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University receives top workplace honor

| Sunday, September 14, 2014

For the sixth consecutive year, The Chronicle of Higher Education placed the University of Notre Dame on the honor roll of the top-10 “Great Colleges to Work For.”

The Chronicle offers a survey every year to universities around the nation, in which every faculty and staff member has the opportunity to provide feedback about the overall work environment at his or her respective universities.

Of the 12 categories included on The Chronicle’s survey, Notre Dame achieved excellence in the categories of “compensation and benefits,” “confidence in senior leadership,” “facilities, workspace and security,” “job satisfaction,” “supervisor or department chair relationships” and “work/life balance,” according to The Chronicle’s website.

To make the top 10 honor roll of the 196 four-year institutions surveyed, The Chronicle’s website stated that schools must be “cited most often across all recognition categories.”

Bob McQuade, vice president of Human Resources at Notre Dame, said the administration, above all, aims to create an environment that satisfies all Notre Dame employees.

“[University President] Fr. John [Jenkins], [Provost] Tom [Burish], [Executive Vice President] John Affleck-Graves believe in creating an environment [in which] our staff is treated with respect and dignity,” he said.

Notre Dame has created many initiatives in the past few years to ensure employee satisfaction, McQuade said.

“This honor is a fantastic affirmation that those [initiative] efforts are well-received,” he said, according to the official press release.

McQuade attributes the honor to the many systems of “upward feedback” in place at Notre Dame that allow employees to report evaluations of their supervisors, the work environment and their job satisfaction to higher authorities at the University.

“One of the key things was to target where there were anomalies, looking at where an individual may have some shortcomings so [the institution] could look to develop some programs to help that leader to improve,” he said.

In particular, McQuade said the employee ND Voice survey, which takes place every two years, is a consistent source of feedback. With 74-percent employee participation, he said the survey provides a “very good view of what people think of the organization with that high of a return.”

“Looking back, [ND voice] has been the biggest success we have had,” he said.

Notre Dame also has an extensive leadership-training program open to all employees, McQuade said. Although not mandatory, more than 60-percent of supervisors and a large number of employees have participated in these programs, which McQuade said the University spends nearly $1 million on each year.

“People are being managed more professionally, and that has a definitive effect on job satisfaction,” he said.

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