According to their press release, “Certified Best Christian Workplaces are global and represent all facets of ministries from churches, private schools, universities, parachurch missions, product and services, book publishers and radio stations. This year we have added Christian led businesses.” Wow…that’s some collection!
True to their previous research, the BCWI surveyed more than 180,000 employees. They ask more than 50 questions. Apparently organizations have valued being on this list with a number of them surveying staff “to discover the health of their workplace culture.” For a complete list of results check the website. (http://www.bcwinstitute.com/bcwlists.html)
I always scan the list to see how many Chicago area organizations are on it. Also to see who is NOT on it. And to appreciate the organizations I’m connected to in one way or another.
For example, my radio show producer is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University. They made the list. Last week, I did my radio show at the Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois. They’re ALWAYS on the list. The Coalition for Christian Outreach in Pittsburgh made the list. A highly reputable group I’ve known from my days in “The ‘Burgh.”
Several ministry organizations, whose leaders I know, are NOT on the list. To be fair, that is because a ton of these people do not enlist in the survey process. In one case I know of, failure to make the list three or four years running caused this one organization to step back and try to figure out why! Good idea.
So I decided to think of what really should characterize a “Christian Workplace” — be it for profit or nonprofit. I really don’t like using “Christian” as an adjective. But for this exercise, I accept the term as an environment where Christ-like attitudes are the prevailing mindset. And I have a short list. Not a complete list. A short list.
First, it should be a place of safety. Can a person speak openly and freely about legitimate concerns and not worry about losing their job? Can a person ask difficult questions? Does the person feel “safe”?
Secondly, does the company encourage advancement? This is a difficult and challenging area for several reasons. Finding the right people for the right job only to lose them after training is painful. Also, once a team is in place and is functioning well, having key members advance out makes it difficult. But if our mindset is to grow and encourage others’ development, it is part of the cost.
Thirdly, how does conflict resolution get handled? Jesus always encouraged relationships to be the priority. When a management level person KNOWS there are strained or dysfunctional relationships, every effort should be made to help those coworkers resolve their issues.
Fourth. How is pay determined? More often these days I hear of “ministry oriented” organizations cutting costs by reducing people to part time to save on benefits. When the value of a person is only as good as a minimum effort of compensation and benefits, can we truly say we have a heart for people?
Fifth…on a list that could easily be longer…is the matter of staying with what is often termed integrity. When commitments are made they are kept. Intentional deception is forbidden. Corners to quality are not cut short in favor of profitability.
A “Christian Workplace” isn’t just about what management does. It is often what management requires. And on this front, it means employees are expected to do the job as outlined. To work a full day and show up on time. Not to “fudge” in their own ways, diminishing performance. And to work with spirit and a good attitude. Certain companies are much better at hiring to these ends, and at holding people accountable, than others.
A sober reminder about work can be found in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom.” (NCV)
One day, Christ-followers will be given a new heaven and a new earth. And while I didn’t see it listed as one of the “Best Christian Workplaces,” I can assure you…it will be.
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Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.
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