New and In-Person Fall Professional Development Courses

With the contagious energy from students starting a new year of learning and the Educational Assistance benefit resetting with the fall semester, now is a perfect time to consider your professional goals and how you can work toward achieving them. HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department is excited to offer a variety of new and in-person programs this semester to support your learning and development.

Registration is now available in the EBS Portal for both in-person classes and virtual courses to provide expanded options and best meet your learning needs and preferences.* View all current in-person and virtual OPD programming on HR’s website and learn about highlighted courses below.

New Fall Courses

Facilitating Process Improvement | Tuesday, October 18, AND Thursday, October 20 | In Person

Strengths Based Leadership | Wednesday, October 26 | In Person

Mitigating Bias in Hiring | Tuesday, October 11 | Virtual

Crucial Conversations for Accountability | Wednesday, November 2, AND Thursday, November 3 | In Person

Additional In-Person Courses

All in-person OPD programming will be held in East Lansing.

Communication

Grammar Refresher | Wednesday, October 19

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue | Wednesday, November 16, AND Thursday, November 17

Conflict Management and Non-Escalation  | Tuesday, December 6, AND Wednesday, December 7

Management

Building Cohesive Teams | Wednesday, October 12

Performance Management for Hybrid Teams | Tuesday, December 6

Managing and Leading Across Locations | Tuesday, December 13

Personal Development

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace  | Wednesday, October 12

Ready, Set, Change | Thursday, November 17

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths  | Tuesday, December 13

Register for OPD courses in the EBS Portal today! Questions? Contact Organization and Professional Development at prodev@hr.msu.edu.

Sources

Image by jannoon028 on Freepik

Self-Improvement Month

September is Self-Improvement Month! Self-improvement can be related to many things, whether it’s learning something new, maximizing a strength or focusing on your physical or emotional wellbeing. Celebrate this month by taking some time for yourself, growing and using these MSU resources to help get you started.

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace

Take advantage of this personal development course in October. The Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace course will help you break the seven habits of negativity and other secrets of getting along. For more information, click here

Take a Walk Around MSU

Utilize our beautiful campus or take a stroll through the East Lansing area. Taking a walk is great exercise, but can also improve your mental and emotional well-being.

TIAA Webinar: Strategies for Staying on Track

The WorkLife Office is hosting a webinar to help you stay on track of your financial goals. This opportunity will give you tips on how to have a solid financial future even after you’ve stopped working. For more information, click here

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths

This course will teach you how to benefit most from your strengths based on your CliftonStrengths Assessment. The assessment identifies your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, so that you can discover what makes you exceptional and maximize your potential. For more information, click here

Spartan Clothing Swap

Work on your self-improvement by cleaning out your closet, helping the planet and giving back to others in the community. The Surplus Store and Recycling Center are hosting a clothing swap where you can swap your clothes in good condition with others and keep them out of the waste stream. For more information, click here

Wellbeing Wednesdays: Supporting Each Other Through the Next New Normal

The WorkLife Office and Health4U have partnered to bring you Wellbeing Wednesdays. This informal webinar will focus on how we can support each other during continued change and the importance of self-care. For more information, click here

Ready, Set, Change!

This personal development course will demonstrate how organizational change can result in better outcomes. Join this November to improve and take charge of your organizational environment. For more information, click here

Strings Sing: 2022 Music and the Garden Series

Take in the natural beauty of the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, relax, and enjoy some chamber music and jazz at the 2022 Music and the Garden Series. For more information, click here

Women’s Networking Association: All Things Women’s Health – Understanding and Taking Care of Your Body

The Women’s Networking Association will host this webinar to teach women how to best take care of and listen to their bodies. For more information, click here

The Power of Habit™

This personal development course will teach you how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. Join us in October, and kick those bad habits for good! For more information, click here.  

Share your favorite self-improvement tips and comment below!

OPD Course Spotlight — Continuous Process Improvement Series

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

Picture this: Your department is functioning smoothly, with greater efficiency and productivity, utilizing clear, easy-to-understand frameworks for ongoing processes with easily transferrable knowledge and expertise. This type of work environment isn’t just a pipe dream. In fact, it’s part of MSU’s strategic plan, which sets forth the following action item:

Establish processes to systematically identify and remove barriers to success and reduce work inefficiencies to improve the experience of working at MSU.
(MSU 2030 Strategic Plan: Goal 2, Objective 1, Strategy/Action 6)

Continuous Process Improvement is an area of growing importance, as new and emerging leaders recognize process as foundational to the success of individuals, teams and organizations. Continuous improvement can range from simple changes in the day-to-day workings of your team to large-scale procedural shifts across the entire university. In all cases, you need the right instruments to achieve success and keep it going.

Continuous Process Improvement Learning Series

A variety of programs are available to assist you and your team in developing a culture of process excellence, with Fall 2022 sessions currently open for registration in EBS. The courses below typically provide the maximum benefit when taken as a series, although taking only a few of the classes is also an option, depending on your learning needs.

  1. Process Mapping 101 – Getting Started | elevateU e-learning course, 20 minutes
    • Define key process improvement terminology.
    • Identify common process maps and their differences.
  2. Introduction to Process Mapping | Instructor-led training
    • Define key process improvement terminology.
    • Identify common elements of process maps.
    • Reduce barriers to success by adopting best practices.
    • Create a process map.
    • Begin work on individual work-related processes using the resources provided.
  3. Promapp, Interactive Process Creation | Instructor-led training
    (requires completion of a prerequisite course, Introduction to Process Mapping)
    • Create processes in the Nintex Promapp system and use key features.
    • Utilize best writing practices and process standards to create engaging and consistent processes.
  4. Writing Policies and Procedures | Instructor-led training
    • Draft policies and procedures in clear terms that can be understood by all.
    • Discover strategies and methods for creating easy-to-understand resources.
  5. New Course! Facilitating Process Improvement | Instructor-led training
    • Identify leading process improvement frameworks and their appropriate applications.
    • Apply the RAPID methodology and supporting project documents to design a process improvement initiative.
    • Evaluate process effectiveness and identify common sources of waste
    • Adopt facilitation best practices in the management of process improvement initiatives.

Check out a preview of what you can expect from the Introduction to Process Mapping class to get a feel for the types of tools and strategies you’ll gain:

Ready to Learn More?

Register for upcoming courses in the Continuous Process Improvement Learning Series in the EBS Portal by selecting the Courses for Employees at MSU tile under My Career and Training. A list of recommended self-directed learning resources is below to get you started, and OPD can be reached at prodev@hr.msu.edu with any questions.

RECOMMENDED ELEVATEU RESOURCES

elevateU Courses

elevateU Microlearning – Videos

Sources

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

Leadership Blog Series: Ready to Lead

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

How did you know you were ready to lead? What inspired you to take that first step? What is your mission as a leader? Who helped you see you could be a leader and who helped you along that path? I’m curious about the journey that brought you where you are now as a leader, and where you want to go in the future.

In my case, I didn’t think about any of this when I first started in a leadership role. My first job out of college was as an APSA level 10 supervisor at MSU, and I was just happy to have a position in my field. So, armed with my dietetics degree, off I went into “institutional food service” as a personnel supervisor. Thankfully, I was able to attend a six-week training program before being assigned to my permanent spot.

The joke was on me because I was sent to that training unit just a few days before the start of the fall semester. Let’s just say that I decided to immediately start looking for another job! In that first year, the colleague who made my job bearable quit, another experienced colleague was experiencing a personal crisis, and our supervisor was demeaning and unethical. Then, one day I came into work, and the supervisor’s office was cleaned out—something was about to change.

Senior leaders began coming to the unit daily, and an interim leader was assigned. I took on new job responsibilities and challenges. The climate we operated in was hectic and unsettling, but I found a groove. I encountered many challenges the first year but was seen by others as a leader. I certainly made mistakes and missteps all along the way (I still do), but I was given a chance and found people who cared and were willing to help me learn. My experience showed me the rewards of being kind and helpful to new people. I was also given the gift of recognizing lousy leadership and the impact it can have.

Throughout my career as a leader at MSU, I’ve made it a point to take on stretch assignments and do all I can to continue to grow—public speaking was particularly hard. I figured if I kept growing, I would be able to help others be successful too.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Encouraging and empowering others will help our needed leadership talent grow. Always be on the lookout for talent—hire people better than you and model positive leadership by refining their gifts and talents. Find others that need a chance and the grace to grow into the leaders we need, whether they are individual contributors or supervisors.

Leadership Resources from OPD

MSU offers and continues to develop resources to support leaders and managers at all stages of their professional journeys. HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) launched the New Leader Development Series in January 2021, designed to give new leaders a survey of different topics related to both leading and supervising/management. More than 70 people will be making the connection with this fall’s cohort. Although this next series is full, consider the January 2023 cohort for you or members of your team.

OPD is also excited to announce a new leadership workshop and the return of a re-engineered course that’s been extremely helpful to MSU leaders: Strengths Based Leadership and Crucial Conversations for Accountability (previously titled Crucial Accountability), both available for registration in EBS for fall dates. Check out the recent HR post Learning and Development Resources for Supervisors for additional courses and other resources to help you grow and advance on your leadership path.

Are there resources not currently offered by MSU that you feel would be useful to your growth as a leader? What support would help you feel ready to lead? I’m interested in your story and what could make a difference in growing MSU’s leaders. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly at margrave@msu.edu.

Sources

Photo by Christina Morillo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/three-woman-having-a-meeting-1181626/

Educational Assistance: Fall Reminders

With this year’s Educational Assistance, or “Ed Assist”, support staff benefit resetting with the start of the fall semester, now’s a perfect time to refresh your Ed Assist knowledge and take advantage of this opportunity for your learning and development. Here are a few important reminders regarding this benefit. New to Ed Assist? Start here for an overview.

Educational Assistance Balance Reset

If you are eligible for Educational Assistance, your Ed Assist funds reset each year with the start of the fall semester. You may check your current Ed Assist balance within EBS.

  1. Log in to EBS.
  2. Access the My Career & Training section.
  3. Select the Educational Assistance System tile.
  4. Hover over My Account in the top menu.
  5. Choose EdAssist Balance.

Credit and Non-Credit Options

You may receive financial assistance for both credit and non-credit courses, which may include training, seminars, workshops, conferences, or other educational opportunities. Use this benefit to enhance your professional skill set or help you reach Performance Excellence goals.

For non-credit courses, like professional development courses available through HR, support staff employees have up to $800 per year to use toward course registration fees. The course must be considered job-related and from an approved institution/program to receive assistance.

For credit courses, you can receive up to 14 credits per academic year. Your financial assistance level is determined by your union group, the type, of course, you’re taking (graduate or undergraduate), and where you’re taking the course (MSU or another university). The course must be considered job-related, degree-related, or career/professional development-related.

Taxation Information for Graduate-Level, Degree-Related Coursework

When using Educational Assistance funds toward graduate-level, degree-related classes for credit, it’s important to remember and plan for IRS tax exemption rules. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provides an exemption of up to $5,250 in a tax (calendar) year for graduate-level, degree-related courses reimbursed/waived through employer educational assistance programs, such as the one at MSU. Any amount of the benefit over $5,250 for degree-related, graduate-level courses is considered taxable income by the IRS.

If you utilize Ed Assist benefits for graduate-level, degree-related courses for credit over the $5,250 exclusion amount, appropriate tax withholding will be made, and the amount will be added to your gross wages. If a tax liability is determined, the deductions must be completed within the same calendar year. If this tax situation applies to your Ed Assist usage, you will receive notification via email in the fall, typically around September. This notification will indicate the amount of Educational Assistance received in the calendar year, how much of that amount is taxable, and on which paychecks withdrawals will occur to cover the outstanding tax liability.

Keep in mind: This tax liability, dictated by the IRS, applies ONLY to any Ed Assist benefit usage over the $5,250 limit when applied to graduate-level, degree-related courses for credit. For example, if you received $6,250 in eligible Ed Assist benefits in a year, then you would only be taxed on the $1,000 amount that is more than the exclusion limit and owe a percentage of that $1,000 as your tax liability.

Find detailed information about Educational Assistance – including how to apply – on the HR website. Contact Organization and Professional Development at prodev@hr.msu.edu with questions.

Sources

Photo by ThisIsEngineering: https://www.pexels.com/photo/female-engineer-taking-notes-3862153/

Leadership Blog Series: Learning & Development Resources for Supervisors

Whether new to a supervisory role or a long-time manager, the best leaders are lifelong learners adaptable to change and flexible in their leadership style. The rapid changes and unknowns of the past couple years have made it particularly clear that supervisors must embrace the complexity of their roles, which demands new ideas and strategies to stay fresh and ahead of the curve. HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department has resources to help.

NEW LEADER DEVELOPMENT SERIES (NLDS)

Designed for supervisors new to their roles or new to MSU, this nine-session series equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources. Registration is available in EBS for the next NLDS cohort, beginning August 30, 2022.  

Sessions cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leading in a Union Environment
  • Workforce Management and Strategic Staffing
  • Fostering an Inclusive Culture
  • Budget Responsibilities and Ethical Finance
  • Conflict Management
  • and more

Learn more about NLDS.

LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS

Looking to learn or strengthen specific leadership skills? OPD has both in-person classes and virtual courses to provide expanded options and best meet your learning needs and preferences.*

View all upcoming OPD course offerings.

SELF-DIRECTED LEADERSHIP RESOURCES

elevateU

On-demand, self-paced courses, videos, audiobooks and more are available to MSU employees via the free elevateU platform, including a Leadership Development section covering a wide range of leadership topics.

Access elevateU leadership resources.

Leadership Library

Created by a cross-departmental workgroup to assist leaders in navigating challenges and handling their responsibilities with confidence, the online Leadership Library highlights curated content related to timely topics.

Visit the online Leadership Library.

Have questions regarding the above resources and opportunities? Contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional information.

*MSU HR Organization and Professional Development follows all applicable state and public health guidance and university-wide directives. If deemed necessary or advisable to refrain from in-person learning, courses scheduled as in-person will instead be hosted in a virtual format.

Time Management Blog Series: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to complete your to-do list? You may be right! Time is a finite resource that, despite our best efforts, can only be managed to a certain degree. Shifting your focus to managing your energy, rather than your time, may be the key. With an increased and sustainable capacity for your work, you will likely find it easier to complete your tasks with improved efficiency, focus and a sense of purpose, ultimately leading to greater job satisfaction.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to suggest within a blog series about time management, it’s often more important to consider how much energy you need to complete a task rather than how much time is required.

Assess your energy level

It’s important to regularly evaluate your energy from a few different angles — physical, mental and emotional — to determine the quality of energy in each of these areas.

Physical energyConsider your current relationship with sleep, physical activity and nutrition. Does your body have the physical energy to sustain you through the day?

Mental energy – How would you describe your capacity to focus and think critically?

Emotional energy – How well are you managing challenging emotions that arise during your workday?

Establish new rituals

Once you have a clearer picture of where you lack energy, you can then prioritize investing in areas where you feel depleted. Establishing rituals — especially ones that allow you to connect with your core values and purpose — can help you create lifelong habits that better serve your well-being and your work.

Ideas to Try

Establish a physical movement ritual. This can be as simple as setting a timer to remind yourself to pause throughout the workday for a one-minute stretch or regularly taking a short walk/roll around the block during your break.

Find a mindfulness ritual that helps you feel centered and rejuvenated. Determine a touchpoint to return to throughout your day to bring your focus back to your purpose. This may be a physical object, such as a photo or Post-It note with an affirmation or favorite quote, a five-minute talk from an app like Headspace or Insight Timer or anything that allows you to slow down, refocus and feel better energized.

Reduce and remove recurring irritants. Small irritants and inefficiencies, compounded by their volume or frequent recurrence, can eat away at your energy. When we are facing large challenges in our lives, we don’t always have the capacity to solve the little ones. Make the time to regularly consider your workspace and processes to determine if there are irritants that can be eliminated. Is there a simple process you find yourself executing regularly that could be automated using software? Could a small shift in your daily schedule provide you increased time for productivity or focus?

Create a “To Don’t” list. You’re likely already in the habit of adding tasks and commitments to your To Do list, but have you ever practiced removing things from your list? When making a To Don’t list, consider the things you’re currently doing that are draining your energy. This may include certain people you decide not to see, certain habits you want to break or projects no longer serving your growth at work. There may also be a few items that you want to drop but can’t. In those cases, focus on your sphere of influence and the things that are in your control.

Manage your time to manage your energy

We’ve been highlighting various time management techniques over a series of blog posts to give you different tools to utilize depending on your needs, preferences and work style. You may find added benefit in combining energy management techniques along with time management approaches such as the Pomodoro Technique and the Pareto Principle, which provide frameworks for focused energy and regular, designated downtime.

Below are resources that may also help you establish an energy and time management approach that works for you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The Power of Habit – HR OPD Course | Next offered October 13, 2022. Registration is available in EBS.

elevateU | Free, self-paced resources including short videos, online courses and books around a wide variety of topics. Highlighted topics include:

Health4U Programs | Register online for free courses including Sleep: Understanding and Optimizing Your Nightly Reboot, Explorations in Eating, and Essential Skills for Navigating Challenging Times. Health4U also provides a wealth of online resources regarding emotional wellness, food and nutrition, and health coaching.

WorkLife Office | Find affinity groups, webinars, and personalized support to help you facilitate success in your many roles and guide you in creating synergy between those responsibilities.

Sources

https://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time

https://hbr.org/2022/04/stop-trying-to-manage-your-time

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/manage-your-energy-not-your-time

Photo by AllGo – An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

When you think of upskilling — learning new skills — at work, what comes to mind? Perhaps learning new software or working toward a certification or degree. There’s no question that many in-demand skills are technical in nature, but there’s also a critical need for what are sometimes described as “soft” skills, particularly strong emotional intelligence (EI).

EI allows us to build and maintain relationships and influence others — important skills no matter your position and area of work — and research has found people with greater EI tend to be more innovative and have higher job satisfaction than those with lower EI. Using emotional intelligence in the workplace can improve decision-making and social interactions, and enhance your ability to cope with change and stress.

The good news is that, like technical skills, soft skills such as EI can also be learned and improved.

Emotional Intelligence: What It Is

To strengthen your emotional intelligence, it’s important to know what it entails. Most definitions of EI include the following components:

  1. Perception and expression of emotion — Noticing your own emotions and picking up on the emotions of others as well as the ability to distinguish between discrete emotions.
  2. Using emotion to facilitate thought — How you incorporate emotions into your thinking processes and understand when and how emotions can be helpful for reasoning processes.
  3. Understanding and analyzing emotions —The capacity to decode emotions, make sense of their meaning, and understand how they relate to each other and change over time.
  4. Reflective regulation of emotion —An openness to all emotions and the ability to regulate your own emotions and the emotions of others to facilitate growth and insight.

Measuring Your Emotional Intelligence Skills

Do you find you relate to either of these statements?

“I want to improve my EI skills but don’t know where to start.”

“I already have strong emotional intelligence skills. This isn’t an area I need to work on.”

As is the case with any skill, we all have varying levels of aptitude when it comes to EI and may feel overwhelmed about where to begin.

One interesting study found that 95% of participants gave themselves high marks in self-awareness. However, using more empirical measures of self-awareness, the study found that only 10-15% of the cohort was truly self-aware. Consider the following characteristics typical of people with higher and lower EI skillsets as one way to better gauge your skillset:

Potential indicators of higher EI:

  • Understanding the links between your emotions and how you behave
  • Remaining calm and composed during stressful situations
  • Ability to influence others toward a common goal
  • Handling difficult people with tact and diplomacy

Potential indicators of lower EI:

  • Often feeling misunderstood
  • Getting upset easily
  • Becoming overwhelmed by emotions
  • Having problems being assertive

It’s important to note that these potential indicators can also stem from other causes and vary significantly depending on the day and situation.

Learning and Developing Emotional Intelligence

Research indicates that as little as ten hours of EI training (i.e., lectures, role-play, group discussions, readings) significantly improved people’s ability to identify and manage their emotions, and these benefits were sustained six months later.

No matter your current EI skillset, it may be helpful to try the following exercises:

  1. Notice how you respond to people — Are you judgmental or biased in your assessments of others?
  2. Practice humility — Being humble about your achievements means you can acknowledge your successes without needing to shout about them.
  3. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and vulnerabilities and consider development opportunities. Even though it might make you cringe, it’s helpful to get others’ viewpoints on your emotional intelligence. Ask people how they think you handle tricky situations and respond to the emotions of others.
  4. Think about how you deal with stressful events — Do you seek to blame others? Can you keep your emotions in check?
  5. Take responsibility for your actions and apologize when you need to.
  6. Consider how your choices can affect others — Try to imagine how they might feel before you do something that could affect them.

Interested in further increasing your EI skills? Check out the resources below to get you started.

Additional Resources

elevateU Featured Topic: Emotional Intelligence | Short videos, self-paced online courses and more

Essential Skills for Navigating Challenging Times | Free, instructor-led offering from MSU Health4U | Eight-session series begins July 12

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work | Instructor-led offering from HR Organization and Professional Development | July 20 or October 20

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace | Instructor-led offering from HR Organization and Professional Development | August 25

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths | Instructor-led offering from HR Organization and Professional Development | September 21

Sources

https://www.ottawa.edu/online-and-evening/blog/october-2020/the-importance-of-emotional-intelligence-in-the-wo

https://positivepsychology.com/emotional-intelligence-eq/

https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-improve-your-emotional-intelligence/

Summer Organization and Professional Development Courses

The Organization and Professional Development (OPD) team in MSU Human Resources is proud to offer a variety of courses to support you in achieving your goals. Since Educational Assistance benefits for support staff reset with the fall semester, use your remaining benefits this summer on a virtual course from OPD. All courses below are available over Zoom, so learning opportunities can go with you no matter where you are this summer. 

Communication

Grammar Refresher – Tuesday, July 12, from 9:00 a.m. to noon 

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue – Blended learning, with several August dates from 1:00–2:30 p.m. 

Human Resources 

Certified Human Resources Specialist (CHRS) – Thursdays, July 14, 21, 28, and August 11 from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Advanced CHRS – Tuesdays, August 9 and 16, from 8:30–4:30 p.m. 

Leadership

Strategic Planning – Wednesday, August 17, from 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Management

Performance Management for Hybrid Teams – Wednesday, June 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Building Cohesive Teams – Tuesday, July 19, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Managing and Leading Across Locations – Tuesday, August 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Personal Development

The Power of Habit – Wednesday, July 13, from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Ready, Set, Change – Tuesday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – Wednesday, July 20, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – Thursday, August 25, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

You can find all current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign up through the EBS Portal. Questions? Contact Organization and Professional Development at prodev@hr.msu.edu.

Leadership Blog Series: The Value of Meaningful Work

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

Have you had the opportunity to engage recently with a project or team that inspired you and connected you to the larger significance of the leadership work you do here at MSU? One of my favorite teams I had the opportunity to work with over the past couple of years is the team for “Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace” which jointly developed the series of the same name. The magic in this project was how everyone involved recognized that the problem we wanted to address was complex and more extensive than any single department could attempt to resolve. Creating this series together was cathartic as well as synergistic as we leveraged our growing trust and each person’s expertise.

The series was offered through modules for all leaders at MSU because we realized administrative and academic leaders did not always understand their roles and responsibility to the organization in shaping the desired culture and being accountable for the results. Commitment to helping MSU move forward to fulfill our promise as a premier institution remains at the core of this team’s focus.

We were reflecting on the challenges of work — namely the compounding pressures of behavior issues, finding great candidates, disengagement, burnout, and how leadership impacts all of these. Participating on this organic team greatly enhanced my work life, resilience and engagement, especially during the pandemic, and reminded me of the critical importance of meaningful work.

Discover Meaningful Work for Yourself

Meaningful work does not have to be one big project; often, small opportunities can make all the difference to our work lives, help stem the “great resignation,” and enhance our collective wisdom to help make MSU a great place to work.

Recent research focused on working populations around the world found the most powerful predictors of retention, performance, engagement, resilience, and inclusion in employees’ answers to these three questions:

  1. Was I excited to work every day last week?
  2. Did I have a chance to use my strengths every day?
  3. At work, do I get a chance to do what I’m good at and something I love?

Within the “Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace” collaborative team, the group saw the greater purpose behind creating resources helpful to staff and faculty throughout the organization. The personal impact of creating something that transcended our work gave many of us a renewed sense of purpose and engagement — particularly during very challenging circumstances when the work is stressful and thankless. Trust was built through a series of circumstances, and trust contributes to greater resilience and engagement.

Help Your Team Discover Meaningful Work

The truth is, we are not going to love everything about our work. However, if we can continually commit to building trust in our teams and help ourselves and others connect our work with what we love and value, we will reduce burnout and increase engagement. These sound like lofty goals, but strengthening this approach with your team can be as simple as committing to ask your direct reports and teams these four questions regularly:

  1. What did you love about last week?
  2. What did you loathe about last week?
  3. What are your priorities for the coming week?
  4. How can I best help?

I am interested in how this deceptively simple activity helps you and your teams. Feel free to use the comments section or contact me at prodev@hr.msu.edu. Looking to dive deeper into building trust and creating meaningful work? Resources to get you started are included below.

Additional Resources

Sources

Members of the Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace team included representatives from:

  • Faculty and Academic Staff Development
  • Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs
  • Office of Employee Relations
  • Organization and Professional Development
  • Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
  • Prevention Outreach and Education
  • MSU Department of Police and Public Safety
  • MSU Office of the University Ombudsperson

Buckingham, Marcus, 2022. Designing work that people love. Harvard Business Review, Vol 100 issue 3, pg. 68-75.

Gladwell, M. 2022.  “Love+Work: How to find what you love, love what you do, and do it for the rest of your life. Harvard Business Review Press.