July 1, 2020

Benefits, learning tools and other free resources to cope with the pandemic

Wayne State University's Human Resources has developed comprehensive offerings to support employees’ physical, mental and financial well-being. Services are free, confidential, and available to employees and their family members, including parents.

Consistent with President Wilson’s post-pandemic restart charge, the Human Resources (HR) Restart Subcommittee has been working on plans to bring employees back to a safe campus and effectively re-engage in on-campus operations. The committee is working on dual fronts to ensure the health and safety of faculty and staff upon their return to campus, as well as provide
learning modules curated by Wayne State experts.

In consultation with these experts, HR has developed comprehensive offerings to support employees’ physical, mental and financial well-being. The services provided through the Ulliance Employee Assistance Program are free, confidential, and available to employees and their family members, including parents.

“The plan is designed to meet the majority of needs you or a family member may have during this period of rapid change and uncertainty,” said Merilyn Merkison, associate director of benefits administration. “The pandemic did not break us. Instead, we took a pause and listened to what the scientists and experts in the field recommended. We have a solid plan for our new environment.”

The objective is to ensure all aspects of faculty and staff concerns – and WSU commitments – are addressed and meet federal health and safety guidelines. Here are a few examples of employee resources being offered:

  • Well-being
    • Pandemic-related stress, anxiety and resilience
    • Helping your children understand and cope
    • Helping elderly parents or neighbors
    • Getting adequate sleep and eating healthy
  • Financial well-being
    • Monthly TIAA and Fidelity webinars covering topics like managing income and debt, responsible investing, and portfolios with purpose
    • Individual consultations (TIAA and Fidelity)
    • Retirement planning
  • Telehealth
    • How to register for Teledoc (via mobile, tablet or computer)
    • Timeline for $0 co-pay telehealth office visits
    • COVID-19-related medical service coverage by health plan
  • Life advisors
    • Individual consultations
    • CRISIS Line (24/7): 800-488-8326.
    • Substance abuse
    • Elder care

Being successful in a changing environment requires new knowledge, skills and ways of approaching our work. Four self-paced programs are now available in the Accelerate eLearning library that feature a variety of remote work-related learning and development resources. Log into Academica to find short e-courses, videos and books on working virtually, leading virtually, personal well-being and virtual productivity.  

“We'll also provide employees with an individual development plan template and guidance to develop learning goals around their chosen topic,” said Dawn Aziz, director of organization and employee development. “We're striving to share best practices in a safe space, and helping individuals to apply and share what they learn.”

HR recently wrapped up a series of six webinars with leaders to explore virtual leadership best practices and receive coaching to support employee learning, sharing and application of new knowledge.

The HR Restart Learning Council is working on staff learning offerings that support individual effectiveness and efficiency in a remote/flexible work environment. Recommendations will be based on challenges shared in the remote work survey and will address topics such as establishing and reinforcing your virtual brand signature, using technology to increase collaboration and productivity, and building relationships in a virtual workspace.

For more information or to ask questions about these offerings, email OED@wayne.edu.

This article was updated on Aug. 30, 2020.