August 28, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Open channels of communication, along with concrete ways of appreciating employees and helping them balance work and home, are hallmarks of great academic workplaces.
At colleges, such policies have become more important as a slow national economy delays or shrinks raises, according to The Chronicle's 2012 "Great Colleges to Work For" survey, which identifies 103 institutions across the country.
According to an article on The Chronicle’s website, although employees rated financial benefits, like retirement plans, as very desirable, other kinds of benefits were important to "Great Colleges" recognition. Work and life balance, career-development programs, satisfaction with the physical workspace, and flexible work arrangements turned out to be key.
At the same time, the report reveals that academe still struggles to find ways to show respect for employees. In that category—one of 12 areas measured by the survey—even colleges that did well got lower ratings from their employees than did colleges recognized in other areas, such as providing a good teaching environment.
The 2012 survey had the largest number of responses in its five-year history—about 47,000 college employees completed questionnaires, up from 44,000 in 2011. About 20,000 of the questionnaires this year were filled out by faculty, 8,500 by administrators, and nearly 18,000 by exempt professional staff. In all, participants represented 294 institutions, including small, medium, and large two-year and four-year colleges. The survey was administered by ModernThink LLC, a human-resource consulting company, in partnership with The Chronicle.
At the heart of the survey, employees were asked to respond to a series of 60 statements—for example, "I am given the freedom and responsibility to do my job"—rating them on a five-point scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The results are clustered into the 12 categories in which outstanding colleges are recognized. Colleges listed in the most categories make The Chronicle's Honor Roll. An interactive listing of “Great Colleges to Work For” is here.