Harvard’s students were still on break, but from Jan. 7-11, class was in session. Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) took advantage of a rare downtime on campus to host 226 hourly employees and 44 managers for a first-of-its-kind week-long training.
“We’re a large department,” noted David Davidson, managing director for HUDS, “and also an extremely busy one, with teammates scattered across campus. We rarely get to come together to work on the soft skills, the interpersonal understanding, connection, creativity, and inspiration that keeps you engaged in your job at a higher level. This week was a special moment.”
The training opened with a video, featuring photos of the fall semester and messages of thanks for the staff from administrators and students. The group then dug into the theme “Working at Harvard,” starting with a review of the new Campus Services Mission and Guiding Principles. Employees broke into work unit groups to share how they live the mission in their jobs. For the guiding principle “Build partnerships based on trust and transparency,” for example, ideas ranged from learning about a coworker’s heritage or culture to being flexible in your position when others need help. For “Committing to be a learning organization,” employees mentioned highlighting healthy choices for customers or being mindful of the learning pace and preference of coworkers.
Other “Working at Harvard” sessions included a police department overview of campus safety, a review of employee benefits (including a benefits fair), and Title IX training.