Québec workers’ priorities for Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG)

During its most recent strategic planning exercise, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ identified talent attraction and retention as one of its priority areas for social return on investment. In other words, this is a critical issue for Québec, and one on which the Fonds has the power to act.

To make a targeted impact on the issue, the Fonds commissioned a Léger survey to gain insight into how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors affect employee job satisfaction and commitment in Québec. The online survey, conducted in late 2022, measured the responses of a representative sample of over 2,000 non-management employees.

This study identified some distinct themes Québec SMEs need to think about in a challenging labour environment of ongoing worker shortages. Here are some of them:

The "S" in "ESG" supports talent attraction and retention. But the importance of "G" is growing.

The study found that the most important factors Québec workers consider when choosing a job are salary and benefits, working hours, and work environment. That's why it's so important for Québec companies to enhance their position in these areas.

The survey also highlighted that nearly 1 in 6 workers are thinking about leaving their job in the next 12 months. When asked about the main sources of dissatisfaction at work, the management style of company executives topped the list of Québecer's concerns, followed by working conditions and work atmosphere. It goes without saying that CEOs and their management teams play a key role in retaining company talent.

In line with this last finding, transparency is considered one of the most important ESG measures by the highest proportion of currently dissatisfied workers (24%). It's also the second biggest reason why dissatisfied workers want to quit their job.

Source: Leger survey of workers in Québec, 2023-01-11 (French only).

Once again, management teams have the power to act quickly on this issue, including making communication more transparent with their employees.

Short-term action is critical, but the "E" in "ESG" will equip us for the future

The above data pinpoints areas where management teams can act now to make the most of the employee experience.

But we must not overlook the fact that workers' preferences or needs are continually evolving: In other words, just because something doesn't seem important today doesn't mean it won't be tomorrow.

An annual survey conducted by the Fonds gives us a good indication of employees' emerging and growing expectations about their employers.

Among other things, we see that:

  • Approximately 30% of workers would like their employer to be more committed and proactive in regard to ESG issues.
  • An increasing number of employees believe it's important for companies to take more action on the environment (reduce raw material consumption, reduce GHG, adopt good ESG practices and partners, etc.).

It's in the best interest of Québec companies to start thinking about ESG issues now so they can address the labour shortage from a position of strength. While Québec workers are currently more concerned about social and governance than environmental factors, interest is growing, along with increased pressure on companies: regulations, demands from clients and partners, etc.

Experts are available to support the Fonds' partner companies

The Asthuce team, a group of experts within the Fonds, has a mandate to helps the Fonds' partner companies and its network resolve current issues and prepare for the future. Aligned with the Fonds' vision of sustainable development, the team strives to integrate ESG perspectives into the strategy, governance and practices of the companies it supports.

It's important to note that the survey results give us insight into the major dynamics in Québec, but they must be considered within the context of each company to optimize their strategy's impact on worker attraction and retention. Now, Asthuce team is offering to the conduct this survey among the Fonds' partner companies and network so they can compare their situation to the rest of Québec.

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