Navigating the Pandemic with Resiliency, Resources, Flexibility and a Sense of Purpose

Dan_VanderSluis_Human_Resources_VIU

Associate Vice-President, Human Resources Dan VanderSluis.

April 29, 2021 - 11:45pm

By Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice-President, Human Resources

I recently gave a presentation to an external audience of managers, leaders and HR and Health and Safety professionals on the topic of resiliency in the face of adversity. When I reflect on the last 13 months at VIU I consider the stories and experiences that we could gather as a testament to the resiliency of all of you across the institution. These 13 months did not come without cost and impact, and during that time many of us have felt stressed, exhausted, isolated and challenged. But we have seen remarkable feats, efforts and successes upon which we can look back with a sense of pride and achievement.

Our university has galvanized in response to COVID-19. We have risen to this challenge, and the support we have seen colleagues demonstrate to one another has been incredibly gratifying. We have also successfully navigated the shift to most employees working remotely. While instructional faculty have historically experienced high degrees of independence, COVID-19 has provided other employees greater autonomy and a high degree of trust and support in working in flexible ways. As we shift to the fall, we will be building a flexible work framework based, in part, on what we have learned and achieved this past year.

Despite the uncertainty we face, what is clear is that we will be profoundly changed by the pandemic. What excites me is how we apply the experience from this past year in continuing VIU’s evolution as a university and the evolution of our workplace culture in a manner that respects, appreciates and supports our people.

Having a sense of purpose and being connected to something larger than ourselves is associated with increased resilience. I truly believe that is what we have here at VIU – our individual and institutional resilience this year was evidenced in no small part because of our shared purpose and connection. This sense of belonging and sense of contribution to our learners, even in the face of adversity such as a pandemic, equip us for whatever the next year will bring.

We know this year has been hard. And we know there is anxiety about the months ahead. Please take care of yourself and rebuild the depleted reserves you have drawn upon this year, to sustain your resiliency. At VIU, you have access to a tremendous variety of supports to help you, both as an employee and as an individual. Your wellbeing matters, and I encourage you to access these resources on the HR website that are intended to support you to Thrive Here.


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