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Updated 2:00 PM January 19, 2004



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Now online: Ideas for a great workplace

Building Great Places to Work, a new Human Resources initiative that exists to enhance work climates throughout the University, is announcing the launch of a custom-designed Web site,

"This site is a collaboration and exists, in great part, due to the efforts of a volunteer steering committee and faculty advisors," says Sally Johnson, director of Building Great Places to Work. "It's designed to provide resources, tools, and success stories—ideas you can use.

"However, its most important function is to give you, and every member of the campus community, an outlet for submitting your own stories and sharing your successes with others, making this a living, growing site."

Underlying the initiative and the Web site is the necessity for building working climates that support each person in doing his or her best work, and the purpose of the site is to find, make available, discuss and share the best ways to achieve that climate, Johnson says.

One major theme of the site is recognizing that each person, no matter what job he or she holds, has an effect on and can make a positive difference in the working climate.

In a book by Jane Dutton—professor of organization behavior and human resource management, professor in the Psychology Department and William Russell Kelly Professor of Business Administration—called "Energize your Workplace," she refers to this ability as having "high quality interactions." She suggests that a few positive daily encounters can have a lasting effect, improving an entire day for everyone involved.

Johnson says, "You can make simple, everyday choices that make the workplace better for everyone you come in contact with. And if you are a dean, director, manager or supervisor, you play a significant role in enabling a working climate of trust, respect and inclusion. This Web site offers ideas about how to do just that.

"Here's just one small example, three easy steps to make worklife a little better: 1) Acknowledge your coworkers and colleagues. 2) Acknowledge each other's work. 3) Say 'thanks.'"

Johnson notes that U-M scholars teach organizations around the world how to create climates most conducive to success. "Let's make it happen here," she says.

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