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UI Staff Council stresses the importance of a positive workplace

BY BRIANNA JETT | SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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The University of Iowa Staff Council got a boost of positive energy at its meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Staff Council President Earlene Erbe said she has been noticing instances of negative attitudes while working with staff members.

Erbe invited Joe Tye, the CEO of Values Coach Inc, to speak about cultivating a more positive work environment.

“[The idea] sprung from some comments that were here and there,” Erbe said. “Not pointing any fingers, but I heard a couple of staff complain about this, and I really have always tried to be one of those positive people.”

The talk follows several reports from the Office of the Ombudsperson, which has seen a steady increase in report of disrespect until recently.

According to a report from 2011-12, there was a slight decrease in the number of reports dealing with disrespectful behavior. Of the 502 visits to the office, 22 percent dealt with disrespectful behavior, a slight decrease from 25 percent in 2010-2011.

UI Ombudsperson Cynthia Joyce said that generally, motivational programs can help inspire positive interactions with both staff and student.

“A positive workplace can lead to a better service for others,” Joyce said, andmaintaining a positive workplace is important.

Tye’s presentation focused on how each individual can become a more positive person and how that can improve the success of the organization. UI alum Tye told staff members it’s common in many work settings for employees to feel disengaged from their work.

Tye said he estimated generally 25 percent of workers are fully engaged, 60 percent of staff just go through the motions, and the other 15 percent negatively affect the working environment.

“Not only do they cheat themselves, but they cheat us by not giving us their very best,” Tye said.

Several Staff Council members were engaged in the presentation and felt it improved their outlook on their roles at the UI.

“Topics like this definitely get me pumped up,” said member Glenda Smith, who works in Guest Services. “I am very motivated by this and hope to take even half of this energy back.”

Erbe said she was pleased with the results of the presentation.

“I thought Joe did a great job and gave us all something that we could really think about,” Erbe said. “[As well as] some approaches that we can use to be very positive in our workplace and help move our organizations forward.”

Erbe is unsure if similar presentations will be established in the future.

“I really hope they take away in their role as staff council here is a commitment to do their part to try to create a more positive more productive work place,” Tye said.


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