Celebrate National Pet Day with MSU Vet Clinic and Pet Insurance

April 11 is National Pet Day! Pet lovers already know, and the Center for Disease Control confirms, that there are many benefits to owning pets. Pets increase opportunities for exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and socializing. These health benefits can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The companionship of pets makes us less lonely, reducing the effects of depression. 

Owning pets comes with responsibility, and Michigan State University offers services and resources to assist in those responsibilities. First, the MSU Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) can provide for all the health needs of your entire animal family. They provide health care for cats, dogs, equine, pigs, cows, camelids, sheep, goats, pocket pets, zoo animals, and wildlife. Their services include cardiology, oncology, primary care, and more. 

The VMC uses the most advanced technology combined with cutting-edge research to provide optimal care for all animals. Similar to specialists in human medicine, veterinarians pursue additional education and certification beyond veterinary school. That training allows the Hospital to offer 20 specialty services with clinicians who supervise and teach our senior veterinary students, interns, residents, and veterinary technology students to fulfill the Hospital’s commitment to educating future professionals. 

Maintaining optimal health for your pets is a financial investment, and emergency care can be costly. Keep those expenses manageable with preferred pricing from Nationwide pet insurance offered through MSU Benefits Plus, where you can choose from 50% or 70% reimbursement for services from any vet. You’ll also receive additional benefits for services such as emergency boarding, lost pet advertising, and more. Visit the MSU Benefits Plus website to learn more and enroll. Locate the Nationwide Pet Insurance tile under Featured Benefits and click Visit Site to request a free quote. 

Job of the Week: Manager of Public Programming – Exhibitions Manager

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an open position with the MSU Museum. The MSU Museum is seeking a Manager of Public Programming – Exhibitions Manager (job posting 765811). This is a support staff position under Provost and Academic Affairs.

Reporting to the Creative Director, the Manager of Public Programming will develop, implement, and evaluate educational and outreach programming stemming from the Museum’s division for innovation and experimentation. The position requires an ability to effectively and diplomatically work with individuals and groups from all over the community. The projects, programs, and initiatives for such a position will naturally vary in scale from intimate to expansive, with a spectrum of engagement expectations that range from scholarly presentations to large-scale projects that engage the broader campus community and extended public, many of whom may not be routine museum-goers. A lively balance of programs that deepen understanding, build audiences and push the boundaries on what it means to be a 21st-century interdisciplinary museum is expected. A detailed list of duties and responsibilities can be found here.

The candidate selected for this role will have a four-year college degree or equivalent experience in science communications, the arts or humanities, or a related field. They should also have three or more years of experience related to exhibitions in a museum, gallery, or foundation. Additional desired experience includes project planning, budget development, contract negotiation, and supervisory experience.

Learn more about the MSU Museum at https://museum.msu.edu/. To apply for this position, you will need a resume, cover letter, and three professional references. Click here to apply by April 5, 2022. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu.

Nominations are Open for the Student Employee of the Year Award!

If you work at MSU, you know how important student employees are to the success of your department and the university. Do you know a student who consistently goes above and beyond in their work? Supervisors have the chance to recognize these exemplary Spartans by nominating them for the Student Employee of the Year award by February 11, 2022.

Find more details and the nomination form on the Department of Student Life website.

Eligible nominees must be:

  • Currently registered in an MSU degree-granting program.
  • Employed on student employee payroll for a minimum of three months between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.
  • Nominated by their supervisor. Only one student employee may be nominated per supervisor. Complete an online nomination form here.
    Note: Graduate assistants, residence hall staff and other student employees who do not fall under the jurisdiction of MSU Student Employment or the Student Employee Payroll may not be nominated for this award. They are eligible for other recognition programs.

All nominees will be honored with certificates. The MSU Student Employee winner’s name is submitted for consideration for the State of Michigan competition. All nominees will be acknowledged at a reception on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Big Ten A. Learn more about the award on the Department of Student Life website.

Job of the Week: Library Assistant II

This week’s featured job from MSU Human Resources is a support staff position for MSU Libraries–Library Assistant II (posting 752784). Apply today to join MSU Libraries, a leader among international research libraries and the center of academic life at MSU. They strive to build an accessible, enriching environment for researchers and learners on campus and around the world. 

The selected candidate will perform detailed bibliographic verification for English and foreign language materials for purchasing and processing and provide bibliographic access to materials requiring detailed processing. They will also perform data entry, record maintenance, and process mail. 

Applicants interested in this role should have completed at least one year of college or business school education. Work or educational experience required includes the ability to type 45 words per minute, record keeping, web page editing, and more. This role may also require the ability to identify information or read and translate one or more foreign languages. 

Learn more about MSU Libraries at https://lib.msu.edu/. Read more about the position here and apply with a resume and cover letter by December 28. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Don’t forget your MSU employee discounts this holiday season!

As a benefits-eligible MSU employee, you have access to various discounts and savings that can help you find the perfect holiday gifts. Through MSU Benefits Plus, you can find discounts and special offers on products such as electronics, toys 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.

The following are a few of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

  • 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.
  • Amish Furniture Company – Receive a 10% discount on all purchases using coupon code EDU10% during check out (may request proof of MSU affiliation).
  • Best Buy – Save 20% on select cell phone accessories including OtterBox, LieProof, Mophie, Speck, Kate Spade NY, Under Armour, and more when you use promo code 20percentoff at checkout.
  • Calm – Get 57% off* the #1 app for meditation and sleep through this link.
  • HP Gaming Gear – The HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP) offers HP consumer products at discounts typically up to 10% – 50% off starting prices through this exclusive link.
  • Kiwi Crate – Inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and save 35% off your first month’s box when you use this exclusive link!
  • Magazine Advantage – get up to 90% off the most popular magazines offering titles such as People, Better Homes & Gardens, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living & more! Buy for yourself or send as a gift 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.

HR Welcomes Colleagues and Students Back to Campus

Dear Spartan Colleagues,  

We are pleased to welcome everyone to a new academic year. While some added safety measures, including indoor masking and vaccination, have been put in place to protect all of us, we expect a more typical fall semester for our students. Our university is a space for them to engage with peers and faculty for the best possible learning experience and development opportunities. In addition to our first-year students, some of our second-year students will be on campus for the first time—experiencing dorm life, taking in the beauty of the Red Cedar River, and attending exciting campus events. With these added safety measures, we can minimize the spread of COVID-19 and give these Spartans a great start to their academic year. More information regarding these safety measures, including the vaccine verification and exemption forms, can be found on the Together We Will site.

We all have spent the last year and a half navigating our daily lives, careers, education, families, and more during a global pandemic. If you are experiencing the effects of this challenging time, you are not alone. Many resources are available to us—the Wellbeing at Work guide, the Employee Assistance Program and more information can be found on this page of the Together We Will site. As always, and especially during this time, it is important to practice grace and empathy toward our colleagues, students, and visitors. The pandemic has greatly affected all of us in different ways. We are all doing our best—let’s continue to work through this together.  

On behalf of MSU Human Resources and Academic Human Resources, we want to thank each of you for your continued work and dedication to the University, our students, and our land-grant mission. These are challenging times, but Together We Will. We wish you a safe, healthy, and successful academic year. 

Go Green!  

Richard Fanning, J.D., SHRM-SCP 
Interim Associate Vice President and Director of the Office of Employee Relations 
MSU Human Resources 

N. Suzanne Lang, PhD 
Associate Provost and Associate Vice President 
Academic Human Resources 

Leadership Blog Series: Every Improvement Involves Change

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

Change itself isn’t an improvement…but every improvement involves change.

We are experiencing unprecedented (there’s that word again) change on many levels and across many systems, under-resourced in many areas while managing through tremendous pressure for both you and your teams. Learning new ways to make improvements is critical. I invite you to take a fresh perspective on leading change, starting with yourself. You need a deliberate path for leaning into change and bringing your team along with you as you lead improvement measures.

Start with Yourself

To begin, reflect on the following questions while considering your current leadership approach during this time of rapid change. How do you approach problems and lead improvements?

  • Are you treating the symptoms, or are you tackling the root cause of the issues? Imagine the feeling of having your teams think about the root cause of any problems or improvements. Connecting improvements throughout the organization to individuals can increase engagement and build more value for your stakeholders.
  • Does everyone in your organization or on your team know how to participate in improvements? Do they know what is expected of them, or do they have to wait to be told what to do? Imagine empowering and unleashing the potential from your entire team by inviting them to work on what really matters, in a way that is supported by trusting those who know the most about the issues.
  • Do you expect continuous improvement in the daily work? Envision being able to systematically improve even “small” thorny issues, recognize people, and deal with processes that are ineffective, wasteful and redundant.
  • Do you include representation of all your key stakeholders in your efforts? No one wants to feel like they are at the little kids’ table—waiting for scraps and being told what to do. Be holistic in solving problems and making improvements. Not including good representation from across the spectrum to solve issues around change means you are sowing seeds of suspicion or, even worse, sabotage.

Lean into Change

Regardless of an issue’s scope, create a path toward improvement utilizing the following steps:

  1. Define the problem. Create a team to solve the problem that includes those responsible for the activity, process or action. Develop the problem statement in one or two sentences—get to the real root cause by asking the 5 Whys until you get to the bottom of things.
  2. Define the desired state in one to two sentences. If XYZ changes, what is the intended outcome?
  3. Define who needs to be involved and how. Use a RACI chart to help you define roles: who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Consider the difference between responsible and accountable: If I am an electrician who is responsible for installing a new outlet and I get sick and can’t complete the job, my manager is accountable to find someone to complete the job.

Lead with Intention

Now you are ready to conduct kaizen, which means to take apart (“Kai”) and put back together (“Zen”). Remember, there is no “bad” information or people—the focus should be on the facts of the problem and not the person. Lead this process with intention using the steps below.

  1. Document the current process with time estimates (or other measures).
  2. Identify areas of improvement. You are likely trying to eliminate wasted time, money or energy. Everything should have a real value—or we shouldn’t be doing it.
  3. Develop new processes that can prevent or improve problems. Document them in Promapp.
  4. Implement (i.e., do the things!) Build in a loop to communicate on the implementation and the results over a period of time. Develop training tools based off your process/actions.
  5. Measure and compare to previous results to verify improvement. Remember, anything that does not add value (time, money, energy) should be eliminated, and measuring improvement is possible—even for what can sometimes feel like Byzantine university processes. This is an important transparency step to all members in the process.
  6. Standardize the new process, system or action. Use visual tools, such as dashboards or posters, to reinforce the processes.

Ongoing steps in the process: Celebrate successes whether big or small, maintain continuous monitoring as situations change, and continue to embark on improvements.

Change Management Strategist, Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, describes change leadership as “the ability to influence and inspire action in others, and respond with vision and agility during periods of growth, disruption or uncertainty to bring about the needed change.” Approach improvements with intentionality to be an influential leader of change during our current period of transition.

Interested in learning more? Recommended SourceLive articles are listed below, and the Organization and Professional Development department can be reached at prodev@hr.msu.edu for specialized support.

Recommended Reading

Sources

Balzer, W., Francis, D., Krehbiel, T., Shea, N. A review and perspective on lean in higher education. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William-Balzer/publication/308000035_A_review_and_perspective_on_Lean_in_higher_education/links/5ea32ac6299bf112560c188d/A-review-and-perspective-on-Lean-in-higher-education.pdf (log-in required)

Jenkins, Alison. Advancing lean leadership. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/advancing-lean-leadership#

Neumeyer, Adrian. Create a RACI chart so everyone knows their role. https://www.tacticalprojectmanager.com/raci-chart-explanation-with-example

MSU Summer Events, Activities and Courses Round-Up

Enjoy your summer with these campus activities, events, and courses to do with your family and friends!

Outdoor Activities

  • Get outside and hike the beautiful trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Additionally, check out their calendar of virtual and in-person events, which now include daily bird and butterfly activities and walks throughout the property.
  • The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden on campus is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. If you follow the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden Facebook page, you can see that along with the flowers and sprawling grounds, there is now a temporary art installation to check out! The garden is open for you to walk around and enjoy the plants and pond in a beautiful setting. Be sure to continue to follow current and posted COVID-19 guidelines.

Performance and Art

  • The Wharton Center is preparing for a full reopening in the fall, but if you are missing the theater, check out all of the great opportunities to learn and grow through Wharton at Home. You can also join instructors for a livestream class every Wharton Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. here.
  • The Broad Art Museum has multiple exhibits on display throughout the summer, including the “Interstates of Mind” ending on August 8 and “Where We Dwell” beginning on August 7. The Broad Art Lab on Grand River Avenue is also open once again for $16 per session. If you are looking for at home activities, the Broad Museum Online has virtual exhibits and art classes open to the public.

Learning

  • The Abrams Planetarium at MSU is now open for shows on Saturday and Sunday nights. You can register online here for either Big Astronomy or We Are Stars. Patrons can also book private showings for up to 20 people or check out Night Sky Chats, streaming on Facebook Live every Wednesday Night.
  • MSU HR is always updating the OPD Resources online, so this summer you can take a course on anything from Communication to Professional Development from the comfort of your own home. Check out the full list of course offerings here.

Health

  • MSU Health4U has multiple summer programs running every month for free, just register online and choose the program, or programs, right for you.
  • SPARTANfit Health and Wellness Program is offering a comprehensive virtual fitness assessment for MSU employees and their spouses! Get a three month plan from your assessment and start reaching your summer health and fitness goals.

Explore these great campus activities this summer but remember to continue to stay safe by wearing a mask if you are not fully vaccinated, wash your hands often, and maintain physical distance.

Reminder to Take Advantage of Optional MSU Benefits and Resources

Like many, during the pandemic your family has probably experienced an increased need for virtual health care options, mental health resources, and opportunities to save money. MSU is committed to offering valuable benefits to support you and your family, especially during this difficult time. As a benefits-eligible employee, you’re probably aware of MSU’s health and dental care benefit options. However, on top of those, there are a wide range of optional benefits we’d like to remind you about as well.

Beyond meeting your health care needs, these optional benefits can help you save money on needed products and services, all while staying safe with virtual or socially distanced options. We realize keeping track of all these different resources can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve created the following recap to jog your memory with links to more detailed information to learn more.

This infographic provides a quick summary of these optional benefits (click the image for a downloadable PDF version):

Optional benefit programs available:

  • Teladoc: virtually speak with a doctor 24/7 via web, phone or mobile app. They can even write you a prescription if necessary. Employees have described Teladoc as “a game changer,” and particularly helpful during the pandemic (read employee experiences here). If you haven’t already, we recommend you sign up for Teladoc now, so you’re prepared when you need it.
  • Livongo: this diabetes management program provides free supplies delivered right to your door whenever you need it and support with optional virtual coaching. Save time and money on needed supplies, while staying safe at home. Read an employee’s perspective on Livongo and find instructions to sign up.
  • Best Doctors: get medical advice from experts on your specific medical condition and feel empowered to make the best choice possible for your care. Their Behavioral Health Navigator tool offers expert advice on the diagnosis and treatment options for mental health conditions. Learn more about how Best Doctors can help during the pandemic.
  • Voluntary Benefits and Employee Discounts: these are optional benefits offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Find insurance offerings such as vision, long-term care, legal, pet, home/auto, and critical illness (some have enrollment periods). Additionally, there are a variety of discounts on everything from electronics, home goods, meal delivery services and much more.
  • On-Campus Services: save time by getting your MRI, x-ray, or CT scan done right on-campus at MSU Radiology or have the MSU Pharmacy deliver your prescriptions directly to your home if you live within 30 miles of campus (on-campus delivery still available for free). MSU Pharmacy also has a new on-campus location you can visit with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

You might not always need or think of these resources, but keeping them tucked away can make it easier and more cost-effective to manage your family’s health. As always, if you have any questions about these benefits options, please visit the HR website to learn more or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Decision Making Through Constant Change

This is a guest post written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager, MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Remember the good old days, pre-COVID, when we talked about the stress of rapid change? Sure, we talked about VUCA, but only now do we truly understand what Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous means for ourselves and our organization. The last six months have been a never-ending test of our stamina, courage, and ability to pivot quickly, and many of our tried and true methods of approaching work and leadership have been challenged. As stated in the McKinsey & Company article Decision Making in Uncertain Times, “The typical approach of many companies, big and small, will be far too slow to keep up in such turbulence. Postponing decisions to wait for more information might make sense during business as usual. But when the environment is uncertain—and defined by urgency and imperfect information—waiting to decide is a decision in itself” (Alexander et al., 2020).

To move forward in this environment, here are some principles to keep in mind:

  1. Take a breath. To make good decisions, you need oxygen going to your brain. You might feel a sense of urgency, or even panic, but it is worthwhile to take some deep breaths and reflect on the situation at hand before brainstorming solutions or making decisions (Alexander et al., 2020).
  2. Collect information. Do you have any data? Past precedence? Do a quick literature scan on best practices to get ideas. Consider impacts to stakeholders and get their perspectives. You likely won’t have a great deal of time to explore every possible option but do your homework to the best of your ability, given the urgency of the need.
  3. Involve others. If there’s one thing we’ve learned through this pandemic, it’s that none of us can do it all alone. Talk to your peers to see who else is facing this challenge so that you can share ideas or partner on a solution. Remember that you don’t have to have all the answers. Tap the wisdom of your team or other groups on campus or even other institutions (Alexander et al., 2020).
  4. Mitigate bias. The NeuroLeadership Institute offers some key types of bias to be aware of as you make decisions (2019):
    • Similarity bias. Simply put, we prefer what is like us over what is different. An example is hiring people who they perceive to be like them. Make an active effort to get input and feedback from those who are different, or you’ll likely be short-sighted.
    • Expedience bias. We choose the quickest alternative. Make sure you are not going just on one data point without considering options.
    • Experience bias. We see our perception as truth. How would a new employee view this? Someone from another generation? Seek feedback and don’t assume your view is the only one.
    • Distance bias. We prefer what’s closer over what’s farther away and, as a result, can miss some unique solutions.
    • Safety bias. We protect against loss more than we seek to gain. When it comes to COVID-19, we need to take every safety precaution. In non-health related issues, taking calculated risks helps to propel us forward and innovate.
  5. Consider alternatives. Look not only at how your decisions will impact the current situation, but where they might fit in after the pandemic. Weigh out potential risks and benefits for both the short and long game. Weigh options through the lens of broader organizational priorities and realities, considering values, impact on students, budget, staff engagement and more.
  6. Make the decision. After expediently doing all the above, you must decide and then make that decision clear to others. Remember, you will make the best decision you can with the time and information you have at that moment.
  7. Execute and evaluate. Some leaders forget that the real work begins after the decision is made. Be clear on who will execute the decision, timelines and parameters. Check in to see how things are going, if informing variables have changed or if support is needed. Empower your leaders as much as possible to make the day to day decisions to get the job done.
  8. Reflect. After implementation, take a few moments to consider how the decision went and what you and others can learn.

I’m sure we’ll all have much to reflect on once we move past this incredible time in history. Until then, the challenges keep coming, and we’ll continue to take them on. Don’t forget to lean on each other. You are not alone in feeling the weight of the work and decisions that face you. Talking with trusted colleagues can lighten the load. As this Inside Higher Ed article says, “Unlike many external critics, they understand that one ‘good’ often conflicts with another, and that choices are inevitably made among flawed options in imperfect conditions with limited information. You do the best you can, and you live with it” (Dean Dad, 2012). Good luck and good health to you all.

Sources:

Alexander, A., De Smet, A., and Weiss, L., (March 24, 2020) Decision Making in Uncertain Times, Retrieved October 13, 2020 from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/decision-making-in-uncertain-times

Benjamin, D. Komlos, D., (July 20, 2020) The Pandemic is Teachings to Embrace Uncertainty and Build it into Decision Making. Retrieved October 13, 2020 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminkomlos/2020/07/20/the-pandemic-is-teaching-us-to-embrace-uncertainty-and-build-it-into-decision-making/#710a1d1a6faa

NeuroLeadership Institute (April 9, 2019) The 5 Biggest Biases that Affect Decision Making. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from  https://neuroleadership.com/your-brain-at-work/seeds-model-biases-affect-decision-making/

Cole, B. M. (April 14, 2020) Seven Simple Steps for Good Decision Making During a Crisis. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancamillercole/2020/04/14/follow-these-7-steps-for-good-decision-making-in-a-crisis/#5dd83f933fe4

Dean Dad (March, 2012) Ask the Administrator: If I Become a Dean, Will my Faculty Colleagues Shun Me? Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions-community-college-dean/ask-administrator-if-i-become-dean-will-my-faculty