Do You Hate Your Job?

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


We are proud at EllisDon to have finished first or second the last four years running in the Hewitt ‘Fifty Best Companies In Canada To Work For’ survey. The results of this effort are hugely important, not because of our standing, but because the study measures ‘engagement’ – how many of our employees really like their jobs at EllisDon (and how many don’t).

Here’s the rub: This year, our employee engagement is 89%, which puts us in second place, and which I think stinks. It means that one out of every ten people at EllisDon is just showing up in order to collect a paycheque – they don’t care enough about their job to actually be engaged in doing it.

Which is a tragedy all around. Ten per cent of our people don’t want to be here, so we are throwing at least $12-15 million out the window (not including the lost productivity), and a whole bunch of people are wasting their careers and a big chunk of their waking lives in a job they don’t like. It makes no sense at all. It drives me crazy.

Guess what else? Of all the companies that took the Hewitt survey, the average ‘engagement per centage’ for the very best fifty of those companies is only 78%. So, in the top rated companies in Canada, just under one-quarter of their employees are merely putting in time. What would it be if you measured every company in Canada? To me, this is extraordinarily depressing. What do you think the number is at your firm?

As an absolute wild guess, I would apportion the blame for this at about two-thirds/one third. I believe our leaders, including the CEO, are responsible for at least 67% of the unhappiness at EllisDon, and we need to treat this failure of leadership as an absolute top priority. I am also guessing that one third of our disengaged employees are either the wrong people, or the right people in the wrong place. So everybody needs to look in the mirror. Our leadership absolutely must improve, but unhappy people must also accept accountability: Make a mature and serious effort to solve the problem (because there are problems everywhere), or get off your butt and go somewhere else, because you aren’t doing anyone any favours - especially yourself - staying where you are.

So at night, lying in bed, when I’m on my left side, I think: We’re the second best company in all of Canada to work for…..aaaah. Then I roll on my right side and think: One in ten EllisDon people I will meet tomorrow hates their job ….Arrrggggh!

Have a great holiday season, everyone. Be engaged at home, too.