Forbes Magazine Lists CU Denver Among America’s Best Employers for 2024

Forbes Magazine Lists CU Denver Among America’s Best Employers for 2024

University is making progress toward achieving its strategic plan goal of becoming a best place to work.

March 7, 2024

For the first time, CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is listed as one of Forbes America’s Best Employers for 2024.

To assemble this year’s list, the research and analysis service Statista conducted an independent survey with a sample of more than 170,000 U.S. employees working for organizations within the U.S. that employ at least 1,000 people.  

According to Forbes, the final score is based on two types of evaluations: 

  • Personal: Given by employees themselves (known as “direct evaluations”) 
  • Public: Given by friends and family members of employees, or members of the public who work in the same industry (known as “indirect evaluations”) 

A much higher weight is placed on personal evaluations. 

“This ranking recognizes the progress we’ve made on our strategic plan goal of making CU Denver a best place to work,” said teri engelke, assistant vice chancellor for human resources. “We recognize we still have a way to go, but it is always good to pause and celebrate our progress. I want to thank those of you who have been working to enhance our workplace while delivering quality service to our students and to our colleagues.” 

On the Road to Best Place to Work 

Community engagement sessions in 2021 led to CU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan, which established a roadmap for the university’s future. One of the plan’s five goals, which faculty, staff, and students helped identify, was the desire to be a best place to work. Since then, the university has implemented a variety of programs and changes to make progress on that goal, including the creation of a Human Resources team dedicated to the CU Denver campus in late 2022 (prior to that, CU Anschutz supported both campuses). 

Progress to Date 

Below are additional examples of the work the university has completed to support its goal of being a people-centered best place work.

  • Launched the two-year Comprehensive Compensation Collaborative (CCC), which will help us develop a compensation framework that embraces our Equity Serving Institution values, including equity in pay, by clarifying our current compensation system and identifying where improvements are needed.  
  • Established the Search Advocates program to promote hiring practices that prioritize equity, access, and inclusion, while minimizing bias and barriers.  
  • Developed and launched the Staff Supervisor Professional Development Program, which was renamed the Staff Management Academy. The year-long program gives staff supervisors a monthly opportunity to develop and strengthen supervisory skills. A second year, called Staff Leadership Academy, was added to focus on leadership skills. 
  • Launched the Academic Leadership Accelerator program, a year-long experience for academic leaders (chairs/discipline directors, associate deans, and deans) to learn about what it means to lead in an equity-serving institution. 
  • Established training on how to have difficult conversations to provide all employees with the tools they need to engage in challenging conversations in the workplace. This training can be accessed on the CU Denver portal via Skillsoft. 
  • Launched the Skills for Mental Health Support training module for employees and staff. The online module walks participants through some basic training focused on recognizing, responding, and referring students and colleagues who may be in mental distress to appropriate resources. 
  • Transitioned New Employee Orientation, all searches, and employee relations issues to CU Denver’s HR team, based on the strategic planning vision teams’ recommendations. 
  • Convened a committee of 20 employees from across campus, including faculty, staff, students, and shared governance, to identify ways the university can recognize and show employees that they are appreciated. From this work, several new employee awards have been launched. 
  • Held our inaugural CU Denver Human Resources Fair in 2023.  
  • Revised policies to standardize Instructional, Research, and Clinical faculty promotion compensation and expanded the use of multi-year contracts. 

Projects on the Horizon 

Several additional projects are underway this year, including: 

  • The Retention Interview Initiative, which includes interviews with new employees at regular intervals, as well as interviews with continuing employees and those who decide to transfer to another CU institution or leave the university altogether. Information collected will be used to address concerns early and provide additional support or training as needed. Recruitment of interviewers is underway, and the new process will begin in March. Contact workplaceengagement@ucdenver.edu for more information. 
  • Five new university-wide awards for staff and two new awards for faculty have been created and the awardees will be announced during Celebrating Our People festivities in April and May.  
  • The CCC project is midway, and one of the outcomes of the ongoing project is the creation of uniform templates for job descriptions to be used in recruitment.  
  • Staff Council released its second annual Job Satisfaction Survey results in February and is reviewing the data to get a sense of staff sentiment on the progress being made so far. 
  • Results from the Campus and Workplace Culture Pulse Survey were released in February and will also be used to help track progress. 
  • Affinity Groups, including a new LGBTQ+ group, relaunched this spring and are focused on helping create a sense of belonging among faculty and staff and providing leadership opportunities. 
  • An enhanced Benefits and Resources Fair is scheduled for April 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Lola and Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center gym.  
  • Earlier this month, Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Ann Sherman launched “On the Road to Best Place to Work” opportunities to discuss the progress made so far. Click here to sign up for one of the sessions.  

“Becoming a people-centered best place to work doesn’t happen overnight,” Sherman said. “It’s always better to be part of the solution than to be part of the problem, and each of us can make someone else’s work life better. It’s the little choices we make each day that create a best place to work.”