2022 Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award Call for Nominations!

Remarkable, dedicated and hardworking are just some of the words used to describe the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award Recipients. The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award is presented annually to six university support staff members, hand-selected by the Selection Committee from nominations received by the recipients’ colleagues.

The award is named in honor of Jack Breslin, who served Michigan State University as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate. His strong and innovative leadership played a pivotal role in MSU’s growth and development as the nation’s premier land grant institution.

Nominations are now open for the 2022 award and the nomination form and accompany materials are due October 30, 2021. Selection criteria for recipients include overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to the unit or university that lead to improved efficiency or effectiveness, and valuable service to the university. 

Please review the nomination form and the HR website for further details. Do not notify the nominee before or after submitting your nomination. The nomination form and accompanying materials are due October 30, 2021. Contact MSU Human Resources with any questions at 517-353-4434.

Motivational Monday Round-Up

Todd Bradley, HR’s Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist, has been keeping us motivated all spring and summer with his short videos full of insight. For a motivational boost, check out this round-up of Todd’s latest videos.

These videos were designed to motivate and inspire MSU employees, exploring topics like rational thinking skills, emotive skills and more for both professional and personal development. Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view Todd’s full series of Todd Talk videos.

Motivational Monday: Stress Management

Todd helps us take some deep breaths and offers some tips on how to handle stress.

Motivational Monday: Motivation and Engagement

Todd asks us about our motivations and brings them into our jobs.

Motivational Monday: Navigating Change

Todd shares his tips to help thrive through change

Motivational Monday: Effective Team Work

Todd reflects on MSU’s teamwork through the pandemic.

Visit the MSU HR YouTube channel to view Todd’s full series of Todd Talk videos.

Job of the Week: Culinary Platform Attendant

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring a Culinary Platform Attendant position (posting 727321) through Residential and Hospitality Services.

This support staff position is located in Akers and Hubbard Halls and has various tasks assigned. These include performing basic food preparation functions while interacting directly with guests and assembling food ingredients to create a unique customer experience. You will also assist cooks in food preparation as needed, use proper preparation and culinary techniques to prepare food including chopping, cutting, slicing, thawing, marinating and sautéing and using culinary knowledge of proper garnishing and plate presentations. Other parts of the position are interacting and improvising dishes directly with customers, maintaining a clean, sanitary and safe working environment and using good sanitation and safety practices. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this role must have graduated from high school or have an equivalent combination of education and experience. One year of full time experience in food preparation and use of kitchen equipment, knowledge of kitchen safety practices, ability to read weights and measures and the ability to weigh and measure ingredients. The applicant should also be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide whole number and fractions.Knowledge of various methods of food preparation are also required. Final requirements include the ability to properly use knives, the ability and skill to prepare items using proper methods and production timing to assure freshly cooked products are ready for continuous service and the occasional lifting of 26 to 75 pounds. The desired qualifications of the position are: a demonstrated ability to work with staff at all levels; experience working as part of a successful team; strong organizational and interpersonal skills; good verbal communication skills; a commitment to and enthusiasm for the organization’s mission and respect for our core values: people, practice and purpose. 

To read more about the department of this position, visit https://rhs.msu.edu/. Learn more about the position and apply by September 29 here

If you or anyone you know is interested in a job through Residential and Hospitality Services, there are limited full time positions and multiple part time positions available. All positions will be advertised at the RHS hiring fair, September 30 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more here

Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu

Leadership Blog Series: Positive Boundaries

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

What are your “hard and fast” boundaries, and which are those that are easier to slip up on? Although maintaining healthy boundaries of all varieties is a critical component of a leader’s well-being and success, time is perhaps the most common boundary because of its fluidity, with demands changing daily.

While even the most effective leaders will have to make hard choices from time to time, the hallmarks of weak boundaries can be challenging to rein in. Reflecting on my career thus far, I can see that I made too many value trade-offs between my time, my family and my hobbies over the years.

I worked over two solid decades before I had a supervisor who expressly set positive boundaries around time. She was leaving for vacation and made a point of turning off her email and her phone during our staff meeting, saying she expected the same from all of us when we left the office.

Two powerful points were made with her simple actions: 

  1. The behavior of a supervisor sets the tone and culture. Leaders need to talk about boundaries as part of norms and culture. We need to recharge to be effective, and we need to help others do the same.
  2. Your staff can handle it. Develop your staff and your trust in them. They will make the best decisions they can with the information they have.

Leaders can enhance their authenticity by maintaining positive boundaries. An easy way to start? Do what you say you will do and don’t do what you say you will not do. One leader I know is clear about not doing anything “illegal, immoral, unsafe, or unethical, and I get to decide what that is.”

Additional ways you can establish and encourage positive boundaries for your team:

  • Model behaviors that demonstrate healthy boundaries.
  • Help employees identify and communicate boundaries.
  • Have conversations about boundaries; normalize discussions on the topic.
  • Reward and recognize employees who set and maintain boundaries.
  • Acknowledge when boundaries are overstepped.
  • Communicate to your team the importance of boundaries.

Find recommended live, online courses below to assist with establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries for you and others, and reach out to MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development department at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you’d like additional guidance or resources.





MSU: The Gold Standard for Sustainability

Michigan State University is and has always been at the forefront of sustainability in higher education. With programs set up to improve our impact on the planet around every part of campus, it is no surprise that the University received a Gold Rating for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in 2019. Even after MSU earned that ranking, which you can read more about here, Spartans continue to innovate and create new ways to be sustainable. 

But what does sustainability mean? Sustainability is the practice of adjusting how we live, learn, and work so that we limit and eventually cut out our uses of limited resources on this earth. Basically, we partake in practices that can be sustained over time, reducing our personal impact on the environment. The MSU Department of Community Sustainability helps the whole University do this. 

The Department of Sustainability is a great resource for staff, faculty and students of the University because of the weekly events it puts on to encourage sustainability in daily life and the resources it provides for members of the community interested in implementing more sustainable practices into their life and work. Through weekly programs, staff certifications, support for student-run gardens, recycling programs and much more, MSU Sustainability has it all.

On Wednesdays, MSU Sustainability and MSU Health Promotion team up for Well-Being Wednesdays. This fall, staff, faculty and students are all getting together on Dem Field to reunite “in Motion” by doing activities like blender bike composting, bringing sustainability into healthy living. On Fridays, MSU Sustainability and MSU Broad Art Labs team up for Spartan Upcycle Fridays, a fun, open-house style event where you can bring your own materials or reuse theirs to create art out of anything. This is a program everyone is excited to see come back in person as it was a fan favorite before the university went all online. Register for upcoming Upcycle Fridays here.

MSU Sustainability also has a certification program just for faculty and staff coordinators. You can get certified in sustainable practices for your unit that reduce your waste impact in the workplace through the Green Office Program while working towards a greener MSU community. Not only does this certification create a better workplace at MSU, but the training can be brought into daily life, making every step you take a step towards a fully sustainable lifestyle. 

One of the best ways to practice sustainability is buying local produce, and this is possible with the MSU Student Organic Farm. Sustainable agriculture is being taught at MSU, and as a consumer of the goods from the farm, you can support the mission to make growing practices better for the environment while enjoying great produce and great prices. Interested in becoming a sustainable farmer yourself? Look no further than the Organic Farmer Training Program, currently registering members of the MSU community for in person training starting in 2022. 

Finally, one of the simplest but most important things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future is to recycle. At MSU, learning to correctly recycle is as easy as watching a short video or reading the recycling and reuse guidelines, both located on the MSU recycling website.

With the help of the MSU Department of Community Sustainability, it is easier than ever to change up little parts of your lifestyle and Go Green!

Alumni and Donor Relations Coordinator

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an Alumni and Donor Relations coordinator position (posting 731264) through the MSU College of Education. 

This support staff position will coordinate the alumni activities of the College of Education to help alumni establish lifelong relationships with their alma mater. This is accomplished by engaging alumni in activities and events, keeping alumni informed of events happening in the college and around campus, getting alumni involved in college boards and programs and providing services that keep alumni networking with the college and current students as well as with other alumni. The coordinator will also be responsible for managing the alumni board within each department and the college as a whole and providing these boards with strategies to increase involvement and donations in the college. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this role must have knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in a related field. Additionally, one to three years of related and progressively more responsible and expansive experience in the planning and production of institutional and fundraising events, experience with contractor and vendor contract negotiations, ability to develop event budget reports and experience in database, spreadsheet, word processing and presentation software is required. Any equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered. The desired qualifications for this role include excellent interpersonal communication skills; volunteer management and organizational development knowledge; strategic planning and operations experience or knowledge; computer skills for data entry, manipulation and database systems management; project management skills; journalistic writing skills; knowledge of internet communications; experience with annual giving solicitation, planning and techniques; ability to work on occasional weekends, evenings and travel locally and nationally; and the flexibility to perform other duties as assigned.  

To read more about the department of this position, visit ​​https://education.msu.edu/. Learn more about the position and apply with a cover letter, resume and the names and contact information for three professional references by September 28 here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu

It’s Time to Choose Your Benefits for 2022: Your Open Enrollment Checklist

October is just around the corner, which means the MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period (October 1-31, 2021) is about to begin for benefits-eligible employees. Please use the following checklist to help guide you through Open Enrollment and be sure to make your benefit selections for the 2022 plan year between October 1-31, 2021.

1. Determine your benefit needs

During Open Enrollment, you may enroll in, change or cancel coverage in the following benefits:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Flexible spending accounts (health and/or dependent care)
  • Life or accidental death and dismemberment Insurance
  • Some voluntary benefits, including vision, legal and critical illness insurance

Make sure you review the Open Enrollment guide carefully and choose the best benefit plans for your family. Find Open Enrollment guides on the HR website.

2. Complete the spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) affidavit

If you want to cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plan, you MUST complete the affidavit online through the EBS Portal every year. Find instructions for completing the affidavit as part of Open Enrollment here.

3. Review the changes for next year’s plans

Changes for the 2022 plan year include:

  • Increase to Maximum Benefit for Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance: You can enroll in AD&D coverage at 1 to 10 times your annual salary, up to a maximum of $1,500,000 for the employee (increased from 1,000,000), $750,000 for a spouse/OEI (increased from 600,000), or $100,000 per child (no change). Additionally, various benefit enhancements are included for the 2022 plan year. Learn more about AD&D insurance in the open enrollment guides on the HR website.
  • Upgrades to Critical Illness Insurance Coverage Effective January 1, 2022: The upgraded plan offers more benefits with coverage for different, distinct medical conditions. Contact MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575 or visit MSUBenefitsPlus.com for details. If employees are currently enrolled and do not change their coverage election during open enrollment, their plan will be upgraded automatically as of January 1, 2022.

4. Make your changes online before October 31

If you want to make changes to your benefits selections and/or cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plans, you must participate in Open Enrollment from October 1-31, 2021. Find enrollment instructions here.

5. Ask questions at the MSU Benefits Fair or HR site labs

Please Note: events are subject to change at any time due to the pandemic. Please review the most updated details on the HR website.

We hope this checklist is helpful as you prepare for and participate in Open Enrollment this year. You can find all the details about Open Enrollment on the HR website, including links to the appropriate benefits guide, enrollment instructions, and detailed benefits information.

Questions? We’re happy to help! We encourage you to get in touch via phone or email. Limited in-person help will be available by appointment only. Please call or email the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu to make an appointment or ask a question.

Job of the Week: Office Coordinator I

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an office coordinator position (posting 730929) through the MSU College of Human Medicine – Flint. 

This support staff position will directly support human resources and financial activities as directed by the Division of Public Health administrator. Responsibilities span the administration of education, research and outreach and include tasks that involve HR, Finance, Operations and Research Administration. Duties include the facilitation of request execution from Flint researchers and teams. This is done by coordinating the human resources activities and requests from all positions and classifications. The position will also complete and submit position requests for faculty, academic staff and support staff, becoming the unit resource for faculty and lead staff on position descriptions and job classifications. More HR responsibilities include tracking the entire background check and I-9 process from initiation to completion, preparing and scheduling onboarding, office spaces and technology for new hires, communicating with candidates as needed, liaising with HR for the College of Human Medicine and Central HR through the entire process and managing all bi-weekly payroll. Some of the position entails processing documentation like SAP and other HR forms including reappointments, change of status, special payment, overload and outside work for pay, performance excellence and annual review forms. Other office tasks involved with the position include budget allocation and mail distribution. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this role should have knowledge equivalent to what would be acquired in the first two or three years of college, technical school or a related field and six months to one year of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in customer service. Any other equivalent combination of education and experience is also permitted. The desired qualifications include a Bachelor’s Degree in human resources, three to five years of academic human resources, familiarity with MSU and the hiring process, experience in operational administrative functions of academia, the ability to work independently, communication and collaboration skills and a working knowledge of the Microsoft Suite, including but not limited to Word, Access and Excel. 

To read more about the department of this position, visit ​​https://flintmed.msu.edu/. Learn more about the position and apply by September 14 here. Find all the latest job postings at careers.msu.edu

Adapting Your Goal-Driven Approach During Times of Change

Whether the goals are short-term or lifelong, SMART or HARD, goal setting is a key component of our professional lives. At MSU, we go through various aspects of the Performance Excellence process throughout each year—from annual reviews to performance planning and everything in between—with goals as a primary benchmark against which we measure accomplishment.

If you’re accustomed to setting and meeting goals as a barometer of success, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely thrown you for a loop. Perhaps you had goals this past year that were impossible to achieve due to COVID-19 restrictions. Maybe you’ve had to relearn how to manage your daily tasks, let alone your goals, due to major changes in your workspace, be it on campus or virtual. It may benefit you to take the time to reexamine your approach to setting and meeting goals—whether for yourself or, if you’re a supervisor, for your employees—and how that may have shifted due to the pandemic.

Goals Are Tools, Not Anchors

To move beyond the countless disruptions and redefine who we are in our everchanging world, goals remain a crucial element to help us maintain purpose, focus and motivation. However, the rapid changes over the past 18 months have served as an important reminder that our goals should serve as tools, not anchors.

Goals can be powerful things, and the pursuit of them may drive you to do your best work and accomplish what might have previously seemed unattainable. While focusing on your goals may lead to success, focusing too single-mindedly on a goal and becoming overly attached to the outcome of your work can put you at risk when forces outside your control are unstable and unpredictable.

Instead of viewing a goal as a fixed North Star that keeps you stubbornly set on a specific endpoint, no matter what the circumstances, try instead to view your goals as flexible targets that allow for adaptability while still providing a framework and path toward achievement.

Own Your Goals

To benefit the most from your goals, never let your goals own you. You have the choice and ability to adapt your plans and goals and detach from the outcomes when necessary. This doesn’t mean being disinterested or disengaged but rather reprioritizing and not allowing any one goal or outcome to give you your sense of worth.

When we can release our own expectations about how things are “supposed” to be, we can engage with what’s actually happening and work to achieve our goals in ways that better align with the circumstances we can’t control. When you become too attached to an outcome that’s out of your hands, you risk missing the benefits of all the hard work you’ve put into reaching your goals if the end result isn’t quite what you planned.

Re-align Your Priorities

If you’ve found your professional identity has become upended during the pandemic, it may be helpful to examine your priorities and revisit your goals. You may be working from what organizational psychologist, Dr. Tasha Eurich, describes as a flawed goal-outcome formula in which you’re too attached to outcomes that are fully or partially out of your control.

Eurich notes that the pandemic has led to many of us losing parts of our identity that once defined us, which can be profoundly destabilizing. Unplanned changes to the routines that helped us navigate our days, our work location, or our ability to accomplish our goals may have us questioning who we are and how the world works.

Give yourself and your colleagues grace as we navigate this uncertainty and work to realign our priorities with our goals in ways that offer adaptability and healthy challenges. It may be helpful for supervisors and employees to review previously established goals through the lens of “goals as tools, not anchors” and see if any adjustments can be made to lead to greater engagement and effectiveness.

Additional information about Performance Excellence at MSU, including goal setting tips, a professional development impact map, and an expectation development worksheet, is available for both employees and supervisors. Looking for additional guidance? Contact Organization and Professional Development at prodev@hr.msu.edu to learn about other upcoming opportunities.

Recommended elevateU Resources

How to Build a Learning Mindset (2-minute elevateU video)

Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think  (elevateU book summary)

Live Event: The Power of Insight: How Self-Awareness Helps Us Succeed at Home and in Life  (Recording of 60-minute elevateU live event presented by Dr. Tasha Eurich)

Saving Time by Setting Goals (24-minute elevateU virtual course)

Tips to Establish and Maintain Healthy Boundaries

There’s much talk about burnout lately, and with good reason. Studies show that job stress is by far the major source of anxiety for American adults and has escalated progressively over the past few decades. The employees who are generally the happiest and most productive, no matter the external circumstances, are those with firm boundaries.

Although setting healthy boundaries is a crucial part of life, it’s not easy for many of us. Establishing and maintaining boundaries—be they mental, emotional or physical—is a skill set and, like any skill, it needs to be developed. If you’re not used to setting limits, you might feel guilty or selfish when you first start out. Here are tips to help you set and stick to healthy boundaries to protect your time, energy and well-being.

1) Audit Your Existing Boundaries

Start by taking some time to examine your existing boundaries, or lack thereof, to help provide clarity around where you need to set different or stronger limits. Take note of when people or situations cause you stress and anxiety. If you find yourself feeling angry, resentful or guilty when you interact with certain colleagues or perform specific aspects of your job, that’s a red flag that you may need to set a firm boundary or communicate it more clearly.

2) Redefine Your Boundaries

Once you’ve examined your existing boundaries, it’s time to determine your new and improved boundaries and top priorities. Think about what needs to occur to best protect your time and general well-being. Consider your priorities both at and outside of work. Whether you’re trying to advance at work or just get through your to-do list by the end of the week, prioritize the tasks that will help you get there. This can help you become more aware of situations in which your existing boundaries are not working and allow you to discover how you can better allocate your time and energy.

3) Communicate Your Boundaries

Boundaries can vary greatly from person to person, so it’s important to set clear expectations and confidently communicate them with your team. Easy ways to better protect your time could include putting a note in your email signature stating the specific hours during which you answer emails and blocking off time on your calendar to ensure you can get to your top priorities.

4) Set Consequences

Once you communicate and start to stick to your established boundaries, don’t be surprised or disheartened if you find others initially respond negatively. This is usually a sign that your boundary is necessary and working effectively. Prep for these situations by visualizing your boundaries being crossed and imagine how you’ll react. Then, when a moment like that arises, you’ll be able to handle it rationally versus emotionally. When a boundary gets violated, address it immediately. Calmly reinforce your limits in the moment rather than wait.

5) Say “No”

Are you the type of person who says “yes” to every request at work, regardless of your existing workload and capacity to take on more? Learning to say “no” is a powerful skill that helps you enforce your boundaries and keep your goals a priority. Saying “no” can be a challenge for many of us because it seems negative—something that may bring harm to our career or alienate us from our colleagues—but “no” works in the opposite way. It allows for clarity and communicates your top priorities and commitments to others. If you say “yes” when you do not mean it, you will follow through with resentment, often leading to poor work quality, weakened relationships with colleagues, and feelings of stress and overwhelm.

Setting healthy boundaries that are right for you will help define your individuality and show others situations for which you will and will not hold yourself responsible. Remember that it’s equally important to respect the boundaries that others have set for themselves. Take small steps to set and maintain boundaries and respect the boundaries of others by communicating clearly and consistently, gaining clarity for yourself and holding firm to your areas of focus. The process will become easier and easier as you practice these skills.

Find resources below to get you started, and know there are many additional services available to you as an MSU employee if you’d like further assistance, including Organization and Professional Development, the WorkLife Office, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and Health4U

Upcoming OPD Courses (Live, Online Format)

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work | September 22

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths | October 28

The Power of Habit | October 20

SourceLive Articles

Burnout: How to Avoid It and What to Do if You’re Experiencing It

Unplugged: How to Disconnect from Work and Enjoy Your Vacation