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The Kids Are All Right: Millennials More Engaged at Work, says Aon Hewitt’s 15th Annual 50 Best Employers in Canada Study
Canada’s most comprehensive study of employee engagement identifies top-achieving employers and the trends that matter today

Toronto, ON – November 7, 2013 – Aon Hewitt, the global human resource solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE:AON), today released its annual list of Best Employers in Canada. The 50 Best Employers are selected from participants in the Best Employers in Canada Study. This 15th edition, based on data from nearly 280,000 employee and leader surveys from 282 participating private- and public-sector organizations, identifies 15 companies that have made the mark as Best Employers for 10 or more years. And it reveals that so-called Millennials – the generation entering the workplace after 2000 who have often been characterized as self-interested, difficult employees – are becoming more engaged the longer they are in the workforce.

The primary requirement for being recognized as a Best Employer is creating and sustaining a highly engaged workforce, measured by asking employees at participating organizations directly through a survey. According to Aon Hewitt’s definition, employees are engaged when they “say, stay and strive”: they speak positively about their employer to others, are committed to staying with their current employer, and are motivated by their organizations’ leaders, managers, culture and values to go “above and beyond” to contribute to business success. The survey also measures how well organizations perform in six key areas: Leadership Excellence, Manager Effectiveness, Enabling Productivity (how well organizations equip employees to do their jobs), Growth & Development, Valuing & Appreciating Employees, and Overall Employee Experience. This year, average employee engagement was 78 percent at Best Employers, roughly on par with last year’s 79 percent. (The average for other participants was 58 percent.)

High employee engagement is crucial to the success of any organization, because it’s connected to how productive employees are,” said Neil Crawford, Aon Hewitt’s leader of the Best Employers in Canada study. “We’ve found that employees who are highly engaged are less likely to call in sick, generate higher revenue and are less likely to leave – all key drivers of productivity. Simply put, higher engagement means better business results.” 

Cisco Systems, the No. 1 ranked company in this year’s 50 Best Employers list, was the top performer among all companies in four of the six key categories – Manager Effectiveness, Enabling Productivity, Growth & Development, and Valuing & Appreciating Employees. EllisDon, the No. 2 company on the list, and No. 3 Bennett Jones LLP placed among the Top 10 in almost all categories. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada was the top performer in employee Growth & Development and Co-operators General Insurance Co. in Leadership Excellence.

Millennials becoming more engaged at work

With the benefit of 15 years of data, this year the Aon Hewitt research team took a closer look at a challenge on many employers' minds: how to effectively manage and engage so-called Millennials, the baby boomers’ children who entered the workplace after 2000. “We’ve consistently read in the media and heard from employers that Millennials have unrealistically high expectations of employers and seem willing to change jobs on a whim,” notes Crawford. “Maybe not surprisingly, Millennials have typically scored low on our engagement survey compared to other generations, but looking back over the last seven years, it’s clear that this stereotype is changing.”

Overall, Millennial engagement in this year’s study stood at 69 percent – up from 63 percent in 2007. And several specific measures suggest why that number has risen. Among them, 77% of Millennials agreed with the statement “My job is a good fit for my abilities and experience” – up 32 percentage points from 2007. More than 70% said that senior leaders make them feel positive about the future of their organization (71% versus 57% seven years ago), and three in four (75%) said that managers recognized their efforts and results, compared with only 63% seven years ago.

The study also suggests that the long-held assumption that part-time Millennials are less engaged than their full-time counterparts “is simply not true,” said Crawford. Full-time Millennials had an average engagement score of 70%; part-timers’ score was 69%.

“What these results suggest is that after more experience in the workforce, and living through a global economic crisis and ensuing recession, Millennials’ attitudes and expectations towards their employers have become more realistic,” added Crawford. “We also see evidence that Canadian employers are figuring out more effective ways to engage Millennials through clear and positive communication, effective recognition practices and sound management.”

The Perennial 15

This year’s study also identified 15 organizations that have made the ranks of the 50 Best Employers in Canada for 10 or more of the ranking’s 15 years. Those companies are:

  • PCL Constructors Inc. (Edmonton, AB) – 14 years
  • Delta Hotels and Resorts (Toronto, ON) – 14 years
  • Chubb Insurance Company of Canada (Toronto, ON) – 14 years
  • EllisDon Corp. (Mississauga, ON) – 13 years
  • Flight Centre (Vancouver, BC)– 13 years
  • Bennett Jones LLP (Calgary, AB) – 13 years
  • Edward Jones (Mississauga, ON) – 12 years
  • Keg Restaurants Ltd. (Richmond, BC) – 12 years
  • McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. (Toronto, ON) – 12 years
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Canada (Toronto, ON) – 12 years
  • Co-operators General Insurance Company (Guelph, ON) – 11 years
  • Farm Credit Canada (Regina, SK) – 11 years
  • JTI-Macdonald Corp. (Mississauga, ON) – 11 years
  • Federal Express Canada (Mississauga, ON) – 10 years
  • G&K Services Canada Inc. (Mississauga, ON) – 10 years

“To consistently engage employees at a very high level is a remarkable achievement,” said Crawford. “For anyone looking to work at a Best Employer – or for any organization looking for best practices in the workplace – these are organizations are worth paying attention to.”

About the Aon Hewitt Best Employers in Canada Study

This year marks the 15th anniversary of our national study. There were 282 Canadian employers surveyed this year representing a total employee population of approximately 580,000. This study helps organizations accurately assess engagement and drivers of engagement, and identifies strategies to drive engagement higher with more insight and impact. Participants have access to the largest Canadian database of employee opinion to benchmark their results within their industry or sector and against Best Employers

Aon Hewitt's 2014 List of the Best Employers in Canada

The following 50 Best Employers in Canada list will appear in the November 18 issue of Maclean's magazine (on sale starting November 7) and in the November 20 edition of La Presse.



50 Best Employers in Canada – 2014


50 Best Employers in Canada – 2014


Cisco Systems
Toronto (ON)


Co-operators General Insurance Company
Guelph (ON)


EllisDon Corporation
Mississauga (ON)


SAP Canada Inc.
Toronto (ON)


Bennett Jones LLP
Calgary (AB)


Delta Hotels and Resorts
Toronto (ON)


Marriott Hotels of Canada ltd.
Mississauga (ON)


TD Bank Group
Toronto (ON)


Birchwood Automotive Group
Winnipeg (MB)


Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Toronto (ON)


LoyaltyOne Inc
Toronto (ON)


Vancity Credit Union
Vancouver (BC)


Edward Jones
Mississauga (ON)


Canadian Western Bank
Edmonton (AB)


PCL Constructors Inc.
Edmonton (AB)


Toronto (ON)


JTI-Macdonald Corp.
Mississauga (ON)


La Capitale Groupe financier
Quebec (QC)


McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited
Toronto (ON)


Mississauga (ON)


Chubb Insurance Company of Canada
Toronto (ON)


Earls Holdings Ltd.
North Vancouver (BC)


Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Markham (ON)


Westminster Savings Credit Union
New Westminster (BC)


Federal Express Canada Ltd
Mississauga (ON)


Aecon Group Inc.
Toronto (ON)


Farm Credit Canada
Regina (SK)


G&K Services Canada Inc.
Mississauga (ON)


Regina (SK)


Geo. A. Kelson Company Ltd.
Sharon (ON)


Keg Restaurants Ltd.
Richmond (BC)


Calgary (AB)


Novotel Canada
Mississauga (ON)


Calgary (AB)


Flight Centre
Vancouver (BC)


Canadian Apartment Properties REIT
Toronto (ON)


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Canada
Toronto (ON)


Cintas Canada Ltd.
Mississauga (ON)


Stikeman Elliott LLP
Toronto (ON)


Cossette Communication Inc.
Quebec (QC)


Clark Builders
Edmonton (AB)


Gibson Energy Inc.
Calgary (AB)


Davis Automotive Group
Lethbridge (AB)


Sifton Properties Limited
London (ON)


Purdy's Chocolatier
Vancouver (BC)


Nationale Bank
Montreal (QC)


LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Vancouver (BC)


Island Savings
Duncan (BC)


ATB Financial
Edmonton (AB)


Mont-Saint-Hilaire (QC)


To learn more about the Best Employers studies and register online to participate, please visit the Best Employers Web site at

About Aon Hewitt

Aon Hewitt empowers organizations and individuals to secure a better future through innovative talent, retirement and health solutions. We advise, design and execute a wide range of solutions that enable clients to cultivate talent to drive organizational and personal performance and growth, navigate retirement risk while providing new levels of financial security, and redefine health solutions for greater choice, affordability and wellness.  Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions, with over 30,000 professionals in 90 countries serving more than 20,000 clients worldwide.  For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 65,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world’s best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit for more information on Aon and to learn about Aon’s global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United.

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