What Do Employees Value Most?

Michelle Branigan

 

June 19, 2017

By Michelle Branigan

We all know the value of good employees. The ones who are self-motivated, loyal to the company, and are team players willing to support others to make the organization the best it can be. This translates into a better working environment for all, and increased morale and productivity, resulting in a better customer experience, which impacts of course on bottom line and/or recognition for the company.

I’ve spoken in this column about the things that employers can and should be doing to train their top talent, such as offering workplace flexibility and career development opportunities.

In a recent Randstad study (April 2017) that surveyed more than 5,504 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65, 64% of employees surveyed reported that competitive salary and employee benefits top the list as the most important factor of employee satisfaction in Canada. While it is not a surprise that compensation rates so highly — we all have bills to pay — it is important to note the importance of non-monetary factors.

In this same study:

• 50% of employees spoke to the importance of good work-life balance
• 49% valued long-term job security
• 44% valued a pleasant working atmosphere, and;
• 33% spoke to the importance of career progression opportunities

As employers look to recruit and retain the talent they will need to brand their organization as a great place to work, offering fair compensation while cultivating and promoting a positive and flexible working environment and the value it places on its workforce. Organizations that create a company culture catering to employees’ needs will ultimately improve employee engagement.

Survey your employees at least once a year to make sure you understand what matters most to them, and don’t presume that you know the answers beforehand. While flexibility around work hours and location can be a key retention tool, for others it may be the provision of childcare facilities in the building, training, flex days, casual Fridays, or time off to bring elderly parents to a hospital.

Some employers have used innovative and simple practices to recognize and reward their employees, from providing free car washes to awarding extra vacation days. In Canada, where the winters are long and summers long awaited, even providing an extra hour or two off on a Friday afternoon can feel like a half day, and give employees a chance to kick start the weekend. Most importantly, recognize your employees or colleagues with a simple thank you when they have helped you or done a great job.

Here’s a list of Canada’s top employer brands as noted in Randstad’s 2017 survey. Interestingly, energy rated among the most desirable sectors in which to work (42%), followed by transport and logistics (42.5%), and engineering and construction (43%).

This year’s top 10 most attractive employers in Canada are:

1. Microsoft Canada
2. Air Canada
3. Canadian National Railways Company (CN)
4. Indigo Books & Music Inc.
5. IBM Canada
6. Johnson and Johnson
7. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc.
8. Suncor Energy
9. Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
10. Canadian Pacific Railway Limited

While a number of organizations release lists of top employers, those companies that are most successful all have one thing in common: employees who feel valued and happy.

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.

 

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