The new Employee Recommended Workplace Award aims to recognize outstanding employers. The award is a joint venture between The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell, Canada's largest human resources organization, which has deep expertise in measuring total health.
Winners will be decided solely by the results of a unique employee survey that shines a light on employers that are working collaboratively with their employees to facilitate total health and engagement.
With rising mental health issues and chronic disease in Canada's workplaces there is value in rethinking the impact employers can have on influencing employees' engagement and total health, which can lead to healthier, happier workers who are less stressed and more productive.
The focus of the Employee Recommended Workplace Award is a methodology that recognizes total health in four key pillars – work, life, physical and mental health.
Employer awards are meant to show future and current employees that the workplace is based on trust and promotes work-life blending. That it's a place where employees are treated fairly and well, and the employer cares about and does good work in the community.
Employee engagement is big business in North America. It's estimated that $720-million (U.S.) is spent on it annually in the United States, and it's the most popular human resources measurement of employee productivity.
Our Employee Recommended Workplace Award is partly based on the Your Life at Work Survey The Globe and Mail and Howatt HR launched in February, 2014.
One interesting trend in the Your Life at Work research is that a highly engaged employee may not always be a healthy one, which sounds counter intuitive. Three highly engaged employee categories were noted: highly engaged and high health; highly engaged and moderate health; and highly engaged and low health. This is further evidence of the value for employers to look beyond engagement to consider the impact of health as a driver of work force productivity.
A highly engaged employee who works long, demanding hours and doesn't know how to cope or take care of his health is an employee who is at risk to burn out. This is one instance where high engagement doesn't lead to high productivity.
In addition, our study found that employees who reported the highest level of productivity on a daily basis through the Your Life at Work survey also had the highest levels of coping skills, engagement and health. They were successfully managing their daily stress loads and were positively supported by their employers, friends and family.
While the shadow side of highly engaged employees is often overlooked, there's a growing trend where employers are focusing more energy and time on engaging employees, not only in their work but also in their health.
Why? Because 87 per cent of Canadians will be directly affected by chronic disease or a major illness within their lifetime. Physical and mental illnesses are major problems and cost Canadian taxpayers and employers billions of dollars each year. However, many chronic diseases can be prevented through better lifestyle choices.
Our new Employee Recommended Workplace Award process is simple. An employer signs up via an online registration site, and then follows easy instructions to get staff involved.
Every employee of the organizations that register will be asked to complete a simple 15-minute online survey. Upon completion of the survey, employees get their results instantly, coupled with immediate coaching for what they can do to improve their total health. The employees' survey results will determine the award winners.
Employers also complete an online questionnaire detailing their current workplace health programs. Data from this survey will be used to examine and create a generic set of profiles outlining the difference between winners of the award and those that are not successful. Once the award has closed and surveys are complete, employers will get their own unique report detailing in aggregate where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
There will be a national award for small, medium- and large-sized companies. In addition, other awards will be separated by geographic region.
All employers who participate will have access to an annual employer report that will share aggregated insights while maintaining confidentiality as to what employers who achieve this award are doing to facilitate employees' total health, engagement and productivity.
Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.
Gillian Livingston is currently the deputy editor with Globe Investor and the co-ordinator of the Employee Recommended Workplace Award.
To register for you company to be considered for the Employee Recommended Workplace Award, visit the registration site: www.employeerecommended.com
You can find all the stories in this series at this link: http://tgam.ca/workplaceaward