Moore “Touched” By Employee of the Month HonorPublished: June 1, 2010
Nikco Moore, who has served CSULB both as a student and as a staff member in Benefits Services, was chosen recently by her colleagues to be employee of the month.
The benefits coordinator was recognized in a special ceremony held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union, which was renamed Nikco Moore Lane for the month.
CSULB President F. King Alexander praised Moore for her willingness to help employees to understand their benefits and for her excellence in explaining to her co-workers the many benefit updates being implemented at a rapid pace.
“I was very surprised and grateful to be named employee of the month,” said Moore, who joined CSULB as a student in 1996 before her graduation in 2001 with a bachelor of sciences degree in business administration with a special emphasis on management information systems and human resources management. “Usually, I consider that I’ve done a good job if I don’t get any complaints but this was very heartwarming. I was touched.”
Her responsibilities as a benefits coordinator include helping employees balance the changes in their lives and their benefits. “If someone gets married or has children, it is up to me to make sure they get the right benefits,” she said. “If they retire, I am there to provide them with the right information. I’m there for CSULB staff from their coming in to their going out. I get to know them and their needs. I work hard to stay updated about state laws regarding university employees. How do changes in health care affect them? How should they handle budget cuts and the threat of layoffs? When our employees hear about these issues, they often call Benefits Services with questions and it is up to me to answer them as a liaison between CSULB and the outside world.”
Being the best benefits coordinator she can be demands a varied skill set with a focus on the human touch. “I find myself talking to people all the time as part of my job, whether it is in person or on the phone,” she said. “Sometimes an explanation over the phone just isn’t enough so I will visit their desk for a hands-on demonstration. I’ve got no problem showing my co-workers how it’s done.”
Moore began her staff career in 2001 at Staff Personnel Services. She then moved to a position in the CSU Chancellor’s Office but returned to CSULB in 2005. She recalls first selecting CSULB as a student for its green, leafy atmosphere. “I fell in love with CSULB for its trees,” she laughed. “Plus, it was just close enough to my family’s home in Los Angeles so I didn’t have to fly but just far enough for privacy. I love the diversity on this campus and the opportunity to meet so many different people.”
Moore believes one reason for her distinction as employee of the month is her colleagues’ recognition that she gives 200 percent to her job. “Sometimes I stay late just to get the job done,” she said. “There are so many deadlines to meet and furloughs to oversee. When there are so many furloughs, it can be hard to get things done but I try to do them as quickly as possible. When employees have to wait before they receive benefits for such things as a new baby, they are not always happy about it. I try to explain that it is one of those things that are not under my control. What I really have is patience. When a new staff member hears my benefits explanation, they often call me back three or four times with more questions. It is up to me to keep a calm demeanor and tell them it’s no problem. I think employees would be surprised to discover how often I hear questions they think they are asking for the first time.”
She enjoys working in Benefits Services. “It may be a small office with only two members but it carries responsibility for all the employees eligible for benefits at CSULB,” she said. “I want to thank my colleagues in Payroll Services and HR Service Group for their help. My colleagues have been really helpful and they never mind sharing information. Our work overlaps and we couldn’t do our jobs without each other.”
Her experience as both a student and staff member help her to understand what the campus community has to go through. “I understand how nervewrackingly unfamiliar some new staff members are with this campus because I was the same way,” she recalled. “Some have little or no idea how overwhelming the whole idea of benefits can be. I try to stress to them that, if they don’t sign up right away, the benefits that are theirs may not be available when they need them. I urge them to pick something in case of an emergency. It is my responsibility to keep CSULB’s employees informed. I work hard to make sure they get the right information the first time. I get fewer phone calls that way.”
When she isn’t busy at CSULB, Moore enjoys sewing, knitting and spending time with her family. “I enjoy learning new crafts and new ways to be creative,” she said. “I sing in the choir and I mentor teens from my church. When I’m asked how I find the time, I just say I make the time. I feel we have one life to live and that we ought to make the most of it.”
Her goals at CSULB include her return as a student in pursuit of a Master’s degree. “I really enjoy the field of Human Resources which is where I hope to earn my Master’s,” she explained. “When I was just a 23-year-old and interviewing for my first job in Human Resources, I was asked what I wanted to do. I told my Director I wanted his job. Nine years later, I still have that goal.”
She urges those thinking of a university career to make the commitment. “It is a great place to work and one where there is more at stake than just a paycheck,” she explained. “I want to be happy in my work and expand my experience. When I first began here as an administrative assistant, I volunteered in other divisions to become familiar with what they did. It’s an experience I recommend.”
Moore received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a gift certificate for a complimentary entrée at Legends, two tickets to “Jigu! Thunder Drums of China” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.