By Marlene Dong on October 3, 2018
Congratulations to Derick Chan, Liz Hudson, Harmony Johnson, and Alexa Love (UBC Press) and Kathy Manson (School of Kinesiology) on being the inaugural recipients of the 2018 President’s Staff Award for Wellbeing. On October 18, they received their awards at a special reception held at Norman McKenzie House.
Recognizing the important role faculty and staff play in promoting workplace health, a new wellbeing category was added to the President’s Staff Awards for 2018. The award recognizes individuals and teams that create opportunities for others to thrive at UBC: from leading activities and initiatives that promote social, physical and/or mental health and wellbeing, to inspiring community members to care for themselves and each other.
“A great inspiration”
At UBC Press, Derick Chan (Finance Assistant), Liz Hudson (Inventory Manager), Harmony Johnson (Academic Sales Manager), and Alexa Love (Advertising and Promotions Manager) go above and beyond to promote social, physical and mental health and wellbeing for staff – from leading their local health and safety committee to encouraging colleagues to participate in the 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge and Sports Day.
Derick, Liz, Harmony and Alexa are also community builders and champions, organizing presentations to increase awareness of health and wellbeing resources at UBC, such as the Employee and Family Assistance Program, Ergonomics program, and Risk Management Services. They organize healthy potluck lunches – not only to encourage others to recognize that healthy options are achievable, but also to build community and connections across the three units within UBC Press. Recently, the group secured a grant for an office bike to encourage on-campus active transportation and exercise. To ensure the initiative was inclusive for riders of all skill levels, the group provided a workshop on road safety and basic bike mechanics.
“They are a great inspiration to the staff at UBC Press,” says Kerry Kilmartin, Publicist and Events Manager at UBC Press. “They have worked together to provide interesting opportunities to learn about health and they have promoted the existing UBC wellness activities already available to their colleagues. Above all though, they have worked to make the UBC Press a great and healthy place to work.”
“She enriches the UBC experience for all”
In the School of Kinesiology (KIN), Kathy Manson is the Executive Coordinator & Program Administrator, but to the students, faculty and staff she interacts with every day, Kathy is a role model, a “coach”, the “head and heart” for many in the department.
As the ‘go-to’ person in KIN, Kathy helps others overcome obstacles with empathy and compassion. Whether advocating for diverse faculty voices to be heard or providing encouragement to students, Kathy’s collaborative approach inspires others to care for themselves and each other in the workplace.
“Navigating through graduate school and postdoctoral fellowships can be like a modern pentathlon,” notes Sarah Koch, Erica Bennett and Anne Lasinsky, members of the team that nominated Kathy for the Wellbeing Award. “In Kinesiology research, we often examine the ways in which coaches guide athletes to their maximal athletic capacities. Just like a coach, Kathy assists all of us to achieve our best performances when it counts the most… Kathy not only embodies the mission and vision of KIN, but also exemplifies many of the qualities that UBC aims to impart on its university family.”
Kathy is seen as a role model for how she integrates physical activity throughout her work day, her participation in the School’s outreach programs (BodyWorks Fitness Centre), and her involvement in community-based activities. Kathy invites all students, faculty and staff to participate with her, regardless of their skill or fitness level.
“On a daily basis, Kathy embodies the head and the heart of the School of Kinesiology,” says Patricia Vertinsky, Distinguished University Scholar & Professor in KIN. “From the moment she arrives on her bicycle after riding across town through rain, snow or sun, to the end of the day…she lends an intelligent and supportive hand with a smile and constant encouragement. That’s the kind of dynamic and gracious leadership that enhances the UBC experience, all the time, and for all of us in the School of Kinesiology.”
Tell us how you thrive
Photos: Paul Joseph
By Guest Contributor on December 4, 2014
Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
Gratitude – also known as thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation – involves acknowledging a benefit one has or will receive or experience.
Over the past decade, there has been increasing recognition of the importance gratitude has on our psychological and physical state of being. Individuals who actively engage in practices of gratitude feel better about their lives overall, are more optimistic about the future, get more restful sleep, and experience better overall health.
I encourage you to actively incorporate gratitude into your daily life for just one week, and observe the impact this has. Personally, I like to start my morning with a thought of gratitude, before my day even gets started. I express thanks for something or someone I have in my life, whether it’s my comfortable bed, my shower with running hot water, my good health, a close friend, or my twin niece and nephew.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we don’t have (most of us go through life doing “upward comparison,” which is comparing ourselves to people who have more of what we want or desire — but it is very humbling to do some “downward comparison,” to articulate and express appreciation for things you have in your life that others don’t have). It’s amazing what a shift in perspective this small exercise can create for your day.
Reminder: UBC staff and faculty who are enrolled in UBC’s extended benefits plan have $1,200 coverage per year to see a Registered Psychologist. Staff and Faculty also have access to UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.
This article is adapted in part from an article Dr. Samra was interviewed in for City Life Magazine (http://www.citylifemagazine.ca/success_story/robert-herjavec-10-people-who-will-change-your-life/15476).
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra.
By Guest Contributor on October 1, 2014
Guest Contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
Most of us spend more of our waking hours at work than anywhere else. Work, when going well, can be a tremendous source of fulfillment and positivity in our life. However, when the work environment is unhealthy, it can elevate our stress levels, and increase the likelihood we develop a mood issue such as anxiety or depression.
There are a number of key elements that comprise a psychologically healthy workplace: one key element of a good workplace environment is one that provides recognition and reward to its employees.
Employee recognition efforts reward employees for their contributions to a work team, unit or department, both at the individual and collective level. Recognition can take a number of forms that are formal and informal, monetary and non-monetary.
Some ways to recognize and reward employee contributions include:
- Acknowledgement of contributions and milestones
- Employee awards
- Recognition ceremonies [From: APA Center for Organizational Excellence, www.apaexcellence.org]
These types of efforts have a number of positive impacts and help employees feel valued and appreciated as they boost employees’ level of satisfaction, morale, and self-esteem. This results in positive benefits across an organization in terms of higher employee engagement and productivity. Organizations that recognize and reward employees’ efforts have lower turnover, and are able to attract and retain top employees.
Ask yourself what you can do today to recognize or reward – informally or formally – someone who has gone the extra mile in your work team!
Learn more about UBC’s Rewards and Recognition Programs here.
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra
By Miranda Massie on August 6, 2014
In my editorial last month, I invited our readers to reflect on their work environment, and to try one new thing to create a healthier workplace. The University is a large entity and attempting to establish healthier environments can be a daunting task. If each individual member of our staff and faculty community tried to make one change, we could harness this momentum and the impact could be felt on a wider scale.
So, what can we do as individuals to make our working communities healthier?
In posing this question, I am reminded of a 5X15 event that I attended as part of the Indian Summer Festival in June. Five dynamic and engaging speakers are invited to each talk for 15 minutes, unscripted, on a topic of their choice. I was fortunate to hear Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, visual artist and member of the Haida Nation, speak as one of the evenings presenters. Michael recounted an old Quechan legend that made its way to Haida Gwaii called The Little Hummingbird.
Michael spoke about belonging, specifically as individuals to a larger community and how in Haida communities, people rely on individual members to “do what they can” in order to contribute to the larger whole. No matter how small or insignificant an individual may perceive their gesture to be, acknowledging that it all contributes to the betterment of the future of the group is essential.
I really appreciate this idea that in doing what we can with what we have at our disposal, we have the ability to take an active and participating role in our health at work.
An easy way to embark on this journey is through recognition. ‘Thank you’s’ are free and gratitude does not cost a thing. Best of all, rewarding the work of others through recognition has been proven to benefit one’s health.
Peer recognition has the most impact, as colleagues tend to be the people that see day–to-day work and tasks being completed. This type of public recognition is more meaningful and lasting as it fulfills two of our innate human needs: the need to belong (social) and the need to be appreciated (esteem). People who feel appreciated and valued in the workplace are more productive, generally happier and more likely to extend their gratitude to their families, social networks and communities. Showing and receiving gratitude and appreciation has been shown to release the hormone oxytocin in the body which serves to bond relationships, reduce negative emotions and relieve pain.
This month, I invite you to be generous with your ‘thank you’s’, and to show your appreciation for colleagues when you feel it is deserved. If you are looking for other ways to recognize staff and faculty at UBC, or want to find out what the University does as an organization to reward employees, visit the Staff Recognition page.
With recognition in mind, I would like to thank all of our readers who take the time to provide feedback and send their appreciation. We do this work for you and hope that it helps you move towards a healthier UBC!
All my best,
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Miranda Massie, Physical Health, Spot Light | Tagged appreciation, Celebrate, community involvement, culture, gratitude, Haida, health, hummingbird, indigenous, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, recognition, success, thank you, wellbeing, workplace | Leave a response
By Colin Hearne on August 6, 2014
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Whatever else we derive from our work, nothing rivals the feeling that we truly matter – that we are recognized for contributing a unique value to this beautiful university. Studies in North America also reflect this phenomenon. More than two-thirds of people surveyed by Boston-based Globoforce through their Workforce Mood Tracker said they were motivated by praise, while 78 percent said they would work harder if their contributions were recognized or appreciated.
Recognition and appreciation can come in many forms: a simple thank you, an award, an invite to lunch; and is equally important when coming from a colleague as when coming from a supervisor.
Every Day is Colleague Appreciation Day
Here are some examples for inspiration as highlighted by Dr Robert Nelson in his book, 1501 Ways to Reward Employees
- Royal Victoria Hospital in Ontario has a special voicemail line for employees to leave anonymous messages about their co-workers’ good performance, which are then written on cards and given to the complimented employee’s manager for individual recognition.
- Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has an online employee peer-to-peer recognition system for employees to enter co-worker recognition. The system then sends an email, notifying the giver’s and recipient’s managers, and enters points into employees’ electronic cards for redeeming merchandise.
- ComDoc in Ohio utilizes employee emails to HR that are then distributed company-wide to recognize and share news of accomplishments.
- Toronto Scotiabank has an award-winning comprehensive peer-to-peer recognition program that enables and encourages employees to recognize each other for living the company’s values.
- Wells Fargo’s electronic peer-to-peer recognition program utilizes e-cards, e-wards, and “Ride the Wave” annual awards to make it fun and easy for employees to recognize each other’s’ performance to organizational values.
What You Can Do Today
Every single person reading this article has a co-worker who does their job in such a way that you are able to do your job more effectively. You know who I’m talking about, the people who always have the answers and are there for you when you need them. So, why not take a minute today to try some of these creative ways to give cheers to your peers?
- Random acts of kindness: Make it a point to not leave on Friday afternoon until you have performed an act of kindness for a coworker. Help them with a project, grab them a cup of coffee, or buy them lunch.
- Leave them a note: Write a secret note of thanks to your co-worker specifically describing what they do to deserve your praise.
- Celebrate successes: When one of your coworkers reaches a goal or a milestone, do what you can to help them celebrate! Bake a cake, decorate their workspace: or sing a song of celebration.
- Become a UBC Health Contact: Be the person in your office or unit to share healthy information for UBC employees. Get the news about the latest corporate fitness discounts, free workshops and free trainings. and spread the healthy news to your peers. Click here for more information.
- Write them up: Tell Your Team: If a coworker goes above and beyond, put it in writing and praise them in a group email or note!
- Support them when they’re down: Consider how you can support co-workers under stress.
- Start a peer-to-peer recognition team: If your workplace doesn’t already have one, why not approach your manager with this idea? Develop a team to recognize your co-workers. Rotate the members on an annual basis so everyone has a chance to serve.
Make It Happen
One excellent way to build a system of support, recognise achievements, and build a culture of rewarding is to create a Healthy Work place Initiative Program for your department. The Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program (HWIP) is a fund available to UBC departments to support healthy activities in the workplace. The program provides start-up funds to starting health-related initiatives. The application deadline for next round of funding is Nov. 21, 2014. For more information, or to be inspired by previous programs, visit our website.