According to the survey results, work/life balance is more important
to prospective employees than compensation, with over half of
respondents supporting this idea. However, 27 per cent would leave
their current job for another position that offers more money but
fewer perks, and a small percentage of respondents expect to switch
employers at least every five years.
There are a number of things an employer can do to increase job
satisfaction among employees. Over three-quarters of respondents indicated
that regular bonuses with annual pay increases would be an
incentive for staying with a company. In addition, a competitive retirement
package with related benefits is attractive to workers. Associated
with desiring work/life balance, flexible working hours with the
option to work remotely is something that 44 per cent of survey respondents
consider desirable in their own job.
On the other hand, the survey shed light on some things that employers
do that make their employees consider quitting. Maintaining
or contributing to poor office morale would cause over half of survey
respondents to consider leaving their companies, as well as constantly
increasing workloads without increasing rewards or compensation.
Interestingly, nearly half would also consider quitting because they
don’t feel appreciated by their employer.
Winter says the survey demonstrates a different view from the “millennials
lack commitment” narrative offered in HR circles, one that
she sees at Capital One.
“Millennials are looking for that commitment and are content to
stay where they are for the next two to three years,” she said. “They’re
looking for what most of us want, which is to be engaged, involved,
feel like their contributions make a difference and focus on learning
The survey also found that people are less focused on titles. Only
one in 10 Canadians put a promotion at the top of their wish list. A
sense of belonging and being part of something positive outweighed
the need to get ahead and have a more impressive title.
Winter was unsurprised with this finding as well: “Where we work
is a big part of our personal identity and people take a lot of pride in
Capital One was named one of the 2014 50 Best Workplaces in
Canada by Great Place to Work. The key to this success can be
summed up in one word: flexibility.
“The benefits and perks that are offered within an organization
need to flex with the employees as the demographic changes,” said
Winter. “The needs of someone in her 20s will be different than a baby
boomer’s. There needs to be flexibility and options.”
That often translates into putting more choice into employees’
hands. At Capital One Canada, from choosing how, where and when
employees work to helping accommodate a healthy work/life balance
to learning opportunities that mesh with personal goals and learning
styles, Winter says the company strives to adapt to the individual.
“We recognize that these are people with lives outside of work
and we are very flexible about how people accommodate their own
needs,” she said. “There’s less of a focus on hours and work location
and more on outcome and great results and making sure they are
That recognition is also a cornerstone to the company’s employee engagement
successes. Winter says milestones are regularly celebrated and
employees are empowered to take recognition into their own hands.
In their two Canadian call centres, employee engagement scores
soar and they enjoy a very low turnover. She credits peer-to-peer recognition
as one of the leading factors to that success.
“Associates can give small recognition awards to their peers who
are doing an awesome job on the phone when they hear it in the moment,”
said Winter. “A $10 gift card can mean a lot when it comes
from a teammate.”
Internal communications are also integral to a strong workforce.
An intranet with social media-like features is well used and helps
connect employees between Toronto and Montreal for collaborative
The physical work environment also plays a part.
“We’re very conscious about creating a work space where people
can be at their best,” said Winter. “Depending on the work they do,
we make sure they have the right set-up.”
Agile workspaces, such as portable white boards and desks and
tables that can be moved, help create spaces where work can be completed
efficiently and comfortably. An abundance of natural lighting,
spaces where people can come together informally and quiet places
for contemplative work are also freely available.
“We look at HR as enablers to create momentum. It’s critical to
think through the experience that you want your employees to have
and create that value proposition,” said Winter. “It’s not about having a
big budget and doing big splashy things; it’s about creating an energy.”
Winter is quick to point out that HR can’t create the environment
without executive sponsorship and champions from leadership. She
says the president of Capital One Canada reads every single comment
from their biannual survey and the feedback influences their
people priorities for the coming year.
However, the ownership over the culture of a workplace belongs
in the hands of the employees.
“Networks, forums, special interest groups – employees feel
they’re shaping a great culture and environment here. It’s theirs, and
not the company’s.
“The business leadership team needs to feel ownership of workplace
satisfaction and the role of the HR practitioner is to be a
steward of those efforts.”
With such an adaptable and supportive workplace culture, it’s understandable
that the company’s employees want to stay right where
they are. n
“WHERE WE WORK IS A BIG
PART OF OUR PERSONAL
IDENTITY AND PEOPLE TAKE
A LOT OF PRIDE IN THAT.”
– JENNY WINTER, CHIEF PEOPLE
OFFICER, CAPITAL ONE CANADA
46 ❚ JANUARY 2015 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL