Aon Hewitt has released it annual Best Employers In Canada study today. While the list contains many of the same names that have graced it in years past, many of them have had some upward movement in their ranking, and almost 20 new employers have gained a spot.

OMERS, an organization that makes a regular appearance on the top 50 list has significantly improved its status. Moving from the No. 23 spot last year to the No. 13 this year, OMERS dedication to employee engagement and development has obviously resonated with employees.

“Our employees are encouraged to develop their careers, take ownership of their decisions and have an impact on the company’s success by sharing their creative ideas on how we can continue to improve as an organization,” says Michael Nobrega, president and CEO of OMERS. “The result is that our employees have a track record of being highly engaged in delivering investment returns to the plan and exceptional service to plan members.”

And that jump is one of significance. “If we look at the levels of engagement across the list, it runs from about 70% engagement to 90% engagement. So everyone on the 50 list have engagement scores somewhere in that range. But, it takes a lot to get into that top 10 or top 15,” says Neil Crawford, Aon Hewitt’s national Best Employers studies leader. “What we tend to see is that they take things to another level. There’s a difference in the quality and the leadership and effectiveness, those are some of the big difference when we see someone moving from that level.”

Best of the Small and Medium players

Along with it’s Best Employers in Canada list, Aon Hewitt also released it’s list of Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada. Notable industry names that appeared on that list include I Love Rewards at No.2 and Benefits by Design at No. 26.

Two hundred and fifty-one Canadian employers took part in the 2011 Best Employers studies. Organizations are selected as “best employers” is based primarily on survey responses from more than 134,000 Canadian employees at these organizations that gauge their level of engagement.

“We know that when employees are working in an organization where there is higher level of engagement…they tend to be more positive about their benefits and their retirement plans, even if that design and competitiveness of the plan isn’t necessarily there,” Crawford explains, adding, “They might not be spending any more money on their programs, but they are getting a better return on investment.”

Get the full list here

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