Job of the Week: Office Assistant III

This week’s featured job posting from MSU Human Resources is for an Office Assistant III (posting 760103) in the Business and Financial Office of the Department of Student Life and Engagement.

The selected candidate will receive, collect, and process complex and diverse financial or statistical information for the department. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, preparing financial reports, processing travel and other EBS documentation, and coordinating training for student organizations and other units on behalf of Student Life. The individual will also assist in providing complete educational, administrative, and financial services to the assigned units. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this support staff position must have knowledge normally acquired through a high school education along with three to five years of related and progressively more responsible work experience in word processing, presentation software, and maintaining accounting ledgers. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered. Desired qualifications include proficiency in the Microsoft Suite, including PowerPoint and Visio, for building and presenting training programs to MSU student organizations. 

Learn more about the Department of Student Life at https://studentlife.msu.edu/. Read more about this position and apply with three professional references by February 8 here. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Nominations are Open for the Student Employee of the Year Award!

If you work at MSU, you know how important student employees are to the success of your department and the university. Do you know a student who consistently goes above and beyond in their work? Supervisors have the chance to recognize these exemplary Spartans by nominating them for the Student Employee of the Year award by February 11, 2022.

Find more details and the nomination form on the Department of Student Life website.

Eligible nominees must be:

  • Currently registered in an MSU degree-granting program.
  • Employed on student employee payroll for a minimum of three months between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.
  • Nominated by their supervisor. Only one student employee may be nominated per supervisor. Complete an online nomination form here.
    Note: Graduate assistants, residence hall staff and other student employees who do not fall under the jurisdiction of MSU Student Employment or the Student Employee Payroll may not be nominated for this award. They are eligible for other recognition programs.

All nominees will be honored with certificates. The MSU Student Employee winner’s name is submitted for consideration for the State of Michigan competition. All nominees will be acknowledged at a reception on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Big Ten A. Learn more about the award on the Department of Student Life website.

Job of the Week: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanic

This week’s featured job posting from MSU Human Resources is for an Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanic (posting 758946) in the department of Maintenance Service for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities.

The selected candidate will repair, maintain, alter, and install air conditioning units and mechanical refrigeration systems. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, operation and maintenance of electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic testing equipment and their corresponding gauges, controls, pressures, and temperatures. The individual will also assist in the repair of other mechanical systems. The ideal applicant will exhibit high performing, leading edge practices, and strong personal values. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this support staff position must have knowledge normally acquired through a high school education or an equivalent combination of technical training and experience, as well as five years of experience in the trade. The employee must possess an EPA 608 Universal Certification and a State of Michigan Contractor’s License with endorsements in refrigeration and air conditioning. Expert knowledge of building codes, occupational hazards, and local, state, and federal regulations will also be taken into consideration. It is preferred that the candidate be a creative and innovative lifelong learner who is able to effectively communicate with a diverse population and the ability to understand different perspectives while utilizing expert knowledge of technical operations.

Learn more about Infrastructure Planning and Facilities at https://ipf.msu.edu/. Read more about this position and apply by January 25 here. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Adjust Your Work Approach for Success During Challenging Times

Written by Danielle Hook, Learning and Development Manager for HR Organization and Professional Development

This past month has many of us experiencing the feeling of “…this again?” Frequent and unexpected changes to priorities, workspaces and expectations can make productivity and focus feel impossible. Perhaps you find yourself working from home with small children (again), adjusting to staffing changes within your team or experiencing feelings of burnout or languishing.

In addition to requiring greater patience and flexibility, we’re finding ourselves called upon to take an alternative approach to how we normally complete our work. Whether you feel like you’re stuck in a pandemic time loop, where each day blends into the next, or you’re struggling to manage your time and projects while in a state of uncertainty, there are a few simple steps that can help guide your work approach during this time.

Have a Plan

If there is a chance you could find yourself pivoting quickly to accommodate a change in your work plan — your child’s daycare closing, a new colleague, uncertainty about whether you’ll be working in-office or remotely — a loose plan can make the transition a little smoother. The reality is that no amount of planning can fully alleviate the physical, mental and emotional drain many of us feel when faced with this much uncertainty. However, with a bit of intention, a sudden change in circumstances can become an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Having a structure in place that allows for adaptability and accounts for your specific circumstances can provide you a clearer path should things change unexpectedly.

Read related article: What’s Your Plan? Six Steps to Align Your Goals with What’s Important to You

Align Expectations With Attainable Goals

Consider how you would define success during this period of time. Identify what might indicate success and align your expectations accordingly. Set truly attainable goals, both personally and professionally. Think about the types of activities or tasks you could reasonably make progress on under the circumstances in which you’re working. Of those things, is there something you can work on that might even bring joy or satisfaction?

Read related article: Adapting Your Goal-Driven Approach During Times of Change

Choose Work That Fits Your Circumstances

This requires some insight into your strengths and work style. Consider the nature of the various tasks on your to-do list. Where possible, prioritize those which hold the highest likelihood of success within your current context. Your supervisor may be able to help with reprioritization and appreciate being informed of your plans. Here are some examples of this differentiation.

  • Some individuals will find the most success with independent work that allows them to engage in spurts and intervals. This work can easily be left and returned to without consequence.
    Examples: drafting documents, working with data and metrics, developing strategy, processing forms.
  • Others may find success using this time for engagement. Making calls and participating in discussions can be a great use of time for someone with busy hands who can’t be in front of a computer.
    Examples: an informal project check-in, idea generation discussions, one-on-ones with your team.
  • Is there a way you can use this time to catch up on things not often prioritized but still important?
    Examples: Cleaning up an inbox, managing or reorganizing documents, getting caught up in Teams.
  • Alternatively, sometimes there are things that can be set up now that benefit your future self.
    Examples: Did you know you can use the Quick Parts feature in Outlook to store templates for email content you use repeatedly? Or, that with Microsoft Planner, you can set up multiple tasks lists, assign them to yourself and others, assign due dates and more? Consider drafting and scheduling email communications that need to be distributed at a future date.
  • Professional development is another option to expand your skillset and engage in learning around the topics that mean the most to you.
    Examples: Virtual courses through HR Organization and Professional Development, Health4U, and IT Training, self-paced elevateU learning programs, professional podcasts, audiobooks, and live webinars.

Additional Resources

It is worth recognizing that each individual situation is unique, and solutions are never one size fits all. Some resources to help guide you through this period are included below, and know there are many additional services available to you as an MSU employee if you’d like further assistance, including Organization and Professional Developmentthe WorkLife Office, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and Health4U.

Adapting to Change

Rapid Change: Making Your Way Through (blog post)

Strategies to Thrive Through Change (2-minute video)

Determining Your Work Style and Strengths

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work (3.5-hour Zoom course)

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths (4-hour Zoom course)

Mental Health

Mental Health Matters: Resources from MSU (blog post)

Recognizing and Managing Stress During Times of Change (blog post)

Motivation and Focus

Are You Procrastinating? Increase Motivation and Take Action with These Simple Steps (blog post)

The Art of Staying Focused (on-demand, 30-minute virtual course)

Working from Home with Children

Best Practices for Working at Home with Children

Things to Do to Keep Kids Active, Engaged and Learning While Home

Job of the Week: Mail Processor III

This week’s featured job from MSU Human Resources is a Clerical Technical Mail Processor position (posting 755612) in the department of Mail Services for University Procurement and Logistics.

The selected candidate will coordinate and participate in preparation, sorting, and metering of outgoing domestic and international mail. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, maintaining postage permits and mail discounts, controlling records, preparing reports, and supervising student employees. This support staff position must exhibit the spirit of teamwork and flexibility, adapt to new processes and technology in reasonable timeframes, and be able to identify and sort mail based on a variety of factors. For a full list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this role must have knowledge normally acquired through a high school education and one to three years of related work experience in mail regulations and/or post office procedures. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered. The job also requires applicants to be able to lift boxes and other equipment of up to 75 pounds. The desired qualifications for this position include experience working with USPS postal rates, mail regulations, and Quadient mail equipment. Customer service and knowledge of the university community are also taken into consideration.

Learn more about University Procurement and Logistics at https://upl.msu.edu/. Read more about this position and apply with a resume and cover letter by January 25 here. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Employee Discounts to Support your 2022 Resolutions

Another new year means new resolutions, and MSU Benefits Plus wants to make those goals and tasks more achievable than ever. Below, you can learn more about these exclusive health, wellness, and other helpful discounts for MSU employees and start your journey to a happy new year today!

To access all of these discounts and more, login to MSU Benefits Plus today. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, register using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge or in EBS). 

Exercise and Mental Health:

  • Zeamo – On Demand workouts and fitness classes from top fitness brands and instructors – select free workouts and get 50% off your first month of gym and studio access with promo code 50OFF09.
  • Fitbod – Workouts that improve as you do by studying your strength and training ability, all from your phone – 25% off membership with promo code CORE.
  • Calm – 57% off of a one year subscription for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store’s most popular mental wellness application ($29.99 instead of $69.99).

Travel:

  • LMT Club – A free membership to the exclusive Last Minute Travel club (a $50 value), a website created so you can get the best deals on hotels and other travel needs.
  • Tickets at Work – Find deals of up to 60% off hotels in tons of destinations using this exclusive link.

Taxes:

  • Turbo Tax – While it’s no one’s favorite part about the new year, get a little more excited about filing your taxes by saving up to $20 using the link found on the MSU Benefits Plus website.

Education:

  • Spartan Bookstore – If you are looking for books to learn something new or just to enjoy some reading, visit the Spartan Bookstore for 10% off new and used books with your faculty/staff ID.
  • Walden University – The new year is the perfect time to gain some new knowledge that can support you in your career. Receive10% off your tuition for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs at Walden University with this link.

Tech:

  • Apple – Get ready to get the best deals if you choose to spend your holiday gift money on new Apple products because MSU employees get exclusive pricing through the Employee Purchase Program using this link.
  • Dell – Ready to upgrade your workspace in 2022? Get the best prices from Dell’s Work from Home Bundles with Member ID PS113067902.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals through the MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts from MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Retirement Planning: 2022 IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits

Whether you’ve just started working at MSU or have been here for 30+ years, it is important that you continue to monitor and adjust how much you’re saving if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

The IRS places limits on how much employees can contribute to a retirement plan each year. The IRS recently announced the retirement plan limits for 2022:

  • The annual employee contribution amount increased to $20,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
  •  The age 50 catch-up contribution amount continues to be $6,500 for 403(b) and 457(b) plans. 

If you want to save as much as you can for your retirement, there is a tool in the EBS Portal called the Max Savings Contributions Calculator available to assist you. This tool automatically displays the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available before reaching one of the limits, and the equivalent percentage of your pay to help you spread that out for the year. 

To access this tool: 

  1. Login to the EBS Portal with your MSU NetID and password. 
  2. Click the My Benefits tab at the top. 
  3. Click the Benefit/Retirement tile. 
  4. Select Enroll/Change my Retirement/Health Savings Account Options in the drop-down menu and then click Next in the bottom right.
  5. Navigate in the bar graph to the Savings Plans screen by clicking Next in the bottom right. 
  6. The Max Savings Contributions Calculator screen will display. This display will automatically show the remaining amount of retirement contributions you have available (if any) before reaching the IRS limit. 
  7. You can adjust the percentage of your contributions to any retirement plans you participate in by clicking on the pencil icon, and then choose Select to make the change. 
  8. If you want to enroll in a new plan, begin by clicking on the paper icon next to the plan and vendor of your choosing, and then enter the percentage of your new contribution and choose Select to enroll. 
  9. Make sure to click on Save in the bottom right to complete and save any changes/enrollments. 

If you are an academic year faculty or academic staff employee, or a Voluntary 403(b) Base participant age 50 and over, contact the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu for further assistance in calculating your maximum contribution percentage. 

Learn More About MSU’s Retirement Plans

The HR website contains a wealth of information about the different types of retirement plans offered, retirement investment vendors, and planning tools available. 

Leadership Blog Series: Bring Meaning and Joy to the Employee Experience Through Job Crafting

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

Leaders who understand their role in bringing out the best in their employees make a significant impact on the employee experience, with a positive employee experience now requiring increased effort to recruit, retain and engage. Employees have become less accepting of doing things that may not make sense to them (what is the purpose?), and they will leave organizations to find a better fit.

Job crafting is a practical way to influence the engagement of employees to respond to organizational change more positively, be happier and have greater meaning in all the roles they perform. In turn, the positive experience can enhance the level of innovation, care, service, and productivity for clients, students, and customers.

Think about the explosion in the “craft” economy: beer, distilled spirits, bespoke “fill-in-the-blank.” That tailored experience makes us feel good and allows us to feel greater control and empowerment over some aspects of our lives— especially important when we live in a world that is anything but predictable.

What is job crafting?

The concept of job crafting isn’t all that different from other aspects of the craft economy. Job crafting is an aspect of empowerment that helps employees tailor their work to what brings them joy, adds to their experience and enhances the organization. According to research conducted over the past twenty years, job crafting — in the forms of task, relationship, and cognitive crafting — may be a critical element of engagement and job satisfaction, particularly in today’s workplace.

Task crafting – Changing up responsibilities. Improving the steps, timing, or sequencing of the tasks that make up your job to improve it in some way.

Example: Palmer, a customer service specialist, thought there could be an easier way to get the necessary information from customers. They set up a simple power form to capture key information in a consistent manner. Now there is a simple tracking system with all the key information leading to better resolution with improved response time, enhancing both the employee and customer experience.

Relationship crafting – Changing up interactions. Building relationships around aspects that are important to you with people you would not normally work with.

Example: Jody, a project lead, sought out other employees who were interested in mentoring new employees. She was engaged with the idea and participated in the task force which helped her connect with others from across the organization.

Cognitive crafting – Changing your mindset. Reframing the work to see how the value of the work contributes positively to the organization, the people, or greater society.

Example: Parker, a custodian, understood that his job involved a lot of repetition and was not glamorous. However, if he did not do his job, students could become ill or injured, might feel down about the environment at school or believe they were unimportant to the leaders at their school. By maintaining a safe and pleasant environment, he adjusts his thinking to focus on his incredible influence on the health and well-being of the students — contributing toward their success and helping them to graduate.

The leader’s role in job crafting

As a leader, you can initiate and facilitate the job crafting concept, asking employees for their thoughts and ideas. Design jobs (and job descriptions) that leave room for crafting. Demonstrate an openness to feedback and new ideas. Often, we overlook the true nature of our work and the meaning and joy we can derive from it. A little encouragement from you — and modeling the way — may just make the difference.

Leaders are in a unique position to not only foster beneficial job crafting in their employees but to practice crafting in their own roles to potentially impact numerous employees. Making small changes to your own job can have larger impacts on your organization as well.

Find additional resources to get you started below and reach out to HR’s Organization and Professional Development department at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you’d like further ideas. After you’ve had a chance to introduce job crafting to your own position and team, I’d love to hear your feedback. Contact me directly at margrave@hr.msu.edu to let me know how job crafting is working for you.

Recommended Resources

Note: all names used above are pseudonyms.

Sources

Carucci, R., Shappell, J. (2020). How to job craft as a team. https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-to-job-craft-as-a-team?ab=at_art_art_1x1

Dutton, J.E., Wrzesniewski, A., (2020). What job crafting looks like. Harvard Business Review. March 12, 2020. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-job-crafting-looks-like

Wrzesniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J., and Berg, J.M., (2013). Job crafting and cultivating positive meaning and identity in work. Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology, Volume 1, 281–302.

Job of the Week: Analyst — Workstation & Mobility Service

This week’s featured job from MSU Human Resources is an Analyst — Workstation and Mobility Service position (posting 755098) in the department of IT Client Experience through MSU Information Technology Services.

The selected candidate will provide operational coordination for the “workstation and mobility services” (WMS) within the MSUIT team. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, maintaining security standards on WMS devices, utilizing software imaging programs for security and technical support, and assisting support projects for technical needs. This support staff position will uphold the guarantee of MSU IT: to be responsible for the primary leadership in financial, strategic, and policy initiatives affecting information technology across MSU. For a complete list of responsibilities, click here

Applicants interested in this role must have knowledge equivalent to the completion of a college degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, Business, or an IT related field. One to three years of related work experience may also be necessary, but an equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered. The desired qualifications for this position include experience working with vendors, experience managing workstations in both Windows and iOS, the ability to work collaboratively, and the ability to consistently meet deadlines. An ITIL certification is also desired. 

Learn more about MSU Information Technology Services at https://tech.msu.edu/. Read more about this position and apply with a resume and cover letter by January 18 here. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Register for an Upcoming Virtual Professional Development Course!

Whether you’ve jumped into the new year with a list of goals to work on or need a little inspiration, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you. Find a list of upcoming courses sorted by topic below.

Additionally, OPD wants to know your training preferences for the upcoming year. Complete this short questionnaire to help us ensure we’re best meeting your learning and development needs.

Business Analysis

Promapp, Interactive Process Creation – February 2 
Learners will continue their process improvement journey and build upon the knowledge and skills learned in Introduction to Process Mapping

Communication

Conflict Management and Non-Escalation: Train the Trainer – Starts January 19 
The goal of this course is to prepare participants to be able to provide instruction on the Vistelar proven methods to help others address the challenges of dealing with conflict and crisis. 

Crucial Conversations – Starts February 8 
Learn how to hold crucial conversations – where emotions and stakes are high and opinions vary. 

Finance and Accounting

Vendors in KFS – February 22 
This class will cover the various types of vendors in KFS and when to use them, how to add and edit a vendor, including documentation required, and tips on searching for a vendor.  

Human Resources

Certified Human Resources Specialist – Starts February 1 
In this five-class series, you will acquire an extensive set of reference materials and resources while building your professional HR network. 

Mitigating Bias in Hiring – February 10 
Learn about best practices and procedures for reducing potential bias in the screening and interview process and obtain tools for increasing understanding and self-awareness. 

Leadership

Engaging Teams for Maximum Performance – January 25 
Learn methods of building trust, setting goals and providing feedback to help enhance employee engagement and working relationships. 

New Leader Development Series – Starts January 18 
Apply now  to join the next cohort of the new, nine-session NLDS. Kicking off January 18, this program equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources. 

Strategic Planning – February 17 
Participants will gain a foundational base for implementing strategic planning in a unit.

Management

Building Cohesive Teams – January 26 
Learn methods for building collaboration within a team and skills for influencing team performance. 

Operations

Records Management and Retention at MSU – February 23 
Learn the rules, regulations, and strategies to help manage university records. 

Professional Development

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – February 15 
This course provides humorous insight into the seven habits of negativity, including tips to stop gossip, techniques for getting along with others, and strategies to reap the many benefits of a positive and engaged workforce. 

Everything DiSC®: Behavior Styles at Work – January 27 
Learn how to build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles. 

The Power of Habit – February 16  
Learn how habits are created and how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. 

Ready, Set, Change! – January 26 
This interactive and engaging course is appropriate for anyone responsible for implementing and guiding change in their organizations, such as leaders, project managers and their team members, HR professionals and more. 

You can find all the current virtual Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any).