Job of the Week: Technical Aide

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring a Technical Aide position (posting 722719) for the Fisheries and Wildlife Department in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

This support staff position provides technical support for the department. Responsibilities may include computer programming or operations, research support, medical patient care, technical equipment maintenance, repair, fabrication or operation and any and all other technical support functions. This specific term of work will be focusing on the fall migration research of Near-arctic and Neo-tropical land-birds at the Michigan State Bird Observatory, Burke Lake Banding Station, and Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center, each 15 minutes from MSU’s main campus. Education and outreach are key parts of the job as the station is open to the public and will host virtual and in person programs. Aides will be trained to extract passerines from mist nets, safe extraction procedures, and how to open and close mist nets. To read a full list of responsibilities for this position, click here

The desired qualifications for this role include a strong work ethic, a high interest in birds and a desire to gain field work experience. Aides must be able to learn how to record data from the staff member in charge, communicate with visitors about the procedures of the site and repair and keep up the mist nets and other equipment. To apply for this position, you must submit a letter of interest, resume and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of three references. All of the work will occur at one of the bird sanctuaries two to four days per week starting at around 30 minutes before sunrise. 

To read more about the department of this position, visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/cmerc/. Learn more about the position and apply by August 19 here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu

Job of the Week: Events Worker

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an Events Worker position (posting 720627) in the Department of Police and Public Safety.

This support staff position provides assistance for concerts, sporting events, outdoor fun and other related University special events. The duties can include working at assigned stations; preparing and dispensing refreshments; transporting, maintaining and arranging supplies, equipment and materials; operating cash drawers; assisting with parking enforcement; acting as an usher; and other, similar duties and related responsibilities. This position was created to assist the MSU Police Department with checking in staff, volunteers and events workers for various events at MSU. One important responsibility will be verifying the identity of individuals who will be working and/or volunteering at University events. To read a full list of responsibilities for this position, click here

There are no posted required qualifications for this role, but availability will be necessary during early mornings, nights, weekends and holidays. Shifts are scheduled in five hour increments with varying start and end times. This role is temporary and temps can work two nine month terms with a week break in service between terms. Later, the employee can terminate for three months and switch to on-call. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status. 

To read about MSU’s Department of Police and Public Safety, visit their website. Learn more about the position and apply by August 11 here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu

Coping with Change at Work

Written by Andrea Williams, Organization and Professional Development

How are you feeling about work lately? Burned out? Frustrated? Apathetic? If so, you may be experiencing change fatigue, and you’re certainly not alone. Changes at work can lead to feelings of confusion, anxiety, anger and helplessness. With the rapid rate of change right now, it’s important to take time to gauge whether you’re having feelings of change fatigue and learn skills to cope with, or perhaps, even embrace change as an opportunity to grow.

Six Stages of Reaction to Change

You’ve likely heard of the five (or more) stages of grief commonly associated with loss. Did you know there are also typical stages of reaction we experience when confronted with change? Being aware of these tendencies better allows us to work through our reactions with intention and feel less overwhelmed and alone in this very normal process.

  1. Shock: Often experienced as feeling numb or as if you can’t grasp what’s happened. You may think or say things like, “I need time to process this or make a decision,” or “I can’t believe this is true.”
  2. Denial: You might try to deny the reality of the situation or continue as if nothing has happened. You could say things like, “It doesn’t make any difference.”
  3. Anger: You want to defend yourself against the change or resist it. Strong hostile or negative statements and behavior may occur during this stage.
  4. Passive Acceptance: Once you realize nothing can be done about the change – it’s happening regardless of how you feel – you begin to accept the change as a fact of life and simply get on with your work. You might start having the mindset of, “It’s out of my hands,” or “This is just the way things are.”
  5. Exploration: When you accept that change is inevitable, you may also start actively engaging with it, trying to learn more and generally becoming explorative and curious. Thoughts are more along the lines of, “I wonder what effect this will have,” or “Why is this being implemented?”
  6. Challenge: Although its name implies this is the most difficult stage, this is actually the point at which you feel most empowered. You’re willing to come to grips with the change and actively contribute to developing solutions and resolving difficulties. You may make useful suggestions, ask constructive questions and offer to contribute toward any new goals.

Escape vs. Active Coping

Experts believe there are two general types of coping: escape coping and active coping. Which way have you been coping with recent changes?

Escape coping involves changing your behavior to try to avoid thinking or feeling things that are uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing change fatigue, you may be escape coping.

Active coping allows you to tackle a problem head-on. This approach is healthier because you are addressing what’s causing your negative feelings, rather than avoiding it.

The ability to adapt to change — which typically goes along with active coping — is advantageous to your professional and personal life. One of the most important ways you can cope with change in the workplace in a healthy way is to simply acknowledge it. Recognizing and accepting change is one of the first steps toward managing it.

Tips to Actively Cope with Change

If you find yourself escape coping or feeling stuck in a stage of resistance or fatigue related to work changes, try the following approaches.

Take a closer look at your response. Our reactions to change often reflect our interpretations – or “stories” – that we believe to be true. In reality, our stories are often subconscious and are not always accurate. What is your primary emotion when considering a change? Once you identify it, ask yourself, “What do I believe to be true that’s making me feel this way?” This can help influence your perception of the change and better understand the stories driving your emotions.

Help others. If you feel uncomfortable with a change in the workplace, there are likely other people feeling the same way. If you can take the focus away from your own situation and direct it toward someone else’s, it can help you cope. Whether it’s a check-in with a colleague via Teams or inviting someone in your office for a walk during your lunch break to discuss the situation, the act of helping others and communicating your thoughts and feelings will allow you to better deal with stress, feel less isolated and helpless, and adapt more quickly to change.

Embrace new opportunities. Change often translates to possibility for those who are willing to embrace it. Ask yourself, “What are the opportunities with this change,” and “How will these opportunities help me and others?” Things may feel bleak when you don’t agree with a change, but studies show having a positive outlook can open you up to new possibilities and be more receptive to change.

Whether we like it or not, change in the workplace is inevitable. Although sometimes disruptive and uncomfortable, there are clear benefits to change — the development of new skills, increased innovation, and new and better opportunities, to name a few. If you find yourself experiencing ongoing change fatigue or feelings of burnout you can’t shake, there are many resources available to help, including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Health4U, Organization and Professional Development, and the WorkLife Office.

Sources:

Castrillon, Caroline (2020, February 26). How to Cope with Change in the Workplace. Retrieved July 13, 2021 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2020/02/26/how-to-cope-with-change-in-the-workplace/?sh=4904dd38d207

Skillsoft Ireland Limited. Organizations Change So Get Ready. Retrieved July 15, 2021 from https://elevateu.skillport.com/skillportfe/main.action?path=summary/COURSES/pd_31_a01_bs_enus

Wiens, Kandi and Rowell, Darin (2018, December 31). How to Embrace Change Using Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved July 13, 2021 from https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-to-embrace-change-using-emotional-intelligence

MSU Celebrates 2021 Award Winners!

This year we are celebrating staff from around Michigan State for their hard work and dedication to our University and their craft by awarding the annual Retirement and Service Recognition, the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award and the Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award! The University acknowledges and thanks all our wonderful support staff, especially during this past year.

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 over 700 employees celebrating long term work anniversaries and retirements. 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 honor 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:

Allyson Cole-Strauss

Cole-Strauss is a Research Assistant II in the department of Translational Neuroscience. She develops research methodology, runs experiments, and analyzes data for the lab. She was specifically nominated because of her dedication to keeping the university safe during COVID-19 through the creation of the COVID-19 Early Detection Program. Cole-Strauss’ colleagues had this to say about her:

“I have worked with Allyson for 15 years as her supervisor. Never have I had the privilege to work with a more dedicated, giving and capable scientist.”

“The contributions to the department, university, and community from Allyson Cole-Strauss go well above and beyond anybody’s reasonable expectations. Michigan State University is a much better place thanks to Allyson’s tireless efforts, both before and during the pandemic.”

Genevieve Cotrell

Cotrell is a Chemical Safety Officer in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. She manages and directs all functions of safe work with chemicals across the University including the creation and delivery of emergency training to the campus community. She has also taken a leadership role in reopening the MSU campus by joining the COVID-19 reopening task force as the representative from her department. Cottrell’s colleagues had this to say about her:

“Genevieve is an excellent leader in the way she handles her team of employees with respect and acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. She understands the critical need for training and professional development as well as maintaining a two-way dialog so as not to overwork her crew. She even takes the time to sincerely inquire about our families and insists we take the time we need when we need it.”

“Genevieve is truly my greatest role model. As a young woman professional, Genevieve takes the time to help her employees gain knowledge, regardless of how chaotic her schedule might be. She gladly meets with her team each week to discuss any issue. Whether it takes fifteen minutes or three hours, Genevieve will always make time for those she cares about.”

Robert Goodwin

Goodwin is a Senior Geospatial Analyst in the Department of Geography. In the department, Goodwin authorizes outreach project proposals and budgets, is the lead trainer for workshops offered by the department, a regular consultant to the University and a manager of analysts, technicians, and developers. Goodwin’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“If Bob has ever asked himself if he made a difference in someone’s life, he no longer has to wonder. The way Bob communicates with his peers and clients is unlike anything I have seen. The experience I gain simply listening to him in a meeting cannot be measured. He is a true mentor and someone we can all learn a thing or two from.”

“I have had the distinct pleasure of being both a colleague and a supervisor for Bob Goodwin. At his core, Bob is an entrepreneur, critical thinker, and problem solver. Working at RS&GIS, a self-supporting research unit, these skills have been critical to the success of the organization’s research and outreach mission. He is always seeking continuous improvement and pushing an innovative spirit throughout the team.”

Peter Murray

Murray is a Systems Analyst II in the James Madison College. His job responsibilities include working as the director of facilities and technology, troubleshooting and coordinating technology and purchases, and overseeing the building repairs and maintenance. He also directly supervises student employees. Murray’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“Peter’s exceptional support intersects almost every functional area of our college. Beyond supporting the technology at JMC, more importantly, Peter supports the people at JMC. Peter is such an important part of our staff and I simply cannot imagine what our college would be like without him.”

“Peter is not someone to attract attention even if he stands out in a room while trying to stay hidden. He is a valuable asset to the College, and we would be worse off without him. When I mentioned his great work to a colleague across campus that person told me she was going to stop listening – in other words, encouraging me to stop talking – so that someone else wouldn’t try to steal him away from James Madison College.”

Aaron Walworth

Walworth is a Research Assistant III, also known as Laboratory Manager in the department of Packaging. His job includes responsibilities such as overseeing the packaging labs and classroom spaces and working with IPF to make sure maintenance is up to date. He also hires, trains and supervises undergraduate and graduate students and actively pursues professional development opportunities offered within and outside the university. Walworth’s colleagues had this to say about him:

“Aaron is an integral part of every graduate student’s academic life starting from the first day of graduate student orientation. He empowers student competence and learning through safety training and by offering guidance on best practices for conducting research. His genuine enthusiasm for science and commitment to helping everyone he comes across, allows him to easily connect with each student. He is always willing to take the time to astutely discuss each student’s research and how to tailor an approach based on the resources we have available.”

“Aaron Walworth is a tremendously important part of the School of Packaging, and hence MSU as a whole. We cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award.”

Kim Williams

Williams is an Office Assistant III in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Specifically, she is an account specialist on the Accounting and Research Team in the Dean’s Office. In her position, she handles travel, purchase orders, and operating statements for the Media and Information department and the School of Journalism. Williams’ colleagues had this to say about her:

“Whatever my question is, Kim will get the answer. Not only is she incredible at her job, she is also a pleasure to be around. Her sense of humor, and go-to attitude is truly [admirable]. No matter how stressful the assignment is, it is still a pleasure to work alongside Kim.”

“Her diligence when she encounters a problem to be solved is inspiring and she is always willing to walk the extra mile to get things done in a timely manner. Kim also possesses a great attention to detail, never letting anything go unnoticed.”

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 Kelly Feinberg. She is a Research Administrator II/S in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Feinberg is currently pursuing a graduate degree in strategic communication from MSU. Her colleagues have this to say about her:

“Ms. Feinberg is a natural born leader – showing true leadership where she is forward thinking but also completely aware of her colleagues. She leads by example and facilitates open discussion with her team, holding each other accountable every step of the way. Yet she does so with true concern for their quality of life and job fulfillment.”

“Ms. Feinberg is dedicated to supporting and advancing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) efforts in the College and among her peers. She participates in various initiatives focused on strengthening individual and collective commitments to anti-racism, social justice, and action within ComArtSci and elsewhere. She actively looks for ways to support and engage her peers and prioritizes their ideas, interests, and concerns as if they were her own.”

“I am proud to have the privilege of working alongside Ms. Feinberg. Observing how her contributions positively impact those around her, I often find myself in awe of her continued drive, motivation, and applied diplomacy. You have a worthy candidate in Ms. Feinberg whom, I expect, Ms. Jameyson would have likewise valued.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for their outstanding work. MSU would not be where it is today without the help of our incredible staff. We invite the colleagues and friends of these receipts to congratulate and appreciate these individuals so they continue to get the recognition they deserve.

Job of the Week: Livestock Coordinator (MSU Extension)

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring a Livestock Coordinator (posting 718937) through MSU Extension Oakland County.

This support staff position is in alignment with the mission, programs and initiatives of MSU Extension, delivering research-based information to program participants and providing support and coordination of MSU Extension programs. The staff member will coordinate livestock care at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center in Novi, Michigan and be responsible for the well-being of the animals. The employee will also be responsible for coordinating chores, diets, breeding programs, medical care, hay production, livestock processing and marketing at the farm. Additionally, the position requires contributions to 4-H programs, summer camps, school programs and special events that take place at Tollgate. This can be in many forms including leading summer camp sessions, livestock workshops and school programs with emphasis on special events. As an extension employee, the individual hired for this position will be asked to focus on helping people improve their lives by bringing vast knowledge of resources directly to individuals, communities and businesses as MSU Extension has been doing for more than 100 years. See a full list of responsibilities here.

The desired qualifications for this role include a proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members to assist in program development and outreach and an understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights principles and compliance standards. The position is temporary with the ability to work for 18 months and then re-apply or switch to on-call. The work hours are a standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A resume and cover letter are required to apply.

To learn more about MSU Extension Oakland County, visit MSU’s website or Oakland County’s website. Learn more about the position and apply by July 25 here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

Unplugged: How to Disconnect from Work and Enjoy Your Vacation

As travel restrictions ease and the summer heats up, there is no better time to take a vacation or staycation. Taking time away from work has many health benefits including improving your connection to yourself and loved ones and resetting from or avoiding burnout.

The Benefits of Taking a Vacation

Vacationing and taking time away from your job promotes a long, healthy life and has tremendous benefits to your mind. Taking a break from routine in fun and different ways can have the same benefits as consistent meditation exercises and help you build connections with not only your loved ones but yourself, too. In addition, taking a vacation has been scientifically proven to boost brain power. Taking time off from learning, working and gaining new information every day allows your brain to consolidate existing knowledge, resulting in improved learning after vacation.

The benefits go beyond just your mind — they affect your body too. Through reduced stress, vacations can improve heart health and decrease chances of metabolic diseases or conditions. Vacation time also improves sleep as poor sleep habits can be broken when sleeping in a new place. Coming home after vacation feels like sleeping in another new place, allowing those improved habits to continue.

Using vacation time is one of the best ways to reset from or avoid burnout. Check out this video from Jamie Hutchinson, the Deputy Director of the MSU Worklife Office, where she explains the five phases of burnout and how to avoid or correct them. Taking a vacation and then coming back to work helps reset a person to their “honeymoon phase,” a term used in Hutchinson’s video. 

Before Going on Vacation

To take full advantage of these benefits, you should consider fully unplugging from work — those emails and phone calls won’t go anywhere. 

Before you head to the airport or hit the road, set up automatic email replies with your out-of-office details including when you will be back, who to contact in the meantime, and how to contact you in case of an emergency if needed. If you use a shared calendar with your team, add your out-of-office dates as early as possible and notify your team verbally and/or by email. If you have ongoing projects, consider asking a coworker, supervisor, or team member to check up on them while you are away and plan to share updates when you return. If possible, leave work-related things at home or at the office to prevent the temptation to focus on work. Finally, prepare for the day you return from work before you leave by keeping your schedule as clear as you reasonably can on your first day back.

Returning from Vacation

Returning to work can often be stressful and sometimes undo the rest you achieved on vacation. To avoid getting immediately burned out, take time to ease back into your work routine. Try to avoid scheduling several meetings on your first day back and try not to set or meet big deadlines during your first week back in the office. The more time you spend away, the more time you should give yourself to get back to your normal work pace and routine.

In addition to easing into your normal work routine, it’s important to unplug from work at the end of each day. It’s easy to get burned out if you are mentally on the clock 24/7, answering emails and catching up during nights and weekends. You can use Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Calendar and other work team services to set out-of-office messages at the end of your workday. Finally, avoid stress by taking the necessary steps to be productive and engaged as shared in this earlier post about avoiding and reducing burnout. 

All these tips and more are available through these links:

OPD Course Spotlight – Crucial Conversations

Written by MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Problem: We feel stuck or are not achieving what we want in a variety of areas, ranging from awkward or failing relationships to dysfunctional teams to cost, quality, or safety problems at work.

Solution: Learn how to identify the crucial conversations that are the key to organizational, team, and interpersonal success.

Crucial Conversations, a two-day live, online course from HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD), is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds to pay for this program.

Who can benefit from Crucial Conversations? Frankly…everyone.

MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist and Crucial Conversations instructor, Kathie Elliott, explains, “Crucial Conversations is for anyone who would like to understand first how our own viewpoint can make an issue seem worse than it is, then use a flexible template for holding results-oriented and respectful conversations with others.”

Attend OPD’s Crucial Conversations to learn the following skills and principles:

  • Identify the right problem to hold the right conversation.
  • Stay focused on what you really want when motives degrade.
  • Take control of your emotions instead of losing your cool.
  • Speak persuasively, not abrasively.
  • Watch for signs that safety is at risk and make it safe to talk.
  • Help others into dialogue when they’re feeling hurt, scared, or defensive.
  • Go from talking to getting results.

Whenever you’re not getting the results you want, it’s likely an important conversation either hasn’t happened or hasn’t been handled well. At the heart of healthy and high-performance organizations are people willing and able to hold crucial conversations.

So, what makes a conversation crucial? Three elements: strong emotions, high stakes, and opposing opinions.

Image of a triangle with the words "crucial conversations" in the center. On each side is a phrase: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes.

When conversations turn crucial, people tend to follow one of two ineffective paths: they either speak directly and abrasively to get the results they want but harm relationships, or they remain silent with the hope of preserving relationships only to sacrifice results. Crucial Conversations, grounded in decades of social science research, gives you powerful skills to step into disagreement—rather than over or around it—and turn disagreement into dialogue for improved relationships and results.

A recent Crucial Conversations participant shares, “The class was helpful because it gives a step-by-step way to communicate effectively that does not leave any room for ambiguity. I learned that it is all I can do to get out my side of the story, but it is crucial to get feedback from the other side so you can meet in the middle somewhere.”

Ready to learn the tools for promoting open, honest dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics? Register for an upcoming Crucial Conversations session in the EBS Portal, or contact prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional information.

Job of the Week: Building Sanitation Worker

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring a Building Sanitation Worker (posting 706246) in Hubbard Hall through MSU’s Residential & Hospitality Services.

This support staff position will be responsible for the cleanliness of an assigned area in a residence hall and other related areas. They will ensure the care of assigned cleaning equipment and the proper and economical use of custodial supplies, which include battery or electronic automatic scrubbers, vacuums, carpet cleaning machines and window and wall washing machines. The staff member will be under supervision of the facilities leadership team. See a full list of responsibilities here.

The education, experience and skills needed for this position include one year of experience as a building service worker or an equivalent combination of training and experience, the ability to lift up to and over 75 pounds of weight and be in a good physical condition. The sanitation worker will also need to be able to relate to and work with college students and residence hall personnel. The desired qualifications ask for experience working directly with people from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, LGBTQIA+ and gender backgrounds and the ability to communicate with multiple cultural environments and social identities. The applicant should also be a self-starter who demonstrates work orientation toward customer service, problem solving, organization, taking initiative, working as part of a team and the ability to multitask.

To learn more about Residential and Hospitality Services, visit their website. Learn more about the position and apply by July 15th here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.

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

Job of the Week: Surplus Worker

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring a Surplus Worker position (posting 716855) at the Campus Surplus Store and Recycling Center through MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Department.

This temporary position was created to help sort, load, unload, transport, count, move, store and prepare materials for recycling and surplus operations; to assist in operating recycling and surplus equipment and machinery; and to perform general cleaning and maintenance duties in related work areas. IPF’s Campus Surplus Store manages the collection and processing of 40 million pounds of reuse, recycling and waste materials annually. The surplus worker hired for this position will be responsible for using a best use model to carry out the actions needed for the recycling and sorting.

There are three primary categories of responsibilities for the position. The first category is “people,” in which the worker is to train, communicate and facilitate an environment that encourages service excellence. The second is “partnership,” in which the worker exchanges information with campus departments and promotes environmentally and fiscally responsible decision making. The third is “stewardship,” in which the worker coordinates the movements and display of MSU assets while promoting the department initiative of landfill diversion. Read a full list of responsibilities here.

The desired qualifications for the position include one year of experience in recycling, surplus, or related operations; working knowledge of tools, equipment and processes used in recycling or surplus operations; possession of a valid Michigan vehicle operator’s license and meet MSU’s safe driving standards and successfully drive a University vehicle to perform job duties; the ability to do frequent lifting of over 75 pounds; and a forklift operator certification or the ability to gain one.

To learn more about the work location, visit the MSU Surplus Store Website, and to learn more about the position and apply here, the application closes when the position is filled. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu.