Employers Increasing Focus on Social Workplace Issues

Last year, Canadian business leaders shifted expectations to take a more expansive view of their company’s responsibility to communities as a whole, according to the Canadian edition of Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends Study.

Demonstrating greater empathy and delivering on the needs of a broader range of stakeholders was a key trend that emerged in 2020:

  • 65% of Canadian HR leaders say their company has continued or stepped up the pace towards an environmental social governance (ESG) and multi-stakeholder business approach.
  • With COVID-19 revealing the inconsistencies in businesses practices, 58% of Canadian companies are re-examining what is most relevant to the diversity of their workforce, signaling a shift towards greater personalization of inclusive benefits.
  • Leverage the biggest opportunity in sustainability strategies, which is to rethink how investments, such as retirement portfolios, can be directed toward sustainability — only 12% of Canadian employers do so today.

“A successful shake-up of our workplaces requires trust on all sides. Contributing to collective responsibility will require companies to align benefits goals to business priorities, interrupt gender and race inequities, deliver on flexibility for all and engineer a step change in the employee experience through radical HR transformation,” said Daniel Imbeault, Partner in Talent Strategy at Mercer Canada.

Recent events have also increased the urgency for improved reskilling, analytics and mental health benefits when redesigning the workforce.

  • While reskilling critical talent pools is a priority in Canadian transformation plans (49%), only 31% of companies are gathering information on individual employees’ current skills, and fewer (12%) said they’ve increased the spend on workforce upskilling or reskilling for the entire workforce.
  • 31% of Canadian companies say they plan to improve analytics on pay equity in the year ahead.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Canadian organizations (64%) plan to add benefits to address mental and emotional health issues compared to less than half (47%) globally.

As Canadian HR leaders map out future workforce strategies, only 18% are taking into account the impact of 2020’s transformation or rightsizing plans on various minority groups, and just 13% are considering the pandemic’s impact on these populations. There is much room for improvement.

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Joel Kranc

Written By

Joel is the Editor and Deputy Publisher of Your Workplace. He is an experienced and award-winning editor, writer and communications professional. Joel began his career as a journalist and reporter covering the U.S. retirement and institutional investment market. Joel is author of Retirement Planning in 8 Easy Steps: The Brief Guide to Lifelong Financial Freedom.


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