Within an academic institution, it’s easy to think just of students and faculty. But in the School of Dentistry, we are well aware that we are nothing without our staff members. They are, to large extent, the ones who make things happen.
What we, in turn, are trying to make happen is a work atmosphere — for everyone — where people want to come to work, to interact with their colleagues.
Our Staff Work Life Committee has been instrumental in helping to create that atmosphere, with its focus on health and wellness, celebration and recognition, and development and training.
In September, the committee presented “Building Bridges: Developing Your Mission, Living Your Vision,” a daylong workshop aimed at helping staff throughout the school formulate a framework for career planning, development and decision-making. This is part of a broader commitment to providing supervisory training, mentoring and employee development opportunities to enable and encourage staff to invest in and advance their careers.
Equally important, we attempt to boost morale by celebrating milestones and recognizing achievements. In our monthly staff recognition program, coworkers nominate others who’ve demonstrated our core values (and a lucky nominee and nominator each receive a $25 Amazon gift card). Each year, we pay tribute to staff who’ve reached service milestones at our annual recognition event. Social functions like our holiday parties and ice cream social provide chances to relax, be festive and engage with each other. While these largely are at the schoolwide level, each department has its own functions that foster collegiality.
Health and wellness, not surprisingly, are things we value. Campuswide resources — from the myriad offerings of UCSF Living Well to group events like the upcoming Heart Walk at Golden Gate Park — offer healthy benefits to staff (and faculty and students, too).
Work-life balance also is an important aspect of creating a healthy work environment, and again we rely on campus programs to help facilitate that. The Committee on the Status of Women, the Committee on Family Services, and Campus Life Services are some of the organizations we work with in providing resources for employees. For example, just last month these groups sponsored a presentation on work-life balance by Dawna Ballard, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin.
We’ve committed ourselves to these values in our strategic plan. We aim to support staff by maintaining a collaborative and engaged work environment that allows individuals to contribute to our mission as well as further develop their skills. We always think there is more we can do to make this a better place to work. The investment is certainly worth making.
Last but not least, I would like to thank our wonderful staff members for their dedication to their work. Without you, the School of Dentistry simply could not function. This is a team effort, and I’m grateful we’re on this team together.