Best Places to Work in Indiana – my company should be on that list! If that is your initial thought upon hearing that phrase, great! Bad news: It’s too late for 2008 (the winners have been selected and will be announced at a May 7 awards dinner). Good news: The 2009 application process will begin in July. If you don’t know about the Best Places to Work in Indiana program, a quick primer:
- The Indiana Chamber doesn’t select the winners; we just coordinate the program
- Best Companies Group manages the selection process, with independent experts analyzing employer questionnaires and employee surveys to determine the award recipients
- While the recognition is nice, all applicants are winners. Companies receive summaries of their employee responses (individual answers are confidential), a compilation of best practices from other organizations and assistance in helping improve your workplace culture. That, of course, is the ultimate goal
And, if you’re on that Best Places to Work list, let your customers, vendors and others know. Have fun. Past winners have displayed signage, created t-shirts and placed the Best Places logo on a variety of products. It’s an honor – let the world know about it.
Sports? Why write about sports in a business magazine?
OK, I’ll admit it’s a lot of fun. After all, I spent countless hours at stadiums, courts, diamonds and the like during 13-plus years of newspaper work. But that’s not the primary reason for the Indiana Chamber and BizVoice® magazine to report on the business of sports.
It’s sponsorships. It’s advertising. It’s suite sales. It’s new companies, community support, economic development and much more. Read Matt L. Ottinger’s feature story here and a series of sports shorts here. See if you agree about the importance of the business-sports connection.
Traditionally, when it comes to innovative state comparisons, all too often Indiana finds itself on the short end of the stick. That is changing in some areas, including a recent Indiana Chamber study on the state of our workforce.
Indiana’s Adult Education and Workforce Skills Performance Report found that 931,366 adults (ages 18-64) have not completed high school, speak little or no English and/or are in families that earn less than a living wage (twice the level of poverty). While the challenge may be daunting, the state is ahead of the game in its analysis and has a policy team in place working on solutions.
Patrick Kelly of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems helped conduct the study. He says Indiana is emerging as a national leader.
“It is entirely unique – there’s not a report like it that really isolates this particular issue,” Kelly says. “Other states have addressed policy and some measures of accountability, but none are as concise and focused on this issue.”
The topic is an Indiana Chamber priority. It should be for everyone.
What do we do at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce? Let’s start with what’s not on the list. We’re not a state agency (it was really bad when the current Indiana Economic Development Corporation was known as the Indiana Department of Commerce). We’re not a government entity, although we partner with them on occasion and keep a close eye on what they’re doing that impacts the state’s business climate.
Here’s a short list of what the Indiana Chamber does:
- Represent the interests of the Indiana business community at the state and federal levels with eight full-time issue experts
- Host 50 employee training seminars and produce regulatory compliance publications on critical business topics
- Provide more than 4,800 member companies (from all types and sizes of businesses) with free assistance through a Business Research Center and telephone helplines
- Offer several discount programs, including ChamberCare health insurance (through a partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield) for companies with between two and 99 employees
- Produce the award-winning bimonthly BizVoice® magazine that offers news and analysis for more than 15,000 business owners, presidents, CEOs and business leaders
- Deliver services (through affiliated programs) in workforce development (Ready Indiana) and internship coordination (Indiana INTERNnet)
Stay tuned as we look to help you learn more about the Indiana Chamber and all we offer for you.
The basics of human resources and principles of safety leadership highlight the Indiana Chamber’s April conferences in downtown Indianapolis. Event details include:
- HR 101: Understanding the Basics, April 1 at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center at 115 W. Washington St., Suite 850S in downtown Indianapolis, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Covering the many functions of human resources, this seminar will provide resources for creating and managing an effective HR program. Presented by Flashpoint, topics will include the role of human resources in today’s organization, how to develop effective policies and procedures, recruiting and interviewing processes, and how to safeguard from employee lawsuits. HR specialist credit is available. Cost: Indiana Chamber members, $299; non-members, $324.
- Principles of Safety Leadership, April 15-16 at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center at 115 W. Washington St., Suite 850S in downtown Indianapolis. This interactive workshop, presented by Bobbi Samples, is designed to assist attendees in developing safety leadership skills and understand how to apply those skills in the workplace. The first day of the workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and cover topics such as how to capitalize on employee involvement and train the adult learner. The second day, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will cover problem solving in safety, key performance indicators for safety and motivational leadership. Cost: Indiana Chamber members, $299; non-members, $324.
To register to attend these Indiana Chamber seminars or for more information, visit www.indianachamber.com/conferences or call (317) 264-6885 or (800) 824-6885.
Each issue of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s BizVoice magazine contains a roundtable discussion with expert opinion on the topic of the day. The March-April edition hit a home run with the following high-profile panel discussing higher education issues and trends:
- France Cordova, president at Purdue University since July 2007
- James Edwards, president at Anderson University since 1990
- Jamie Merisotis, who came to Indiana in January as president of the Lumina Foundation for Education after more than 20 years of work in education policy
- Chris Murphy, a member of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for six years and chairman since 2006
You don’t want to miss what they have to say in the BizVoice focus on higher education.