Best Places to Work in Delaware in 2013
Take this job and love it: Delaware’s best workplaces and bosses, surveys, and advice for graduates.
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Exactly, says Milbrey Hendrix, a Greenville native and grad student at Simmons College in Boston. She looks at job opportunities as if she’s evaluating a potential relationship: “There has to be chemistry.” Jessica Jenkins, Delaware Art Museum’s marketing manager, puts it this way: “You are at your job more than anywhere else. People want a good fit, to feel like they belong.” For Jenkins, the museum offers a place where she can be creative and intellectually stimulated every day. She feels that she makes a difference at work and in others’ lives.
Caring has always been part of the culture of Wilmington University, says Peter Bailey, vice president of external affairs. (The university’s exponential growth only seems to enhance that notion.) Its leadership offers two university-wide meetings a year, where its president speaks and leaders share with employees ideas about how to maintain its energetic, student-friendly culture.
WU’s Leadership Institute is another perk. It’s a chance for employees of varying levels to go off-site, usually to a beach resort setting, and learn more about their workplace. When they arrive, they’re grouped into teams and given the opportunity to work with people they normally don’t work with, then asked to perform tasks they usually don’t perform. They have three months to work on a project, then to report their findings. “We hope to provide this opportunity to everyone at some point,” says Bailey. “It helps build communication across the university, and employees really get a sense of satisfaction from working on something they wouldn’t normally work on.”
WU also offers employees’ dependents the opportunity for a tuition exchange to attend the university and other partner institutions.
Caring for People—Not Numbers
“The commonality among great places to work is genuine care for their people,” says Nat Measley, managing partner at The Fun Dept. The consulting firm with an office along Marsh Road aims to help leaders show that they care about employees by making the workplace more fun. Employees who are having fun at work are happier, says Measley, and they tend to be healthier, more engaged and productive.
There are lots of ways that leadership can create an atmosphere of care and camaraderie. Here’s what some employees say works for them. Kitchen staffer Barrett May says he feels cared for when, no matter how exhausted they are, people stick together. No one goes home after closing until everyone’s work is done. At the law firm Campbell & Levine LLC, Frederika Leuck experiences it as cooperation and her manager’s genuine interest in her work satisfaction. Mark Daniels, Wilmington University safety constable supervisor, senses it when a vice president sees staff is shorthanded and steps behind the registration table to process students.