Top 50 employers in Canada

BC Biomedical Laboratories tops the list again

The top employers in the country have employees who are significantly more engaged than those at other organizations, according to Hewitt Associates, the consulting firm that conducts the annual Best Employers in Canada study.

The 2005 results are in and there are some familiar names at the top. BC Biomedical Laboratories, a health-care firm in Surrey, B.C. with 412 employees, tops the list for the third year in a row.

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., a Toronto-based tobacco firm with 808 employees, held onto the number three spot and Flight Centre, a Vancouver-based travel firm with 545 employees, slipped a couple of spots to number four. (For a complete list of the top 50 see the bottom of this article.)

“The organizations on the 50 best employers list have developed people strategies that are designed to facilitate, promote and achieve corporate success,” said Ted Emond, a Hewitt consultant. “Our research continues to demonstrate that best employers have a more motivated, engaged and responsive workforce, where employees both see and feel a connection between their own daily contributions and the success of the organization.”

The sixth annual list of the 50 Best Employers in Canada appears in the January issue of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine and in the Dec. 31 issue of La Presse.

Hewitt designed and conducted the study. Organizations with at least 300 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are eligible to participate, as long as they have been in operation in Canada for at least three years. This year, data was analyzed from more than 80,000 employees and more than 1,200 leaders at the 120 organizations that successfully completed the entry requirements.

Employee engagement: A competitive advantage

Results from the study show that employees of best employers are, on average, 21 per cent more engaged than employees of other organizations. In fact, best employers have an 80 per cent engagement score, compared to just 59 per cent at other participating organizations.

“Employee engagement … is not about creating happy or loyal employees, but about measuring the emotional and intellectual commitment employees demonstrate for the organization for which they work,” said Hewitt consultant Chris Howe. “Best employers know that a highly engaged workforce provides a strategic advantage that will benefit them in working through any current and future human resources challenge including attraction and retention.”

On average, the 50 best employers receive 45 per cent more unsolicited employment applications than the other participating organizations. In addition, the average full-time voluntary turnover rate for best employers is eight per cent versus 11 per cent at other participating organizations. The difference is even more dramatic when it comes to the average part-time voluntary turnover rate: 12 per cent at the best employers and 23 per cent at other participants.

“In the ongoing war for talent, it is critical that all employers understand what it takes to attract and hold on to the people they need to succeed,” said Howe. “Best employers place a greater emphasis not only on providing the programs that motivate their people, but also on ensuring they are administered well.”

The impending mass retirement of the baby boomers will also impact the availability of tomorrow’s corporate leaders, creating a demographic necessity for organizations to look to internal sources for future leadership, Hewitt said. Best employers are significantly better equipped to meet this challenge than other organizations:

•74 per cent of senior leadership team members at best employers believe that their organization is investing enough to develop the next generation of leaders, while that figure is 65 per cent at other participants.

•64 per cent of best employers’ senior leaders believe their organizations have an excellent succession planning process for developing leaders.

•At non-best employers, only 46 per cent think their organization has an excellent succession planning process.

Improving financial results

One of the more persuasive reasons for becoming a best employer is the bottom line.

“Hewitt’s research establishes a connection between high employee engagement and better business results,” said Neil Crawford, a Hewitt consultant. “The data demonstrates that efforts that drive engagement are worth the investment.”

Fifty-five of the organizations that participated in the 2005 study are publicly traded. Those that appear on the 50 Best Employers list have an average compound annual growth rate of revenue (averaged over their last five fiscal years) of 16.4 per cent per annum, while those that did not make the list have an average growth rate of 6.1 per cent. Likewise, when average cash flow return is examined (averaged over their last five fiscal years), best employers come in at 13.7 per cent per annum and the other publicly traded participants are at 10.2 per cent.

Driving employee engagement

Participation in the Best Employers in Canada study helps organizations understand what drives and motivates their employees in order to define actions that can lead to sustainable growth and long-term success, Hewitt said.

The exact people practices that drive engagement will vary from one organization to the next. Nevertheless, best employers exhibit several common characteristics:

Leadership: Leaders at best employer organizations chart a clear course for the future and get employees excited about it. Employees see the future, believe in it and understand what it means for them and their work. Leaders are also focused on developing their future replacements.

Growth: Leaders at the 50 best employers say they expect to grow and expand in the next few years and they are well positioned for it. They have built the organizational capability to grow and transform. Human resources provides direction in preparing for and leading change.

Talent management: Best employers consistently focus on getting the right people in the right roles led by the right leaders. Human resources and leadership actively manage the talent pipeline together, from attraction, hiring, retaining and developing, and finally to inspiring high performance. They use the right people management practices to solidify employees’ sense of fit and belonging.

Focus on the details: Best employer leaders and managers pay attention to the day-to-day details of managing people effectively and consistently, supported by Human resources. As a result, best employers create a unified work environment that feels the same to all employees, regardless of status.

“Enhancing employee engagement creates a ‘win-win-win’ situation,” said Emond. “Employees are happier and more productive (and) that helps to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty which, ultimately, leads to a positive impact on business results.”

The top 50 employers in Canada

1. BC Biomedical Laboratories Ltd., Surrey, B.C.

2. White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

3. Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., Toronto

4. Flight Centre North America, Vancouver

5. Decoma International Inc., Concord, Ont.

6. Les Services Logistiques Trans West Inc., Lachine, Que.

7. Hoffmann-La Roche Limited, Mississauga, Ont.

8. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Mississauga, Ont.

9. EllisDon Corporation, London, Ont.

10. PCL Construction Group Inc., Edmonton

11. Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto

12. L'Union Canadienne, Sillery, Que.

13. Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., Toronto

14. Pfizer Pharmaceutical Group Canada, Kirkland, Que.

15. Delta Hotels, Toronto

16. The Co-operators, Guelph, Ont.

17. Chubb Insurance Company of Canada, Toronto

18. JTI-Macdonald Corp., Toronto

19. Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary

20. Sleep Country Canada, Toronto

21. Edward Jones Canada, Mississauga, Ont.

22. Groupe Robert Inc., Boucherville, Que.

23. Co-operators Life Insurance Company, Regina

24. Midwest Surveys Inc., Calgary

25. Whirlpool Canada Inc., Mississauga, Ont.

26. Golder Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C.

27. Dofasco Inc., Hamilton

28. QLT Inc., Vancouver

29. Procter & Gamble, Toronto

30. Desjardins Groupe d'assurances générales, Lévis, Que.

31. Carswell, Toronto

32. Maritime Travel Inc., Halifax

33. Keg Restaurants Ltd, Richmond, B.C.

34. Envision Financial, Langley, B.C.

35. Farm Credit Canada, Regina

36. Ceridian Canada, Winnipeg

37. Ivanhoe Cambridge, Ont. and Montréal

38. GlaxoSmithKline, Mississauga, Ont.

39. S. C. Johnson and Son, Limited, Brantford, Ont.

40. Banque Nationale du Canada, Montréal

41. Wrigley Canada, Toronto

42. Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Bolton, Ont.

43. Nexen Inc., Calgary

44. G&K Services Canada Inc., Mississauga, Ont.

45. Marcil centre de renovation, St-Sauveur, Que.

46. Scotiabank, Toronto

47. Griffith Laboratories, Toronto

48. ACNielsen Company of Canada, Markham, Ont.

49. AstraZeneca Canada Incorporated, Mississauga, Ont.

50. Microsoft Canada Co., Mississauga, Ont.

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