February 25, 2003
National Survey Ranks Whitworth a 'Best Christian Workplace'In the largest survey ever conducted on the attitudes of employees at Christian workplaces, Whitworth College was named the Best Christian Workplace among large colleges, universities and seminaries. Winners and runners-up in nine other categories were also announced Monday night at the Christian Management Association conference in Colorado Springs.
"The two best things that could be said about Whitworth College are that it's a great place to go to school and that it's a great place to go to work," said Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "Our students and our employees give us the most important grades we get. So, this recognition is just flat thrilling."
The survey, commissioned by Christianity Today magazine and administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, included responses from more than 8,500 employees across a range of industries. Applications were accepted from any organization with more than 15 full-time employees, a Christian mission and an explicitly Christian product or service. Employees of participating workplaces filled out an online survey that covered various aspects of their companies' people management practices, including employee recruitment and retention, organizational communication, working environment, performance management and employee benefits. High employee response rates were required to ensure that the survey results would be statistically significant.
An independent panel of judges weighed the employee scores, the employee survey participation rates and the human resource profiles in order to select the top companies to work for. Four finalists in each of 10 categories will be profiled in an article to be published in the April issue of Christianity Today, a monthly Christian news and current events magazine with an estimated international readership of 350,000.
"I have long believed that Christian organizations should be the model of quality human resource practices, so this survey was designed to highlight those companies that excel at managing their employees, as well as encouraging all Christian organizations to improve their people practices," said Helen Lee, co-founder of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute and a former assistant editor for Christianity Today.
Robinson is grateful for the recognition but he doesn't want Whitworth to rest on its laurels. He and other employees at the college are focused on making the college more ethnically diverse, a challenge identified by most organizations in the survey, and to communicate even more clearly Whitworth's mission of providing an education characterized both by Christian commitment and open, rigorous intellectual inquiry.
"One of the reasons this is a good place to work is because we take our mission a lot more seriously than we take ourselves," Robinson said. "The people of Whitworth do a great job of keeping their egos from getting in the way of serving the students. So while we celebrate the recognition, we hold no illusions that everything is just fine. There is plenty more we can do to make Whitworth an even better place to work, and this kind of recognition motivates us to keep after improving our workplace."
Kyle Usrey, Dean of Whitworth's School of Global Commerce and Management, attended the Christian Management Association conference to represent Whitworth and echoed Robinson's comments.
"In many respects, the recognition is not needed to validate what we know in our hearts to be the case," Usrey said. "Whitworth isn't perfect by any means, but it strives hard through its people to reflect the calling that God has given it to educate students."
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Bill Robinson, president, (509) 777-4665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or email@example.com.
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