Author Archives: Jason Cable

Workplace Etiquette – Holiday Tipping and Solicitation

The holiday season has arrived and, along with the wreaths and menorahs, the perennial workplace etiquette issues around tipping and solicitation of donations for office parties and/or gifts have appeared.  While no doubt tipping, gifts and parties are prompted by goodwill and the desire to share the joy and bounty of the season, such practices can (and sometimes do) inadvertently have the opposite effect.  In fact, each year the Administration, Middlebury Staff Council and the Human Resources Department receive feedback from members of our community who feel uncomfortable about such holiday practices.

The Administration, MSC and the Human Resources Department discourage tipping employees and urge caution in soliciting for parties or gifts because of the inherent inequity in tipping, and the potential for perceived pressure to contribute to office parties or gifts.

Instead of cash tipping, employees who would like to recognize specific staff are encouraged to do so with a verbal thank-you and/or a note or card.  If there is a strong desire to do more, consider a non-monetary treat that can be shared among co-workers; for example sending bagels and coffee, or sweets, to a December staff meeting can be a great way to express your appreciation.  (Consider contacting the supervisor or manager to discuss what might work well in the specific workgroup.)

Employees (especially managers) are encouraged to be sensitive when organizing holiday gatherings and/or soliciting donations for gifts.  Please keep in mind that not everyone celebrates the same holidays (or any holidays), that not everyone is equally in a position to make a donation (either of money or goods) and that some people are simply not interested in doing so. While the myriad of year-end holidays can provide a wonderful opportunity for workgroups to come together socially – and such gatherings can be completely appropriate in the workplace – please do be sensitive to the varying beliefs, interests and resources of ALL of your colleagues as you make plans.  With a little care celebrations and get-togethers can be fun and comfortable for all employees who choose to participate.

Best wishes for a happy – and stress-free – holiday season!

-Cheryl Mullins

Resources to Quit Smoking

With the new year right around the corner there is no better time to take action toward improving our health.  One of the best ways to stay healthy is to refrain from using tobacco products. The use of tobacco products is one of three behaviors that contributes to fifty percent of all deaths in Vermont.  Quitting is hard and some support can go a long way in helping us be successful. Through the VT Department of Health and 802 Quits there are lots of resources to help us move toward a tobacco free lifestyle.  Check out these free resources and move one step closer toward having the level of health you want and deserve.  If you’re interested in participating in a free tobacco cessation group on campus, please contact Rebecca Schubert, GMHEC Employee Well-being Coordinator at

-Rebecca Schubert, MS RDN NBC-HWC
GMHEC Employee Well-being Program Coordinator

December EFAP News: Setting Priorities

As an adult, you have to juggle multiple responsibilities and while some people seem to manage multiple responsibilities with ease, it is by no means an easy task. Here are some tips that may make managing life’s responsibilities a little easier.

First, identify your long-term goals and objectives:

Make a “to-do” list of the five most important tasks for the next day. Consider the most pressing work, family and personal time commitments. On busy days, there may need to be compromise.

Second, set priorities:

Prioritize the items on your new to-do list. As you assign a priority to each item, ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • How does this relate to my goals and objectives?
  • How urgent is this task?
  • Can anyone else do it?

One way to prioritize is with the ABC method. This method creates three lists:

A. “Must-Do” Items – These essential items often include crucial deadlines, opportunities for success or promotion, management directives or customer requests.

B. “Should-Do” Items – These are items of medium value which do not have critical deadlines. These tasks may contribute to improved performance, but they usually can be postponed temporarily, if necessary.

C. “Nice-to-Do” Items – These items could be eliminated, postponed or scheduled for slower periods.

Items on your A, B and C lists may shift positions over time. Deadlines come and go and important new projects land on your desk.  As such it is important to review your priority list regularly to reflect the changing demands on your time. By doing this you will be better able to manage your time and shifting responsibilities.


Wednesday, December 19th
Turning the Table on Bad Habits

Many of us realize that we have habits that are not healthy or helpful, but are unsure how to promote positive, lasting change. This seminar will help you learn to:

  • Recognize habits that are negatively impacting your life
  • Understand the stages of change
  • Identify what stage you are in and when it is best to attempt to make changes
  • Be your own coach when making changes
  • Develop and maintain positive habits


– Click HERE 

– Select the time

– Or – click on “Upcoming Webinars” from the homepage of the website and follow the easy instructions

e4health administers the College’s EFAP program.  To access their comprehensive web site, with many tools and articles, go to the e4health web site.
Username:  middlebury college
Password:    guest
Or call them at: 800-828-6025

Annual Performance Summary for Staff Members

Dear Colleagues,

As 2018 draws to a close, I would like to offer you resources to prepare for the Annual Performance Summary (APS) process upon our return in the new year.  As you may recall, the annual performance evaluation process for staff members takes place between January 1 and March 31 of each year.  The APS form for 2019 remains the same as in previous years.  (Please note, however, that plans have already begun to update the process in the coming year incorporating campus feedback received through the institution-wide employee engagement survey, follow-up performance management discussions with the community, and opportunities to utilize the new Oracle ERP in exciting ways.  See MiddPoints for more information: MiddPoints 8-23-18.)

Below, please find links to the form, helpful tools and guides to support the APS process, and an on-line audio training presentation that will help you prepare whether you are a supervisor or individual contributor.  For those who have attended the training sessions offered in past years, you may find this recorded presentation to be a convenient refresher.  In addition to the on-line tools, beginning in January we will be offering APS workshops for new employees and supervisors.  For those who have already attended a live or recorded workshop, additional question & answer sessions will be offered to provide support as you prepare your performance documentation. (Vermont campus)  (MIIS)

Workshop dates will be announced soon via MiddPoints.  In addition, individual support is available to staff and supervisors and department specific training and consultation is available upon request.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.


Laura Carotenuto

Manager of Employee Relations