WUSTL named one of best places to work

Washington University was named one of the top three “Best Places to Work” in the St. Louis Business Journal’s annual survey of area employees.

At a dinner and reception April 20 at The Westin Hotel, WUSTL was named one of the best workplaces in the large employer category.

“When colleagues have professed great satisfaction about being a part of this community, it validates what we are doing,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “I am proud to be a part of this family of scholars, learners and those who support their efforts.

“This honor also should remind us that with this recognition comes the responsibility to continually improve Washington University as a place of work.”

According to the Business Journal, the University was recognized because of its tuition assistance programs for employees, spouses and dependents, its health plans and its retirement programs.

Participating employers notified the Business Journal of their interest in competing in the Best Places to Work survey. After answering some initial questions concerning the size of the company and benefit programs, the employers were given a secure Web site address where employees could answer a battery of questions about their workplace.

All employees of each nominated employer were given an opportunity to complete a detailed survey. Each employee could complete the survey anonymously and was assured their responses would be kept confidential. The University had a 14 percent response rate of those contacted.

The winners were selected on employee measurement of 40 attributes known to drive employee engagement such as team effectiveness, trust with co-workers, manager effectiveness, feeling valued, work engagement and people practices.

In the past year, the University has undertaken many initiatives and is committed to improving the quality of the workplace for its employees.

A “Benefits Plan for the Future” was recently unveiled, providing a more-flexible and complete benefits program for the University’s faculty and staff. WUSTL continues to address the nationwide pressures faced by institutions regarding cost containment, while remaining competitive in compensation, tuition and fees, and overall benefits package.

Specifically addressed are the retirement savings plan, tuition assistance, rising costs of health insurance, health savings accounts, and saving for retiree medical expenses.

The University remains committed to environmental responsibility and to finding ways to conserve energy while providing greater service. Starting this summer, WUSTL will provide qualifying faculty, students and staff with all-points Metro passes that will allow them free access to MetroLink and MetroBus on both sides of the river in urban and suburban Illinois and Missouri.

Five MetroLink stops will serve four of the University’s campuses so that nearly everyone who now works at the University can now opt for public transportation paid for by the University.

These passes have also been made available to employees of the University’s contracted companies — a group of workers to whom the University has made commitments to help improve wages and to provide greater access to benefits.

Also in the past year, the University developed a generous entry-level wage that is well above starting average hourly compensation levels for comparable positions in the St. Louis region. The University is working with a local health-care proprietor to allow contracted workers access to care.

In the coming year, the University will provide additional significant funds toward continuing the improvement of circumstances for lower-paid workers. To this end, the University is committed to fair practices respecting those who work for the University, as well as those who work for contractors providing services to our community.