University of Mary Washington has been recognized as a 2019 Great College to Work For.
Now in its 12th year, the Great Colleges to Work For survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country. The results, released today in a special insert in The Chronicle of Higher Education, reveal that of 152 four-year institutions nationwide that participated in this year’s survey, UMW is among 60 selected for the distinction.
The survey is conducted by ModernThink, a Delaware-based strategic human capital consulting firm. It highlights colleges that get top ratings from their employees regarding workplace practices and policies.
Since taking the helm at Mary Washington in 2016, President Troy Paino has worked diligently with leadership to improve workplace environment, zeroing in on key components identified in a survey completed shortly before his arrival, including communication, collaboration and compensation.
“There were opportunities to do a better job of communicating with the campus, to make them more aware of both challenges and opportunities,” Paino said. “When people start feeling that they can actively participate in making a place better, morale is going to improve.”
The Great Colleges to Work for survey was customized for UMW by ModernThink and sent to the University’s 835 full-time faculty, administrators and staff. The questionnaire consists of 12 recognition categories, including Collaborative Governance, Professional/Career Development, Compensation and Benefits, Respect and Appreciation, Confidence in Senior Leadership, Diversity and Work/Life Balance. This year’s results showed improved scores in each of the 12 areas.
“I think it’s a great reminder that although challenges exist, there is so much to appreciate about being part of the UMW community,” said Executive Director of Human Resources Beth Williams, who worked with ModernThink to complete an extensive questionnaire to capture employment data and workplace policies, and home in on Mary Washington’s mission, vision and values. “I was incredibly inspired by the earnest efforts put forth to address the areas employees identified as needing the most attention.”
Feedback provided by those who complete the survey is the prime deciding factor for whether an institution receives the Great College to Work For recognition.
“[These] institutions … don’t wait for problems to occur to pay attention to their people,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner at ModernThink. “The colleges and universities recognized in this year’s Great Colleges to Work For program demonstrate their commitment to the day-to-day experience of their faculty and staff and the overall health of their institution’s culture.”
Paino has worked with his leadership team to demonstrate that commitment, he said, by instituting regular all-university addresses, intimate coffee-talk sessions, a comprehensive market survey, wage adjustments and a host of initiatives to improve employee morale.
“We’re recruiting students with a certain message … that this is a place where people really care,” Paino said. “I think it’s important for people who work here every day to also feel that about themselves.”