Voices of the Staff was created in 2004 as a mechanism for U-M staff members to have a voice in the university’s administration. Participants act as a sounding board for University leadership, identify staff interests and concerns, and serve as an advisory group on issues important to staff, and on the development, review or revision of programs and policies that address those issues.

Voices of the Staff is a reflection of our organization, with participants chosen to be a microcosm of the university. For the past 15 years, Voices has contributed to U-M’s research mission by collaborating with faculty partners. More than 2,500 staff participated on network teams, attended conferences and shared at town hall meetings. Thousands more shared feedback through surveys. Voices of the Staff has made an impact in the areas of DEI initiatives, parking, career development, onboarding, health and well-being, technology, and more.

In summer, 2020, members of Voices of the Staff worked quickly to understand and advocate for the needs of university staff members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current members and alumni served as a focus group in completing a survey on Caregiving Needs Assessment administered by the Work-Life Resource Center and MHealthy, informing enhanced information about family caregiving on the Work-Life Resources website. Several current members and alumni members of Voices are serving on the Workplace Innovation and the Staff Experience (WISE) Committee. The committee is charged to “provide short and long-term recommendations to the President and Executive Officers addressing expectations and requirements for staff members to sustain their work as the campus emerges from the pandemic and beyond, whether remotely, in-person or in a hybrid form. Recommendations should recognize the unique aspects of staff based on their roles and areas of work across the university.” For more information on this dynamic and dedicated group of staff advocates, see the Voices of the Staff 2019 Annual Report.