Work/Life Resource Center News - UM Children’s Center Welcomes New Director
Martha Kazmierzak assumed the Director position with the University of Michigan Children’s Center on January 28. Martha has a long history in the early childhood education field. A lifelong Ann Arbor resident, Martha was a preschool teacher for over eighteen years at Margaret Towsley’s Children’s Play School. She has also directed early childhood programs with Gretchen’s House Centers, the Pfizer Child Development Center and most recently the corporate child care center for Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in downtown Detroit. Martha lives with her husband Tom who is retired from the University of Michigan, after having worked both at Michigan Media and the Kelsey Museum. The rest of their family includes Ted (19), adopted from Honduras and Brandon (12) adopted from the Marshall Islands. University Human Resources, Work/Life Programs staff and all the parents and teachers at UM Children’s Center gladly welcome her to the team.
Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Movie and Panel Discussion
The University of Michigan Work/Life Resource Center is partnering with Heartland Home Health and Hospice and the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter, to present a unique caregiver event. The event will be held on Sunday, March 29th from 1-5pm at Huron High School, and will feature a showing of the independent film You Are Here, a story of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. An eldercare resource fair will precede the film, and a panel discussion will follow. The panel will feature representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association and the local medical community, as well as the film maker, Timothy Jeffrey.
This is a wonderful event for those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease to gain greater understanding and support for the many challenges they face. It is free to caregivers at UM and in the community. To register, please call the Alzheimer’s Association, Michigan Great Lakes Chapter at 734-475-7043.
This event is sponsored by Arcadia Health Care, Hilllside Terrace Retirement Community, Primus Healthcare Systems, Visiting Physicians, and Waltonwood.
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Building Trust in the Workplace
Perhaps the most important element of a good work environment is trust. Where there is trust, there is teamwork, loyalty, and high morale, self-esteem, and quality of work. What exactly is trust? You may know when you feel trust among colleagues, but what creates it? The Great Places to Work Model, upon which the University of Michigan’s initiative to enhance workplace climate is based, identifies credibility, respect, and fairness as components necessary to building trust.
Credibility here means open communication across all levels of the organization. That requires a positive environment where employees seek and listen to each other’s ideas and share information. A positive environment develops where people are coached, not chastised, and encouraged to develop their strengths with constructive, balanced feedback. Employees who are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas and feel they are really being heard and responded to with empathy feel valued and appreciated and are more likely to want to continue to engage in honest communication. Also, the more that co-workers share information with each other about their thoughts and the reasoning behind how decisions are made, the more trust will develop.
Here are other ways to improve communication, credibility, and trust:
- Avoid gossip or unfair criticism of others.
- Give credit where credit is due.
- Be honest; lies destroy trust.
- Take responsibility for your mistakes.
- Think in terms of “us” not “me” or “them.”
- Voice concerns about conflict.
- Don’t say one thing, but mean another.
- Speak positively about the team and the work.
- Remind team members that they are valued and their contributions are significant.
- Ensure that each person’s roles and duties are clear to all within the organization.
- When you don’t know the answer, say so, and then find it.
For employees to trust each other, they need to respect each other. Respect is fostered by valuing each other’s differences in styles, abilities, and perspectives, offering support and encouragement to each other while preserving confidentiality, and recognizing shared goals.
For there to be a fair workplace where trust can grow, there needs to be equal opportunity and equal access to resources. There should be careful inclusion of everyone in the team, and no favoritism. Employees should be provided honest, constructive feedback privately rather than in front of others, and should be provided an opportunity to respond to concerns especially when they are based on assumptions. In addition, employees should be given credit for their contributions to the organization. Perhaps the best indication of a fair workplace is one in which employees feel that their opinions and concerns will really be heard and valued. It is important, too, that they be informed of their access to a fair dispute resolution process if it is needed.
Visit U-M’s Great Places to Work website for tools on developing trust and other great information: http://www.hr.umich.edu/greatplaces/index.html .
And consider contacting Mediation Services for Faculty and Staff at 615-4789 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a concern about your workplace that you are not sure how to handle.
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Faculty and Staff Assistance Program News - New Brown Bag; Confidential Screenings
New Brown Bag Presentation Available
FASAP in collaboration with the Mental and Emotional Health in the Workplace initiative is now offering the following presentation to units across campus upon request. The presentation is about one hour in length. Please contact Tina Weymouth at FASAP to make arrangements to have this presentation bought to your area.
“Dispelling Myths and Stigma; getting familiar with UM mental and Emotional Health Resources”
This presentation addresses topics concerned with reducing the stigma of seeking assistance for mental or emotional health concerns and improving the experience of University of Michigan employees with mental or emotional health problems. Included are:
- A review of the range and prevalence of mental and emotional health concerns in the workplace
- An exploration of common myths about mental illness and how the resulting stigma effects workplace conditions and practices
- A review of UM policies and programs intended to create a “mental-health-friendly workplace”
Understanding U: Confidential Mental and Emotional Health Online Screenings Available
If you or someone you care about are experiencing feelings and symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress that are of concern, consider taking a confidential on-line screening for one of the following mental health conditions:
- Alcohol misuse
- Generalized anxiety
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress
All of the information on the screening site is completely anonymous and secure and only you will see your results. One can access the screenings by going to the Understanding Uwebsite at: http://www.hr.umich.edu/mhealthy/understandingu/index.html
At the end of each screening you will receive a recommendation; other options for assistance can also be found on the “Understanding U” web site or by calling and speaking to a FASAP counselor.
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Some Effective Face-to-Face Communication Tips
By: Tom Waldecker, Director, FASAP
Communicating effectively is an essential part of our daily interactions in all of our relationships, both in our personal lives and at work. Being able to get our message across and “hear” another’s message strengthens both our personal and work relationships, reduces stress and misunderstandings. When we communicate we often find some of the dilemmas and conflicts we are experiencing are reduced.
Consider the following suggestions in an effort to improve your own communication efforts.
When Sending a Message
- Express yourself in a clear, concise and direct manner
- Begin with a brief explanation of the topic and the objectives you have
- Provide and state necessary background information
- Stay on the subject at hand
When Receiving a Message
- Focus on listening to what is being said by the other person first and not how you would respond
- Maintain eye contact, if possible
- Acknowledge the speaker with appropriate gestures , i.e.; nodding, etc.
- Do not interrupt
- State and summarize what your interpretation of what the other person said and ask them to confirm and/or correct it
There are many factors that affect our own interpretation of a message. One’s speech carries only a fraction of the meaning of a message. Non-verbal communication can transmit up to 90 percent of the meaning of any message. Our facial expressions, tone, volume and pace of our voice can affect how well our message is received.
Additionally, there are other factors to consider when we try to improve our ability to communicate well with someone else, either at home or work. Consider the setting and whether the matter should be discussed in private versus in an open area. Try to keep the following guidelines in mind when you are trying to enhance your interactions with others; be respectful of others and yourself, listen first and carefully, reflect on what you have heard, and state clearly what your expectations are.
If you would like some guidance or assistance in improving your communication skills with others, whether in your personal or work life you can contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program and schedule a time to meet with one of the professional counselors there.
Call 734-936-8660 or email email@example.com .
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