Back to School Discounts!

The transition back to school this year might look a little different, but thanks to MSU Benefits Plus, MSU benefit-eligible employees can enjoy all kinds of great discounts and savings to help prepare themselves and their families for the upcoming school year. Whether you just need a new pair of shoes or want to treat yourself to a pair of Apple’s AirPods, MSU Benefits Plus has you covered this year.

APPLE

MSU faculty and staff can enjoy employee pricing on select Apple products such as iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks, and Apple Watches and more just by shopping through this link.

ABCMOUSE

With ABCMouse, employees can gain access to over 850 virtual lessons for kids ranging from reading, math, and science to social studies in the comfort of their own homes. Get two months of access to ABCMouse for only $5 when you shop through this link!

COSTCO

By purchasing a Costco Membership Activation Certificate, not only can employees become a new Costco member, but they will also receive a Costco Shop Card with a value of $20. Click on this link to join as a new member today.

CROCS

Employees can enjoy $15 off orders of $75 or more by using code SAVE15 when you shop at Crocs online!

DELL

MSU faculty and staff can access savings of up to 30% on select systems by shopping through this link.

DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY

Save $20 off any purchase of $150 or more by using the code SAVE20A and can get free shipping on orders over $99 by shopping at Discount School Supply.

MSU TECH STORE

Save on your back to school essentials with the MSU Tech Store! MSU staff and faculty can instantly save up to a $25 value on any Apple iPad with an Apple Pencil by shopping with the MSU Tech Store.

SAM’S CLUB

Employees who register for a one-year new membership can save up to 50% off on their membership and will receive a limited-time free gift!

SHOES.COM

Those who shop through Shoes.com can save up to 20% off sitewide and can enjoy free shipping by using the code SHOESDOTCOM at checkout.

To access all of these discounts and more, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-up for a free account using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. For more information on employee discounts, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about these discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Tips for Creating an Effective Remote Work Schedule

Whether you’re now working from home during this time period alongside your family members, or if you’ve got a furry friend by your side begging for your attention, working remotely can be a challenge. Stepping out of your daily routine at the office may be bringing added stressors to your work life as you try to effectively manage your workload from home while adjusting to new methods of collaboration with your coworkers. 

Figuring out what works best for you during this time is far from easy, but after already practicing working away from campus these past few months, many MSU employees have been able to find ways to bring structure and efficiency into their remote workdays. We asked employees to tell us what tips, tricks, or tools they’ve been using to help them effectively succeed at remote work, and here are some common themes we found.

  1. Utilizing flexible work hours where possible

Some employees have been able to coordinate a flexible work schedule with their supervisors that helps the employees as they work remotely.

“Since COVID-19 and working from home, I start my workday at 7:30 a.m. I also take a 30-minute lunch and these two easy changes allow me to finish my workday at 4:00 p.m… I feel very blessed to have some control over my workday schedule.” – Jackie Hohenstein

“A lesson from this remote work is, work does not necessarily have to be 8-5. Work needs to get done, but depending on your preferences and home situation, perhaps starting at 6 a.m. is better, or resuming at 8 p.m. As long as the work gets done, schedules can and should be flexible.” – Rick McNeil

“I learned in a training that working at your peak performance hours leads to better productivity. For example, if you’re a morning person, you work better and complete more during your peak times. I also found that stepping away from the computer for five or 10 minutes every two hours keeps your momentum going. Overall, I like the new things I have learned becoming a remote worker.” – Natasha Williams

  1. Build Breaks Into Your Schedule

As Natasha mentions above, taking breaks keeps the momentum going. Other employees agreed that building breaks into their schedule helps them work remote more successfully.

“Working from home means that when I’m working, that pretty much means I’m looking at a computer screen. In the office, meetings used to give my eyes a break but now most meetings are on Zoom or Teams so I’m looking at a screen even then. I try to give my eyes a break by getting up from my seat and away from the computer for at least a few minutes every hour or so…I make myself take a lunch break every day where I’m not looking at my computer or phone screen. I also still take notes and brainstorm in a notebook, so that also gives me a screen break.” – Courtney Chapin

  1. Continue Your Regular Morning Routine

“One thing I have done to combat “quarantine fog” is to try to stick to my normal work schedule while also integrating time to care for my child and animals every couple of hours. Sometimes this extends the workday, but I have found I am better able to focus on my work after I have taken the dogs outside and played with them for a little bit. In addition, my 10-year-old daughter and I have been using our time in quarantine to have some good quality ‘talks.’” – Mary Keyes

  1. Keep Track of Your Workload

“I keep a document that I plan my work for the coming week on Friday. During that workweek, I keep track of the things I accomplish and the new things that come up that need to be done. I leave future action items on the list. I find this to be more effective than a paper list.” – Renee Graff

  1. Limit Distractions in Your Workplace

“Set aside a work area and leave work in the work area.  Don’t invite it into other areas of your home life.” – Jayme Miller

After hearing from other MSU employees, it is clear there are many ways to navigate remote working schedules. However you go about working remotely, looking to other coworkers or your supervisor for guidance can be one of the most helpful ways to ensure future success for yourself and your team.

Maintaining Employee Engagement During COVID-19

In a matter of months, our world has changed drastically due to COVID-19. Everything about our work lives, home lives and social lives is now different as much of our day-to-day interaction with others is now done virtually. For many, navigating the changes between in-person to online work has been no easy task. Working remotely with little in-person communication can make it difficult to recognize what the purpose of your work is or remember the goals your team has put in place. As employees continue to work remotely, it is important to make time to check in with yourself and your team members about these things to maintain a strong sense of employee engagement within your virtual team to ensure continued success.

What is Employee Engagement?

But what is employee engagement exactly? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team’s goals and their company’s mission. To inspire this emotional commitment, you must first understand what drives it. Engaged employees tend to feel like:

  • They have a purpose at their company
  • They are aware of how their work helps them grow
  • They understand how they impact others

However, many people tend to have different definitions of employee engagement that include employee happiness or employee satisfaction. Although these things are not what defines employee engagement, both employee happiness and employee satisfaction are still important elements in the larger ecosystem that drives engagement. This means to support this emotional commitment from employees, organizations have to create a strong, cultural foundation to be able to achieve high levels of employee engagement.

Why is it Important?

Whether you realize it or not, employee engagement can ultimately have one of the biggest impacts on your organization’s goals. The difference between a team of engaged employees and a team of disengaged employees could be what’s creating problems within your team’s productivity and quality of work.

During this time of remote work due to COVID-19, reaching high levels of employee engagement seems to be an especially large challenge for many. With employees away from the office and their coworkers, it can be very easy for them to become disengaged from their work or see the purpose in doing it at all. While it may seem impossible, there are still many things team leaders can do to help combat high disengagement levels during COVID-19, even while working remotely.

Tips for Maintaining High Employee Engagement While Still Working Remotely

  1. Develop a sense of purpose at work

Successful, engaged teams are made up of employees that have a sense of purpose. To develop this sense of purpose for employees within their work, try reminding employees how important each of their roles are to your team’s goals at team meetings to help them understand the impact of their efforts.

  1. Offer professional development opportunities

Employees should be able to expect a range of learning and development opportunities from their employers to be able to stay engaged and invested in their roles. To inspire engaged employees that want to grow and improve, try searching for and reminding employees of professional development opportunities that you come across.

  1. Give recognition and rewards

A powerful way to improve employee engagement is to recognize and reward employees for their successes. To elevate your employee recognition, try tying it to real and frequent rewards to build more engaged employees.

Motivational Monday Round-Up

During these times of remote work, it can be hard to find motivation, especially after a holiday weekend. If you are one of the many struggling to get a bit of pep in your step this week, you are in luck as Todd Bradley, Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist in HR Organization and Professional Development, is back with more Motivational Monday videos! Designed to encourage you during a time with many stressors and unknowns, Todd’s Motivational Monday videos provide quick and easy inspiration to start your day off right or get you back on track during a mid-afternoon slump.

Motivational Monday: Motivational Enhancement

To enhance motivation, Todd explores the stages of change and transition.

Motivational Monday: Maximizing the Spartan Experience

Todd shares his tips on how to positively maximize the Spartan Experience during these times of great challenges.

Motivational Monday: Enhanced Communication

Todd outlines how to ask the important questions to improve communication in the work place.

Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view additional Motivational Monday videos as they’re posted. You may also want to check out Todd’s previous videos in May’s Motivational Monday Round-Up.

How to Care for Your Pet During COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, juggling taking care of yourself, your other family members and your pets is no easy task. However, with Nationwide pet insurance, giving your pets the care they deserve has never been easier with their affordable pet insurance plans for all MSU benefit-eligible employees.

Nationwide’s pet insurance plan is the only plan on the market that does not rate based on the age or breed of the pet. As an MSU benefit-eligible employee, you will also receive access to Nationwide’s exclusive employee benefits channel. Additionally, once you are enrolled in Nationwide’s pet insurance plan, you will also have free access to a 24/7 Vet Helpline where you can speak with a licensed veterinary professional any time you need. All MSU benefit-eligible employees are able to enroll online today for Nationwide’s pet insurance plan by visiting the MSU Benefits Plus website.

More Nationwide Pet Insurance Benefits

  • New, lower-cost options available for employees with reduced hours or who have been furloughed
  • Plans reimburse up to 90% on pet prescriptions, including online pharmacies
  • Emergency pet boarding is covered for employees who are temporarily unable to care for their pets
  • All policies are portable and can be billed to a credit card for employees not eligible for payroll benefits
  • Convenient online claim filing plus fast, electronic reimbursement into any bank account

As the current public health situation continues, Nationwide has noted a significant amount of new members to their pet insurance plan as more people have begun adopting animals to help take care of them during the pandemic. Due to this increase in pet owners in these uncertain times, Nationwide has not only tailored their benefits to accommodate many different situations but also has provided helpful tips for pet owners trying to navigate their return to a more regular workday schedule.

Back-to-Work Transition Tips for Pets

As we slowly start transitioning back to our workplaces, the change in routine can affect your pet. The sudden disappearance of you or your family members from your pet’s daily life can often cause separation anxiety, depression, and even destructive behaviors.

To slowly transition your pets back to a regular workday schedule, utilize these pre-transition and post-transition tips:

Graphic of Pre-transition tips that says, "Prepare your pet with small adjustments to the daily routine before you return to the office: -Get pets accustomed to the morning routine again by simulating your going-to-work process, but be sure to avoid creating a routine around saying goodbye.
-Slowly transition mealtimes and walks until they align with your schedule at work.
-Plan for playtime and exercise at set times in the morning and evening
-Spend at least an hour in another room away from your pet. Don't give in to calls to come play."
To the right of this Pre-transition tips graphic, there is a Post-transition tips graphic that says, "When you start transitioning back to the office: -Give your pet extra attention with a 30-minute walk or play session before leaving.
-Leave an audiobook, radio or TV on to keep your pet company while you're gone.
-Consider hiring a doggy daycare or pet sitter who can visit your home during the day."

Preferred pricing on Nationwide pet insurance is available through MSU Benefits Plus. For more information on pet insurance, visit the MSU HR website or get a free quote today on the Nationwide website.

Don’t Let Your Summer Be a Bummer: Take Advantage of These Summer Activities on Campus!

There’s no doubt that this summer’s activities will be a little different than usual, but don’t let that stop you from having fun! While you might be missing being able to walk through campus from meeting to meeting or enjoying the beautiful scenery of West Circle during your lunch break, there are still plenty of activities to do on campus this summer while practicing social distancing. From grabbing a curbside scoop of your favorite ice cream at the Dairy Store to hiking the trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary, there are activities for everyone to get involved with on-campus this summer while still being able to remain safe and healthy.

Summer Campus Activities

  1. The MSU Dairy Store is now offering curbside pick up on all your favorite treats. Visit their website to order a pint for you and your family to help beat the summer heat!
  2. The MSU Student Organic Farm has opened an online store where you are now able to place orders for pick up at the farm starting in mid-June.
  3. Hike the trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary! Although all buildings currently remain closed, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery as you make your way through the trails.
  4. The MSU Broad Art Museum is offering in-home, virtual studio classes on Thursday evenings. Check out the calendar on their website to find a class to join and perfect your artistic skills.
  5. The Forest Akers Golf Course is now open! Read more about how to stay safe on the course with the COVID-19 safety procedures on their website.
  6. The MSU Community Music School is now offering online programs available for both adults and kids. Click on the program link to find all kinds of classes from private lessons to individual and group music therapy.
  7. The Wharton Center is continuing their commitment to sharing the power of performing arts with the community during this time by offering their dynamic programming, education and outreach to patrons through their “whARTon at home” programs. Click on the program link to learn more about these programs and how you can stay connected to the Wharton Center virtually.

For those at a greater risk for COVID-19 or for those who wish to remain quarantined in their homes, there are still tons of great virtual events to take part in this summer from the comfort of your own home. The WorkLife Office events calendar is another helpful resource full of even more virtual events happening in the MSU community for you and your families to utilize.

However you plan to spend your summer this year, we hope that you all will remain safe and healthy and continue to practice social distancing until we are able to see each other on campus again. In the meantime, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and have a fantastic summer Spartans!

Celebrate Father’s Day with These Great Discounts!

With everything going on in the world today, celebrating this Father’s Day might look a little different, but it doesn’t have to be any less special! Thanks to MSU Benefits Plus, making the fathers in your life feel special has never been easier with their list of discounts they have compiled for MSU benefits-eligible employees. From discounts on meats and cheeses to golf apparel to even luxury items like Apple Watches and tablets, your Father’s Day gifts will surely be ones to remember this year! 

Discounts from MSU Benefits Plus

Chicago Steak Company: Save 20% on bulk purchases of meats and food gifts by using the promo code FREEZER at checkout 

Golf Avenue: Get $15 off any Golf Bag with promo code BAGS15 

Apple: Receive employee pricing on most Apple products 

Otterbox: Enjoy 10% off and free shipping on mobile device cases and accessories with the promo code OTTER10 

BMW: Earn up to $3,000 on a new BMW, $500 on a new MINI and $11,000 on the purchase of a new BMW i3 by using the promo code NEPP3703 

Backcountry: Take 20% off one full-priced item of outdoor gear at Backcountry online by using the promo code 20FULLPRICE at checkout 

Brooks Brothers: Get 15% off online menswear purchases using ID: 12455 and PIN: 54530 

Dell: Save up to 30% on Dell PCs and accessories 

Enjoy all these discounts and more by checking out MSU Benefits Plus’ full list of discounts for MSU benefits-eligible employees on their website.

MSU Celebrates 2020 Award Winners!

The University acknowledges and expresses its gratitude for both long-term support staff and support staff going “above and beyond” in their job performance. Each year, the University recognizes these individuals through the MSU Retirement and Service Recognition, Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards, and Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award.

MSU Retirement and Service Recognition

The MSU Retirement and Service Recognition recognizes support staff employees celebrating long-term service work anniversaries of 15+ years, as well as employees who have recently retired within the last fiscal year. This year we recognize 573 employees celebrating a long-term work anniversary and 188 employees retiring from the University. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to MSU! Click here to view a full list of those celebrating this year.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honors six University support staff members annually. These individuals are nominated by their colleagues as demonstrating the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying the “Spartan Spirit.” Award honorees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to their unit and the University. This year’s awardees are:

Shannon Davis

Davis is an Administrative Associate in the Dean’s Office in the College of Social Science. She manages all aspects of the college’s Human Resources operations. Davis’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Shannon [is] one of [the College of Social Science]’s shining stars and the work product she provides is exceptional. Shannon is more than willing to provide support to anyone on our team and does so with a positive and collegial attitude.” 

“Those of us in the College of Social Science continue to be amazed at the consistent, appropriate and accurate work-product that Shannon provides. Even though she has a tremendously busy life outside of MSU, she seems to be able to adequately compartmentalize, and while at work, gives more than 110% to the College of Social Science. She does us all proud, and we are truly fortunate to have her.”

Theresa (Terry) Edwards

Edwards is a Secretary III in the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education. She provides direct support to the Department Chairperson, as well as support for departmental faculty, staff, students and visitors. Edwards’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Terry is an expert on academic triage and in performing her varied routine and ad hoc duties, she is skilled at not only managing her own priorities, but in managing the flood of issues she must field for others, whether the department chair or the myriad faculty and students that come to her for assistance or referral. We perform very well, in large part, due to Terry’s excellence.” 

“We truly believe Terry deserves this honor. In particular, at this challenging moment in MSU’s history, we believe it’s important to recognize community members who go out of their way to build relationships, make others feel safe and valued, and create workspaces that are humanizing as well as productive.” 

Todd Wilson

Wilson is a Planner/Inspector/Analyst II in Planning, Design and Construction for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. He manages capital construction projects for MSU and serves as the University’s liaison. Wilson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“One of Todd’s real joys about working at MSU is his ability to construct learning environments that forward the mission of MSU and offer spectacular facilities for faculty and students.” 

“Spartans Will (or…Spartans Wil-son in this case)!”

Robert (Bob) Patterson

Patterson is the Chief Financial Officer for Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS). He is responsible for the financial budgeting, financial management and overall viability of the financial success of all departments which make up RHS. Patterson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“Bob is a tireless advocate for students. For their overall experience and for the stewarding of resources that impact that experience.”

“I have never seen anyone so great at relating to people of all walks of life as Bob does. Bob tries to find common ground with everyone he meets.”

Maggie Chen-Hernandez

Chen-Hernandez is Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transition. She is responsible for assessing and developing curriculum for the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and Intercultural Aide Program, developing diversity, equity and inclusion training, and collaborating with academic affairs, faculty and students to implement student retention initiatives, among others. Chen-Hernandez’s colleagues had this to say about her: 

“In her close to 30 years of service, Maggie Chen-Hernandez has always and continues to go above and beyond what is expected of her because she deeply cares about the students she serves and wants them to feel a sense of belonging, and wants them to be successful both academically and socially.”

“Ms. Chen-Hernandez has made a great impact during her distinguished career at Michigan State University. The campus is a more inviting and inclusive community for students and staff due to her presence and service.”

Cindy Baswell

Baswell is the Bakery Manager for MSU Bakers. She is responsible for all aspects and operations of the unit. Baswell and her staff are responsible for almost all the fresh baked goods served on campus. Her colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Cindy truly cares about everything she does and puts the best interests of our students, guests and University as a whole in the forefront of her work.”

“Through her work at the bakery, Cindy has touched the lives of countless individuals; those with whom she works, student customers and other customers, and so many people throughout the community. Cindy leads her team to excellence in all they do, creating a culture of creativity, compassion, generosity, and strong ethics.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth 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.

This year’s recipient is Michelle Gunn Van Deuren. She is a Research Assistant II in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Gunn Van Deuren is pursuing a graduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine from MSU. Her colleagues had this to say about her:

“She is a very intelligent young lady, who is extremely creative in getting each task of her job done efficiently. In order to maximize time efficiency, she took courses to learn complicated software for bookkeeping, accounting and visual arts and mastered them.”

“Ms. Van Deuren unequivocally is the hands down, standalone, single best embodiment of “Above and Beyond”. Truly, as I became aware of this award and was reading about Ms. Jameyson, I swore the authors were writing and describing Michelle herself. Professionalism, Michelle. Loyalty, Michelle. Kindness, Michelle! Strength, patience, ambassador, Michelle! Never daunted by workload, whether piles or mountains, and being uncannily stalwart, Michelle is a tremendous asset to my growing program.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for all of their outstanding work. MSU would be nowhere near where it is today without the help of our dedicated employees. During this time, we invite the colleagues of these award recipients to extend their congratulations and appreciation to these individuals so they may receive the recognition and thanks they so greatly deserve.

Nominate an Employee for the 2020 Clerical-Technical Recognition Award Today!

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Clerical-Technical Recognition Award through Mon., June 30, 2020.

This annual award is given to a Michigan State University clerical-technical support staff member by the Thomas and Concettina Gliozzo Endowment Fund. Charles Gliozzo is director emeritus of MSU’s Study Abroad program. Thomas and Concettina Gliozzo were immigrants who became U.S. citizens and valued the importance of education throughout their lives.

The award recognizes outstanding MSU clerical-technical employees who have been nominated by their peers. Individuals may be nominated by any member of the MSU community. Selection criteria includes respect and concern for all members of the campus community, diligence in daily work, significant contributions to the community or public service and innovative thinking.

The recipient of this award is selected from nominations received by the CT Recognition Award Selection Committee. The winner will be profiled in HR Source monthly newsletter and will receive a monetary award of $1,000 from the endowment fund in recognition of their outstanding service.

How to Nominate an Employee

To nominate an individual:

  1. Complete a nomination form
  2. Collect a minimum of two support letters (maximum of five) by MSU colleagues.

Please note: nominees must be part of the CT Union.

You may include additional information if it supports the applicant’s nomination.

Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m., Mon., June 30, 2020. Email the PDF nomination form with a minimum of two support letters to bracamontes@hr.msu.edu with the subject line: CT Recognition Award Selection Committee.

Motivational Monday Round-Up

Do you find yourself struggling to feel motivated? Todd Bradley, Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist in HR Organization and Professional Development, is here to help. Designed to encourage you during a time with many stressors and unknowns, Todd’s Motivational Monday videos provide quick and easy inspiration to start your day off right or get you back on track during a mid-afternoon slump.

Motivational Monday: Positive Influence

Todd offers ideas to help you create positive influence and feel more in control. Learn how to change your perspective using the “art of thinking.”

Motivational Monday: Keep Moving for Stress Reduction

Reminding us that people do better when they feel better, Todd recommends we “keep it moving” to reduce stress.

Motivational Monday: Reflection

When facing challenges and the anxiety that can accompany them, it can be helpful to reflect on the common ground we share with those around us.

Motivational Monday: Responding to Change

Todd discusses the rapid change we’re currently experiencing and how we can better equip ourselves for being in the “hot corner.”

Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view additional Motivational Monday videos as they’re posted. You may also find benefit in the resources below, which expand upon the ideas featured in Todd’s videos:

HR Source blog posts

elevateU online courses