Mentoring in the Workplace

This is a guest post written by Sr. HR Professional, Kathie Elliott. 

Have you thought about participating in mentorship to learn new skills and expand your career network? In mentorship, both mentors and mentees benefit by developing rich and unique networks, and by being able to see tasks, skills and issues from different points of view. 

There are many mentoring structures to choose from, depending on the goals of the mentors and mentees. Below are a few examples.

  1. Traditional – a senior employee teaches a junior employee the skills necessary to succeed in their company. 
  2. Reverse – a less senior or different classification employee mentors “up.”  This is an emerging trend in mentoring, particularly for teaching other employees new technologies, how to use social media, and emerging trends in their field.
  3. Mutual – parties with differences in experience and/or position level are both free to ask questions and learn new skills from each other.
  4. Peer-to-Peer – employees of comparable experience and position assist one another, each bringing their individual strengths and knowledge to the relationship.
  5. Board of Directors – acknowledges that people have different strengths and experiences and learning from multiple individuals may be more helpful than relying on a single source. The mentee selects several “board members” based on the mentors’ strengths.
  6. Informal – an organically developed mentoring relationship.  Any of the above structures may be informal or formal.

Is there an aspect of your career where you would benefit from working with a mentor; or from sharing your knowledge as a mentor? Consider which mentoring structure would best meet your goals and watch for our November article about considerations for selecting a mentor or mentee. 

Find Mentorship Resources on elevateU

Visit elevateU to find free resources on mentorship, including videos, books, courses and more. Access elevateU here or log into EBS and look for the “elevateU” tile under the “My Career & Training” tab. The easiest way to find resources on mentorship is to type “mentor” in the search bar at the top of the page. Learn more about elevateU on the HR website.

Job of the Week – Secretary II

This week’s job of the week is a Secretary II (#616625) for MSU’s International Studies and Programs, specifically for the Visiting International Professional Program. This position is seeking a highly motivated, collaborative, outgoing, and customer-oriented Office Assistant to provide clerical and administrative support for all VIPP staff, faculty, and international visitors.

The responsibilities for this role include general clerical and administrative duties, event planning and execution, daily communication and problem solving with participants, and program participant data management and reporting. Additional responsibilities for this role include logistics support for workshops and summer school programs, booking classrooms, and technology and logistic support for faculty.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired through a high school education; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in an education or business setting with experience in word processing, spreadsheet, database, desktop publishing, calendaring and/or presentation software; typing and filing; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Job of the Week – Engineer/Architect III

This week’s job of the week is an Engineer/Architect III (#616000) for MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, specifically in the Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory. This position is seeking an individual with excellent communication skills to oversee the operation and maintenance of the animal diagnostic facility.

The responsibilities for this role include applying intensive and diversified engineering/architectural principals and practices to make independent decisions to oversee the operation and maintenance of a state-of-the-art animal diagnostic facility. These responsibilities include structural components, electronic controls, waste management activities, occupant and community safety, and disaster control procedures.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Mechanical Engineering or a related field of study; five to eight years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in the assigned field of engineering; including design, methods, materials, codes, maintenance and operation of appropriate systems within a biological research and/or medical facility; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This is a guest post written by HR Accommodations Specialist, Cherelyn Dunlap.

Michigan State University is a leader in cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment.  During the month of October, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.  Held annually, this observance aims to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the many contributions of workers with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities add significant value to the workplace, offering diverse perspectives on how to tackle challenges and achieve success.  This year’s theme “The Right Talent, Right Now” interconnects with the university’s core value of inclusiveness.  It highlights the unlimited possibilities that occur when barriers are removed for individuals with differing abilities.

What can you do to observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month?  Strive to make all employees feel like they belong and are valued for their unique characteristics and perspectives.  Also, realize that October isn’t the only time we can engage and promote awareness of disability employment issues.  We all play an important role in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for their abilities – every day of every month. It is of the utmost importance that the university community is one that is welcoming, recognizing that the talents of all people are a critical part of building an inclusive work culture.

For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month please visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website

Consider Enrolling in Critical Illness Insurance During National Critical Illness Awareness Month

Have you or a family member ever faced a health emergency and wished you were better prepared? Critical illness insurance can alleviate some of the financial burden by giving you a lump-sum of money to help cover unexpected or additional costs in the event of a health emergency. During the Open Enrollment period (October 1-31, 2019), benefits-eligible faculty, academic staff and support staff have the option to enroll in critical illness insurance through MetLife.

Outside of the Open Enrollment period, benefits-eligible new hires or newly-eligible employees have 30 days to enroll from their date of hire or date of eligibility.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Critical illness insurance works to complement your medical coverage. This type of insurance helps safeguard your finances by providing you with a lump-sum payment when you or an eligible dependent (such as your spouse or child) need it most. In the event your family experiences a health emergency, such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke, your critical illness insurance can help you pay for unexpected medical costs or anything else you may need. The extra cash can help you focus on getting back on track— without worrying about finding the money to cover some of your expenses (MetLife, 2019).  

Watch the video below to learn more about Critical Illness Insurance through MetLife:

What Illnesses Does It Cover?

The following medical conditions are covered under critical illness insurance:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Full Benefit Cancer
  • Partial Benefit Cancer
  • Kidney Failure
  • Major Organ Transplant
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
  • And many more! Find a complete list on the plan summary sheet on the HR website.

Benefits-eligible faculty, academic staff and support staff have now through October 31 to enroll in this optional benefit through MetLife. Find more information and enroll through MSU Benefits Plus.

Questions? Learn more about critical illness insurance and other voluntary benefits on the HR website. For questions about enrollment, contact MSU Benefits Plus Customer Care at 888-758-7575. Contact the HR Solutions Center with any additional questions at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.


MetLife (2019). MetLife Critical Illness Insurance provides you cash when you need it most. New York City, NY.

Job of the Week – Prospecting and Strategy Analyst

This week’s job of the week is a Prospecting and Strategy Analyst (#614249) for MSU’s Innovation Center. This position is seeking an individual with the ability to act effectively as a member of a team – working with others to develop strategies and solutions, engaging in a culture of continuous learning and teaching with peers.

The responsibilities for this role include understanding and prioritizing partnerships with corporations, working under the guidance of the Associate Director of MSU Business-Connect, and focusing on University strengths to research priorities and map engagement points and value propositions for corporate partners. Additional responsibilities of this role include reviewing past and current partnerships to verify MSU strengths and explore the corporate research landscape to help guide future engagement strategy.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a bachelor’s degree in Business, Journalism, Pre-law, History, Psychology or Information Science or related field. Three to five years of progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in research methods including online electronic searching, large mainframe databases, and PC-based software and relationship management software; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Get Support to Stop Tobacco, Nicotine and Vaping Use

Would you like to stop using tobacco, nicotine or vaping products, but could use some support? There’s help for you right on campus! MSU’s Health4U Team operates a program called Breathe Easy, a free program focused solely on assisting individuals to quit using tobacco, nicotine and vaping products.

Breathe Easy combines several approaches, such as behavioral and nutritional support sessions and medical evaluations. Participants may elect to use conventional anti-smoking treatments or can attempt smoking cessation without medication. In order to be eligible, participants must be an MSU faculty, academic/support staff, graduate student employee, retiree, or their spouse or adult benefits-eligible family member. One participant had this to say about their experience with the program, “I am very pleased with my experience and success with the program. For the first time in maybe eight quit attempts, I am successful and remain smoke-free for over a year. The program’s educational support component combined with the medication proved to be the best formula for my success. The professional staff [is] very supportive, caring, and committed to providing the best care and knowledge to overcome smoking addiction.”

“For the first time in maybe eight quit attempts, I am successful and remain smoke-free for over a year.”

MSU Breathe Easy Program Participant

The next Breathe Easy session will begin Wed., Oct. 23 and run for six weeks. Employees are not required to use their own time accruals to participate in the Breathe Easy Program, as long as you are compliant with program participation requirements and your supervisor has approved release time for the program.

You can register for the upcoming session at 517-353-2596 or by emailing health4u@msu.edu. Find more information on this program at MSU’s Health4U website or visit Linton Hall, Room 113.

Job of the Week – Academic Program Coordinator

This week’s job of the week is an Academic Program Coordinator (#611080) for MSU’s College of Social Science, specifically in the Department of Psychology. This position is seeking an individual to assist the Program Evaluation Master’s and Certificate Program director with managing recruitment, admissions, enrollment, graduation, and other general operational functions within the Department of Psychology.

The responsibilities for this role include managing the program website content, coordinating marketing activities, documenting administrative procedures and policies, and collecting, managing, and reporting on program data. Additional responsibilities of this role include assisting prospective students with the application process, processing admission decisions, preparing application materials for the admissions committee, and monitoring and processing documentation for graduation.

The ideal candidate would possess knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired through the first two or three years of college, such as an associate’s degree in business, education, higher education, psychology or a related field which corresponds to the area of employment; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in university/college/academic admissions or related administrative position; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visit careers.msu.edu. Internal applicants should access postings through the Careers @ MSU tile in the EBS Portal.

Ready to Use Your Educational Assistance Benefit? Make Sure Your Application is Approved First.

Have you come across an interesting course or conference that you know would help you grow in your career but aren’t sure how to pay for the registration fees? Remember, if you’re an MSU support staff employee, you have access to Educational Assistance. This benefit offers financial assistance (up to $800) to receive reimbursement for registration fees for credit or non-credit courses that are job-related and from an approved institution/program. Non-credit courses include opportunities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, or trainings. Find more details about your Educational Assistance benefit here.

In order to use the benefit, you must submit an application and be approved prior to the course start date. To make sure you or your department gets reimbursed for the registration fees, you should apply and be approved for educational assistance before you pay any registration fees up front.

Process to Apply for Educational Assistance

  1. Find and Discuss the Course with Your Supervisor: If you find a non-credit or credit course that you’re interested in taking, talk to your supervisor about how it will help you grow in your career. Consider tying the course to one of your Performance Excellence goals.
  2. Submit an Educational Assistance Application Early: If your supervisor agrees that you should take the course, submit an Educational Assistance application via the EBS Portal. Login to the portal, click on My Career and Training, click the Educational Assistance System tile, then select the correct application type from the Apply tab in the top navigation. Please note the following:
    • Credit Courses: submit an application 60 days prior to the first day of the course for MSU credit courses or 30 days prior to the first day for all other credit courses.
    • Non-Credit Courses (training, conferences, etc.): submit an application 30 days prior to the first day of the course.
  3. Supervisor Reviews Application: Your application will be sent to your supervisor for approval. You will receive a confirmation email after they approve your application. The application is then sent to MSU Human Resources (HR).
  4. MSU HR Reviews Application: Your application will be reviewed for final approval. You will be notified within 15 days (after receipt of application to MSU HR) if the request has been approved or denied. 

How to Receive Reimbursement

After your application is approved, you’re all set to attend your course! After you finish your course, you’ll need to submit documents to receive reimbursement. You can find more details about Educational Assistance reimbursement for a credit course or non-credit course on the HR website.

Please note: you do not need to submit an Educational Assistance application for courses offered by HR Organization and Professional Development.

Questions? Find more Educational Assistance information on the HR website. Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 with any further questions.