Make More Time for Fun with These Summer Health Tips

Whether you’re planning a road trip, family picnic, or trip to the lake, there is so much to do in Michigan during the summer months. And while these types of events can provide a ton of fun for your family, there are ways to make Summer safer, too.

Tips for a Healthy Summer

Here are some tips to help keep you safe, stay informed and keep the fun times rolling:

  • Sun Protection: Utilize shade when you can, wear a hat, and don’t forget about the sunscreen (at least SPF 15 is recommended for sun protection).
  • Stay Hydrated: Beat the summer heat and drink a lot of water.
  • Insect Protection: The best way to prevent mosquito bites and ticks is to wear insect repellent and to wear long sleeves or pants. Make sure to check your clothing, body and pets when you go inside!
  • Keep Cool: Take breaks from being in direct sunlight and utilize fans or air conditioning when needed. Take note of weather forecasts and plan events accordingly.

In addition to these tips, if you participate in a flexible spending account (FSA) you can use your funds to help pay for common summer necessities and/or camps for your kids.

Tips for Health Care FSA Funds

Save an average of 30% by using your Health Care FSA funds on the following eligible expenses that double as travel necessities:

  • Allergy medications
  • Blister care kits
  • Bug bite treatments
  • Orthotics/insoles
  • Sun reader eyeglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • SPF lip balm
  • Travel first-aid kits
  • Traveling neck pillows
  • UV detection stickers
  • And more!

Worried about buying something that isn’t considered an eligible expense? Consider shopping at the online FSA Store for worry-free purchases since everything on the FSA Store website is a guaranteed eligible expense. Be sure to check out their monthly coupons and promo codes for additional savings.

If you don’t have an FSA and are wondering if you should participate in one, learn more about the two types of FSAs available to benefit-eligible MSU employees on the HR website and consider enrolling in one or both types during the benefits Open Enrollment period in October this year.

Sources:

Your Mid-Year Benefit Wellness Check-up

National Insurance Awareness Day (June 28) encourages us to review our insurance options to make sure we’re enrolled in the best plans for our families. As an MSU employee, you have a variety of benefit options available to you beyond just health care and dental plans. While many of these benefits allow you to enroll in or make changes at any time, several require you to sign up, change or cancel enrollment during the Open Enrollment period in October. If you’re interested in a benefit but unable to sign up right away, review the plan options and make a list of changes you’d like to make so you’re prepared for the upcoming Open Enrollment period in October.

Benefits without an Enrollment Period

The following benefits are available to enroll in, change or cancel at any time. You’ll find a brief description of each benefit below and you can click on the benefit name for more details and information on how to enroll/register.

  • Auto: find special pricing on insurance for your vehicle through MetLife or Liberty Mutual Insurance.
  • Home: find special pricing on insurance for your home through MetLife or Liberty Mutual Insurance.
  • Livongo: employees and their dependents enrolled in an MSU health plan can receive diabetes management supplies and coaching for free.
  • Pet: find special pricing on pet insurance through Nationwide.
  • Teladoc: an online medical care service that gives you 24/7 access to a healthcare professional via web, phone, or mobile app. Use Teladoc to get help for a range of conditions including cold/flu, bronchitis, allergies, pink eye, dermatology and more.
  • Teladoc Medical Experts: get medical advice from leading medical experts. Whether you need medical questions answered, a diagnosis double-checked, help deciding on a treatment plan or guidance about a surgery, Teladoc Medical Experts can help.
  • TruHearing: Some benefit providers offer discounts on hearing aids. Please contact the providers directly to learn more about the discounts they offer.

Benefits with an Enrollment Period

The following benefit options have an enrollment period. This means you can only enroll in, change or cancel the benefit during Open Enrollment in October each year. We encourage you to review the plans you’re currently enrolled in along with the options available and make a plan to make any necessary changes this October:

  • Critical Illness: MetLife gives you extra cash in the event you or a covered family member experiences a covered illness.
  • Dental: various plans are available based on your employee type. We encourage you to check which dentists are available in your area before enrolling in a new plan.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): there are two FSA options available for employees – Dependent Care FSA and Health Care FSA. Be sure you know the difference before you enroll.
  • Health Care (including prescription): various plans are available based on your employee type and work location.
  • Legal: ARAG currently offers several plan options to help cover a wide range of legal needs.
  • Life/Accident Insurance: several types of life insurance are available for you to enroll in, along with voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance.
  • Vision: two plan options are available through VSP for vision care.

Please visit the HR website to learn more about all the benefit options available to you. For questions about enrollment and eligibility, please contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Job of the Week: Unit Human Resources Administrator I

This week, MSU Human Resources features a job posting from the Eli Broad College of Business for a Unit Human Resources Administrator position (posting 790472). The Broad College of Business values collaboration and aims to develop global transformational leaders who positively impact society.

The Human Resources Administrator is responsible for managing HR duties for faculty and academic staff employees. They provide leadership in strategic management and advise administrators on human resources procedures and policies. They will also facilitate the hiring process for faculty and academic staff personnel actions for the Broad College. They supervise staff performance appraisal processes and procedures. For a list of all responsibilities, click here.

The ideal candidate should have a four-year degree in Human Resources, Business Administration or a related field. Three to five years of experience in managing human resources functions, implementing training programs and computer applications is preferred.

To learn more about the Eli Broad College of Business, visit broad.msu.edu. To apply for this position, prepare a resume, cover letter and three professional references and submit your application here by July 5.

Summer Organization and Professional Development Courses

The Organization and Professional Development (OPD) team in MSU Human Resources is proud to offer a variety of courses to support you in achieving your goals. Since Educational Assistance benefits for support staff reset with the fall semester, use your remaining benefits this summer on a virtual course from OPD. All courses below are available over Zoom, so learning opportunities can go with you no matter where you are this summer. 

Communication

Grammar Refresher – Tuesday, July 12, from 9:00 a.m. to noon 

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue – Blended learning, with several August dates from 1:00–2:30 p.m. 

Human Resources 

Certified Human Resources Specialist (CHRS) – Thursdays, July 14, 21, 28, and August 11 from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Advanced CHRS – Tuesdays, August 9 and 16, from 8:30–4:30 p.m. 

Leadership

Strategic Planning – Wednesday, August 17, from 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Management

Performance Management for Hybrid Teams – Wednesday, June 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Building Cohesive Teams – Tuesday, July 19, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Managing and Leading Across Locations – Tuesday, August 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Personal Development

The Power of Habit – Wednesday, July 13, from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Ready, Set, Change – Tuesday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – Wednesday, July 20, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – Thursday, August 25, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

You can find all current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign up through the EBS Portal. Questions? Contact Organization and Professional Development at prodev@hr.msu.edu.

Job of the Week: Farm Assistant Manager

This week, MSU Human Resources features a job posting from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for a Farm Assistant Manager position (posting 787521). The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources aims to enhance the quality of life for Michigan citizens and the world by progressing education for the management of communities and agricultural, natural resource and food systems to sustainably meet diverse human needs.

The Farm Assistant Manager is responsible for overseeing or assisting in managing the facility’s daily operations and monitoring crop and harvesting conditions and progress. They will also assist with various reports such as nutrient management, crop production, billing and more. They assist in managing the support staff and planning crop operations. For a list of all responsibilities, click here.

The ideal candidate should have a four-year degree in Animal Science, Crop and Soil Science or a related field. One to three years of experience in supervision and all areas of farm work or production with specific animal groups and crops is preferred. They should also have experience with computers and farm equipment.

Though not required, it is helpful for applicants to have a Pest Applicators Certification. Upon hire, candidates must obtain a CDL A or B and a commercial pesticide applicator license with a 1A endorsement.
To learn more about the College of Agriculture and Natural Science, visit canr.msu.edu. To apply for this position, prepare a resume and cover letter and submit your application here by June 21.

Leadership Blog Series: The Value of Meaningful Work

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

Have you had the opportunity to engage recently with a project or team that inspired you and connected you to the larger significance of the leadership work you do here at MSU? One of my favorite teams I had the opportunity to work with over the past couple of years is the team for “Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace” which jointly developed the series of the same name. The magic in this project was how everyone involved recognized that the problem we wanted to address was complex and more extensive than any single department could attempt to resolve. Creating this series together was cathartic as well as synergistic as we leveraged our growing trust and each person’s expertise.

The series was offered through modules for all leaders at MSU because we realized administrative and academic leaders did not always understand their roles and responsibility to the organization in shaping the desired culture and being accountable for the results. Commitment to helping MSU move forward to fulfill our promise as a premier institution remains at the core of this team’s focus.

We were reflecting on the challenges of work — namely the compounding pressures of behavior issues, finding great candidates, disengagement, burnout, and how leadership impacts all of these. Participating on this organic team greatly enhanced my work life, resilience and engagement, especially during the pandemic, and reminded me of the critical importance of meaningful work.

Discover Meaningful Work for Yourself

Meaningful work does not have to be one big project; often, small opportunities can make all the difference to our work lives, help stem the “great resignation,” and enhance our collective wisdom to help make MSU a great place to work.

Recent research focused on working populations around the world found the most powerful predictors of retention, performance, engagement, resilience, and inclusion in employees’ answers to these three questions:

  1. Was I excited to work every day last week?
  2. Did I have a chance to use my strengths every day?
  3. At work, do I get a chance to do what I’m good at and something I love?

Within the “Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace” collaborative team, the group saw the greater purpose behind creating resources helpful to staff and faculty throughout the organization. The personal impact of creating something that transcended our work gave many of us a renewed sense of purpose and engagement — particularly during very challenging circumstances when the work is stressful and thankless. Trust was built through a series of circumstances, and trust contributes to greater resilience and engagement.

Help Your Team Discover Meaningful Work

The truth is, we are not going to love everything about our work. However, if we can continually commit to building trust in our teams and help ourselves and others connect our work with what we love and value, we will reduce burnout and increase engagement. These sound like lofty goals, but strengthening this approach with your team can be as simple as committing to ask your direct reports and teams these four questions regularly:

  1. What did you love about last week?
  2. What did you loathe about last week?
  3. What are your priorities for the coming week?
  4. How can I best help?

I am interested in how this deceptively simple activity helps you and your teams. Feel free to use the comments section or contact me at prodev@hr.msu.edu. Looking to dive deeper into building trust and creating meaningful work? Resources to get you started are included below.

Additional Resources

Sources

Members of the Creating and Sustaining a Respectful Workplace team included representatives from:

  • Faculty and Academic Staff Development
  • Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs
  • Office of Employee Relations
  • Organization and Professional Development
  • Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
  • Prevention Outreach and Education
  • MSU Department of Police and Public Safety
  • MSU Office of the University Ombudsperson

Buckingham, Marcus, 2022. Designing work that people love. Harvard Business Review, Vol 100 issue 3, pg. 68-75.

Gladwell, M. 2022.  “Love+Work: How to find what you love, love what you do, and do it for the rest of your life. Harvard Business Review Press.

Reframe Failure to Increase Success

When was the last time you celebrated failure? We are taught from a young age that failure is bad and something to fear. Because failures may bring negative repercussions, they are often hidden, ignored and downplayed. In reality, failure can be a powerful learning experience and is essential to success. When we embrace the idea of “failing forward”, we develop perseverance, confidence and a new perspective on what it takes to succeed.

Types of Failure

Not all failures are the same, but each has important lessons to teach us.

  • Preventable failure happens in automated processes when a piece of equipment fails, a step is neglected or there is some other kind of malfunction. For this category, it’s important to determine how to best troubleshoot preventable failures. What safeguards are in place regarding people, equipment and environment? Make sure that all precautions have been taken to keep preventable failures from happening in the first place.
  • Complex failure happens when events or situations come together in unexpected ways that cannot be foreseen.

  • Intelligent failure is common in innovative projects and processes, where trial and error are simply part of the experiment.

Organizations and individuals best learn from all types of failures by having procedures in place, along with the willingness and readiness to actively detect, analyze and experiment within the workplace to catch errors quickly, learn from them, and embrace the growth and improvement that can be generated as a result.

Ideas for Action

  • Depending on the type of work you do, one of the three types of failure is probably more common than the others. Consider which is most likely to happen at your workplace and think about how you might handle that type of mistake or failure should it occur.
  • Come up with an example from your life for each type of failure: preventable, complex, and intelligent. Why did they happen, and how were they handled? Were the situations resolved? How did they affect you and others? Take some time to reflect on what you learned from these particular failures.

The Blame Game

If failure is essential to success, why does it feel so terrible when it’s happening? Failure and fault are virtually inseparable in most cultures and organizations. Every child learns at some point that admitting failure means taking the blame, and that pattern may then be reinforced in the workplace. One tremendous benefit of creating and encouraging a culture of psychological safety, in which the rewards of learning from failure can be fully realized, is that greater innovation and individual and organizational growth can occur.

The added challenge when it comes to reframing our ideas of failure is that the experience of failing is more than emotional — it’s also cognitive. We all favor evidence that supports our existing beliefs rather than alternative explanations. We also tend to downplay our responsibility and place undue blame on external or situational factors when we fail, only to do the reverse when assessing the failures of others—a psychological trap known as fundamental attribution error. The courage to confront our own and others’ imperfections with honest reflection and a focus on improvement and learning is crucial.

Ideas for Action

  • List a small number of failures you’ve experienced over recent months. Can you recall how you felt and what thoughts occurred? Make a note of these feelings and thoughts. Can you identify a pattern? Is there a repetitive loop that you repeat every time you fail at something?
  • Take one of the failures from above, which initiated the repetitive loop you have identified. Write an alternative account of what happened.

The Importance of Leaders in Building a Learning Culture

Learning is inherently about failing. Leaders can create and reinforce a culture that counteracts the blame game and makes people feel both comfortable with and responsible for surfacing and learning from failures. They should insist on developing a clear understanding of what happened — not of “who did it” — when things go wrong. This requires consistently reporting failures, small and large, systematically analyzing them and proactively searching for opportunities to experiment. A work culture that recognizes the inevitability of failure in today’s complex organizations and is willing to catch, correct and learn from failure leads to success, employee satisfaction and loyalty. A work culture that wallows in the blame game will not.

It’s imperative for leaders to move beyond the false notion that if people aren’t blamed for failures, they’ll become “lazy” and stop putting in the effort to do their best work. In actuality, a culture that makes it safe to admit and report on failure can coexist with high standards for performance. Not all failures are created equal. Taking the time to analyze the reasons behind why a failure occurred before determining appropriate action will do far more for a team than assuming that assigning blame will lead to improvement in the long run.

One interesting study asked executives to estimate how many of the failures in their organizations were truly blameworthy; their answers were usually in single digits — around 2% to 5%. They were then asked how many failures were treated as blameworthy; they admitted that was closer to 70% to 90%. One unfortunate consequence of this scenario is that many failures go unreported, and their lessons are lost.

Ideas for Action

  • Assess whether your teams offer a sense of psychological safety. Do the members of the team have confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish them for speaking up with ideas? Questions? Concerns? Mistakes? Are each person’s contributions valued? If you answered yes on each measure, that team possesses a strong sense of psychological safety.
  • Leaders and supervisors need to actively create psychological safety because their position of power or status naturally suppresses people’s ability to speak up. This can be done by publicly acknowledging their own fallibility and emphasizing the need for each person’s contributions. They can also respond positively when people do bring things forward. From the results of the preceding exercise, choose a team with a low or mid-level of psychological safety. Develop an action plan for how the team leader or manager can improve the level of psychological safety.

Like everything in life, reframing failure becomes easier with practice. When failures inevitably occur, remind yourself and others that failure is temporary, and failure is good even if, undeniably, it feels really bad when it happens. When something goes wrong, practice saying, “Something good is happening here.” Look for the greater message of the experience and expect it to, eventually, turn out for the good. Need some additional encouragement and exercises to help you with this learning journey? Check out the curated collection of Reframing Failure elevateU resources, with short videos, audiobooks and more.

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/18/a-psychologist-says-the-most-successful-people-reframe-failure-by-doing-4-things.html

https://elevateu.skillport.com/skillportfe/main.action?path=summary/VIDEOS/125821

https://elevateu.skillport.com/skillportfe/main.action?path=summary/VIDEOS/146739

https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2015/05/14/why-failure-is-essential-to-success/?sh=11e953df7923

https://hbr.org/2011/04/strategies-for-learning-from-failure

Job of the Week: Travel Operations Coordinator / Operations Coordinator

This week, MSU Human Resources features a job posting for a Travel Operations/Operations Coordinator (posting 786029) with the MSU Finance Office. MSU Finance provides leadership, guidance, direction and oversight to the university’s complex financial and business functions.

The Operations Coordinator is responsible for data collection to verify HR, expense and travel policy compliance. They will give recommendations to enhance financial compliance, create training content, analyze data to identify patterns in travel expenses and other data, coordinate planning for event related projects and create reports and presentations for stakeholders. For a list of all responsibilities, click here

The ideal candidate should have an Associate or Bachelor’s degree in a business related field. Additionally, they should have 1-3 years of experience in data mining or consolidation, report building, customer service, curriculum development or event management.

To learn more about the MSU Financial Office, visit https://finance.msu.edu/index.html. To apply for this position, prepare a resume and cover letter and submit your application here by June 14.

Deals and Discounts for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner (June 19), and if you are looking to show the dad in your life that you care, look no further than these discounts! Whether it’s your dad, husband, father-in-law or any other important guy in your life, make sure to take advantage of these Father’s Day savings using MSU Benefits Plus.

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign up for a free account using your MSU email address.

Check out some of these deals that you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

Sports:

  • Forest Akers Golf Course – MSU employees with a valid MSU ID card receive reduced rates on playing and shopping at the two 18-hole championship layout golf courses and two full-service golf shops!
  • Premium Seats USA – Get 10% off select sporting event tickets on Premium Seats USA using the code CORESTREAM at checkout!

Technology:

  • Dell – MSU employees get the best price on consumer PCs from Dell: Member Purchase Program savings up to 30% on select systems; exclusive member discounts on Alienware systems and mobile devices; and free shipping on Dell PCs $699 and above.
  • Apple – MSU employees qualify for preferred pricing on all of Apple’s latest products. Order from the online Apple EPP store and identify yourself as a Corestream member when purchasing!

Shopping and Entertainment:

  • AMC Theaters – MSU employees can save over 40% on E-tickets at AMC Theaters and all associated theaters including AMC Loews, AMC Showplace, Cineplex, Odeon, Magic Johnson and Star Theaters!
  • Costco – Purchase a Costco Membership Activation Certificate to join as a new member and receive a Costco Shop Card valued at up to $20.

Find these savings as well as many other benefits by visiting the MSU Benefits Plus portal. Sign up or log in today and have a fun, family-filled Father’s Day.

Performance Excellence Strategic Goal Setting: Tips for Supervisors

With everything you juggle as a supervisor, it’s easy to fall into a rut of viewing the performance management of your team as consisting simply of completing an annual review form and a once-yearly review of upcoming goals. However, making the time to take a larger perspective of the potential opportunities within the Performance Excellence process can lead to much higher yields both in the short and long term — for you, your team, and the university.

A primary goal of Performance Excellence should be connecting individuals to the organization’s greater purpose and helping develop employees to be better able to achieve the university’s goals. Although perhaps requiring a more significant investment of time upfront, creating a unifying vision for your team and establishing regular, ongoing check-in sessions to align goals will then serve as a touchstone for all performance evaluation and planning sessions.

Here are some tips and best practices to better align the goals and priorities of your team with the strategic objectives of your unit and MSU’s strategic plan.

1. Create a unit vision statement.

If your unit doesn’t already have a shared vision, now is a great time to formalize this and bring your team on board. Consider creating a one-page plan to outline your unit’s initiatives and the alignment of resources (i.e., time, people, funding) to achieve results and align with this vision.

Ask yourself:

  • Why does our unit exist?
  • What do we do that helps the university achieve the overarching strategic priorities?
  • How do we know we are successful?

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

As a supervisor, you should be regularly communicating your unit’s vision with your team, both one-on-one and with the team as a whole. Be sure everyone is fully aware of the vision, what it means, and why they should care.

3. Help employees understand how their work impacts the vision.

When we can clearly connect our daily work with a larger picture of the unit’s and the university’s goals and objectives, job satisfaction and productivity almost always improve. Employees should be able to see how their individual contributions are critical to the university’s continued growth and success.

4. Have your employees consider goals and priorities for themselves that align with the unit vision.

Allow your team to feel ownership over their goals to prioritize what’s important to them about their work while understanding that some employees will need more guidance and support with this process than others. Goals should be clear and measurable — think SMART and HARD goals — with a clear connection to your unit’s vision statement.

5. Ensure an ongoing feedback loop is maintained.

Aligning the goals and efforts of an individual with the larger team and organization cannot be a “one and done” activity. Regular, ongoing communication via one-on-one check-ins provides brief but powerful opportunities to touch base on objectives, realign priorities and clarify expectations. Strive to provide prompt, actionable feedback to your team, tying everything back to your unit’s vision and making sure each person understands how their work is important to the bigger picture.

Additional resources to support you through this process can be found below, and HR’s Organization and Professional Development department is available at prodev@hr.msu.edu if you would like further information or guidance.

Related Resources

MSU Performance Excellence: Supervisor Tips and Tools (Collection of resources including sample goals for different roles, goal setting tips, and conversation starters for high performance)

Instructor-led OPD Workshops

Performance Management for Hybrid Teams

Managing and Leading Across Locations

Strategic Planning

HR SourceLive Blog Posts

Adapting Your Goal-Driven Approach During Times of Change

Common Work-Related Goals with Resources to Help You Achieve Them

Leadership Blog Series: Performance Excellence During Periods of Uncertainty and Transition

What’s Your Plan: Six Steps to Align Your Goals with What’s Important to You

Sources

https://www.rhythmsystems.com/blog/how-the-best-ceos-align-employees-with-company-goals

https://www.hrfuture.net/strategy/staff-planning/five-best-practices-for-aligning-employees-with-corporate-goals/