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Leadership drives employee engagement and culture, Deloitte report

Canadian businesses and HR executives are not ready to lead the workforce of tomorrow

According to Deloitte, organizations are struggling to develop leaders in the modern, multigenerational workplace.

Toronto, April 15, 2015 – Organizations are struggling to develop leaders in the modern, multigenerational workplace, according to the Canadian edition of Deloitte’s Human Capital 2015 Trends report, Canadian perspectives on the new world of work. In a survey of Canadian business and human resources (HR) leaders, leadership once again tops the list of concerns amongst 90 percent of survey respondents followed by culture and engagement (86 percent).

In a critical time of transition when workers are getting younger and older, as millennials step into the roles left by retired boomers, as new jobs are being created that did not exist 5 years ago and as senior leaders choose to remain in the workforce, only 58 percent of respondents felt their organization provides adequate leadership programs for all levels.

“Leadership and culture work in tandem. The decisions, attitudes and behaviours of leaders shape an organization’s culture,” said Heather Stockton, Partner and Human Capital Leader at Deloitte. “When an organization’s values and business goals are aligned, its culture tends to drive better employee engagement, customer experience and financial performance.”

The report findings show a shift in the balance of power in the talent market towards the employee, making employee engagement even more critical to organizational success. Employee motivations like purpose and passion matter just as much or more than personal ambition. Work-life balance can also have an impact on employee engagement – an area that employees find difficulty in striking the right balance with 44% of respondents feeling poorly equipped to balance personal and professional priorities. 

Redesigning work for the on-demand workforce.
Almost half (47 percent) of the survey respondents indicated plans to increase the use contingent, outsourced, contract or part-time workers in the next three to five years.  Tapping into the open talent economy provides firms with the ability to scale up or down as business needs fluctuate. Redesigning work so that tasks and deliverables can be provided by workers outside of a company maximizes an organization’s ability to tap a vast array of talent as a competitive advantage.

Setting new parameters for HR
The report also reveals a need for HR to redefine its core responsibilities to be more agile and closely integrated with the business to identify, attract, retain and develop talent. 

Only 7 percent of respondents rate their HR teams for delivering excellent performance and 39 percent of respondents felt that HR teams fail to deliver programs that align with business needs. This signals a need to redirect the focus away from transactional activities that focus on traditional people matters and shift to responsibilities and training so that HR can be true advisors who can focus the ROI that is critical to an organization’s success. The new HR will be called upon to deliver business outcomes through new HR services and use technology, analytics, and new tools to support their organization’s goals.

“Canadian businesses are not destined to struggle with these issues for years to come, but it will take bold steps in leadership, commitment and action to abandon the comfortable familiarity. Organizations need to fast forward their thinking around how to develop leaders who inspire and lead new and different workforces” said Karen Pastakia, Partner in Consulting at Deloitte.

Deloitte conducted a survey of 118 Canadian business and HR leaders from a cross-section of small, mid-sized and large firms between November 1, 2014 and December 13, 2014 to gather a Canadian perspective on talent, leadership and HR challenges and readiness.

The top 10 2015 human capital trends in Canada are:

  1. Leadership - Companies are struggling to develop leaders at all levels and are investing in new and accelerated leadership models 
  2. Culture and engagement - Organizations are recognizing the need to focus on culture and dramatically improve employee engagement as they face a looming crisis in engagement and retention
  3. Learning and development - Companies are actively exploring new approaches to learning and development as they confront increasing skills gaps
  4. Reinventing HR - HR is undergoing an extreme makeover to deliver greater business impact and drive HR and business innovation
  5. Workforce capability - Companies are taking a more sophisticated approach to managing all aspects of the workforce, including the hourly, contingent and contract workforce
  6. HR & People analytics - Too few organizations are actively implementing talent analytics capabilities to address complex business and talent needs
  7. Performance management - Organizations are replacing traditional performance management with innovative performance solutions
  8. Simplifying work - Organizations are simplifying work environments and practices in response to information overload and increasing organization and system complexity, and information overload
  9. Machines as talent - The increasing power of computers and software to automate and replace knowledge workers is challenging organizations to rethink the design of work and the skills their employees need to succeed
  10. People data everywhere - HR and talent organizations are expanding their HR data strategies by harnessing and integrating third-party data about their people from social media platforms

Learn more about the Human Capital Trends.

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.


Jeannie Tsang
Manager, Public Relations
(416) 643-8084/ (416) 576-9016

Marilyne Plouffe
Co-ordinator, Public Relations

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