UMD’s Thriving Workplace Initiative is making the University of Maryland a great place to work by providing tools and support to foster engaged, inclusive and empowered faculty and staff across campus.

Each Monday, its Five to Thrive list offers five strategies crowdsourced from research, experts and our own UMD community to help your workplace thrive.

This week’s tips come directly from a few of the latest campus “Thrivers”: Jeff Russo, Manager of UMD’s Bakery; Sean Wynn; Manager of Campus Mail Services; Department of Entomology Chair Leslie Pick; Vice President of Student Affairs Linda Clement; and Marty Wollesen, executive director of The Clarice. Here’s how they make their workplace thrive:

  • Identify the need and match it with the skill. Redefining the roles of staff can help your department improve. Be sure to provide the members with the flexibility to train for new responsibilities and roles.
  • Have a “smart heart.” As a manager, practice critical traits like enthusiasm, agreeableness, positivity and self-regulation. Without them, the smart things you say won’t translate.
  • Be specific in your praise. Instead of “great job,” go deeper. Explain why the work was great or compare the job to another project done previously to illustrate their progress and growth.
  • In the face of great change or challenge, practice team care. This may require more frequent check-ins or altering your job description to lighten the load. Be sure to set the tone: Remind early and often that uncertainty happens but is not forever.
  • Start PRD goals with the employee. Let employees draft their individual goals, then collaborate to fine-tune them. Goals can include outside projects, discovery, specific areas of concentration or professional development. They should not include what is already in the job description. One important rule: Goals can engage other people but cannot rely on them.

Check out more tips from our campus Thrivers on the UMD Thriver Map, which profiles success stories right here at UMD and offers ideas you can apply today.