Personal achievement and interpersonal relations driving Canadian workers

May 22, 2019
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Here’s the good news for Canadian employers: More than four out of five (83%) Canadian workers are satisfied with their work, according to an extensive study on the Canadian workplace conducted for Hamster by Léger. Most are also very engaged (90%) and motivated (81%) by their job. Three in four (75%) report that their work is fulfilling because they achieve personal goals.

However, the survey also shows employers need to be prepared for generational change as Baby Boomers age out of the workforce, meaning they will need to shape workplace culture to new generations’ preferences, including Gen X-ers, Millennials.

With the goal of exploring Canadians’ perceptions of the physical environment and emotional aspects of work, as well as the importance of environmental and other workplace issues, the new study uncovers several interesting facts about the attitudes and opinions of Canadian employees.

"As the Canadian leader in the workplace supplies industry, Hamster is always on the lookout for new work trends. This study will help us greatly as experts in the work environment and highlights the new realities of the changing workplace," says Denis Mathieu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novexco Inc., the operators of Hamster.

Motivation: a generational variable

With the aging population and the fact that many workers will be retiring in the coming years, employers need to find a way to increase overall worker satisfaction because the ones who will be stepping up to replace those retirees are the most dissatisfied workers in their workforce, the least motivated and the least loyal to their employers.

The study reveals that the soon-to-retire Baby Boomers (now all over 55) say they are more satisfied with their work (89%) than younger workers. They are also the most committed to their job (95%) and the most motivated (89%).

However, Generation X workers (now age 35 to 54), who will replace the retiring baby-boomers, is over-represented among those who are dissatisfied with their work (19%) and is also the least motivated segment (21% being not very motivated and not motivated at all). This difference could be explained by the fact that workers aged 35 to 54 are generally experiencing a particularly busy period in their lives, including often both parental responsibilities and care for their own parents as they age.

A higher proportion of Millennial workers (35 and under) than other age groups believe that employers should be responsible for providing professional services like psychologists (51%), occupational therapists (53%), massage therapists (44%) and nutritionists (31%). Moreover, even if they are satisfied with their work (84%), more than half of millennial workers (58%) say they want to change jobs over the next two years. Also, they are more likely than any other age group to consider becoming self-employed (63%).

A look at workplaces across the country

There are several regional differences in the survey findings across Canada:

A majority of Ontarians (54%) work in an office, a higher proportion compared to other provinces

Workers in the Atlantic Provinces are the most motivated by their work (91%)

Francophones (82%) are the group that feels the most that they are achieving personal goals in their jobs (they feel personally fulfilled)

A higher proportion of British Columbians (64%) would consider becoming self-employed compared to other regions in the country

Conversely, Quebec has the lowest percentage of workers who would consider becoming self-employed, with only 42 per cent of workers having considered it

A high percentage of Ontarians (43%) would consider changing jobs in the next two years

Residents of the Atlantic Provinces lead the way as 95% consider it is important to consume local or Canadian products and 94% to consume recycled or recyclable products

While 69% of Canadian workers overall are proud of their employer’s social engagement, 80% of workers in the Atlantic Provinces are proud.

New challenges for Canadian companies

The study reveals that Canadian employers are confronted by many new trends and issues in order to maintain their employees’ satisfaction.

"All sectors in Canada are facing significant challenges in talent acquisition and retention. Employees are the most important resource for a company, and we believe it is essential to fully understand their aspirations and needs to better meet them in order to have a competitive advantage," adds Mathieu.

Work Environment

The majority of Canadian employees are looking for a healthy work environment and more options to accommodate their specific ergonomic needs. The study reveals that more than half of Canadians feel they do not work in the best possible work environment. While 76 per cent say they work at least partially seated, only half of Canadians say they have access to ergonomic work options.

It is, therefore, important for employers to reassess their offices in order to provide a workspace that will meet the growing demands of their employees. Nearly half (45%) of Canadians say they would like to see improvements to the layout of their workspace to add rest areas and collaborative workspaces.

Job satisfaction

For Canadian employers, it is important to identify what motivates workers the most to ensure happiness at work. According to the study, the most important sources of motivation are achievement (45%), as well as building interpersonal relations (22%).

Perhaps a somewhat surprising finding is that Canadian workers have a very high level of attachment to their duties and responsibilities (80%). This level of attachment is higher than that found for their employer overall (65%) and their immediate supervisor (62%). This information could be useful when employers need to make management decisions.

Environmental consciousness

More than nine out of 10 workers consider environmental protection to be an important issue. Almost as many also consider it important to consume recycled products (86%) and products of local or Canadian origin (84%). Canadian employees also have high expectations for their employer in these areas, which is why in order to keep up with these expectations, companies need to identify how they can continue to become more environmentally responsible corporate citizens.

In-depth study on the Canadian workplace by Léger for Hamster 

The study on the Canadian workplace for Hamster was a web survey conducted by Léger from October 24 to 30, 2018, with a representative sample of 1,001 Canadians in the labour force, 18 years of age or older, who could speak either French or English. Using Statistics Canada data, the results were weighted by gender, age, region, mother tongue and occupation to make the sample representative of the entire population. For comparative purposes, the maximum margin of error for a sample of 1,001 respondents is ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Novexco Inc. and Hamster

A Canadian company owned by its merchant members and its leadership, Novexco is a distributor of office supplies, technology products and furniture founded in 1996. Since March 2018, its commercial activities have been grouped under the name of Hamster® and is represented by 109 Eastern-Canadian stores, mainly in Quebec, a national sales division, and a transactional website serving Canadian consumers and businesses from its distribution centers in Calgary AB, Markham ON, Laval QC, Montreal QC and Dartmouth NS. The Hamster network represents more than 2,500 employees and Novexco’s head office is located in Laval. Since 2019, Novexco has been part of the Platinum Club of the Best Managed Companies in Canada.

Personal achievement and interpersonal relations driving Canadian workers
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