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Invest in Whitworth's Employees and Support a Culture of Continuous Improvement

When one thinks about the goals and values of higher education, the focus is typically and understandably placed on students. Whitworth differs from other institutions in its commitment to be a holistic learning organization, including university employees in its mission and equipping them to pursue excellence in their vocations and personal life.

As a part of Whitworth's efforts to support employees in personal and professional development, human resource services presented a training program involving a strengths-based assessment tool, which helps individuals understand their innate talents. The knowledge of these talents inspires and energizes individuals, helping them see the value of their position on each team and showing them how they contribute to Whitworth's success.

The assessment tool was first introduced to the HR team in 2009 and was shared in 2011 with the rest of campus, according to Training Manager Laura Reber. Since the first sessions, approximately 250 individuals and many teams, ranging from department assistants to cabinet members, have participated in learning their individual and team strengths.

In 2012, human resources partnered with facilities services to provide its 55 employees with strengths- based assessment and training as part of a university Strategic Initiatives Fund grant.

Facilities Services Groundskeeper August Weil says that taking the strengths-based assessment was an affirming process for him, and it has become a foundation for him to continue to build on his core talents. "As I have worked on my top five strengths, I have become a better employee, husband and student," Weil says. "It has affected my work through my relationships with my co- workers. Having an understanding of others' core talents gives me insight into how unique and important they are."

Strengths-based training is provided online and has been well-received as providing necessary information in a self-paced format. Human resource services is currently exploring the delivery of a wide range of online training to employees across campus in the future.