How psychologically healthy are your employees?

Just half (53 per cent) of employee respondents feel praised and recognized in their job, according to the 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of employees said the amount of work they are expected to do is reasonable for their position, a figure that dropped to 56 per cent for employees at larger organizations of at least 500 employees.

Some 66 per cent of respondents feel supported by their supervisor in getting work done, while 63 per cent feel satisfied with the fairness and respect they receive on the job.

Read: Communication and customization key to health and wellness programs

In comparison, 81 per cent of employer respondents believe their employees’ workloads are reasonable for their positions, while 80 per cent believe their staff members feel safe and free to speak up to their direct supervisors about personal issues that may be affecting their work performance.

While 70 per cent of plan sponsors said they have policies and procedures in place to recognize and respond to early warnings signs of conflict and distress among employees, one of the survey’s advisory board members, Carol Craig, director of human resources, benefits and pensions at Telus, cautioned that those efforts may not be enough.

“Often, employers think that if policies and procedures are in place, then they’ve done what they need to do, when in fact they have to make sure those policies are understood and put into action,” she said.


The questions posed to employee and employer respondents use statements from an employer’s guide for psychologically safe workplaces developed for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. According to the guide, agreement levels of 85 per cent or more indicate a psychologically safe workplace.

Read: Study to explore how to support the mental health of health-care employees

“As you can see, the average work place falls quite short [of the 85 per cent guideline], particularly on the last three measures, the involvement of employees in decisions, recognition and awards, and being informed of important changes before they happen,” says board member Anne Nicoll, vice-president of business development at Medavie Blue Cross.

The Sanofi survey’s advisory board also noted in the report that the target is high. “Having said that, I am still flabbergasted that about a third of plan members are not satisfied in terms of involvement, recognition and being informed,” said advisory board member Jacques L’Espérance, president of J. L’Espérance Actuariat Conseil Inc.

Read: How to engage employees in Mental Health Week

“Thirty years ago, we were reading that the biggest reasons for employee stress were a lack of control over the work environment, for example over things like work deadlines, and lack of support from supervisors or colleagues. This is still a problem.”

How do the 2016 results compare to related questions five years ago?

Sanofi’s 2011 survey found 35 per cent of plan members said workplace stress had been so overwhelming that it made them physically ill. Less than half (42 per cent) of respondents said their employer was very (five per cent) or somewhat (37 per cent) effective in helping employees deal with workplace stress-related issues, while 39 per cent said they weren’t very effective and 19 per cent said they weren’t effective at all.

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Read more findings from the 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Surveysanofi2011stress