Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 26, 2004

Whitworth College Repeats as a 'Best Christian Workplace' in National Survey

For the second year in a row, Whitworth College has been named the best Christian workplace among large higher-education institutions based on a national survey of employees at Christian businesses and non-profit organizations. The top 50 workplaces will be announced Monday night at the Christian Management Association conference in Grapevine, Texas, and are listed in a feature article in the May issue of Christianity Today magazine.

"In many conversations with our human-resources folks and leadership team I have said that I want Whitworth to be a great place to come to work everyday. But I admit that in this area, I have much higher hopes than expectations; so this is both gratifying and unexpected," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson, who was invited to lead a workshop for CEOs and senior leaders at the Christian Management Association conference.

"I'm most gratified that our employees know and love our mission," adds Robinson, who is in his 11th year as Whitworth's president and has helped lead the college to record levels of student enrollment and retention, financial strength and external visibility.

The survey, administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, included responses from more than 10,000 employees across a range of industries. Applications were accepted from organizations with a Christian mission and with more than 15 employees. 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, without knowing the organizations' identities, weighed the employee scores, the survey participation rates and human-resource profiles in order to select the top places to work. Three to five finalists were selected in each of 12 categories. Whitworth topped the category of higher-education institutions with more than 300 employees. Managers and employees from several of the finalists, including Whitworth's Robinson, are quoted in the Christianity Today article, which is available online at www.christianitytoday.com.

Al Lopus, executive director of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, reports that this year's survey reveals that employees are most productive and satisfied if they work in organizations where their leaders create a climate of trust.

"Successful leaders know that the quality of an organization's ministry and the quality of internal trust are directly related," says Lopus in the Christianity Today article. "When people trust one another, they are fully engaged in the ministry and good things happen. But when trust is never established or is broken, relationships suffer and employees can become disengaged from their work, discouraged or even fearful. As a result, employee satisfaction nosedives."

On the survey questions related to the level of trust between senior managers and employees, 77 percent of Whitworth employees gave the college a high or very high rating compared with 69 percent among other finalists in the higher-education categories. Whitworth employees also rated the college significantly higher than other category finalists on organizational management and operating with ethics. All participating organizations have access to detailed results of the surveys completed by their employees, with comparison data for other participants, to support ongoing improvement of their workplace practices.

"We will be sharing the details of the results with employee groups and will work with them to develop ways to build on what we've already achieved," says Dolores Humiston, director of human resources at Whitworth. "Whitworth employees continue to feel a great sense of trust in the leadership of the college. This year we also heard that employees at all levels believe their jobs are important to the mission of the college, which is great news as we continue to strengthen ways we integrate faith in the workplace."

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) 777-3200 or wrobinson@whitworth.edu.

Dolores Humiston, director of human resources, (509) 777-3208 or dhumiston@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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