Employee Discounts to Support New Year’s Resolutions

If you have any New Year’s resolutions related to health and wellness goals, MSU Benefits Plus has a variety of discounts and deals that may help you achieve them. These discounts and deals are exclusive to MSU employees.

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, you’ll need to sign-up using your ZPID number to access the discounts.

Exercise More

  • GlobalFit: explore GlobalFit’s growing library of free virtual classes and resources through Corestream’s GlobalFit Portal, along with exclusive discounts for members on popular fitness and wellness products. You will need to select “Activate Benefit” in the top right-hand corner and enter your contact details in order to access all the deals. Find deals on a variety of products and services, including LesMills on-demand fitness classes, virtual Honor Yoga and Meditation classes, elliptical and treadmill machines, gym memberships, POLAR heart rate monitors, and much more!
  • FitBod: Receive 1-month membership, plus 25% off your membership if you decide to sign-up. Visit the site to redeem your free month and/or follow the instructions to sign-up for membership and receive this 25% discount.

Reduce Stress

  • Calm App: Get 57% off* the #1 app for meditation and sleep! Enjoy access to the Calm app 1-year subscriptions for only $29.99 (normally $69.99) when purchasing through this link.
  • Headspace: Try Headspace and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with their free Basics course. Enjoy a free two-week trial of Headspace using this link.

Eat Healthier/Cook More

  • Shipt: For $79 per year, receive unlimited free deliveries from participating retailers on all orders over $35. Plus, get $10 off your first order. To receive this special pricing, sign up using this link and redemption code: 5ABFF1969DF.
  • Freshly: sign up to get chef cooked, healthy meals delivered right to your door. Get $60 off your first five boxes when you use promo code get60 at checkout using this link.
  • Home Chef: Get 50% off your first home chef box (up to $40) when you use code CS50 at checkout using this link.
  • EveryPlate: try Everyplate at $2.99/meal + get 20% off next 2 boxes. Use coupon code Q6-4DFGE at this link..
  • PlateJoy: get $10 off at PlateJoy using promo code GET10 at checkout using this link.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Retirement Planning: 2021 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2021:

  • The annual employee contribution amount continues to be $19,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  • The age 50 catch-up contribution amount continues to be $6,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year.

To access this tool:

  1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password.
  2. Click the My Benefits tab at the top.
  3. Click the Benefit/Retirement tile.
  4. Select Enroll/Change my Retirement/Health Savings Account Options in the drop-down menu and then click Next in the bottom right.
  5. Navigate in the bar graph to the Savings Plans screen by clicking Next in the bottom right.
  6. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit.
  7. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon, and then choose Select to make the change.
  8. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution and choose Select to enroll.
  9. Make sure to click on Save in the bottom right to complete and save any changes/enrollments.

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage.

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans 

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available.

Upcoming Virtual Professional Development Courses

Whether you’ve jumped into the new year with a list of goals to work on or need a little inspiration, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you. Find a list of upcoming courses sorted by topic below. You’ll see some familiar course names now offered in a virtual format, alongside some newer courses like Managing Employees Remotely and The Power of Habit.

Communication

Customer Service

Human Resources

Leadership

Management

  • Managing Employees Remotely – January 20: Shifting to remote work has required changes in our perspectives and approaches to work, and successfully managing employees in this environment means strengthening new and different skills. Learn more about how to do just that in this new, one-hour virtual course.

Operations

  • Query Studio – January 27: Query Studio is an ad hoc reporting tool that can be used to produce queries against enterprise data (HR and Finance) as well as additional data that has been added to the dimensional models in MSU’s enterprise data warehouse.
  • Records Management and Retention at MSU – February 25: Learn the rules, regulations, and strategies to help manage university records. Class will cover both electronic and print documents.

Personal Development

  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – January 14: Everything DiSC® helps you build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles.
  • The Power of Habit – February 23: In this course you will learn how habits are created and how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. You will learn how to spot your habit loop, turn bad days into good data, and create habits that get the results you want.

You can find all the current virtual Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any).

Mentorship Resources and Tips

Over the past year, the workplace has changed dramatically with most of us working remotely and dealing with rapidly changing priorities. As we say goodbye to a challenging year and look forward to 2021, take some time to reflect on your experiences with co-workers over the past year; they may influence the goals or skills you choose to work on moving forward.

Do you admire a colleague’s ability to patiently manage a project during this period of rapid change? Or maybe you have a co-worker with a talent for staying on task and engaging team members during virtual meetings? Many of the qualities you appreciate in others are skills that anyone can develop with proper coaching through mentorship.

Beyond developing your skillset, mentorship is an opportunity to broaden your network and ability to see issues from multiple points of view. Among the many things we’ve learned this past year, one key take-away is how important cross-team support and collaboration is to creative problem-solving and innovation, especially during crisis.

Whether you’re looking for a mentor or you’d like to become one, the following articles written by Senior HR Professional Kathie Elliott can help you get started:

  • Mentoring in the Workplace: Think mentorship is just one-on-one help from a more experienced colleague? Think again! There are many mentoring structures to choose from, depending on the goals of the mentors and mentees. Identify which structures may help you in your career.
  • Finding a Professional Mentor: Finding the right mentor can make a big difference in your career. Once you find a potential mentor, how should you approach them? Find ideas for turning a current professional relationship into a mentorship.
  • How to Become a Mentor: You may want to consider becoming a mentor if you have experiences and skills to offer. Even if you are early in your career or new to your position, you still have knowledge to share. Find steps to take to be ready when a mentorship opportunity arises.

Additionally, as you think about the goals or skills you want to work on and how mentorship could play a role in achieving them, consider tying them to your Performance Excellence goals (for support staff). For more information about how to set yourself up for success as you identify goals, check out this When SMART Meets HARD: Setting Goals that Matter article. 

Submit a Nomination for the 2021 Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award!

Do you know an MSU employee pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree who deserves to be recognized for going above and beyond what is expected of them in their work and studies? Now is your chance to show your appreciation for your coworkers and all the outstanding work they do by submitting a nomination for the 2021 Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award! MSU is currently seeking nominations for this award and will accept nominations through January 20, 2021.

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU. A stipend of $2,500 will accompany the award and may be used as determined appropriate by the recipient.

Last year’s Ruth Jameyson Award winner, Michelle Gunn Van Deuren, was a Research Assistant II in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine pursuing a graduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine from MSU. Learn more about the 2020 Ruth Jameyson Award Winner and what her colleagues had to say.

Individuals may be nominated by any member of the university community (colleague, administrator, faculty, support staff, student). A nominee must be a regular, active employee with at least five years of service to MSU in a support staff position.

To learn more about the nomination process, and find the nomination form, visit the MSU HR website. The deadline for nominations is January 20, 2021.

By Golly, Be Jolly this Holiday Season with Deals and Discounts for MSU Employees!

Although this year’s holiday celebrations will no doubt look different than usual, there are still ways to make it feel special, whether your loved ones are together or apart. As a benefit-eligible MSU employee, you have access to various discounts and savings that can help you find the perfect holiday gifts this year thanks to MSU Benefits Plus. Through MSU Benefits Plus, you can find discounts and special offers on products such as electronics, footwear and more!

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, you’ll need to sign-up using your ZPID number to access the discounts.

Check out some of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus below:

Apple – Enjoy employee pricing on most Apple products such as select iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks, Apple Watches and more when you shop through this exclusive link.

Foot Locker – Save $20 off $120+ at Foot Locker by using the code PARNOV20 at checkout.

HP – With the HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP) employees can save up to 70% during HP’s holiday and Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale! Your EPP discount can also be combined with other sales promotions.

Otterbox – Get 10% off your order plus free shipping when you use the promo code OTTER10 at checkout.

1800Baskets – Save 20% on seasonal gift baskets as well as any order from all of the 1800Flowers brands including when you use the promo code CSTREAM at checkout.

BMW – Through the BMW Group Corporate Sales Program, eligible employees can earn attractive incentives when leasing, financing or purchasing a new BMW or MINI. Earn up to $3,000 on a new BMW and $500 on a new MINI. When redeeming the Corporate Sales Program certificate, employees must type in the CSP Account # NEPP3703 to identify the provider first then type in your employer’s name in the Company Name field.

Sennheiser – Get 30% off Sennheiser’s headphones and headsets when you shop through this exclusive link.

BarkBox – Get your first BarkBox for only $15 when you shop through this exclusive link.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Use Your Free Livongo Benefit to Manage Your Diabetes

Are you or a family member living with diabetes? Data shows the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in the United States is rising each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
  • More than 88 million US adults have prediabetes, and more than 84% don’t know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

So, what is diabetes? There are two variations: Type I and Type II. As explained by MSU’s Health eGuide, Type I diabetes occurs when the pancreas ceases to make insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. Lack of insulin causes a high blood sugar level, which can be harmful to many parts of the body and can increase the risk for other health complications. Type II diabetes differs in that the body is still able to make insulin, however, it is unable to use it in the right way. While Type I diabetes is not yet preventable, Type II can be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle (Healthwise Staff, 2020).

For those living with diabetes, MSU offers a benefit called Livongo – a diabetes management program completely free to MSU employees and their spouses/dependents. The Livongo program aims to reduce the burden on those living with diabetes by offering technology and support to help members easily manage their health.

One of the first to enroll in Livongo was Jeff Brodie, a Management Analyst for MSU Human Resources, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011. Here’s what Jeff had to say about his experience using Livongo: “There is nothing to lose at all, and everything to gain. Even if you sign up and do the minimal, you will be healthier than if you didn’t sign up at all.” You can read more about Jeff’s experience using Livongo in this previous HR blog post.

You can enroll for Livongo at any time and it takes less than 10 minutes to sign up. Once you register, you will receive a welcome kit in the mail. The kit contains your own Livongo connected meter, unlimited testing strips, a lancing device, lancets, a carrying case, and optional coaching by a healthcare professional. Many users say the best part of the program is the unlimited free test strips and lancets mailed right to your door whenever you need them – why pay for these supplies when they are available free?

To learn more about using your free Livongo benefit, visit the Livongo for Diabetes Management webpage. If you have questions or are ready to sign up, visit the Livongo website. Find more testimonials for Livongo here. Do you have your own experience with Livongo? We’d love to hear in the comments below or email us at hrcommteam@hr.msu.edu.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020, June 11). Diabetes Quick Facts. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html

Healthwise Staff. (2020, June 29). Diabetes. Retrieved November 23, 2020, from https://www.healthwise.net/health4u/Content/StdDocument.aspx?DOCHWID=center1010

Leading Change with Emotional Intelligence

Written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager, MSU HR Organization & Professional Development

Emotions tend to run high during times of change, and to navigate effectively for themselves and others, leaders need emotional intelligence (EQ). At its essence, EQ is the ability to regulate oneself and effectively interact with others. To help leaders assess all essential EQ traits, Harvard researcher Daniel Goleman shares that EQ is comprised of these four key components (Goleman, 2020):

  • Self-Awareness: To understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as personal strengths and limitations
  • Self-Management: To demonstrate emotional self-control, adaptability, striving for excellence, an appreciation of feedback and a positive outlook.
  • Social Awareness: To have the capacity and demonstrate an ability for empathy and to read the dynamics of a group or organization.
  • Relationship Management: To deal effectively with conflict, facilitate teamwork, and demonstrate the capacity to influence, mentor and inspire others.

While these skills can be more natural for some leaders than others, all can be learned and are critical as we lead the way through changing times. The article Using Emotional Intelligence to Lead in Higher Education notes, “when leaders apply the principles of Emotional Intelligence in their daily leadership practices, a myriad of congruent studies on working environments and job satisfaction revealed that self-efficacy is heightened. Essentially, not only do people feel more valued, they feel a heightened sense of empowerment and confidence in their ability to accomplish tasks and achieve goals” (Vinciguerra, 2017). All of this is particularly critical when leading through change, when people tend to be stressed and fearful. Conversely, leaders who are lacking in these skills tend to struggle with behavioral problems within the team and a lack of progress in the change effort.

It should also be noted that while essential, EQ skills are not all that is required for leaders to advance a changing organization. Dwindling budgets have to be managed, data must be analyzed and critical decisions must be made. This is not an either/or proposition. Leaders must balance the analytic responsibilities of their position within a socio-emotional context. This requires a conscious effort as each is processed through different neural networks in the brain, and we tend to get stuck in one or the other. The article The Best Managers Balance Analytical and Emotional Intelligence by Melvin Smith describes these two neural networks as the analytic network and the empathetic network (Smith, 2020). Smith also provides the following strategies for increasing your capacity to attend to both:

  1. Be aware of your “go-to” neural network. This requires mindfulness. Questions for reflection include:
    • How am I processing the situation at this moment? Am I thinking about concrete facts? Creative possibilities?
    • What types of situations tend to pull me to the analytic network and when am I most likely to be pulled to the empathetic network?
    • On the whole, which do I tend to go to more naturally?
  2. Exercise the neural network that isn’t your “go-to.”
    • To exercise your empathetic network: practice having conversations where your goal is to fully understand the other person, as opposed to solving their problem or changing their mind. Really tune into that person, noting their body language, tone of voice, etc. Practice challenging your own assumptions and considering other possibilities.
    • To exercise your analytic network: Set a timeline for a task you need to complete and hold yourself to it. Identify a situation at work that needs a creative outcome. Do research, list pros and cons of options, look at risks and benefits and compile information to develop a framework.
  3. Practice balancing both.
    • Be clear on your intention to consider both.
    • Think about the implications of your decisions from both a relational and technical perspective.

The need for this balance and the importance of EQ in leadership has only magnified through the current pandemic. Continually changing data points, additional task force work, change fatigue and more have made the job of leaders more difficult, in addition to dealing with the fears, stressors and work changes for their teams. In exploring how EQ can be most helpful in this environment, the article Emotional intelligence during the pandemic: 5 tips for leaders encourages leaders to focus on creating psychological safety, welcoming respectful dissent while not tolerating personal attacks, modeling empathy, and inviting challenges to the status quo (Clark, 2020). Frequent communication continues to be essential as well, both to communicate potential changes and to check in with others to see how they are doing. By strengthening connections with peers and employees and actively working to create a positive environment, we will weather the storm and be positioned for a successful future.

The following resources in elevateU provide additional learning opportunities:

Sources:

Clark, T. (2020,April 29) Emotional intelligence during the pandemic: 5 tips for leaders. Retrieved November 10, 2020 from https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2020/4/emotional-intelligence-crisis

Goleman, D. (2020, June 9) Harvard researcher says the most emotionally intelligent people have these 12 traits. Which do you have? Retrieved November 10, 2020 from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/09/harvard-psychology-researcher-biggest-traits-of-emotional-intelligence-do-you-have-them.html

Smith, M., Van Oosten, E., Boyatzis, R. (2020, June 12) The Best Managers Balance Analytical and Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved November 10, 2020 from https://hbr.org/2020/06/the-best-managers-balance-analytical-and-emotional-intelligence

Vinciguerra, S. (2020, October 20) Using Emotional Intelligence to Lead in Higher Education. Retrieved November 10, 2020 from https://sunysail.org/2017/10/20/using-emotional-intelligence-to-lead-in-higher-education/

Ready to go smoke-free? Join the Great American Smokeout

Are you ready to take your first step towards a smoke-free life? On November 19, 2020, millions of people across the country have the opportunity to start their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. The Great American Smokeout, an annual event hosted by the American Cancer Society, implores the estimated 32.4 million American adults who smoke cigarettes to use the tools they have available to help them make a plan to quit smoking for good.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for you and your family to do everything possible to stay healthy. Even if you or a member of your family have been a smoker for decades, there are almost immediate health benefits the moment you quit. According to the American Cancer Society, “People who have quit smoking have fewer illnesses such as colds and the flu, lower rates of bronchitis and pneumonia… [and] just 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. In just 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. In as little as 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.”

Step One: Make a Plan

While the negative health effects of smoking are no secret, taking the first step towards smoking cessation can be intimidating. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and tools available on The Great American Smokeout event webpage to help you get started and make a plan to quit. Consider talking to your primary care provider to find out how they can assist. They may suggest over the counter treatment options or prescription medications. They may also be able to provide counseling to assist you along the way.

Additional Resources for MSU Employees:

If you do not have a primary care provider, MSU Health Care has pediatricians, family medicine and internal medicine providers taking new patients. The MSU Health Care Pharmacy location offers quit aids such as nicotine gum, patches and can fill prescription Chantix® (varenicline). Plus, they deliver! Additionally, there are a variety of smoking cessation resources available on the Tobacco & Smoke Free MSU website.

Visit the American Cancer Society website to learn more about the Great American Smokeout and other resources to help you quit smoking.

Sources:

American Cancer Society (n.d.). It’s Not Too Late to Quit Smoking. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/never-too-late-to-quit-smoking.html