Happy National Online Learning Day!

September 15 is National Online Learning Day! Online learning provides convenience, flexibility, and personalization for all learners. Did you know MSU offers FREE online learning opportunities for all faculty and staff? Get access to online resources including books, videos, courses, and more via elevateU. During these times when more MSU employees are working remotely, access to these resources is more valuable than ever.

Access elevateU here or log into EBS and look for the “elevateU” tile under the “My Career & Training” tab. You can access elevateU from your computer or through the Skillsoft Learning App for Android and iOS devices.  

There are programs that cover leadership, IT & desktop, business, finance, human resources, change management, project management, interpersonal skills and so much more. Resources are available in a variety of formats: 

  • Video-based and interactive courses 
  • Videos 
  • Books 
  • Resources to prepare for various professional certifications 

Watch the following video for a general overview of the resources available to you and how to access them:

Need help navigating elevateU? Click here for an additional video on how to use the search function and navigate through the resources available. 

Utilize the resources as reference tools to help answer your day-to-day job questions or as part of your ongoing personal and professional development. Many of the courses are even approved for Continuing Education credits! Remember, all courses are available to current staff and faculty at no charge.  

Happy National Online Learning Day!

Maintaining Employee Engagement During COVID-19

In a matter of months, our world has changed drastically due to COVID-19. Everything about our work lives, home lives and social lives is now different as much of our day-to-day interaction with others is now done virtually. For many, navigating the changes between in-person to online work has been no easy task. Working remotely with little in-person communication can make it difficult to recognize what the purpose of your work is or remember the goals your team has put in place. As employees continue to work remotely, it is important to make time to check in with yourself and your team members about these things to maintain a strong sense of employee engagement within your virtual team to ensure continued success.

What is Employee Engagement?

But what is employee engagement exactly? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team’s goals and their company’s mission. To inspire this emotional commitment, you must first understand what drives it. Engaged employees tend to feel like:

  • They have a purpose at their company
  • They are aware of how their work helps them grow
  • They understand how they impact others

However, many people tend to have different definitions of employee engagement that include employee happiness or employee satisfaction. Although these things are not what defines employee engagement, both employee happiness and employee satisfaction are still important elements in the larger ecosystem that drives engagement. This means to support this emotional commitment from employees, organizations have to create a strong, cultural foundation to be able to achieve high levels of employee engagement.

Why is it Important?

Whether you realize it or not, employee engagement can ultimately have one of the biggest impacts on your organization’s goals. The difference between a team of engaged employees and a team of disengaged employees could be what’s creating problems within your team’s productivity and quality of work.

During this time of remote work due to COVID-19, reaching high levels of employee engagement seems to be an especially large challenge for many. With employees away from the office and their coworkers, it can be very easy for them to become disengaged from their work or see the purpose in doing it at all. While it may seem impossible, there are still many things team leaders can do to help combat high disengagement levels during COVID-19, even while working remotely.

Tips for Maintaining High Employee Engagement While Still Working Remotely

  1. Develop a sense of purpose at work

Successful, engaged teams are made up of employees that have a sense of purpose. To develop this sense of purpose for employees within their work, try reminding employees how important each of their roles are to your team’s goals at team meetings to help them understand the impact of their efforts.

  1. Offer professional development opportunities

Employees should be able to expect a range of learning and development opportunities from their employers to be able to stay engaged and invested in their roles. To inspire engaged employees that want to grow and improve, try searching for and reminding employees of professional development opportunities that you come across.

  1. Give recognition and rewards

A powerful way to improve employee engagement is to recognize and reward employees for their successes. To elevate your employee recognition, try tying it to real and frequent rewards to build more engaged employees.

New Year, New Professional Development Courses!

Do you have any goals for 2020? Chances are if you do, they are likely centered around self-improvement. One way to enhance your work experience and get the most out of this year professionally is to take professional development courses! Find courses through Organization and Professional Development (OPD) to help you reach your personal and professional development goals.

Upcoming Courses:

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – Wednesday, February 5

Turnover, stress-related illness, and disengagement are signs of a problematic workplace and according to the most recent Gallup polls, nearly 70% of employees are unhappy or disengaged at work. 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.

From Distracted to Productive – Wednesday, February 5

Email. Interruptions. Project transitions. Office clutter. Social and other media. Text messages. Even family and friends. These seven “distractors” sometimes make it almost impossible to get anything done. But with some forethought and effective strategies, as well as some personal discipline, it is more than possible to find your focus once again, even in a hyper-distracted world. Learn “game plan” ideas for getting and keeping your distractors under control and finding critical “focused productivity” time each day, leading to improved performance as well as clarity of mind and purpose.

Managing Meetings – Wednesday, February 12

With company resources tighter than ever, and staff and management busier than ever, frivolous meetings are simply not an option. Yet they continue to occur more often than ever. And too many unproductive, wasteful meetings create a major drag on staff morale and motivation, thus affecting productivity, turnover, and the corporate “bottom line”. If you are the organizer or leader of meetings, you simply cannot afford to look unprofessional when you are “on stage” in a competitive or political environment. Use this program to better plan, lead, and follow through on your meetings and enhance team productivity, coordination, and cohesion.

Crucial Conversations – Wednesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 13

By learning how to speak and be heard (and encouraging others to do the same), you’ll begin to surface the best ideas, make the highest-quality decisions, and then act on your decisions with unity and commitment. Learn step by step tools for promoting an open, honest dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics—at all levels of your organization.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership – Wednesday, February 19

A strong leader ignites motivation and unleashes productivity creating an environment in which individuals want to “follow.” A person with high emotional intelligence has mastered self-management and interpersonal dynamics. Combine the two and the result is an emotionally intelligent leader!

Honing Your Emotional Intelligence – Wednesday, February 19

Isn’t it interesting how some people have a seemingly natural talent for handling themselves and/or others with ease? It is an amazing feat considering our high stress, multi-tasking, spread-too-thin world today. Most likely, these individuals have mastered the principles found within Emotional Intelligence. The essence of Emotional Intelligence is our ability to identify and manage our own emotions and our ability to identify emotions in others and manage interpersonal relationships.

Crucial Accountability – Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20

This two-day course teaches a step-by-step process for enhancing accountability, improving performance and ensuring execution. A combination of role-playing and interactive scenarios allows participants to practice how to talk about violated expectations in a way that solves problems, improves relationships and improves team and organizational effectiveness.

You can find all the current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign-up through the EBS Portal. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Events Round-Up – November

Arts

Friday, November 1

Arts Night Out

Thursday, November 7

Block Printing with Regina Pericini

Friday, November 8

The Broadcast Exhibition Opening Preview

Friday, November 15

Project & Sign pARTy

Saturday, November 16

Twelfth Night presented by MSU Dept. of Theatre

Community Events

Saturday, November 2

Public Plant and Succulent Sale

Thursday, November 21-December 29

Wonderland of Lights

Friday, November 22

Silver Bells in the City

Saturday, November 23-December 24

Family Farm – Christmas Season

Sunday, November 24

Breakin Bread with the Blues

Thursday, November 28

Bordeaux’s Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Buffet or Dinner

Family/Kid Friendly

Saturday, November 2

PhUn Day

Jungle Book

Family Day at the MSU Broad Museum

Nighttime Scavenger Hunt

Monday, November 4

South of the Border: Celebrating the Music of the Other Americas

Thursday, November 7

Sensory Friendly Movie Night

Saturday, November 9

Zoo in Your Neighborhood

Monday, November 11

MSU Bug House Open House

Friday, November 15

Sensory Friendly Story Time

Saturday/Sunday, November 23-24

Brunch with Santa

Saturday, November 30

Caroling at Schuler Books

Music

Saturday, November 2

Lansing Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, November 6

Jazz from Detroit

Saturday, November 9

Live Music w/ Time2Play

Singers on the Grand “Fifties Favorites”

Jazz Octets and special guests

Sunday, November 10

JAMM Tribute Concert

Saturday, November 16

Sensory Friendly Spartan Concert

Sunday, November 17

“Feel the Beat” Drumming Circle

Thursday, November 21

Wind Symphony

Professional Development Opportunities

Tuesday, November 5

Managing Difficult Customers

Wednesday, November 6

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths

Thursday, November 7

Thriving Through Change

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths

Saturday, November 9

Lean In Michigan Leadership Conference

Tuesday, November 12

Payments to Non-Resident Aliens and Foreign Vendors

Roadmap to Retirement

Wednesday, November 13

Supervisor Strategies for Performance Planning

From Distracted to Productive

Thursday, November 14

Communicating and Influencing Up

Fundamentals of Supervision

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace

Tuesday, November 19

Capital Asset Management

Wednesday, November 20

Presentation Skills 101

Thursday, November 21

Ten Tactics for Powerful Business Writing

EBS Financial System Roles/ Onboarding

Sustainable High Performance

Sports/Fitness

Sunday, November 3

Run-A-Munk 5K Trail Run

Thursday, November 28

Lansing Turkey Trot

Registration is Open for Summer Courses!

Do you have any personal or professional goals that you’re currently working towards? Or maybe you’re a support staff employee looking for courses to support your Performance Excellence plan? There are a variety of courses offered in July to help you grow and succeed.

Support staff should note that their Educational Assistance benefit resets with the fall semester. If you still have money for registration fees left over, now is a great time to use those remaining funds!

Learn Strategies for Personal Growth

Develop Your Leadership Skills

Improve Your Communication Skills

Become a Skilled Project Manager

You can find all current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign-up through the EBS Portal. MSU support staff should remember that they may have access to Educational Assistance to help with any course registration fees. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Performance Excellence Resources

Do you have a Performance Excellence annual review and/or planning meeting coming up soon? Performance Excellence is a collaborative process between MSU support staff and their supervisors that ensures employees are continually developing their skills to contribute to the success of the university. Employees should be meeting regularly with their supervisors to discuss their Performance Excellence development plan and goals for the year. This encourages everyone to stay engaged and allows goals to be adjusted if needed. Whether you are an employee or supervisor, we have resources to help you get the most out of the Performance Excellence process.

Find Tips and Tools on the HR Website

There is a wealth of information available about Performance Excellence on the HR website including:

  • Detailed info about the process
  • Required training
  • Learning opportunities to help meet performance goals
  • Related forms
  • Tips and tools for success

Visit the Performance Excellence webpage and then select whether you’re looking for resources for employees or supervisors.

Professional Development Courses

Are you looking for resources to help you build skills in certain areas? Organization and Professional Development (OPD) offers a variety of instructor-led courses to help you reach performance goals. Find courses on how to thrive through change, manage difficult customers, or identify and maximize your strengths, among many others! Find a list of all current OPD courses here.

Supervisors can also find courses to help them navigate the Performance Excellence process, including this upcoming course:

And remember, eligible employees have access to Educational Assistance for any course registration fees.

Online Resources through elevateU

No time to attend an in-person course? No problem! elevateU is a free online learning platform available 24/7 for MSU employees with courses, books and videos to assist with skill building. Resources cover a variety of topics and you can print off a learning transcript to show your supervisor a list of resources you’ve completed. Learn more and access elevateU here.

Questions? Contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.


How to Get the Most Out of Classroom Training

This post was written by Kathie Elliott, Sr. HR Professional for Organization and Professional Development.

It’s Tuesday morning, and you realize you’re scheduled to attend a course which you completely forgot about until this moment. You arrive late, and the rest of the class is talking about the pre-work they completed and brought with them. As you grab an open chair, you feel your phone buzz and see a text from your co-worker. You are late and feel unprepared and distracted.

At your table, you contribute very little and try to avoid the facilitator’s eye. Four hours later you leave and feel you were too distracted by the work day’s emails piling up and your feeling of unpreparedness to focus on what you were supposed to learn.

Sound nothing like you? Great! Still, do you have a nagging feeling that you could be getting more out of your training opportunities? Read on for tips.

BEFORE TRAINING

  1. Confirm Logistics: Know the location/time of the course and verify directions. Be sure to add in time for unexpected delays, like confusing Google directions or if you are supposed to be at Nisbet or at the Henry Center, Kellogg Center or other common locations. To be safe, check your email and junk mail for any class updates.
  2. Clear Your Calendar: Leave time for the class and a little time after in case you want to network or ask the facilitator a question. And give yourself time in the office afterward to think about what you learned, digest all that new information, and consider how to apply it. 
  3. Limit Distractions: Let your co-workers and family know that you’ll be attending a course that day and to not expect you to answer any calls or emails right away. Make sure you change your out of office message for your phone and email. Limit physical distractions by making sure you are rested, fed, hydrated, caffeinated, and prepared for fluctuating classroom temperatures. Favorite beverage, special dietary items, comfortable but appropriate clothing can enhance your learning experience.
  4. Bring Your Learning Mindset: Be a co-creator of your learning experience by coming prepared to learn relevant, immediately applicable skills. Many facilitators will send out reminder emails in the days leading up to the class with any prework or final notes. Then, try setting some goals for yourself. What are a few questions that you want answered? Do you want to meet and network with others in similar positions?

DURING TRAINING

Since you’ve taken steps to limit distractions and discomfort, you’re all set to be an engaged learner. If you need a push to stay attentive, try asking one of your prepared questions, offer to be the spokesperson for your table, or jot down a couple notes to share with a co-worker later. If you’re more visually inclined, why not try visual note-taking? Visual note-taking – which uses a combination of images and text to help synthesize info – is a creative way to pay attention and capture/group the info you’re learning in class so you remember it better later.

AFTER TRAINING 

Learning really doesn’t happen until it’s applied. Develop a post-training action plan and stick to it. In the amount of time it would take for you to brew a pot of coffee, you could jot down your top takeaways, action steps and goals, obstacles, resources and strategies, and how to keep yourself on track. Before you know it, you’ll be a hero at work for your willingness to learn new skills and share them with others

Are You Ready to Lead?

This post was written by Jennie Yelvington, Sr. HR Professional for Organization and Professional Development.

Are you interested in moving into a formal leadership role, but not sure how to get there? The first step is to examine whether you have and are exhibiting the types of skills necessary to be successful in the role. That assessment can help to inform your development plan, prepare you for more responsibility, and highlight your capacity to others.

The following behaviors will help you demonstrate leadership ability no matter your current role:

  1. Identify your goals, discuss with your supervisor, and actively work toward them. Leaders need to be continually learning and developing themselves to maintain self-awareness and deal effectively with change and complexity.
  2. Take on stretch assignments. Look for opportunities to lead projects or initiatives, serve on committees, suggest improvements, and provide value added service.
  3. Learn about the university and how it functions. Leaders need to consider how issues impact not only their unit, but also their department, college, and the university. Familiarize yourself with issues impacting higher education, attend events that allow you to hear other leaders speak, and network broadly to better understand the landscape. While it is normal to think about how a situation impacts you personally, leaders place a priority on what best suits the mission, goals, and values of the organization.
  4. Strengthen your “people” skills. Effective leaders know how to engage and motivate their team, work collaboratively with their peers, and influence the leaders above them. Being empathic, listening for understanding, communicating effectively, and handling difficult conversations are baseline skills that every leader needs.
  5. Be a problem solver. Rather than complaining about issues you see (or ignoring them), develop and share ideas for addressing them. Ask good questions and get input from others who are involved and impacted as you attempt to identify possible solutions. Even if your ideas aren’t implemented, you build your capacity to solve problems and demonstrate that you are capable and proactive.
  6. Understand your biases and demonstrate inclusion. It is easy to always turn to our “go to” people who think like we do, but that isn’t generally the best approach. We all have biases, but once we understand them we can consciously work to include others who might offer valuable, different perspectives.
  7. Model professionalism. Dress in appropriate attire for the role you would like to secure, handle problems and disappointments with grace and maturity, move quickly from venting to sound action, keep up on skills necessary for your role, avoid engaging in gossip and redirect others who do, consistently follow through on commitments, be respectful of the others’ time and opinions, be actively supportive and helpful to your colleagues and leaders.

Talk with your supervisor to get their perspective on how you are doing in the above areas. HR Organization and Professional Development offers several instructor-led courses that can help you strengthen capacity in these areas. Find all current courses on the HR website and consider taking the following courses:

  • Honing Your Emotional Intelligence
  • Communicating and Influencing Up
  • Essentials of Project Management
  • Process Mapping and Analysis
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Crucial Accountability
  • Sustainable High Performance
  • Thriving Through Change
  • From Distracted to Productive
  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work

In addition to instructor-led courses, current staff and faculty have access to elevateU, which offers free access to eBooks, videos, and online self-paced courses to help build your leadership skills. Learn more about elevateU on the HR website and try these leadership-focused learning opportunities through elevateU:

For more career advice, read this interview with Sharon Butler, Associate Vice President of Human Resources. Butler shares lessons she’s learned about becoming a great leader and, more specifically, addresses how women can get ahead in the workplace.

Options for Using Your Educational Assistance Benefit

Are you an MSU support staff employee looking for professional development opportunities? There are a variety of ways for you to learn and grow in your career at MSU. If you find a course or learning opportunity you’re interested in, don’t forget you have access to Educational Assistance! This benefit offers financial assistance towards your professional development after you’ve worked at MSU for an equivalent of 12 full-time service months. If you work less than full-time, the benefit is prorated based on your employment percentage.

You may receive financial assistance for a variety of learning opportunities. For non-credit learning opportunities, you may have up to $800 per year to use towards registration fees. It must be considered job-related and from an approved institution/program to receive assistance. Some examples of learning opportunities you can use this benefit for include:

For credit courses, you can receive up to 14 credits per academic year. Your financial assistance level is determined by your union group, the type of course you’re taking (graduate or undergraduate), and where you’re taking the course (MSU or another university). The course must be considered job-related, degree-related, or career/professional development-related.

Find detailed information about Educational Assistance – including how to apply – on the HR website. Questions? We’re happy to help! Contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Please note: Academic Specialists have a program similar to Educational Assistance, please see the HR website for details.

Measure Value with These Courses!

How do you know the functions and services you offer are providing what your “customer” needs? And, if so, do you have the data to back that up? MSU leadership is promoting and supporting data-driven decision making. How do you know what to measure and who to ask? Attending two upcoming Professional Development Services (PDS) courses offered will help you decide what you should measure and then create a plan to do it.

Business Presentation
Assessments and surveys can help you better present your programs and services’ value to MSU leadership!

On Wednesday, March 25, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. you can attend Proving Value: Introduction to Assessments, for free. How do you know the programs you offer are adding value? Assessments provide a method for determining what to measure, how to measure and who to ask. This session will cover a wide range of assessment topics such as, developing an effective assessment plan, collecting data, and interpreting and reporting your results.

The second class, Proving Value: Designing Effective Surveys,  will be held on Monday, April 20, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. and is also free. This course will discuss the best ways to get feedback from your customers to ensure your programs and services are adding value. This interactive session will help you in developing surveys that are useful, informative, and contribute to data-informed decision making. You will also discuss how to make your surveys user-friendly and increase survey response rates. The presenter for each of these courses is Paul Goldblatt of the MSU Residential and Hospitality Services Assessment Office.

For more information about these courses please visit the PDS site or download their catalog which details many more professional development courses offered throughout this year!