Voices Annual Report 2022

Text as image that reads: Building a better U and you

“In Voices I was able to work with staff from all over the university with a variety of job and life experiences. It was a very rewarding experience both professionally and personally! I feel like we accomplished a lot of very useful projects that are of great benefit to the staff and the university as a whole.”

-Donna Thompson, COTAL- Mott Children's Hospital, Occupational Therapy

Voices of the Staff is based on a simple belief that when people feel engaged, they can make the workplace better. They’re more creative. More innovative. More committed to putting in the work to build a better environment for everyone. 

In recent years, the foundation of our concept of a workplace has been disrupted. Voices of the Staff is helping to bring it back together by providing a path for staff to share perspectives and offer input whether they work remotely or onsite. At the same time, the program creates opportunities for personal and professional growth for its members. That’s why we say that together we are “Building a Better U (and you).”

Text as image that reads: Key Voices Facts <br />
Led by UHR, 7 Topic-specific Teams, 130 Team Members , 2 Years of Monthly Meetings, 30 Team Facilitators and Advisors

Key Voices Facts 

  • Led by UHR
  • 7 Topic-specific Teams
  • 130 Team Members 
  • 2 Years of Monthly Meetings
  • 30 Team Facilitators and Advisors

Text as image that reads: Engaged People Build Better Workplaces

Engaged People Build Better Workplaces

Voices of the Staff creates an experience for people who are interested in connecting to the mission of the university in a deeper way. It’s a place for people who want to embrace change, foster inclusivity, help develop careers, and support flexible work to enhance employee experience. It's about making our workplace a little better, which helps to improve job satisfaction and results in lower turnover. In short, if an organization can help people feel more engaged, it leads to good things.

Text as image that reads: 1/2 Voices turnover percentage averages half that of U-M avg.

But most importantly, Voices exists to help make sure our staff members are being heard.

Text as image that reads: 5 Elements of Engagement<br />
Having meaningful work, Making a difference, Being respected, Being appreciated, Being heard

5 Elements of Engagement

  • Having meaningful work
  • Making a difference
  • Being respected
  • Being appreciated
  • Being heard

Voices Town Hall 2022

Voices Town Hall 2022

Every voice is important. Every person plays a role in the mission of the organization. And Voices of the Staff facilitates and amplifies the voices of our staff members. In January 2022, we helped our staff be heard through the Voices of the Staff Town Hall. 
Learn more about the Voices Town Hall!

We designed the virtual town hall with information from a survey sent to all staff members. From 2,000 responses we identified 11 main discussion topics. More than 150 staff members attended the virtual event and had deep conversations about the topics. This helped form the structure of the current Voices Network Teams.

Voices is a Microcosm of the U-M Staff Community

Voices is a reflection of our organization, with participants chosen to be a microcosm of the university. The inclusive makeup of the Voices members makes for a more effective network of teams, ready to rise to our workplace challenges. And it provides Executive Officers with a responsive and inclusive sounding board for staff feedback.

Demographic comparison charts that show how closely Voices reflects the. staff community.

Text as image that reads: The Voices Network

The Voices Network

Voices began as a sounding board for the Executive Officers, and it became much more. It’s an experience for our staff community to collaborate and network on challenges and opportunities that they feel are essential to improving our workplace. And all of this activity happens through the work of the Voices Program Management Team and the Voices Network.

The Voices Network is a structure of seven topic-specific teams. When applying to Voices staff make a network team selection that reflects their interests. Applicants are chosen from all across the campuses and Michigan Medicine to reflect our staff community. They commit to join one of the six teams for a two-year period, meeting at least once a month.

When their time is complete, they transition to Voices Alumni status. There are more than 600 active staff in this alumni group. And this cohort is a source for ad hoc support at events, service on special committees, and for regular feedback to staff surveys. This group is also supported by the Alumni Engagement Network Team, a passionate community of staff leaders and doers that were established in 2020 to enrich the experience of alumni members.

A diagram of the Voices program that shows the structure and relationships of participants. It supports the narrative copy describing the network.

Network Teams Updated in 2022!

In 2022, the Voices Town Hall informed a subtle shift in the focus for several of the topic-specific teams that make up the Voices Network. Our team names and descriptions were updated to reflect this adjustment. A seventh team was added to Voices in 2020, which has a consistent focus on engaging Voices alumni.

In June 2022, Voices launched its new year with the following teams.

Watch a video of recent team updates!

Text as image that reads: Advance Diversity Equity and Inclusion

This team develops strategies for addressing issues of concern, as well as initiating and sustaining collaborations to support an environment of transparency and open communication. The ADEI team is focusing on the Juneteenth proposal this year.

To learn more about the ADEI team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Enhance the Employee Experience

This team shares best practices to help balance professional and personal life, provide recommendations to support positive work culture including staff recognition, safety, and the impact of our varied work environments. The team is contributing to the Juneteenth proposal, exploring succession planning best practices, and identifying equitable access solutions for second- and third-shift employees.

To learn more about the EEE team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Embrace Change

This team explores growing through adversity and investigates strategies for staff to learn how to build resiliency and lead during times of change. The EC team is continuing its work on an app to help support mental health called Healing Blue.

To learn more about the EC team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Facilitate Flexible Work (formerly Leveraging Technology)

This team helps shape our future workplace by providing input on the benefits and challenges of remote, in-person, and hybrid work which include the human experience, productivity, and the need to leverage technology. The current team is partnering with ITS on a feature in the Michigan app called Nature Rx. It's also exploring Hybrid Employee Parking Permit Solutions, and Best Practices and guidelines related to Hybrid & Remote Work

To learn more about the FFW team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Promote Career Growth (formerly Fostering Learning Coaching and Mentoring)

This team provides feedback for improving learning and skill-building opportunities, explores existing coaching and mentoring options and suggests tools to help employees facilitate career advancement. The team is producing a virtual speaker series called “Career Conversations” and providing user feedback to support the improvement of the Career Path Navigator site.

To learn more about the PCG team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Strive for Well-being

This team partners with MHealthy to investigate best practices in evidence-based programs and provide feedback for new ways to engage the university community in the eight dimensions of wellness. Projects include a storytelling initiative where supervisors share how they champion well-being, and an update to the Be Kind campaign that features a gratitude email generator. The team also is investigating Wellness Coaching for staff, similar to student efforts found in the Well-being Collective. It also contributed to the Executive Summary Report of the State of Mental Health and Wellness Among Faculty and Staff at the University of Michigan in collaboration with other Voices teams.

To learn more about the SWB team, see their poster from 2022.

Text as image that reads: Alumni Engagement Network Team

The Voices of the Staff Alumni Engagement Network Team was created in 2020. Its purpose is to encourage a sense of community by creating opportunities for engagement for all Voices alumni. AENT is working on developing a REDCap database to help stay more connected with alumni, and is contributing to the Career Development Fund for Staff, and partnering on the Juneteenth recommendation project.

To learn more about the AENT team, see their poster from 2022.

Watch an Alumni Engagement Team welcome video!

Text as image that reads: University Leadership Projects- Building better!

Special University Projects Supported by Voices

Text as image that reads: Career Development Fund for Staff

The Career Development Fund for Staff is another resource that intends to remove barriers for learning, growth, and collaboration. The fund is an opportunity for staff and teams of staff to apply for financial grants to supplement existing support.

Text as image that reads: 715 Applications for Funds

The fund builds on the Voices of the Staff Career Development Fund, which was created in honor of the bicentennial and funded entirely by employee donations.

The new Career Development Fund for Staff will receive annual funding from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and will be administered by University Human Resources in collaboration with the Voices of the Staff program.

The fund was launched in November 2022, announced by President Ono and is financially endorsed and funded through the office of EVPCFO Geoff Chatas. The Career Development Fund will provide up to $1M in grants over the next five years. The fund is administered in partnership by University Human Resources and Voices of the Staff.

More than 700 applications for grants were received in this first year of the fund.

Text as image that reads: Proposals to Celebrate Juneteenth

Voices of the Staff was asked by CFO Geoff Chatas to provide recommendations that demonstrate the university’s commitment to Juneteenth and aligning with the university's missions and are comprehensive and sustainable.

Text as image that reads: 360+ Survey Responses<br />
Informed Recommendations

A working group composed of current Voices of the Staff members began the proposal work by conducting a review of Juneteenth efforts at peer institutions in order to establish broad-scale benchmark efforts. They partnered with working groups connected with U-M staff organizers involved in previous successful Juneteenth events to gain knowledge from their experiences. The Voices team also surveyed a subset of staff representing the diverse microcosm of the university community and focusing on specific affinity groups who have been leaders in the recognition of Juneteenth.

Results from this process informed a proposal presented to university leadership in OEI in early 2023.

Text as image that reads: The Voices Annual Meeting is Back!

A collage of images taken at the 2022 Voices of the Staff Annual meeting held in June 2022.

The Voices Annual Meeting was held in June with both in-person and virtual options. The meeting kicked off this year’s theme, "Building a Better U (and You)." It was a hybrid, half-day event that featured speakers and activities designed to motivate and energize our staff for their Voices service.

More than 100 staff joined in person at Palmer Commons and dozens participated via Zoom. New members were welcomed. Those completing their years with Voices were celebrated. And the 2023 teams met for the first time to kick off their year!

Welcome to Voices | 2022 Hype Video!

Text as image that reads: Voices continues to Make a Difference

Text as image that reads: For Staff

For staff, it’s a chance to meet colleagues, learn more about the university and take on new challenges. It’s a way to highlight talents, grow in new ways and experience transformational opportunities.

Text as image that reads: For Supervisors

For staff, it’s a chance to meet colleagues, learn more about the university and take on new challenges. It’s a way to highlight talents, grow in new ways and experience transformational opportunities.

Text as image that reads: For Faculty

For faculty, Voices is a ready-made focus group. A real, live sandbox of university staff ready to participate in research. A sounding board for ideas and presentations.

Text as image that reads: For Leaders

For university leadership, Voices of the Staff provides ready access to the staff perspective. This helps inform decisions on campus climate. It provides a diversity of perspective to help shape policies, inform decisions, and build a more positive workplace culture.

Text as image that reads: So What Does It Mean For Michigan?

“Voices connects our campuses in a way that no other program does. It’s a catalyst for workplace improvement. And it supports the missions of U-M by enhancing engagement and giving passionate staff a path to contribute in amazing ways.”

-Dyan Jenkins-Ali, Voices of the Staff Associate Director