‘Employers need to think about their connection and their attachment and their relationship with employees’
Here’s some good news: Canadians are looking for their employers to act on public issues, and they have been largely satisfied.
That’s according to a survey by Argyle that found nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadian workers believe their employers perform strongly on social issues, such as health and safety, or equity for women and people of colour, according to the survey of 934 employed Canadians and 548 employed Americans, completed between April 30-May 2, 2021.
“In making decisions about where we work and in making decisions about where we spend our money, increasingly we are considering the values and the purposes of organizations,” says Daniel Tisch, Argyle CEO.
“After the pandemic, there’s probably an unprecedented number of workers in the economy that are evaluating their situations, their jobs, their careers. And we’re in a period, probably a short-lived period, of major economic expansion. Employers need to think about their connection and their attachment and their relationship with employees.”
More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) of Canadian respondents know their organization’s social purpose and believe it lives up to this purpose, and 74 per cent believe their organization shows leadership in its industry, community or the public domain.
“Employees very clearly understand the corporate social purpose of their organizations. They generally believe that their organizations are taking social issues seriously and making progress on issues of employee health and safety and equity for women and people of color, for example,” he says.
Canadians are looking to CEOs for anti-racism efforts, according to a previous report. Also, 80 per cent of U.S. employees believe addressing racial injustice and equity is a central responsibility of a CEO and management, according to another study.
Open communication matters
Canadians also believe that their employer is doing well when it comes to building relationships with stakeholders:
- 83 per cent agree their organization “shows concern for its clients”
- 80 per cent believe it “is committed to meeting public expectations”
- 77 per cent agree their employer “earns public trust”
- 75 per cent believe “the public is satisfied with my organization”
- 74 per cent agree their organization “shows concern about ordinary people”
- 68 per cent believe “the public can influence the decisions or direction of my organization”
And this is helping with employers’ relationship with employees, says Tisch.
“In any workplace where the relationships between the employer and the employees are strong, you’re going to have a workforce that’s more engaged. [With] a workforce that’s more engaged, more motivated, people are more likely to want to show up and be present and take initiative and persevere when they are in difficult [situations]. And that is very important in the environment where we have workers splitting their time between offices and home offices.”
However, employers’ communication with employees may have to be improved, says Tisch.
While 68 per cent of workers say that the public can influence the direction of the organization, only 40 per cent of workers believe that they themselves can personally influence their organization, he says.
“I believe that most leaders really deeply listen to and care about what their employees think, and they act on it. But I think that gap may be one of communication. They may be making changes as a result of employee feedback, but just not communicating it back to the employees, or saying ‘Hey, these policies that we just announced… they come from your feedback’. And I think the gap is probably not really a gap of influence, it’s probably a gap more of engagement and communication.”
While everyone agrees that trust is very important, very few organizations have a deliberate plan to build trust, according to another expert.