In late February, Christianity Today announced the results of the first Best Christian Places to Work survey, a landmark study commissioned by CT and administered by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI). It is the largest survey ever conducted on the attitudes of employees at Christian workplaces, with more than 8,500 respondents across a range of industries.
A panel of independent judges selected four companies in ten categories for special recognition. For two weeks CT is saluting the first place organizations in each category.
Small Media Organizations
West Monroe, Louisiana
Tucked away in the Deep South, far from evangelical hot spots, Howard Publishing began as a family business in 1969 and produces hymnals, inspirational gift books, and Christian living titles. But while it has grown significantly in sales (last year its Hugs gift book series topped 3 million copies), the company has maintained an intimate, family-like ambience through activities such as Pajama Day (breakfast included) and donuts to celebrate National Hugging Day.
"We are all very supportive of each other—not only in the workplace, but also in each other's personal lives," says sales representative Brian Andrews.
Howard Publishing's size certainly helps to maintain this atmosphere. The organization intentionally keeps a check on its growth so that 41 full-time employees oversee the production and sales of 35 titles each year.
"We could double sales overnight if we hired more people, but we feel this is the perfectly sized team to optimize sales for each book," says president John Howard.
Howard is also intentional about supporting his employees' families. One night at a benefit dinner, he heard the late Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy's restaurant chain, speak about adoption. The next day Howard announced a policy giving money to any employee who planned to adopt or had adopted a child. Then he handed two employees checks of $1,000. Says art director LinDee Loveland, one of the check recipients, "I have adopted another child [since] and receive the same loving and financial support from Howard Publishing."
Howard Publishing began as a family business, and the employees consider themselves an extension of the Howard family. "That is how I want them to feel," Howard says. "And I think they do. People come here, and then they never leave."
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Our 40 Best Christian Places to Work articles include:
The 40 Best Christian Places to Work | What makes them so good? (Hint: Not money)
The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists | Christianity Today salutes four finalists in ten categories.
Inside CT: Great Places to Work | There is indeed much to praise and imitate in Christian companies.