Employees at Fordham in Westchester gave their campus such high marks in a recent survey that it was named as the No. 1 workplace among smaller employers in its region. The Westchester campus of Fordham University took first place in a new survey of the best places to work in the lower Hudson Valley, thanks to the tight-knit and supportive environment that has been cultivated at the campus since it opened in 2008.
The ranking of employers in the region was published May 1 by The Journal News/lohud.com, which conducted the survey last fall in partnership with Philadelphia-based WorkplaceDynamics. Fifteen employers were ranked, and Fordham Westchester placed first out of the 11 smaller ones, the largest of which had 176 employees. Four larger employers were grouped separately.
Grant Grastorf, academic operations administrator for Fordham Westchester, said it was a “great honor” to see such recognition for community-building efforts at the campus.
At a reception held on May 3 to mark the honor, employees cited several things that make Fordham Westchester a great place to work: the small, beautiful, easily navigable campus; the shared sense of mission; the frequent employee gatherings to mark birthdays or other occasions; and an atmosphere of genuine care and concern for one another.
“I think people are celebrated here. It really has that feel,” said Kathleen Rund, program administrator for Fordham’s online Master of Social Work program.
Chanelle Hyde, an executive secretary, called it a vibrant place where bosses are “very receptive” to helping employees grow.
“If you’re looking for assistance, people are there at the ready,” said Hyde, who works in marketing for School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS). “You’re able to soak up so much knowledge from your peers, from your mentors. It’s just a really wonderful place to work, a wonderful environment to build your career.”
Located in West Harrison, N.Y., the 78-employee campus houses four institutes along with branches of PCS, the Gabelli School of Business, and Fordham’s graduate schools of education and social service.
Lower Hudson employers were invited to take part in the survey if they were nominated by three of their workers. Public, private, nonprofit, or governmental firms that employed at least 35 people were eligible. More than 3,500 people at 29 employers responded.
Questions covered several areas including pay and benefits, training, work/life balance, and opportunities to learn and grow, as well as employee engagement measures like retention and motivation.
Across the companies surveyed, employees ranked pay and benefits as least important. Ranked most important were two organizational health measures: “alignment,” or the company’s direction, values, and leaders, and “connection,” or feeling appreciated and feeling that their work is meaningful.
“Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to [employees]is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics, according to The Journal News.
Glenn Berman, director of admissions and marketing for PCS, noted the lack of friction and competition among different units at the campus.
“We support one another. We’re always talking up other’s programs,” he said. “We have a single goal, and that is to raise the awareness about the fact that there is a Westchester campus. We all have our own individual responsibilities, but the overarching mission we all do share in [is]that we really believe that this is a great place to work and go to school, and we want more people to know about it.”
PHOTO BY DANA MAXON.