Great Colleges to Work For

happy worker

Great Colleges to Work For is an annual survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education that seeks to quantify which colleges truly offer outstanding workplaces as it collects information about employee satisfaction and institutional policies and practices – which in turn allows us to evaluate ourselves and compare our results against other institutions. The Chronicle contracts with a vendor (ModernThink) to ensure anonymity.

A chance to be honored (and we have been)

The program also features nationwide results in a special summer issue of the Chronicle, featuring schools that have qualified as a “Great College to Work For.” USC has been honored every year in at least one or more categories, which benefits us by boosting recruitment and retention efforts.

Who participates, and why it’s important

600 randomly-selected employees (including administrators, faculty, and staff) will receive an invitation to complete the survey, which is sent every spring. You are not required to respond – but we certainly hope you do, as the more responses received, the more meaningful (and “actionable”) the feedback is. Your responses will help USC identify areas needing attention and improvement (as well as provide us an opportunity for further recognition), and higher response rates provide a clearer understanding of employee needs and opinions. Your voice is important, so let it be heard!

How long will it take me to complete the survey?

If you’re one of the 600 randomly chosen to complete the survey – it will only take about 20 minutes to complete. The survey consists of 60 statements divided into 15 topics. It also includes 15 benefit satisfaction statements, 2 open-response questions and 15 demographic questions.

Will my results remain confidential?

If you receive an invitation to participate, remember that your responses are completely anonymous throughout the process and always. No one at USC will ever see them. All response information is handled by ModernThink and reported back to USC in the form of aggregate reports, with no identifying information.

USC pulls the list of random employees from administrator, faculty and staff lists (600 total employees) and provides this list to ModernThink. This is the only information that USC will ever have about the survey respondents – the university only knows who the 600 employees are (which is how those 600 receive emails letting them know they’ve been chosen). Everything else is handled by ModernThink, which:

  • Emails a survey link to each randomly-selected employee
  • Collects and stores all of the data on its secure servers
  • Provides a confidential, toll-free hotline which respondents can call anonymously with any questions or concerns
  • Only reports data back to institutions when there are five or more participants in a particular demographic category
  • Reminds respondents before responding to the open-ended questions not to include any self-identifying information

What will USC do with the results?

Along with celebrating any recognition we might earn, the university will analyze both strengths and weaknesses as revealed in the results, and take steps to build a stronger work environment. This effort may involve employee discussion or focus groups to help decide action steps, as well as other methods that allow for thoughtful response, good planning, and meaningful action in response to your feedback.


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