Telus Employee Engagement Plummets in 2016

February 6, 2017 - Each year our members are asked to provide feedback and comments in the Telus annual employee engagement survey called Pulsecheck.

Telus believes the survey results obtained provide insight into what's working and what's not at Telus.

A very basic definition of employee engagement is the level of commitment an employee has for their work in an organization.

In 2016, Telus did not achieve the engagement target they were striving for. Instead the scores plummeted.

In December 2016, CEO Darren Entwistle informed employees of the 2016 survey results and that engagement had fallen 11% to 76%.

Individual Telus business units faired much worse than the overall engagement scores and were communicated to employees as:


This pinpoints the worst Telus department for morale as the CSD work group. CSD consists of field technicians which install and repair Telus services (TV, Phone & Internet) in addition to maintaining the Telus outside plant network.

Here are the employee engagement survey results for Telus in 2016. The results show a decrease in almost every category.



Prior to 2016, Telus engagement scores for Domestic employees increased from 53% in 2007 to 87% in 2015.

What is employee engagement according to Telus?

Employee engagement is not about a score; it’s a mindset. Engagement is the manifestation of both the intellectual and emotional state of mind employees have in an organization. Engagement indicates the extent to which an employer has captured the heart of its team members.

Team member engagement is an essential factor in measuring the health of an organization as important as operational performance and the organization’s standing in its industry or sector. Engaged team members are productive, innovative and take ownership of results.


** Data (2007 to 2012) in slide 20 from & (2012 to 2015) from

In August 2016, the Union conducted our own "Reality Check" survey to compare to the Telus employee engagement survey. We asked members to provide their honest feedback, without internal pressures and benchmarks.

More than 1,700 members participated in the survey and identified as working in the following Telus employee categories:

•    Field Technician position - 40%
•    Clerical/Call Centre position - 57%
•    Operator Services position - 3%

The Union has long believed the Telus survey results are flawed because our members are pressured by management to provide feedback and their participation has become mandatory. If management obtains low engagement scores, they can and do negatively impact an employee’s performance bonus payout.

The survey results shed light on how Telus exploits their employee survey to achieve the responses they strive for annually:

1.    87% of respondents felt pressured to answer the Pulsecheck survey
2.    74% of respondents felt they were "guided" by management to answer survey questions a particular way
3.    70% of respondents were informed there would be negative consequences for poor survey scores
4.    53% of respondents said they altered their responses to get their manager to leave them alone
5.    36% of respondents said they would tell others great things about working at Telus
6.    39% of respondents said they would recommend Telus to a friend seeking employment
7.    55% of respondents said they rarely think about leaving Telus to work elsewhere
8.    31% of respondents said it would take a lot to get them to leave Telus
9.    Just 14% of respondents said Telus inspires them to do their best work every day
10.    Only 14% of respondents said Telus motivates them to contribute more than is required to complete their work

Members also provided their feedback about Telus management practices which can be summarized as:

1.    Management coaches employees to provide only high Pulsecheck scores
2.    If management receives negative survey scores, they threaten to cut jobs by either contracting out or offshoring
3.    Departments are constantly being cut back putting extra pressure on employees to pick up the slack
4.    Telus doesn't care about work life balance for employees
5.    Telus has become a sweatshop using pressure and metrics
6.    The amount of favouritism in the company is a big problem
7.    Employees feel their opinion will be used against them in a negative way
8.    Management is making it harder for the employees to do their work
9.    Employees have never felt that they worked for a heartless corporation more than they do now
10.    Telus has a lot of broken promises, favouritism and unfair procedures

Telus has repeatedly stated its employees are their single most competitive advantage.  So what will a workforce that is becoming disengaged mean for employee productivity going forward?

This low level of engagement has not been seen at Telus since 2011. As an essential measuring factor for Telus, what does a significant reduction in employee engagement mean for the health of the organization and its future?

Did the last round of bargaining and employee concessions play a part in the plummeting employee engagement survey results Telus received for 2016?

Could reducing departments by contracting out and offshoring Canadian jobs negatively impact future engagement results?

Telus management recently started to hold open forum meetings with employees to communicate their displeasure with the 2016 Pulsecheck survey results. At one meeting on Vancouver Island in January, field technicians were told they were the lowest engaged workforce in Telus.

During the presentation employees were told what Telus plans to do next:

•    Careful analysis of technician feedback: what can be improved in 2017
•    Daily, weekly, monthly Pulsecheck Plan reviews/meetings at all levels until September 2017
•    Leadership evaluations underway, performance improvement plan (PIP) and/or possible termination of Field Managers.
•    Planned 2017 Vancouver Island investments for infrastructure, training, internal labour, community investment to be reviewed or re-allocated
•    Increased focus on “Performance Management” in 2017
•    North Vancouver Island internal coverage and support (NBD) currently under review. Other island reviews under consideration
•    The island results are now an “Island Brand”
•    Our current Reality: The Island is a “net cost” to Telus, Lowest Engaged workforce in the company, A small Part of the organization.

Any member who attends an open forum meeting where management communicates the ‘next steps’ to address plummeting engagement scores should document the meeting. Record the presentations and/or statements made by Telus management and forward that information to a unit shop steward or the Union office for information.

With this recent workplace announcement, it is obvious that Telus is considering making Vancouver Island communities pay the price for receiving honest employee feedback. The Union is concerned that Telus does not care about local communities and charitable organizations on Vancouver Island.

Telus has to stop painting workers as unproductive and bad at their jobs. Instead, they should invest in their staff and reduce the "crushing workload" faced by our members in many departments.

“Our Telus members care about providing telecommunication services to Canadian customers, but they feel belittled and undervalued by this employer,” said Lee Riggs, TWU, USW National Local 1944 President. “This employee engagement score is a call to action for Telus. This is their chance to start turning things around by working with their employees and their union rather than against them.”

For more information on the 2016 Telus Pulsecheck survey results click here.

In solidarity,

The Telecommunications Workers Union, United Steelworkers National Local 1944