In 2002, Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) was jolted by some very positive news: their employees loved working there! But where could they strategically invest to take this thriving college campus ministry to the next level? It’s an investment that has paid off, not in just in dollars, but in lives touched for Christ.
Sometimes, even the best news can pose a challenge. Executive Director Dan Dupee remembers the day when Pittsburgh-based CCO became recognized for its flourishing culture by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute.
“Our first BCWI employee engagement survey produced two stunning wake-up calls in one:
- First, we humbly took to heart the fact that CCO was a pretty exceptional place to work.
- Second, because we knew our culture had something to do with effectively engaging students to love and follow Jesus Christ, we realized our ministry was primed to grow.
How? At the time, we weren’t entirely sure, yet the survey results gave us some clues we couldn’t afford to ignore.
I know some ministries shy away from numbers because they don’t want to be perceived as a business. We embraced the survey scores as a true measure of our core strengths and as a commitment to improve culture.”
CCO’s leadership made an intentional investment in three aspects of employee engagement:
- Trusted relationships. “First, our leadership owned the fact that our people really trusted and loved each other and enjoyed working together.”
- Better ministry match. “Being a Best Christian Workplace motivated us to seek the best recruits who can be the best ministry match for our changing times. Today’s students are struggling with complex social issues and increased levels of anxiety. They don’t need a buddy; they need an adult. The good news is CCO is attracting and involving more people whose mature faith, wisdom, and dirt-under-the-fingernails experience makes for more effective mentorship of students in their growing devotion to Christ.”
- Money matters. “One-third of our new staff who come to CCO several years out of college are staying longer, and so we’ve made it our responsibility to improve our 401(K) benefits plan accordingly.”
Since the first BCWI survey in 2002, CCO has more than doubled its ministry from 60 to 115 college campuses in 12 eastern states and the District of Columbia.
CCO’s mission of “transforming college students to transform the world” has, today, grown from Bible studies to integrating cross-cultural settings, summer travel experiences, spring and summer mission trips and student-athlete ministry.
Dupee saves the best result for last. “We continue to take the BCWI survey as a way of pushing ourselves to ask, ‘How can we keep improving our culture and thus our ministry impact?’
The ultimate results of our ministry rest with the local church. Since every CCO student is a worshipping member of a local church, their loyalty to the church continues to grow. And when they graduate, they become the next generation of givers, Sunday school teachers and church leaders.”
How have you invested in your employees? And how has that investment paid off?