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The latest Mercer QuickPulse™ Survey, released at the end of June, takes you inside employers’ minds to look at some of the most important topics they face when managing a workforce today. While the pandemic forced a flurry of changes in a short period of time, it seems that organizations are returning to a slower, planned approach when it comes to transitions. Other factors, such as the economy, a tight labor market, and technology advancements, will continue to force employers to listen to the voice of employees and create the right total rewards strategy for their workforce
In Canada, just over 100 employers participated in the survey, half of whom reported that talent shortages remain a challenge. The good news is that employers do feel that the challenge has been easing up over the last 6 months, although almost 30% continue to experience significant talent shortages.
Just over 30% of employers report that turnover has returned to prepandemic levels.
Many employers did provide support to employees in the face of high inflation. Some provided financial support (e.g., minimum wage increases, cost of living increases) and others communicated around the connection between pay and economic factors like inflation. Employers, however, do not intend to increase this support.
While the pressure on employers to put out “fires” and react to situations immediately seems to have died down, the need to assess strategies and practices in the total rewards space has become a high priority for many employers. In the Mercer QuickPulse™ Survey: Total Rewards and Recognition Edition published earlier this year, almost half of the participating employers reported that they will revisit their total rewards strategies in the next 6 to 12 months in order to identify ways to increase their ability to attract and retain employees.
Even a practice as fundamental as payroll administration will come under review because of its connection to the employee experience. In the survey, all participants report paying employees via direct deposit, with only 6% still offering paper checks. Interestingly, in the US survey report, just under half of the participants report still offering paper checks. Biweekly pay is the dominant practice.
It’s likely no surprise that only 8% of organizations indicated that they are not offering remote/hybrid work. Flexible working is here to stay. Fortunately, around three quarters of the organizations feel that they are achieving their desired outcomes, which include, but are not limited to:
Some of the more common guidelines/parameters that organizations have put in place for hybrid working are:
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Employers have continued to make changes to their remote and hybrid working programs, including such things as eligibility and number of days employees are required to be onsite. Though most believe they have been able to implement remote and hybrid working without experiencing challenges in getting employees back onsite, 31% report that getting managers to enforce the guidelines has been challenging. Fortunately, only 26% report having difficulty with employee compliance.
While employers and employees settle into this new way of working as the reality for the foreseeable future, they do continue to make some adjustments to things like flexibility with work/shift start and end times and allowing employees to “flex” to participate in life events outside of work. Both things seem to support the idea that employees want a job that allows them to enjoy what’s most important — their life outside of work. This, of course, is nothing new, but employers do seem to be listening and responding more directly than they have in the past.
It follows, then, that “PTO” or paid time off is another benefit offering that both employers and employees are considering when evaluating the true value of the total rewards package. As of late we’ve actually seen some well-known companies do away with tracking time off all together and offering what they call Unlimited Paid Time Off. As you would expect, many of those bleeding edge companies are in the technology sector.
What is top of mind for Canadian companies in terms of vacation/PTO?
The flex and PTO programs discussed above are one part of the offering. The other is finding a way to encourage employees to take the time off and disconnect. Employee wellness, particularly mental health, is very much in the spotlight, with time away from work and ability to pursue activities that are beneficial to their well-being a contributing factor. When asked what they are doing to encourage employees to take time off, 70% responded that they regularly encourage employees. A smaller percentage indicated they ask leaders to lead by example and visibly demonstrate using time off and disconnecting as well as tasking managers with discussing PTO utilization with employees.
In order to reduce the stressful workload that contributes negatively to mental health, 45% of employers reported that they ask leaders to prioritize projects and workloads and to implement tools or technologies to increase efficiency at work. A quarter of companies indicated they are making a concerted effort to reduce time spent in meetings, thereby increasing the amount of time employees have to actually complete their work.
Looking for ways to easily stay informed around some of the hottest topics in HR? Be sure to sign up for the next Canada Mercer QuickPulse™ Survey which opens for participation in July 2023! Another great source of HR and talent management data and insights is the Talent All Access® Portal. Let us help you decide which is right for your organization — call 1-855-286-5302 or email our team.