Productivity Through Health: A FGIworld CEO Study On Health And Productivity In Canadian Industry: Ipsos-Reid

June 8, 2005 — This study underscores the productivity gap that currently exists in Canadian companies, with half of both CEOs (53%) and working Canadians (52%) agreeing that their organizations are not as productive as they should be.

Additionally, when asked about their most important business issues, maximizing workplace productivity was one of the top two priorities for CEOs, the other being customer service.

So what are the major causes of Canada�s unrealized workforce productivity? Both CEOs (66%) and working Canadians (71%), point to �stress, burn-out or other physical and mental health problems� as the top issues that negatively affect productivity. A large proportion in both groups also point to poor �management practices� (42% among CEOs, 59% among workers), and �lack of effective training programs� (39% among CEOs, 48% among workers).

Furthermore, eight in ten CEOs (78%) say they are either very concerned (27%) or somewhat concerned (50%) about the impact of poor health on their workforce. Three in four (75%) CEOs agree that today�s employees face a greater health risk from mental health conditions, such as stress or burn-out, than they did five years ago.

Most CEOs feel their workforce is somewhat handicapped by the current health-care system: Six in ten (59%) agree that a lack of health-care professionals in their community is having a negative effect on both their workers and on their workforce productivity.

Looking ten years into the future, CEOs see a range of potentially serious problems developing for their workforce. First among these is the pervasive belief among CEOs (71%) that the costs of health care and disability benefits for workers will exceed what their employee programs provide.

As for what things CEOs think will best help them address workforce productivity: Seven in ten (68%) say �leadership development training and initiatives,� followed by �absence prevention programs� (44%), �company-sponsored employee assistance and mental health programs� (32%) and �return to work from disability programs� (28%).

When both CEOs and working Canadians were asked to select from a list of workplace factors which ones they believed were having a positive impact on productivity in their organizations, a majority of CEOs and working Canadians pointed to:

  • Effective training programs (79% vs. 73%)

  • Management practices (69% vs. 64%)

  • Appropriate employee assistance programs to help manage worker stress, burn-out or other physical and mental health issues (60% vs. 60%)

  • The design of worker pay structure and incentives (57% vs. 58%)

In the end, most CEOs (61%) say their organization has taken steps to address the specific demographic needs of their workforce and how their health issues might affect productivity.


The study involved two separate surveys:

  1. A telephone interview with 114 of Canada�s top CEOs, selected from the leading revenue-earning corporations in the country. Given the finite population of this community, these survey findings can be considered accurate to within +/- 9 points of what it would be had this entire population been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of this population.

  2. A telephone survey of 622 working Canadians (those who are employed in a company or who are self-employed). The results of these survey findings can be considered accurate to within +/- 4 points of where it would be had this entire population been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of this population.


Ipsos-Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader and the country�s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos-Reid employs more than 300 researcher professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos-Reid�s Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada�including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country�all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos-Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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