ability to weather the storm, according to results of the tenth annual Best Employers in Canada study conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company. Employees who work for Canada’s Best Employers want to do their part to ensure their employer responds to the challenges they face in a more uncertain business climate. They are highly committed to the organization’s success and understand their role in helping to achieve business results.

The average employee engagement score at this year’s 50 Best Employers is 76 per cent, 22 percentage points higher than the average at other participants in the study. While an engaged workforce alone doesn’t make an organization recession-proof, it can provide a level of resilience that other employers do not enjoy. These employees are highly productive and motivated. They are more likely do what is necessary to help their employer succeed.

While the specific human resources practices used to engage employees at Best Employer organizations vary, there are some common qualities shared by all those recognized on the 50 Best Employers list.

One of the primary differentiators is the behaviour demonstrated by senior leaders at the 50 Best Employers. Leaders at these organizations are absolutely clear that employees are critical to their success. They foster
frequent two-way communication to ensure employees feel ‘part of the team’ and understand the part they play in achieving corporate objectives. In addition, Best Employers place more emphasis than other organizations on providing learning and development opportunities, strong performance management, and human resources programs that are not only competitive, but really meet the needs of each employee.

To find out more about Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study, go to the Best Employers Web site at www.hewitt.com/bestemployerscanada.

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