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50 Best Employers in Canada Well Positioned to Meet Economic Challenges

TORONTO, Dec. 31 /CNW/ - As the country enters a recession, Canadian businesses with high employee engagement have a competitive advantage in their ability to weather the storm, according to results of the tenth annual Best Employers in Canada study conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company. Employees who work for Canada's Best Employers want to do their part to ensure their employer responds to the challenges they face in a more uncertain business climate. They are highly committed to the organization's success and understand their role in helping to achieve business results.

"The average employee engagement score at this year's 50 Best Employers is 76 per cent, 22 percentage points higher than the average at other participants in the study," said Neil Crawford, leader of the Best Employers in Canada study. "While an engaged workforce alone doesn't make an organization recession-proof, it can provide a level of resilience that other employers do not enjoy. These employees are highly productive and motivated. They are more likely do what is necessary to help their employer succeed."

The list of the 50 Best Employers in Canada for 2009 (attached) appears in the January issue of The Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine and in La Presse. One hundred and forty-five Canadian organizations registered to participate in the study. The results from this year's study were based on survey responses from more than 115,000 Canadian employees, with additional input from over 1,200 leaders and human resources professionals.

Sustained Success

No organization has appeared on the Best Employers in Canada list every year for the past decade. However, several organizations have been recognized annually over extended periods since the study's inception. "Many of these employers have experienced significant business challenges and have survived and thrived, in large part due to a solid foundation of high employee engagement," stated senior consultant Ted Emond.

All participants in the Best Employers in Canada study receive a complimentary report detailing their employee engagement scores and benchmarking them against those of the year's 50 Best Employers. "Many use this information and the more in-depth analysis that is available to develop and implement an action plan to increase employee engagement," said Emond. "It may take a year or more to begin to see positive results from their efforts. These organizations are now focused on ensuring they have the right people in the right roles doing the right work to succeed in challenging as well as prosperous economic times."

Learn from The Best

While the specific human resources practices used to engage employees at Best Employer organizations vary, there are some common qualities shared by all those recognized on the 50 Best Employers list.

One of the primary differentiators is the behaviour demonstrated by senior leaders at the 50 Best Employers. "Leaders at these organizations are absolutely clear that employees are critical to their success. They foster frequent two-way communication to ensure employees feel 'part of the team' and understand the part they play in achieving corporate objectives," stated Crawford. "In addition, Best Employers place more emphasis than other organizations on providing learning and development opportunities, strong performance management, and human resources programs that are not only competitive, but really meet the needs of each employee."

To find out more about Hewitt's Best Employers in Canada study, please visit the Best Employers Web site at www.hewitt.com/bestemployerscanada.

About Hewitt Associates. For more than 65 years, Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) has provided clients with best-in-class human resources consulting and outsourcing services. Hewitt consults with more than 3,000 large and mid-size companies around the globe to develop and implement HR business strategies covering retirement, financial and health management; compensation and total rewards; and performance, talent and change management. As a market leader in benefits administration, Hewitt delivers health care and retirement programs to millions of participants and retirees, on behalf of more than 300 organizations worldwide. In addition, more than 30 clients rely on Hewitt to provide a broader range of human resources business process outsourcing services to nearly a million client employees. Located in 33 countries, including Canadian offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Regina, Hewitt employs approximately 23,000 associates. For more information, please visit www.hewitt.com.

The 2009 List of the 50 Best Employers in Canada

2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Best Employers in Canada study. This year, the list of the Best Employers in Canada includes 25 organizations from Ontario, eight from British Columbia, eight from Quebec, five from Alberta, three from Saskatchewan, and one from Manitoba. Ten organizations have never appeared on the Best Employers in Canada list before. Full list>>>>>





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