June 17, 2005

Vanderbilt pushes to be among elite U.S. employers

Featured Image

West Tennessee businessman Jim Ayers, left, Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research, and Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, look over the paperwork for the new Jim Ayers Institute for Pre-Cancer Detection and Diagnosis. The new center, made possible by Ayers’ $10 million gift, will focus on developing techniques to detect cancers at their earliest stages.
photo by Dana Johnson

Vanderbilt pushes to be among elite U.S. employers

Four hundred randomly selected Vanderbilt employees were recently mailed employee satisfaction questionnaires from Fortune magazine, along with a letter from Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee asking the recipient to complete the survey and mail it back to Fortune by July 1.

Vanderbilt leaders would like the University to be included on an annual list published by Fortune called “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

No university has ever made it onto the list. For organizations that apply, the survey results count as two-thirds of the final score. Fortune also asks institutions to describe their organizational culture, benefits and other qualities.

Vanderbilt has applied to be included on the list every year since 2002, and each year the University has made it into the top 300, which is considered an honorable mention. The application process is spearheaded by the Quality of Worklife Task Force.

“Fortune's survey has been a good tool for Vanderbilt, helping us learn where some of our gaps may be in terms of the things an organization can do to foster recruitment and retention,” said Marilyn C. Holmes, manager of Health Plus and co-chair of the Quality of Worklife Task Force. “Making the list fits with Vanderbilt leaders' ambitions of becoming a workplace of choice.”

Vanderbilt's Fortune survey scores shot up last year, particularly in regard to support given to employees for balancing work and life, Holmes said.

Under a broad improvement effort called elevate, the Medical Center recently set new goals for employee retention and satisfaction and VUMC also made it a goal to place Vanderbilt University on the “100 Best Companies to Work For” list by 2007.

Vanderbilt will be notified in December about the results of this year's survey; “100 Best Companies to Work For 2006” will be published in January.