History and Objectives

The BC Public Service is committed to understanding and improving employee engagement. Part of this commitment is carried out through the BC Public Service Work Environment Survey, also known by the acronym WES, which measures the health of the work environment within the BC Public Service.

Launched in 2006, the WES is now recognized by other jurisdictions and public sector agencies as a leading employee engagement program.


2001 and 2003

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) undertakes studies of the B.C. government work environment. After the first study, the Auditor General reports:

“I believe a well performing government, one that meets the service expectations of British Columbians, can only be achieved through a strong, highly competent and committed public service.”


The BC Public Service Agency commits to government-wide measurement of the public service work environment. The commitment to annual government-wide measurement is reinforced in the BC Public Service Corporate Human Resources Plan, released in October 2006:

“…We will gauge our progress annually through a Work Environment Survey overseen by the BC Public Service Agency, and share these results with all employees.”


BC Stats in partnership with the BC Public Service Agency (PSA) conducts the first annual government-wide Work Environment Survey.


The Deputy Ministers’ Committee on the Public Service (DMCPS) decides to move the WES program to a biennial cycle. The new schedule provides more time for ministries to improve and/or assume new engagement strategies, and it provides an opportunity for focused employee-related research in the alternating years. The decision and the new WES schedule is communicated broadly to the BC Public Service (BCPS) through the Corporate Human Resource Plan 2012 and through @Work.

Why Employee Engagement is Important

Research in both the public and private sectors, including the BC Public Service, has shown that engaged employees are:

  • More productive
  • Less likely to resign
  • Provide better service to citizens and businesses

The WES has established important baseline measures allowing us to:

  • Diagnose work environment challenges impacting engagement
  • Start conversations on what can be done differently
  • Implement strategies
  • Monitor progress
  • Demonstrate how experiences change over time