It is an exciting time to be at Colorado College and particularly for the Human Resources Office. What better way to contribute to Colorado College providing the finest liberal arts education for our students than to focus on workplace excellence?

I often meet with applicant finalists for staff positions and consistently, they say they want to work at Colorado College because of our reputation as an excellent employer whose mission is to improve the world through education and intellectual discourse. They want to be part of an engaging environment that makes a difference and that provides a purpose. As one applicant recently said, we are more than just a school – we are embedded in the community and promote character building and integrity in our students.

I have been fortunate to work with student employees over the years and know they observe and learn from us what appropriate behavior looks like in the workplace and how to develop skills that will assist them to be successful in their career pursuits. I recently worked with a paraprofessional on a project that required multiple skills in writing, coordinating, and technology. I was so impressed with her performance and witnessed firsthand how well her academic experience had prepared her; she was engaged and eager to understand business procedures and apply the knowledge and skills she acquired through her education. I had mixed feelings when she left to graduate, because she was so competent and a joy to work with, yet I knew she was on an upward trajectory to pursue much more.

Workplace excellence is achieved when our staff and faculty continue to be actively engaged in their own ongoing learning. Creating a top-notch professional development program right on our campus will provide our employees with access to workshops and educational sessions that will enhance their own learning, thereby cultivating skilled employees who are more productive, more engaged, and more prepared to help CC continue to offer quality education for our students.

And there are business incentives to having a highly engaged workforce. As workplace consultant Rich Boyer of ModernThink mentioned at his Fall Conference presentation and Board of Trustees retreat, highly engaged employees:

  • Are 70 percent more likely to exceed performance expectations
  • Miss 27 percent fewer days of work due to illness
  • Have 38 percent higher customer satisfaction scores
  • Have 22 percent higher productivity
  • Have lower voluntary turnover

Yes, it is an exciting time to be at Colorado College.

Barbara J. Wilson is human resources director at Colorado College.