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Workers endorse their employers’ pandemic performance: study


Even after a year of unprecedented and continuing disruption to workplaces everywhere, both Canadian and U.S. employees give their employers strong marks for their management during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new North American study.

In the Argyle Public Relationships Index — a Leger survey conducted for Argyle, a leading North American engagement, communication and reputation advisory firm — 77 per cent of Canadians and 83 per cent of Americans agree that “my employer has managed the COVID-19 crisis well,” compared with just 19 per cent and one percent who disagree in the respective countries.

“Whether you’re confronting the complexities of a virtual workplace or the stressful safety protocols of a physical one, the pandemic has turned the working world upside down,” said Argyle CEO Daniel Tisch.

“As employers and employees navigate and negotiate whatever comes next, they do so on a surprisingly strong foundation of respect and trust.”

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IT, manufacturing sectors lead the way

In Canada, workers in the information and communications technology sector give their employers the strongest vote of confidence for pandemic performance (95 per cent agree), followed by manufacturing (89 per cent), finance and insurance (83 per cent), retail, wholesale and real estate (81 per cent), and professional services (78 per cent).

Employees in the health-care and social assistance sector mirrored the national average, with 77 per cent agreement. Lower scores came from workers in construction (64 per cent), accommodation and food services (67 per cent) and transportation and warehousing (69 per cent).

“While we expected the tech, finance and professional services sectors to do well because of lower safety risks, the high satisfaction of manufacturing and retail workers shows that overcoming adversity together can often create a stronger bond,” said Dave Scholz, Leger’s executive vice-president.

Employee/employer relationships

Using Argyle’s six research-tested dimensions of a healthy relationship, Canadians give their employers similar or slightly higher marks than when the survey was last conducted in March 2020, although most results are within the margin of error:

“The weakest finding for employers is also their greatest opportunity: engaging employees about the future — and giving them some visible influence on the decisions you make today,” Tisch said. “While higher turnover is inevitable after such as stressful year, those who invest in these essential relationships will inevitably be better positioned for renewed growth.”

Interestingly, the data suggest Americans have even stronger relationships with their employers, exceeding the scores Canadians give their employers on every metric.

About the study

The Argyle Public Relationships Index is based on a survey of 934 employed Canadians and 548 employed Americans, completed between April 30 and May 2, 2021, using Leger’s online panel.

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