Good help is hard to find! At least that is what a new Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) survey found.
According to the Health & Safety Leadership Survey, attracting and keeping staff is now number one on the list of challenges facing business leaders.
For the third consecutive year, WSPS surveyed HR and workplace safety leaders across the country to gain insights into urgent and emerging issues and provide direction for mapping a sustainable path forward.
A total of 532 senior leaders and decision makers from a broad cross-section of industries and businesses were eager to share their experience and unique perspectives. Among the key survey findings, attracting and retaining staff shot from fifth to top spot with the pandemic dropping to third position behind mental health.
Kiran Kapoor, Vice President of Service Delivery at WSPS says the timing of the research presents a unique vantage point on the cusp of re-entry to the next normal.
“Now that health and safety is top of mind for most business leaders and they understand that the impact it can have on their business, on sustainability, on attraction and retention of employees and on the growth of their organization, it’s really important that we continue to make sure that the advances over the past few years continue.”
Mary de Guzman, Senior National Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability with Purolator has been involved with the leadership survey over its 3-year history. She says she has seen a significant change in awareness and understanding of health and safety and a shift in behaviors and attitudes.
“One thing every health and safety professional has remarked is the fact that, you know, back a few years ago, people didn’t know what PPE stood for and now its just common language. Everybody knows what it is. So you know, there have been so many advances make in the past couple of years because of the pandemic and heightened importance on health and safety and protecting the wellbeing of all employees.”
For the first time, employees from 500 workplaces across Ontario added their perspectives in a companion survey – the Health & Safety Employee Survey.
In some instances, employers and employees had differing opinions on the issues, but when addressing the topic of mental health there was universal agreement regarding an urgent and immediate need for emotional and mental wellbeing on the job. Kiran Kapoor says the survey research tells a compelling story.
“People are recognizing that health and safety is not just about physical safety, it’s also about ensuring a healthy workplace and psychological health and safety of workers as well. And that’s a really important aspect in terms of being able to be a sustainable and responsible workplace that will be attractive for people to join your organization.”
Nearly three quarters of employer respondents indicate they’ve lost staff to preventable issues and agree with employees that the primary reasons are mental health and coping with increased workload.
Kristy Cork, Mental Health Consultant at WSPS isn’t surprised. She says listening is key. You need to talk to people to find out what it is about the work that is causing stress and actively work to address those issues.
“Investing in people and maybe spending a bit more resource time and effort on retention, you won’t have to invest so much time and effort in recruitment. We know the job market right now is so hot for employees. They are going to look for workplaces where they feel valued, appreciated, challenged, where there is opportunity for growth and development.”
A full analysis of the survey findings will be shared publicly in the Emergent Leadership Challenges in Post-pandemic Health & Safety: 3rd annual results webinar, Thursday June 2, 2022 at 10 am. Participants will receive an email link to download the white paper.