August 4, 2008
Chronicle: Emory a great place to work
By Elaine Justice
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently named Emory one of the “2008 Great Colleges to Work For.” The University was selected based on its responses to a questionnaire covering everything from salary, benefits and programs that support faculty and staff, to leadership development and governance structure.
The Chronicle also conducted a survey of 600 randomly selected faculty and staff at Emory.
“It’s particularly gratifying to know that part of the consideration for this recognition was based on such positive input from the Emory community,” says Peter Barnes, vice president of human resources.
The University was in the unranked top five in 13 of 27 categories for institutions with 2,500 or more employees. Emory tied with the University of Michigan for the second largest number of areas of recognition.
“This is a very satisfying affirmation of Emory, but our real goal is not recognition — it’s being a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual,” says President Jim Wagner. “In that sense, everyone at Emory helps to make this a positive place to work.”
Nationally, the survey included 15,000 respondents at 89 colleges and universities, 39 public and 50 private. Institutions were invited to participate based on specific Carnegie classifications, according to Chronicle editor Jeffrey Selingo. In an editor’s note, he said that the idea for the survey began with the observation that people “needed more information about the best places to work in higher education.”
This was the survey’s inaugural year, but Barnes says he hopes Emory will participate year after year. “We learned a lot about ourselves and how to compare what we’re doing to others,” he says.
“We can use these survey results to differentiate who we are, promote what we think is good about our university, and work on things that others have done better than we have,” Barnes adds.
For example, in the section on what makes Emory unique as an organization, the University provided information on community efforts such as Georgia Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity projects, leading the nation in LEED certification, sustainability efforts, alternative transportation options, Office of University-Community Partnerships, affinity groups such as President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and many others.
Under the work-life category, Emory provided information on alternative work arrangements such as telecommuting, job sharing and compressed work weeks; the University’s many health and fitness programs; near to campus child care with financial subsidies depending on income; Step Up Emory; and the Faculty-Staff Assistance Program.
The assessment process, which also included an analysis of demographic data and workplace policies at each participating college or university, was administered by ModernThink LLC, a human-resources consulting firm that has conducted many “Best Places to Work” surveys.
Keep those ‘bright ideas’ coming!
Earlier this summer three staff members received $1,000 award money from the “Bright Ideas for Emory” program for suggestions that will save the University time, money and improve work life.
These ideas are more important than ever, says Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, as the University faces challenges from the ongoing national economic downturn.
“Employee talent and expertise play a major role in helping to make Emory a great place to work,” says Mandl. “Now is the time to focus even more on encouraging and fostering creative thinking and active engagement in developing new approaches in how we get our work done.”
To submit your idea, go to: www.brightideas.emory.edu.
Proposals can offer solutions to a range of workplace issues with the goal of:
• Improving working
• Increasing efficiencies
• Saving time and money
• Boosting workplace productivity
• Streamlining administrative processes
• Increasing safety
• Enhancing customer service
Emory Report will continue to cover community initiatives and recommendations on how to navigate challenges represented by the current economic climate (see this week's “First Person”).