Nova Scotia

Halifax's CAO 'disappointed but not discouraged' by employee survey results

Results of a survey done in May show only 17 per cent of HRM employees believe their employer is committed to them.

'This gives us a roadmap for improvement. If you don't measure it, you can't manage it'

Jacques Dubé, Halifax's CAO, says a survey of HRM employees has him 'disappointed but not discouraged.' (CBC)

Results of an employee survey released this week has Halifax's chief administrative officer "disappointed but not discouraged."

"This gives us a roadmap for improvement," said Jacques Dubé​, "If you don't measure it, you can't manage it."

Sixty-one per cent of HRM's workforce took part in the survey which was conducted by Corporate Research Associates in May.

Only 17 per cent believe the municipality is committed to them. Thirty-five per cent reported feeling informed about HRM's plans and 48 per cent have confidence in the job being done by senior managers.

One in five finds job too stressful

One in five finds their job too stressful and less than half believe their work environment is "emotionally healthy."

Dubé​ said he wants to "recognize and reward" good ideas and is serious about creating a "coaching culture."  He said 400 supervisors and front-line managers have received leadership training over the past year.

"We need all hands on deck to make sure that people feel valued," said Dubé​, "It's not always about money. Sometimes it's about saying thank you or asking people how they are doing."

Dubé​ is pleased with the high response rate and insists there are some positive results. Seventy-nine per cent express overall satisfaction with their job.

HRM frequently below average compared to other companies

The study compared HRM results to those of other corporations in the Atlantic Region and they were below average in most categories.

Dubé​ acknowledges that has to change to retain and attract employees with 1,200 people eligible to retire from the municipality over the next five years.

It is the first employee survey in 10 years.​ Dubé​ now plans to do them every two or three years.

"This is the line in the sand," he said. "In the next one we'll be able to see if we've made any progress."


Pam Berman


Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to