Taking It To The Top


Q: What does it take to become ‘an employer of choice’ in Canada?

A: Employee engagement

Every year, industry analysts who specialize in surveying Canadian workplaces publicize the list of top employers across the country.  In 2019, the list of honorees included the 50 Canadian workplaces who excel at employee engagement.

Click here to read the top 50 list and selection criteria.

Air Canada is one of the repeat winners to make it to this list. This does not happen by accident or default. The commitment Air Canada has made to employee engagement comes from the strategic alignment of its business strategy to its human resources strategy.  As noted in the article, Air Canada promotes its ‘people first culture’ as a business priority. The setting of this priority gives us a great example of a strategic initiative which establishes both a company and industry benchmark dedicated to excellence, which then drives organizational success.

As a result, Air Canada has been recognized for multiple award-winning industry and human resources initiatives, including Canadian top employer and diversity categories.

Click here to read about Air Canada’s award winning profile.   

Employee engagement is more than measuring whether or not people feel good about their jobs when they complete a survey. It comes from a consistent application and belief in ‘people first’ strategies through all aspects of the company hierarchy. We see this through the title of the person holding the senior human resources position at Air Canada. The leadership role for this particular senior vice president includes accountability and responsibility for a strategic commitment to human resource management with a portfolio dedicated to ‘People, Culture and Communications’.

Industry awards provide us with great examples of how standards of excellence can be applied and achieved. In the case of Air Canada, we see how leadership commitment from the top to its people and culture results in being at the top of the list for industry awards.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you rate the commitment to employee engagement at your current workforce?
  2. Select one or two companies from the top 50 list noted in the article. Provide an internet search on each company’s profile, including their strategic plans. How is employee engagement reflected in each plan?
  3. As an HR professional, would you be motivated to work for one of the top 50 companies? Explain your rationale.