TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 06, 2014) - Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), today released its annual list of Best Employers in Canada, the country's most comprehensive study of employee engagement and the work environment. Based on data from nearly 350,000 employee and leader surveys from 259 participating private- and public-sector organizations, the study identifies 50 Canadian companies that have made the mark as Best Employers for 2015. This year's study also reveals that average Canadian employee engagement, at 65%, is higher than the global and U.S. averages (both at 61%). But while Canadian engagement is strong on average, strong employee recognition and providing employees with the right tools to be productive on the job remain challenges to greater engagement.

The primary requirement for being recognized as an Aon Hewitt 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 organization's 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 that influence engagement: Employment Brand (the strength of a company's reputation as an employer); Leadership (which organizations have highly effective senior managers and leaders); Performance (how well an organization manages, recognizes and provides opportunities for employees); The Work (how well an organization equips employees to do their jobs); Company Practices (leadership development, HR practices, etc.) and The Basics (including supporting work/life balance). This year, average employee engagement at Aon Hewitt Best Employers was 77%, roughly on par with 2014's 78%. (The average for other organizations was 58%.)

"Best Employers drive consistent long-term performance through organizational cultures marked by strong leadership, strong performance orientation, a strong brand and, ultimately, strong employee engagement," said Neil Crawford, Partner and Leader of Aon Hewitt's Best Employers in Canada study. "At an individual level, highly engaged employees have lower absenteeism, are more productive, and are less likely to be looking for work elsewhere -- which means that they make a greater contribution to their employer's success."

Key differentiators for engaged employees
Aon Hewitt's research into employee engagement has found that four of the six areas assessed in the Best Employers study emerge as key differentiators between top-performing organizations and the rest of the field. While scoring well on Company Practices and The Basics are considered minimum requirements, Best Employers distinguish themselves in the areas of Employment Brand, Leadership, Performance and The Work.

"What we have found, not just in Canada but through our global Best Employers research as well, is that Best Employers are really pulling away from the pack when it comes to employee engagement," said Crawford. "And the big differences are seen most clearly in these four areas. Good HR practices and encouraging a good work-life balance are 'table stakes' for employees -- necessary but not sufficient to driving engagement. The real gains come from having a reputable employment brand, strong leadership, a commitment to providing recognition and opportunities, and the ability to help employees work better."

Chubb Insurance Company of Canada, a longtime presence on the Aon Hewitt Best Employers list, was the top performer among all companies in three of the six categories: Employment Brand, Leadership and Performance. Cisco Canada, Bennett Jones LLP and EllisDon all scored over 90% in the Employment Brand Index; Cisco was also the second-highest scoring company in Leadership. On Performance, Birchwood Automotive Group came in second behind Chubb, while Bennett Jones LLP ranked first in The Work.

Recognition and enabling productivity are opportunities
Overall, employee satisfaction with most work environment areas was strong, and in several areas -- Employment Brand, Collaboration and People/HR Practices, for example -- satisfaction scores were at 70% or higher, compared with an average of 65% for engagement. However, study participants gave their employers low marks in a handful of areas that remain challenges to better engagement overall. On recognizing employees beyond pay and benefits, for example, average satisfaction among those surveyed stood at 56%. The survey findings also suggest that Canadian employers seeking to improve engagement may be wise to consider ways to better enable productive work -- giving employees the tools, technology and the information to do their jobs well, and ensuring that business practices encourage (rather than stand in the way of) productivity. On enabling work, the average satisfaction score was just 59%.

"Six years after the global recession, many businesses continue to be risk- and spending-averse," noted Crawford. "More is expected from the average employee every day. The slow uptick in business spending on productivity-enhancing tools and processes may be feeding the perception that companies could be doing more to help employees get their work done efficiently. Again, this is an area where we see Aon Hewitt Best Employers pulling away from the pack, and it provides a good opportunity for other companies to focus their efforts and improve engagement."

Aon Hewitt's 2015 List of the Best Employers in Canada
The following Aon Hewitt Best Employers in Canada list will appear in the November 17 issue of Maclean's magazine (on sale starting November 6) and in the December 10 edition of La Presse.

The 50 Best Employers in Canada of 2015
Aecon Group Inc. Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada Hatch Ltd.
ATB Financial Island Savings
Banque Nationale (BN) Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.
Bennett Jones LLP JTI-Macdonald Corp.
Birchwood Automotive Group Keg Restaurants Ltd.
British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) LoyaltyOne Inc.
Cadillac Fairview LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Canadian Apartment Properties REIT Maritime Travel
Canadian Western Bank Marriott Hotels of Canada Ltd.
Chubb Insurance Company of Canada McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd.
Cisco Canada MNP LLP
Clark Builders Mouvement Desjardins
Concept Group Novotel Canada
The Co-operators OMERS
Davis Automotive Group Ltd. Open Road Auto Group Ltd.
Delta Hotels and Resorts PCL Constructors Inc.
Earls Restaurants Ltd. Purdys Chocolatier
Edward Jones SAP Canada Inc.
EllisDon Corporation Starwood Hotels and Resorts Canada
Farm Credit Canada Stewart McKelvey
Federal Express Canada Ltd. Stikeman Elliott LLP
Flight Centre Canada TD Bank Group
G&K Services Canada Inc. WestJet
Geo. A. Kelson Company Ltd. Westminster Savings Credit Union

About the Aon Hewitt Best Employers in Canada Study
The 2015 Best Employers in Canada Study is the 16th annual edition of the most comprehensive survey of employee engagement in the country. There were 259 Canadian employers in this year's survey, representing a total employee population of nearly 350,000. 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.

To learn more about the Aon Hewitt Best Employers studies and register online to participate, please visit the Aon Hewitt Best Employers website at

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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 66,000 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, best reinsurance intermediary, best 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 with Manchester United.

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