This year Southern New Hampshire University again made The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Great Colleges to Work For Honor Roll for large schools. This marks the seventh year we have won the award and the fourth time we were granted the highest level a school can reach. We have placed in the small-, medium- and now large-school classifications as we have grown.
When the outside world and our peers examine why SNHU was recognized, they may look at the various categories that drive a portion of employee satisfaction: fair compensation, generous top-of-the-line benefits, vacation time, growth opportunities, work/life balance, etc. These elements are certainly important, but they are not unique.
When guests and people from other colleges visit our offices, they often comment on the “buzz” – the energy and sense of purpose our employees demonstrate. I believe the key differentiator for SNHU’s College of Online and Continuing Education is our culture, which emanates from our mission of driving student success and helping students transform their lives and the lives of their families through education. Our unique, customer-focused culture defines our brand, what we stand for and why we exist, and is the rudder for all we do as an organization.
One of the core elements of our culture is that our employees have ownership and accountability for their areas. When they walk through the door each day, they are encouraged and empowered to make a difference.
When employees feel ownership, believe they can make a difference and are accountable for the results of the actions they take, they are more committed to the outcome and feel valued for their contributions. After all, what satisfaction is there in someone constantly telling you what to do and how to do it, and then holding you accountable for the results?
The COCE leadership team is focused on ensuring we develop our employees and place them in situations that are challenging and where they have the potential to succeed. We encourage our employees to step into the batter’s box and to never settle for the status quo. There is a continual focus on providing context to ensure that our teams understand the link between the organization’s mission and what they do. The emphasis on providing context around mission has enabled goal congruence throughout the organization.
We benefit from an entrepreneurial energy driven by great ideas, not title, seniority or rank; this has yielded the development of countless customer-focused initiatives. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, summed it up best when he said, “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
When you have a cause you are passionate about, work with like-minded individuals, have an opportunity to grow and make a significant difference, and are recognized for your contributions, it makes for a great place to work. Our success and our brand are tied directly to our people and to the efforts they put forth every day to make a difference in the lives of our students.
– CEO Steve Hodownes