Job of the Week: Professional Aide

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an on-call professional aide position (posting 713836) at the department of Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

This professional aide position will act as the Program Coordinator for a new biochar Extension and outreach program. The coordinator will build a community around biochar in Michigan and in the Great Lakes region by consulting with a multidisciplinary team of researchers and Extension professionals to develop, conduct, and coordinate information and activities about biochar. The coordinator will also play a key role in improving access to regionally relevant information and strengthening connections across stakeholder groups and communication with a team. Some specific responsibilities of this position include developing and organizing the content for an online biochar resource center, conducting a social network analysis of the region to identify stakeholders and continue to follow up, developing outreach and Extension products to address all groups and stakeholders, and evaluating the effectiveness of the programming and products. See a full list of responsibilities here.

The desired qualifications and experience for this position are a Bachelor’s of Science degree and at least two years of relevant work experience. A graduate degree is preferred but not required. The candidate must prove they have experience developing outreach, educational materials, and related products and events to the above responsibilities. A prior knowledge of sustainability is also preferred. Strong oral communication, interpersonal skills, effective engagement ability, independent and collaborative work ethic, and ability to self-manage are the most important parts of a successful candidate. 

You can learn more about the position and apply here by June 30th. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

Job of the Week: 4-H Program Coordinator

This week, we are featuring the 4-H Program Coordinator, an offsite position looking to hire for St. Joseph, MI (posting 710500) and Hillsdale, MI (posting 709099) in the Extension of Children and Youth Department.

This full time position has duties including providing leadership for 4-H Youth programs through clubs, after school programs, youth mentoring, and school enrichment efforts. These duties are carried out by ensuring that MSU Extension Volunteer selection procedures are followed before and during programming; training and leading local volunteers to reach out to others in their communities; attending and acting in an advisory capacity for 4-H at councils and other county-wide committee meetings; leading programs based in efforts towards diversity, equity, inclusion and civil rights; working collaboratively with directors, educators and program partners to implement the education priorities of 4-H throughout the community; using program development and advisory committees to conduct needs assessments for the county and its residents; and providing leadership, management and oversight of all county related finances associated with 4-H. See a full list of responsibilities here.

The desired qualifications and experience for this position include a Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in youth development, volunteer management skills, demonstrated knowledge and awareness of social, cultural, and economic diversity in the community in which you are looking to work, strong interpersonal and communication skills, proficiency in technology and ability to travel some long distances. To apply, you must submit a current resume or CV, a cover letter, and four (4) professional references including at least two (2) prior or current supervisors.

You can learn more about the position and apply here for St. Joseph and here for Hillsdale by June 15. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

Deals and Discounts for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and if you are still looking to show the dad in your life that you care, look no further than these discounts! Whether it’s your dad, husband, father-in-law or any other important guy in your life, make sure to take advantage of these Father’s Day savings using MSU Benefits Plus

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign up for a free account using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge or in the EBS Portal).

Check out some of these deals that you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

Sports:

  • Forest Akers Golf Course – MSU employees with a valid MSU ID card receive reduced rates on playing and shopping at the two 18-hole championship layout golf courses and two full-service golf shops!
  • Premium Seats USA – Get 10% off sporting event tickets on Premium Seats USA using the code CORESTREAM at checkout!
  • Fan’s Edge – Get 10% off and free shipping on your fix of MSU gear as well as licensed NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL merchandise at Fan’s Edge! Use code FENCAA09 at checkout. 

Technology:

  • HP – Save between 10% and 50% using the HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP), which offers HP’s consumer products at a discounted rate! 
  • Apple – MSU employees qualify for preferred pricing on all of Apple’s latest products. This includes employee pricing and ratings and reviews on accessories and software. Order from the online Apple EPP store and identify yourself as a Corestream member when purchasing!

Shopping and Entertainment:

  • AMC Theaters – MSU employees can save over 30% on E-tickets at AMC Theaters and all associated theaters including AMC Loews, AMC Showplace, Cineplex, Odeon, Magic Johnson and Star Theaters!
  • Sam’s Club – MSU employees can save up to 40% on Sam’s Club memberships when you purchase from Tickets at Work! 1-Year Standard Memberships are $24.88 (normally $45) and 1-Year Premium Memberships are $89.88 (normally $100).

Find these savings as well as many other benefits by visiting the MSU Benefits Plus portal. Sign up or log in today and have a fun, family-filled Father’s Day.

Job of the Week: Director of High School & Community Relations

This week, we are featuring the Director of High School & Community Relations position (posting 708416) in the Intercollegiate Athletics Department. 

The goal of this position is to establish, maintain, and improve relationships between high school coaches and the Michigan State football staff. The main responsibilities of this position will be cultivating and maintaining relationships with high school administrations and staff through outreach and educational programs. Secondary responsibilities include liaising between the University and high schools, coordinating and directing marketing efforts for programs such as the MSU Coaches’ Clinics and research visits from high school coaching staffs, promoting the philosophy and objectives of intercollegiate athletics programs, and serving as the principal contact for high school coaches. See a full list of responsibilities here.

This full-time position requires a Bachelor’s degree as well as knowledge of NCAA and Big 10 regulations regarding student recruitment; a general knowledge of NCAA Football; strong interpersonal skills among a diverse group of communities; the ability to understand, follow and enforce safety procedures; the ability to demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills; a proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel; the ability to collect, compile and analyze data for reports and stats on recruits; the ability to work evenings and weekends; the ability to travel as required; and a valid driver’s license and good driving record.

You can learn more about the position and apply here by June 11. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

Are You Procrastinating? Increase Motivation and Take Action with These Simple Steps.

Written by Andrea Williams, HR Organization and Professional Development

There are countless reasons to put off working on a project. Maybe you’re daunted by the size of it, or the deadline is far off, so you don’t feel urgency to get moving. If you’re working remotely, you may be feeling stuck in ”Groundhog Day” mode, where monotony and screen fatigue are impacting your motivation and inspiration.

Whether your procrastination is the result of perfectionism, negative thought patterns, or even boredom, there are easy changes you can make to increase your motivation and complete high-quality work without missing deadlines.

Take charge of your day

It’s easy to find excuses to not take action. I don’t have time. I’m too busy. I’ll do it later when things calm down. To move beyond procrastination, you need to take charge of your time.

  • Don’t let external demands control your time. Deadlines and mundane tasks are likely a part of your days. Take charge of your schedule.
  • Minimize interruptions. Turn off your Teams, Outlook, and text notifications if you can. Block off time on your calendar. Prioritize your tasks.
  • Ask yourself: What needs to be done now? What can wait until later?
  • Figure out and respect your preferred working methods and energy levels. Consider when you’re most productive and schedule your day accordingly.

Set small deadlines

If you sometimes feel like you’re accomplishing nothing, it may be because your idea of getting something done is too big.

  • Focus on the wins, no matter how small. Set small goals and interim deadlines throughout the day.
  • As you hit each small target, you’ll build momentum and feel motivated to strive toward the next goal.

Achieve an optimal level of positive stress

We all face stress at work — deadlines to meet, unexpected problems to solve. It may sound counterintuitive, but a little stress can be a good thing. Positive stress can give you the energy you need to stay motivated. The key is to achieve an optimal level of healthy stress.

  • Know your limits. Find a challenge you can realistically take on.
  • Don’t be complacent. Push yourself to achieve great things, one step at a time. Remember that a challenge should stretch you without breaking you.

Collaborate to stay engaged

When we pool our resources and expertise to work on a task with others, we share ideas, discuss options, and develop ideas as a team. One person’s enthusiasm might inspire you. New eyes bring new perspectives, which may help you look at a task in a new way.

  • To ensure your collaboration is effective, be sure you have a diverse group to offer different perspectives.
  • Allow some quiet space to build on the ideas that emerge.
  • Effective collaboration can be structured or informal.

Try these techniques to help you take action and leave procrastination behind, and look into these self-paced, online elevateU resources for further motivation and guidance.

Leadership Blog Series: Performance Excellence During Periods of Uncertainty and Transition

Written by MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Whether your department plans to continue remote work, switch to a hybrid model, or bring everyone back to campus ASAP, Performance Excellence discussions likely have a different feel this year. The reality is that Performance Excellence—annual, probationary, and interim reviews, performance planning and goal setting—is very much needed despite all the recent and upcoming transitions and unknowns. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with these important discussions regardless of how and where the conversations take place.

Keep with it

Do not postpone coaching, feedback, 1-on-1 sessions, or performance reviews during this time. Our instinct may be to put off these conversations until things are “back to normal.” However, the opposite is true. Due to the highly unusual year we’ve all experienced, it’s imperative to connect with employees right now. Even in times of crisis, people still want to know that their long-term growth and success haven’t been forgotten.

Now’s an ideal time to revisit goals and keep the focus on the future. Identify opportunities, quickly communicate changes to your staff, and prepare them for potential pivots. Don’t ignore performance issues or delay accountability conversations. It’s as important as ever to address these matters as soon as possible. Put in the work now to help avoid larger issues in the future.

Establish, re-evaluate and reiterate criteria for success

Amid so many changes, consider establishing new definitions of success. Think short-term, well-defined, and task-based. Take a goal-based approach to performance measurement that focuses on clearly defined expectations and standards—for example, SMART and HARD goals or objectives and key results (OKRs)—to allow for a more flexible or task-based approach where metrics don’t exist or can be deceiving.

This is especially important when evaluating teams working from home. It is critical for those teams to focus on clearly defined outcomes and performance indicators (e.g., metrics, goals, deliverables). Don’t mistake activity and participation—such as emails, meetings, or hours on a timesheet—for high-quality, productive performance outcomes. Clear, established goals provide a straightforward way for both the supervisor and employee to truly gauge success.

Shift your perspective

As some employees remain remote and others return to the office, it’s important to re-tool our ability to read performance. Put effort into deciphering the increasingly blurry line between work and life. As one manager put it, it’s necessary to now “balance the need for flexibility that’s specific and supportive to the individual’s needs with the need to also somehow be equitable to others.” This will require effort on your part with thoughtful consideration of what your employees need as individuals and as a team.

With a few changes to our thinking and approaches, the Performance Excellence components of goal setting, performance planning and measurement can continue to benefit your employees, your team as a whole, and you as a supervisor. Visit the Performance Excellence pages on the HR website to find tips, tools and relevant forms. The Conducting Annual Performance Reviews Remotely page provides additional assistance for working with remote employees.

Job of the Week: Research Technologist I

This week we’re highlighting a Research Technologist I position (posting 707910) for the Clinical Neuroscience Lab. This is a funded project investigating abnormal visual perception in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The successful candidate will play a pivotal role in many aspects of the study including recruiting and scheduling participants, performing clinical interviews, collecting behavioral and neuroimaging data, and organizing study data. In addition, this position will involve general lab management, including maintaining ethical protocols. The research technologist will also have the opportunity to prepare scientific results for publication and presentation. Finally, there will be the opportunity to participate in mental health outreach activities. There will be ample opportunity to learn novel methods in functional neuroimaging, vision science, and clinical science; accordingly, this position should be viewed as a stepping stone toward gaining entry into graduate or professional school.

You should have knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in psychology, neuroscience, or related discipline and up to six months of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in basic research techniques. Find a complete list of job duties and required/desired skills on the posting page.

If you’re interested in applying or learning more about this position, please visit the posting page here. Find all current job openings at MSU on the Careers @ MSU website.

Job of the Week: Public Engagement Coordinator

This week’s job of the week is a Public Engagement Coordinator position (posting #707290) for the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU.

This position will serve as operational coordinator for the public programs and special events of the museum and report to the Director of Operations. Your primary responsibility is to plan and execute both public and private events, including rental clients from grassroots community organizations to corporations. Working closely with internal and external stakeholders the person in this role will further the MSU Broad’s strategic goal of fostering a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible environment through collaboration and high-quality events. The Public Engagement Coordinator additionally serves as manager on duty during public hours and events, requiring in-depth knowledge of the day-to-day operations of the museum facilities including building, security, exhibition and student staffing processes. Find a more detailed list of duties and responsibilities on the posting page.

This job requires knowledge equivalent to that which would normally be acquired in a four-year college degree in Public Relations, Communications, Business or in an area related to the work being performed; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible and expansive work experience in a field related to the position including planning and managing special events; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. 

You can learn more about this position and apply here by May 25. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

Leadership Blog Series: Recognizing and Managing Stress During Times of Change

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development

Based on some of my behavior choices over the past year (e.g., purchasing 50 lbs. of flour — why?), some might say I did not handle the stress of the pandemic very well. I’d have to agree. Personally, it was terrifying last spring when the threat of economic collapse seemed imminent. Those fears lessened but were then replaced by worries of illness, death, and the safety of my loved ones as the pandemic doubled down in Michigan and throughout the world.

Many of us are now preparing for a new kind of stress that reflects more unknowns, such as potential changes in work location, expectations, tasks, and what that all means to us as employees and colleagues. We are collectively experiencing unprecedented change across the organization by virtue of budget impacts and changes in senior leaders — both of which have a way of cascading through an organization and challenging the status quo.

Check Your Stress Level

One thing the pandemic did not do was ease the “normal” stressors in life such as divorce, familial issues, debt, and job change, to name a few. Consider taking the Life Change Stress Test, a self-assessment scale developed as a predictor of an individual’s well-being and the likelihood of illness. Where are you currently on the life-change stress index?

We may not share a common experience to change. What one person feels is a great idea might feel like an unnecessary and stressful change to another. You might find exhilaration in tackling new systems while others might find the same experience overwhelming. How leaders navigate these next few crucial months is expected to impact employee stress and, therefore, employee motivation and satisfaction — essential aspects of building a healthy and positive culture for our students and colleagues.

Are You Languishing?

The fact is there are many unknowns still surrounding the pandemic that, when combined with our everyday stress to navigate, can lead to even fun activities like weddings and graduations causing an increase in stress and a decrease in motivation.

In the work context, the continuous change we have been experiencing along with ongoing uncertainty can lead to what Adam Grant of The New York Times recently described as languishing. People may not be considered depressed, but they’re not flourishing either. After months of being on high alert, our bodies and brains are likely tired, stressed, and burned out by this state of hypervigilance.

Reduce the Impact of Stress

Keep in mind that stress does not need to be negative to have an impact on you, and not all stress needs to be immense to add up. Often, it is the compounding of little things that have a large impact. Recognizing your typical and atypical stressors — be they “positive” or “negative” — and how they impact you personally and professionally can better prepare you to successfully manage your stress and move out of a state of languishing. Engaging in reframing your situation, learning new coping strategies, exercising, or seeking services through Health4U Stress Reduction, your healthcare provider or EAP are all places to begin.

Take some simple steps to help yourself and your team get through this period of continuing uncertainty with improved stress management strategies and increased motivation. Here are a few additional, self-paced resources you might find helpful:

elevateU Online Resources

Additional Resources

Grant, A., May 5, 2021. There’s a name for the blah you are feeling: It’s called languishing. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html

Holmes, T.H., and Rahe, T.H. “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale,” Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 11:213, 1967. https://www.dartmouth.edu/eap/library/lifechangestresstest.pdf

Motivational Monday Round-Up

Todd Bradley, HR’s Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist, has been keeping us motivated with his short videos full of insight. In case you missed any, please find a round-up of Todd’s latest videos below.

These videos were designed to motivate and inspire MSU employees, exploring topics like rational thinking skills, emotive skills and more for both professional and personal development. Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view Todd’s full series of Todd Talk videos.

Motivational Monday: Diversity

Todd encourages us to celebrate the diverse perspectives, skillsets, and experiences that all Spartans encounter.

Motivational Monday: Accountability

Todd defines and offers suggestions to demonstrate accountability.

Motivational Monday: Influence and Persuasion

Todd defines and shares the mechanics of influence and persuasion.

Motivational Monday: Cultivating Positive Habits

Todd suggests positive habits to consider cultivating and shares tips to be successful.

Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view Todd’s full series of Todd Talk videos.