UCC national offices again make regional list of ‘top workplaces’
For a second straight year, the United Church of Christ’s national ministries have made a list of honored employers in Northern Ohio.
And for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff got together — in person — for a picnic.
Cleveland’s daily paper, The Plain Dealer, and its online partner, Cleveland.com, published their list of 2022 Top Workplaces on June 27. They compiled it with the employee survey company Energage, which runs similar Top Workplaces programs across the U.S.
The UCC was among 137 organizations listed in the category for those with 35 to 149 employees (the UCC has a total of 109 based in Cleveland and elsewhere). Others on that list ranged from manufacturers to schools to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Energage surveyed employees of participating firms between November 2021 and February 2022. It asked 24 questions in such areas as leadership, values, direction, communication and benefits.
The UCC first made the list in 2021.
The national setting’s first staff picnic in four years took place June 28 on the grounds of the Family Life Center of Federated Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Employees from many time zones came to Cleveland to join locally based staff for the event. Some brought spouses, partners and children, too. Available activities included volleyball, painting, a labyrinth walk, tai chi, a bounce house for kids, a movie, door prizes, a cookout-style lunch, an ice-cream truck and a big group photo.
For many, it was an chance to mix with colleagues they had only ever seen in online meetings. All employees have been working remotely since the onset of COVID-19. Some have joined the staff since then. The last staff picnic was in 2018.
Earlier in the day, out-of-town staff had a first chance to tour UCC’s new national office floor in downtown Cleveland. For Cleveland-based staff, orientation to the new space starts July 5.
The day after the picnic, General Minister and President John Dorhauer reflected on what it meant to see so many colleagues in person again.
“On March 9, 2020, we sent our staff home to keep them safe,” he said. “It is now almost two-and-a-half years later and we were able to safely gather for the first time since then.
“I want to first say how proud I am of the collective work they did under some pretty confining circumstances. While the simple act of coming together after all that time would have been joy-filled under any circumstances, when you add to that the enormous pride I felt seeing these tireless, innovative and talented leaders together again it just made the experience all the more impactful for me.
“We were recently named again one of Cleveland’s top work places – and that is solely because our staff show up every day committed to our mission and dedicated to our purpose. So many times yesterday as I met with a member of our staff and watched them in play with each other and their families, I just stood back and looked upon them with such pride, gratitude and admiration. Oh, and there was ice cream! It was a wonderful day all the way around.”
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