Rubin Thomlinson LLP

Rubin Thomlinson LLP

June 22, 2009 08:00 ET

Uncertainty and Low Morale Dominates Mood in Canadian Workplaces, Finds National Employment Survey.

Communications seen key to boosting workplace morale.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2009) -

Attention: Business Editors

Editors Note: A graph is included with this press release.

Across the board and at every level of organization surveyed, the recession has profoundly affected workplace morale and continues to be a key issue as employers indicate they are uncertain that the worst is over.

That according to the results of a National Employment Survey released today by Rubin Thomlinson, LLP, an employment law firm in Toronto. The survey indicates that three quarters of the companies do not think the worst is over (38.0%) or are uncertain (36.6%) that the recession has turned the corner.

While more than half of the companies surveyed (56%) say they terminated employees as a result of the recession over the past twelve months, the biggest concern in workplaces today is low morale. Seven out of ten businesses (70%) report that morale issues are their biggest challenges.

"The story behind the numbers is a human story," says Janice Rubin, an employment lawyer and a founding partner of Rubin Thomlinson LLP. "The recession has taken its toll as companies portray their organizations as being distressed. Employers are reporting that workers are suffering from low morale and feeling uncertain about their jobs and their future. Workloads are also increasing in the face of staff reductions, which has added to workplace stress."

"If the recession continues and uncertainty in the workplace remains, we will likely see employee burn out, an increased number of stress leaves, workplace harassment issues and more mistakes being made," adds Rubin.

As for lessons learned over this past year, survey respondents overwhelming state that better and more frequent communications at all levels of their organizations is critical. Good communication they say is the key to keeping employees motivated and engaged.

The survey also indicates that of the companies that terminated employees, 80% reported downsizing between 1-10% of their workforces in the past twelve months. In addition to terminations and lay-offs, organizations used a variety of cost-cutting measures to manage the downturn including trimming budgets, instituting hiring freezes, reducing bonuses, reducing hours of work, making cuts in training, and adjusting benefits.

While the news is not rosy, survey respondents seems to suggest that the pace of terminations may be slowing down. As for whether more terminations in the last half of 2009 and into 2010 are on the horizon, 43.4% said they did not anticipate further cuts. While 18.1% said yes, these respondents indicated that there would be fewer terminations than in the first part of the year.

Rubin Thomlinson, LLP, conducted the National Employment Survey among Canadian companies in early June 2009.

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