Guides Provide Best Practices in Military Hiring

side profile of man saluting the American flag

With more than one million soldiers leaving the military in the next five years in addition to those currently looking for civilian jobs, veterans will continue to be a critical source of trained employees to fill the “skills gap.”

“To help employers improve their veteran hiring, we’ve compiled brief profiles of the techniques used by successful employers,” says Steve Nowlan, Center for America. “These free guides – one for small employers and one for large employers — will save recruiters and managers time and effort by clarifying what works and the mistakes to avoid.”

Download the Small Employer Edition (20 pages) or the Large Employer Edition (41 pages):

The Center for America coordinates the non-profit American Jobs for America’s Heroes military hiring campaign in which 1,600 employers nationally are participating.

Questions? Contact: Steve Nowlan, Center for America, at (201) 513-0379 or SNowlan@CenterForAmerica.org.

Work Ethic Signal: Schools, Business Create PRIDE Indicator

Question

The skills gap, the difference between what employers need from an employee and the abilities the workers have to offer, is multi-faceted. Not only is there often a lack of abilities in hard skills (computer programming, mathematics and more), but also soft skills such as communication, working in teams and strong personal character.

Of the more than 530 Indiana companies responding to the 2014 Indiana Chamber Employer Survey, over 54% stated that a lack of work ethic is the most pressing issue in their hiring process, followed by communication and attendance.

“Employers are teaming with schools to better relate academic concepts to workforce needs,” says Amy Marsh, former Indiana Chamber director of college and career readiness initiatives. “Businesses are looking for employees that are ready to work on day one.”

According to the survey, more than 39% of businesses had vacancies related to underqualified applicants. To make matters more difficult for employers, more than half of businesses indicated plans to expand their workforce in the next year.

“This is not a sustainable model for moving Indiana forward,” Marsh states. “Ultimately, we want workers across the employment spectrum to be able to have a long, sustainable career that contributes to the strength of the Indiana labor force.”

Read my full story in BizVoice.

Keep Your Hands Off My Coca-Cola!

Let’s pull a Marty McFly and go back 30 years … this time, to 1985.

That was the year Back to the Future became a cultural phenomenon (hence my McFly reference). Another staple of the times was Miami Vice, which won over a generation with its flashy music and fashion. But do you remember Coca-Cola’s disastrous rebranding campaign, which introduced “New Coke?”

You could say it fizzled.

As rival Pepsi ate up the success of its “Pepsi Challenge” (consumers participated in blind taste tastes and found they preferred Pepsi), Coca-Cola did the unthinkable: replace its classic version with something new.

People weren’t happy. In fact, they were outraged. So outraged, in fact, that Coca-Cola pulled the plug on the campaign after just 79 days.

Gulp.

Relive the drama with this History.com story. Here’s an except:

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO Roberto Goizueta stepped before the press gathered at New York City’s Lincoln Center to introduce the new formula, which he declared to be “smoother, rounder, yet bolder – a more harmonious flavor.” The press, however, said what Goizueta couldn’t admit: New Coke tasted sweeter and more like Pepsi.

Had it been an opera, the Lincoln Center performance would have been a tragedy to devoted fans of Coke’s original formula. Rather than divide its market share between two sugar sodas, Coca-Cola discontinued its 99-year classic recipe and locked Formula 7x away in an Atlanta bank vault with the intention that it never again see the light of day.

“Some may choose to call this the boldest single marketing move in the history of the packaged goods business,” Goizueta said. “We simply call it the surest move ever made.” Coca-Cola president Donald Keough echoed the certainty: “I’ve never been as confident about a decision as I am about the one we’re announcing today.”

New Coke left a bitter taste in the mouths of the company’s loyal customers. Within weeks of the announcement, the company was fielding 5,000 angry phone calls a day. By June, that number grew to 8,000 calls a day, a volume that forced the company to hire extra operators. “I don’t think I’d be more upset if you were to burn the flag in our front yard,” one disgruntled drinker wrote to company headquarters. At protests staged by grassroots groups such as “Old Cola Drinkers of America,” consumers poured the contents of New Coke bottles into sewer drains. One Seattle consumer even filed suit against the company to force it to provide the old drink.

Little Steps Can Lead to Big Energy Savings

Business direction background with two people

This column was also posted on Inside INdiana Business.

Indiana possesses a number of advantages in its business climate. One of those traditional benefits has been energy that is adequate, reliable and affordable.

The inexpensive part of that equation has come into question lately. Industrial energy rates that were once among the five lowest in the country are now around the middle of the pack. Federal regulations – ones that often impact Indiana to a greater degree due to its dependence on coal – lead the way as a major cause for the increase.

All companies, not just heavy energy users, can more closely evaluate their usage and likely lower their costs. That subject is the theme of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Connect and Collaborate series – luncheons around the state this summer for Chamber members.

Here is some of the information being shared in the form of 10 energy-saving tips:

  1. Know your costs: Just as we hopefully do or should be doing at home, examine your electric power bill. You have to realize the source of your largest energy costs to be able to potentially have the opportunity to reduce those charges.
  2. Evaluate your contract: Is your current agreement the best deal you can get? You don’t know what’s possible until you ask.
  3. Lighting can be a hidden cost: Are you aware of what type of lights you use? Are they the most efficient? Are unnecessary lights turned off when not needed? Have you considered motion sensors?
  4. Air recycling: Heat rises, making it important to properly recycle your air. Have a professional examine your system. Efficient ceiling fans (or exhaust fans in warmer weather) could make a major difference.
  5. Avoiding the pressure: Steam and air pressure are common ingredients in many industries. Leaking joints, pipes and systems can be a huge energy drain.
  6. Water equals power: If you use water from a municipal treatment plant (or even your own facility), nearly 20% of that cost is energy. Examine your system to eliminate water leaks. You are paying for your water, as well as the energy it takes to process and move the water.
  7. Check the pumps: Workplace pumps are huge energy users. Assess your pumps – are they needed? Could they be changed out for a more efficient model? Would a variable speed pump make more sense?
  8. Transportation troubles: Another personal priority needs to be carried over to the workplace. Car/truck care in the form of proper tire pressure, tune-ups and other maintenance is essential. Companies with multiple vehicles are often well served by having someone responsible for the fleet.
  9. Proper planning: In addition to the modes of transportation, logistics are critical. Efficiently planning trips and scheduling deliveries will help conserve power and enhance productivity. This applies to organizations of all sizes.
  10. Compressing the fuel: Compressed natural gas continues to gain favor among many companies with heavy delivery schedules. An upfront capital outlay is often rewarded with a very timely return on that investment.

Chamber President Kevin Brinegar, I and a local business leader look forward to sharing this information and talking energy with members at each stop on our Connect and Collaborate tour. Your business could be the beneficiary.

Indiana Named Best State in the Midwest for Business

?????????????????????????????????????????A new Chief Executive magazine survey labels Indiana as the best state for business in the Midwest — and the sixth best in the U.S. A release from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has more:

The magazine’s “Best & Worst States For Business” ranking is based on surveys of more than 500 CEOs. According to Chief Executive, the results of the 11th annual survey show that CEOs favor states with progressive business development programs, low taxes and a quality living environment.

“We’ve worked hard to create a low-cost, pro-growth economic environment here in Indiana,” said Governor Mike Pence. “This ranking confirms what we already know as Hoosiers. With an honestly balanced budget, robust infrastructure and a top-notch workforce, Indiana is a state that works for business.”

As highlighted by Chief Executive, Indiana became the first Midwestern right-to-work state in 2012, a law that was upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court last year. Since its passing, more than 100 companies have indicated to the IEDC that its passage was a factor in their decisions to locate or expand operations in Indiana. Collectively, these projects account for approximately 10,000 projected new jobs and more than $2.3 billion capital investment in the state.

Indiana’s 6th place ranking makes it the only Midwestern state in the publication’s top 10. Among neighboring states, Kentucky ranked 28th, Ohio ranked 22nd, Michigan ranked 43rd and Illinois ranked 49th.

This Chief Executive magazine ranking is the latest in a series of national accolades for Indiana’s business climate. Last year, Indiana was ranked best in the Midwest and 7th overall in Area Development magazine’s “Top States for Doing Business” as well as best in the Midwest and 7th in the nation in the Pollina Corporate “Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2014” study.

Chief Executive magazine is a bi-monthly publication for top management executives published by the Chief Executive Group LLC. Founded in 1977, the Chief Executive Group LLC is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. The full survey results are available online.

2015 Best Places to Work Rankings Announced

KRH26117Hoosier companies from throughout the state with stellar workplace practices were recognized Thursday at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Before a crowd of 1,200, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce unveiled rankings for the 100 companies that made the 2015 Best Places to Work in Indiana list (released in February).

Winners were selected in four categories. Taking top honors:

  • Small companies’ category (between 15 and 74 U.S. employees): E-gineering, a technology consulting firm on the northeast side of Indianapolis
  • Medium companies’ category (between 75 and 249 U.S. employees): Project Lead The Way, Inc., a non-profit education organization headquartered in Indianapolis
  • Large companies’ category (between 250 and 999 U.S. employees): Sikich LLP of Indianapolis, an accounting, advisory, technology and managed services group
  • Major companies’ category (1,000 or more U.S. employees): Edward Jones, an investment firm with 457 branch offices throughout the state

For Sikich this marks the third straight year to finish number one. It’s also a return to the top spot for both Edwards Jones (last time was 2008) and E-gineering (2011).

“These four outstanding companies embody what strong workplaces should look like – they are rooted in respect, teamwork and good communication, and, where possible, promote professional growth,” states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

“All the organizations honored tonight are exemplary employers that foster a positive and productive work environment. They understand that truly valuing employees goes hand-in-hand with the success of the business.”

At the dinner, presented in partnership with Hylant, representatives from all designated companies received Best Places to Work awards of excellence.

Organizations on the 2015 list that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 10-year history received additional recognition with Best Places to Work in Indiana Hall of Fame and Pinnacle designations.

Hall of Fame organizations are those that have been named a Best Place to Work in Indiana at least two-thirds of the time in the program’s history; a total of 15 companies on the 2015 list meet that criteria. Two organizations – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list every year.

The Pinnacle recognition is reserved for those that have finished first in their category three or more times in a five-year period. The four Pinnacle companies are Microsoft (first in the major employer category in 2013-2014 and in the large category in 2011-2012), Edward Jones (tops in the large employer category from 2006-2008), Sikich LLP (first in the large employer category from 2013-2015) and Hollingsworth & Zivitz (atop the small employer category from 2012-2014).

More information about the Best Places to Work companies is available via a special section of the May/June issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine, a statewide publication released tonight and accessible online at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Other program partners are Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the Best Companies Group, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana State Council of SHRM and the Wellness Council of Indiana.

In addition to Hylant’s presenting sponsorship, Elements Financial is the event’s reception sponsor. Best Places to Work in Indiana is also sponsored by: Moser Consulting, Inc.; Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari; ADVISA; Centier Bank; Comcast; Conner Insurance; DTZ; Eaton Corporation; Goelzer Investment Management; Smithville Communications, Inc.; and Trilogy Health Services, LLC.

The Best Places organizations were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 26 other states.

All companies that participated in the 2015 Best Places to Work program receive an in-depth evaluation identifying strengths and weaknesses according to their employees. In turn, this report can be used in developing or enhancing employee retention and recruitment programs.

For more information on the Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

Critical Connections: Team Effort a Must for Student Success

batesvilleAndy Allen, Batesville High School principal, slides into a desk in an empty English classroom and tells the story of a top student who learned after two days of a mentorship program at the local hospital that a medical career was not for her.

“She has spent the rest of the year on the health care administration side. What a great experience for her,” Allen reveals. “And all that occurred outside our walls. She has one block of time for us, 90 minutes every other day. We say, ‘Go to the hospital and work with our great partners there.’ ”

Kim Ryan, a senior vice president with Hillenbrand, Inc. and president of the company’s Batesville Casket Company platform, punctuates the beginning and end of her keynote presentation to a group of educators and business leaders with the following: “Small communities will determine our futures based on the workforce we create for ourselves today.”

Read the rest of the story in the latest BizVoice .

Northern Indiana Company Enlists Hoosier Painter to Illustrate Its History

Justin Vining, a popular professional artist in Indianapolis (originally from Etna Green), created a remarkable mural depicting the history of Urschel Laboratories at the company’s new global headquarters in Chesterton. This time lapse video shows the painstaking process that goes into working on such a comprehensive piece of art.

Vining relocated to the area for three months in order to complete the mural.

Sales Preference: Personal Interaction

30346590Technology is and will continue to make our lives easier in so many ways. But sometime there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, according to a survey by SAP:

While customers are more empowered and informed today than ever before, they still prefer personal interactions with trusted advisors when being engaged in the sales cycle. According to the findings of a global survey by SAP, personalized direct engagement is still the preferred method of contact among business buyers.

The survey of more than 1,220 senior personnel responsible for purchasing goods and services, found that face-to-face interactions are crucial in the final stages of the buying process, with 60% of those polled using it to make final decisions and 43% to shortlist vendors. Yet, technology is still king for initial research, with 75% using web searches to identify vendors, followed by 73% using vendor websites and 71% tapping into social media and blogs.

Trust is the single most important factor when buying from vendors, but 60% say they are less tolerant and trusting of salespeople generally. However, vendors can earn trust through personal engagement. By providing evidence and helping buyers understand how a product fits into their day-to-day experiences, companies can reassure buyers and help alleviate risks.