Despite global employee engagement declining for the first time since 2012, employee engagement in Canada has improved marginally, says a report from Aon Hewitt released this week. Employee engagement in Canada went from 69 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent, which is seven points higher than the global average and six points above the United States.
The overall decline can be explained by the current political and economic reality. “The rise in populist movements like those in the U.S., the U.K. and other regions is creating angst within organizations as they anticipate the potential for a decrease in free labour flow,” says Ken Oehler, global culture and engagement practice leader at Aon Hewitt. “Along with rapid advances in technology that are increasingly threatening job security, fewer employees are engaged and we expect this trend to continue.”
Relative political and economic stability in Canada
However, political and economic stability in Canada spared the country from this decline. “Part of the reason for higher Canadian engagement is the relative political and economic stability Canada experienced in 2016, at least compared to the U.S. and several other countries,” says Todd Mathers, Partner, Talent, Rewards and Performance, Aon Hewitt Canada. “As confidence in the economic recovery grows, employees are feeling more optimistic about both their career prospects and their compensation – the two big drivers of higher engagement for Canada in our study.”
An emphasis on developing leadership
Canada has also put an emphasis on developing leadership, which could in part explain the rise in employee engagement. “Canada’s improvements are also related to leadership – specifically, companies focusing on leadership effectiveness among their people managers,” said Mathers. “There’s a strong link between employees’ engagement and the effectiveness of the leaders they report to, and more and more Canadian organizations are recognizing the need for greater focus in this area.”