The autumn is typically a busy one for the industry, but this year was especially eventful over at Benefits Canada.

After a brief hiatus, the long-standing Healthy Outcomes Conference returned in October. This year, it was an in-person event designed for employers to exchange ideas and best practices for achieving improved employee health outcomes. Nearly 85 employers gathered at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto to hear from several panels, which featured plan sponsors — including Air Canada, CAA Club Group, Labatt Breweries of Canada, Scotiabank and Shopify Inc. — discussing topics like mental health, diversity, equity and inclusion, linking data and disability, communications during the coronavirus pandemic and financial wellness programs.

Read the coverage of the 2022 Healthy Outcomes Conference

Alongside the Healthy Outcomes Conference, Benefits Canada announced the winners of the 2022 Workplace Benefits Awards, which celebrates innovative employers that are making a difference in their employees’ mental, physical and financial well-being. This year, the awards crowned winners in 11 categories, narrowed down from 115 entries. The finalists represent 26 different employers across the country with more than 212,000 employees.

Read: Who are the winners of the 2022 Workplace Benefits Awards?

This year, Benefits Canada added a new project to the autumn roster. We’re pleased to share the results of the inaugural Future of Work Survey, which was conducted to take the pulse of Canadian employers and employees on several topics that are front of mind today. These include how human resources policies are reshaping the workplace, how employers are fostering employee wellness and engagement and what’s next in navigating the future workplace.

In the context of Canada’s current labour shortages and the move to hybrid and flexible working models intensified by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for employers to understand how to keep employees engaged and productive at work. In the summer, Benefits Canada surveyed more than 600 employees and over 100 employers to gauge their thoughts and opinions on these topics, culminating in an advisory board meeting — in early October — discussing the results and a webinar — in early December — to share more context around the findings.

Read the 2022 Future of Work Survey report here.

The report summarizing the survey’s findings and the advisory board’s subsequent discussion is available here. Broken down into three sections, it highlights the results and features case studies from the advisory board’s employer members, including Endy, First Onsite Restoration, Hootsuite, Kraft Heinz Canada and Mondelez International.

From flexible workplace cultures, DEI initiatives, employee recognition, retention bonuses and mental-health programs, these employers are pulling several levers to keep their current employees engaged and attract new workers to their organizations.

As the Future of Work Survey report points out, the coronavirus health crisis is turning a corner, moving from a pandemic to an endemic phase, propelling employers to think outside the box as they rebuild their workplaces to suit the new working environment that’s emerged from this cataclysmic disruption. In its inaugural year (and going forward), we hope this survey will offer a blueprint to all Canadian employers as they face the challenges of the years ahead.

Jennifer Paterson is the editor of Benefits Canada.