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More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadian workers say their employer’s focus on employee safety and well-being drives trust in the company’s brand, according to a new survey by Proof Strategies.

The survey, which polled more than 1,500 employees, also found more than half of respondents said employers that are committed to diversity and inclusion (54 per cent) and Indigenous reconciliation (48 per cent) also inspire brand trust.

“Employees view well-being . . . as part of the employer’s role beyond just a profit-making entity,” says Josh Cobden, Proof Strategies’ executive vice-president. “Young Canadians expect a more diverse workplace, considering there’s still dismally poor representation of gender and diversity in senior decision-making roles. Young people want role models and people they can learn from [and] they also want to see themselves and their experiences reflected in leadership.”

Read: Working for organization that values DEI issues important for 71% of employees: survey

Fewer than half of respondents said they have trust in their chief executive office or the most senior manager where they work in 2023, a significant increase from 38 per cent in 2020. The survey found millennials (36 per cent) and generation Z (37 per cent) were less likely to trust their senior leaders than baby boomers (48 per cent) and generation X (46 per cent).

More than half (53 per cent) of employees said business leaders should speak out and regularly take positions when it comes to climate change, racism and social equity, compared to more than a third (36 per cent) who noted they should only speak out in rare instances and 11 per cent who don’t think companies should speak up at all on these subjects.

Younger respondents also hold CEOs to a higher standard, as 61 per cent of generation Z workers said they expect business leaders to show up and speak up when it comes to climate change, racism and social equity. By comparison, just 55 per cent of millennials, 55 per cent of generation X and 48 per cent of boomers felt the same.

“In the workplace today, there are five different generations now,” says Cobden. “Employers need to understand that the different generations of their workforce may have very different levels of trust in a company’s ability to lead and in the mission of the corporation.”

Read: Survey finds a fifth of workers lost trust in employer during pandemic