Canadian Manufacturing

Disengaged workforce can’t keep up with increased productivity: study

67 per cent of Canadian workers aren't completely engaged in their work, according to Towers Watson



Toronto—With swirling questions about Canada’s productivity gap—along with doubts about the strength of the global economic recovery—the majority of Canadians are not fully engaged in their work.

According to a new Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, some 67 per cent of Canadian workers aren’t completely engaged in their work and are frustrated by a lack of support from their organizations.

After close to 10 years of “pressure to do more with less,” the study found the nation’s workers are finding themselves increasingly unable to maintain the type of positive associations with their employers that typically lead to increased productivity.

“The survey results are an important wake-up call,” Towers Watson’s Canadian leader for talent and rewards Ofelia Isabel said in a statement. “When we compare engagement scores of global organizations with their operating margins, companies with high sustainable engagement have margins almost three times larger than that of organizations with disengaged workers.”

Among Canadian study participants, those who believe their companies are high-performers deliver sustainable engagement scores 16 percentage points higher than the overall country norm, according to Towers Watson.

According to the study, the equation for sustainable engagement is the sum of three distinct elements: traditional engagement, or employees’ willingness to give effort to their employer; enablement, or having the tools, resources and support to get work done efficiently; and energy, defined as a work environment that actively supports physical, emotional and interpersonal well-being.

“Enablement and energy are the really critical factors in this equation,” Isabel said. “It’s only in the last few years, when we’ve seen more pressure in the system, that the importance of enablement and energy has risen to the forefront.”

The study found 95 per cent of highly engaged Canadian employees believe they have the work tools and resources they need to achieve exceptional performance.

This compares to only 20 per cent of disengaged employees, according to the study.

Similar disparities appear when looking at the ability to sustain energy throughout the work day, at 97 per cent versus 32 per cent, and sense of personal accomplishment at work (99 per cent and 33 per cent).

However, Towers Watson said only 38 per cent of Canadian survey participants believe their organization and senior leaders encourage and support a healthy workforce.

What’s more, just 39 per cent think their senior leaders have a sincere interest in their well-being.

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