One of the common characteristics of the top finalists in this year's Best Christian Places to Work survey is a commitment to open communication. But in an era of information hyperload, the challenge for today's workplaces is how to balance the desire to share without overdoing it.

Last year, repeat finalist Whitworth College was making difficult decisions regarding the adjustment of premiums and benefits in their health care plans—a common dilemma for Christian organizations in an era of rapidly escalating health care costs. The administration decided to share all the options with their employees, held hearings to answer questions, and asked employees to make their preferences known.

"Because employees were aware of all of the factors that went into the decision on health care benefits and premiums, they understood and supported the final decision," says Whitworth director of communications Greg Orwig.

Whitworth president Bill Robinson is a strong advocate for transparency. He says, "The gateway to trust is openness and communication. Why not open all the budgets to all who wish to see them? Why not review salaries with a representative committee of employees? Why not make expense reports available to those who want to see them?"

In a similar situation to Whitworth's, finalist Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) wanted to keep employees updated on changes in its insurance coverages. Laura Nelson, MAI's director of administration, shared the information four months before the changes were to take place. Doing so, however, caused some unnecessary unrest within the organization; as it turned out, the changes ultimately had a positive impact on their employees' expenses. "The ruckus that was raised was unnecessary and the ...

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