A Big Jump in the Minimum Wage: Will It Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Workers?

Reason.TV’s Nick Gillespie sat down with George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux to discuss raising the minimum wage and its impact on not just businesses, but workers.

Some states and cities have moved to increase their minimum wage to $15, and results have yet to be determined. Boudreaux is adamantly against the increase, however, and expects many workers will lose not only their jobs, but opportunities to gain skills to move up the economic ladder.

Fifth Third Bank Pasta Drive Targets Hungry Across Indiana

Feed Our Comm Logo - smallFifth Third Bank, with over 100 financial centers in Indiana, is collecting pasta and cash donations throughout April to combat hunger in our state, with the noble goal of serving one million meals through its annual Feeding Our Communities initiative. See how you can help:

The Feeding Our Communities Greater Indiana Pasta Drive will collect boxes of pasta from now through the month of April. Each pound of pasta or dollar donated will serve four people, with all proceeds primarily benefiting Second Helpings in Indianapolis, Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville and Community Harvest in Fort Wayne. The collection area includes locations in Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky as well.

The local food drive is part of a larger hunger initiative held across the 12-state footprint of Fifth Third Bank as part of its Fifth Third Day (May 3) celebration. For more than 20 years, Fifth Third has dedicated Fifth Third Day to volunteerism and giving back to the community, specifically through campaigns to combat hunger. In 2015, employees and customers provided 800,000 meals as a result of the campaign.

“At Fifth Third, we’re committed to having the broadest impact possible to our customers and our communities,” said Steven Alonso, president and CEO of Fifth Third’s Greater Indiana region. “Food insecurity in Indiana is a serious issue, and this Pasta Drive is a simple way people can contribute and understand they truly are making a difference.”

In Indiana, more than one million residents (including one in six children) face food insecurity, meaning they may not have the money or resources to get the proper nutrition each day.
Customers and employees in Greater Indiana contributed more than 72,000 servings of pasta to the event last year. To donate, customers can simply bring pasta or donations to any Fifth Third Bank location. Collection boxes will be on site.

Second Helpings, a food rescue, hunger relief and job training organization serving the Indianapolis area, has partnered with Fifth Third Bank and Rev Indy, a VIP, red carpet event on May 7 highlighting the top restaurants and driver-inspired cuisine in the city. Fifth Third is the title sponsor the event, which raises funds for trauma centers supported by the IU Methodist Health Foundation. Second Helpings will rescue all food from the Rev event and repurpose it to feed the hungry in the area.

Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville and Community Harvest in Fort Wayne both have a long history of serving their respective communities. Tri-State currently services 33 counties in three states and Community Harvest of Northeast Indiana provides more than 13 million pounds of food each week to its service area.

Calling All Manufacturers to Learn About Apprentice Program

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Apprenticeship Works is the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. The goal: make apprenticeships more accessible and affordable for employers to help reduce skills gaps.

This national effort is funded by a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Two information sessions on the program will take place Wednesday, April 13 at the Vincennes University Aviation Technology Campus (2175 Hoffman Road in Indianapolis). Non-food manufacturers will meet at 9:00 a.m. that day, followed by food manufacturers at 10:30.

Registration is limited. Contact Rick May (email: Richard.may@indy.gov; phone: 317-327-3701) of the Department of Metropolitan Development – City of Indianapolis for more information or to register.

Corporate Tax Reform Would Benefit Nation, Workers

Abstract View of Urban Scene and Skyscrapers

Lawmakers and candidates on all sides of the political spectrum acknowledge reforming America’s corporate tax rate is overdue. President Obama has even suggested reducing the rate from 35% to 28%. Writing for Reason, Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center sums up the necessity for this, concluding it’s an optimal way to benefit both businesses and the workforce:

Even such high-tax nations as France have lower rates. However, the real competition comes from Canada (26.1 percent), Denmark (25 percent), the United Kingdom (20 percent) and the many countries, such as Ireland (12.5 percent), with rates below 20 percent. Moreover, competition is intensifying. Last June, the U.K. announced that it would cut its rate from 20 percent to 18 percent in the next five years. It’s now saying that it will lower the rate even further, to 17 percent. These reductions are the final stage of drastic cuts implemented since 2007, when the country’s companies faced a 30 percent tax rate. That’s a second wave of reduction since the rate was as high as 54 percent in the 1980s.

Now contrast this with the United States. In the 1980s, policymakers responded to the pressure put on by many countries lowering their corporate rates by decreasing America’s rate from 49.7 percent to 33 percent. However, since then, the U.S. has fallen asleep on the switch (and even raised the rate by 1 percentage point in the 1990s) and is now widely out of sync with internal competition. In 2015, the average corporate rate for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was 25 percent, down from 48 percent in the early 1980s.

As if that were not enough competition for American companies, the U.S. government burdens them with another layer by taxing them on a worldwide basis. In that system, income from American companies is subject to U.S. taxes whether it’s earned in Seattle, Paris or Singapore. By contrast, most wealthy countries don’t tax foreign business income; about half of OECD nations have “territorial” systems that tax firms only on domestic income. In other words, U.S. exporters face a much less competitive tax system than most of their biggest competitors…

Not everyone would like to reduce taxes on corporations, but everyone should. The data show that most of the corporate tax burden is actually shifted to workers, who end up shouldering the tax in the form of lower wages. With the U.K. taking further measures to reduce its burden on corporations, boosting its workers’ wages and inflicting yet another blow to U.S. competitiveness, Congress should do what’s right by reforming the corporate tax. It may be the one bipartisan issue out there. All we need is leadership.

Everest Veteran Elzinga Talks About Safety


Jim Elzinga, founder of Safety Culture Solutions, is known for conquering Mount Everest as one of Canada’s few elite Alpinists. He regaled attendees at today’s 2016 Indiana Safety and Health Conference & Expo in Indianapolis about his experiences during his speech, “Triumph and Tragedy on Mount Everest.”

CVC Celebrates Special Anniversary

Today marks 35 years of business storytelling for CVC Communications. The Fort Wayne-headquartered company has pioneered the application of communications technology, from video production to webinars and now custom, self-paced eLearning.

“Big birthdays often cause companies to reflect on milestones in their histories,” says CEO Marilyn Moran-Townsend. “We’ve chosen to instead focus on an interactive timeline filled with gratitude for our clients, our team, and the events that have made us stronger and more optimistic than ever about today and tomorrow.”

Moran-Townsend has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles with the Indiana Chamber and other organization at all levels. She was named the 2001 Indiana Chamber Business Leader of the Year, among numerous honors.

Explore CVC’s 35 Years of Gratitude.


Rep. Susan Brooks to speak on U.S. Global Leadership

87741351Learn why America’s engagement overseas matters and what’s at stake for Indiana from Rep. Susan Brooks (R-5th District).

The program (8 a.m. Thursday, March 24 at the Conrad Indianapolis) will be hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, with the Indiana Chamber an event partner. Breakfast is provided and an RSVP is required.

Learn more and register online or contact Ashley Bradford at abradford@usglc.org.

Indy Eleven Presale Through February 29

Spring is on the way and so is the 2016 Indy Eleven soccer season. The action begins April 9 at Carroll Stadium against the Ottawa Fury.

Through our partnership with Indy Eleven, you can order tickets for this game and any other match during the 2016 Indy Eleven season before they go on sale to the general public.

Access this special presale opportunity now, running through 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 29. To order your Indy Eleven tickets starting at only $11, visit http://presale.indyeleven.com and enter the code PRESALE.


VIDEO: Indiana Health Means Business Forum Highlights

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On Feb. 5, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted the sixth forum in a series of 10, as part of the Health Means Business campaign. In partnership with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Chamber Foundation, the Wellness Council of Indiana, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the forum brought together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the role of business in community wellness.

You can also check out our Facebook photo album.

Knowledge Transfer: Taking the Time to Get It Right

Anita-BuntenEDITOR’S NOTE: Anita Bunten was one of two winners of the 2015 Ogletree Deakins Human Resources Professional of the Year award. Nominations are open for the 2016 award through March 4.

What is knowledge transfer? How important is it? If you have been a part of managing talent in your company for any period of time, you have heard this term. We all talk about it and think it is important, but do we know what it is and are we effective at facilitating it in our companies?

I, like many others, have used this term for several years. I have sat with our company leaders and discussed knowledge transfer, but not until I actually began to lay out a knowledge transfer plan for my own position did I realize how overwhelming it can be to actually be a part of true knowledge transfer.

We know how important it is to document everything we do – whether it is benefit plans, recruiting activities, employee relations or employee development. But our documentation does not generally include all of the knowledge that we as talent management professionals and leaders have retained while diligently working to support our company’s goals and take care of our company’s employees.

I realized very quickly as I put an onboarding plan together for someone to succeed me that while we document, there was a significant amount of historical “head” knowledge that was not documented. Some may have been documented but then purged over time. Knowledge transfer in its purest form is the “head” knowledge that we may share from time to time, but is not written or stored where others can easily access and/or use the information.

This knowledge is vital for our organizations, the staff who continue after we leave and our successors to continue the legacies and programs we leave behind. While change will come, this knowledge will assist others in making change decisions with a complete picture of why programs, policies and benefits are designed and set up as they are today.

So you may ask: How do you transfer this “head” knowledge to someone else? You could begin by manually recording every piece of information you can pull out of your brain storage bins. Of course, this would probably take you many months to actually put all of this information in a document. More than likely, you would have multiple documents and it would be difficult for someone in the future to truly absorb all that you had written. This also is probably not the most effective way because you are only pulling information out as you try to think back over time as to what might be important.

Another option is to hire someone to transcribe all of your thoughts. You can then review and edit what has been transcribed. After you spend an inordinate amount of time talking, reading and editing, you will still just have a large number of documents that will be difficult for anyone to truly absorb.

One important factor is missing in the two options listed above. That factor is you. While you may have tried to document everything you could possibly recall, there has not been any interaction with you to fully understand your limitless “head” knowledge. While documentation is extremely important, documentation does not provide the full understanding of why programs, policies and benefits are designed as they are today. You can also not effectively share “soft knowledge” in documents. Soft knowledge addresses the people, relationships, culture, land mines and so much more that can (and maybe should) only be shared in face- to-face conversations.

Given the above, I believe there are two important steps to effectively complete knowledge transfer. First, you need to make a list of all knowledge areas that are pertinent for someone succeeding you. This should not be a short list of categories, but a detailed list of anything and everything included in your responsibilities. While some items may not seem that important, the person new to your position does not want to be caught by surprise or learn at a later date that something fell through the cracks because you did not put it on this very important list. Examples of what you might consider minor could be an annual company cookout, how you handle birthdays for staff, do have you special reports you use periodically, how your company handles weather emergencies and the list goes on.

Second, you need to spend a significant amount of time with your successor, talking through all of the items on the list. I know your first question is how to do this when the overlap time from you leaving and your successor starting is often 30 days or less. It probably is not possible if you are leaving to accept another position or you are being asked to leave the organization. However, if you are retiring or leaving the organization in a situation where it is possible, you should make sure you give enough advance notice so that you have three to four months of overlap.

The first obstacle to this overlap will be your own personal fear of loss of ownership. This is an unfounded fear. If you are choosing to leave the organization and you want your legacy and passion for the employees to continue, it is essential that you be willing to share freely all of your “head” knowledge. As you take a successor through a well-designed onboarding program of all of your responsibilities, you will find that you will have the opportunity to share all of the historical information and nuances only you can effectively give. As I have continued to work with my successor, I cannot count the number of times I have said, “Let me give you a history lesson before we go into the detail,” or “let me talk with you about how you can effectively work with this person or through this type of situation in our company.”

The second obstacle is fear of sharing too early with your management your plans to leave. I can clearly relate to this because this was my greatest fear. I did not want my colleagues to think I was coasting. I did not want to be left out of future plan discussions. The list goes on, but if you plan to be an outstanding leader until you leave your company, your sense of responsibility and passion for your legacy and company employees require you to effectively plan for your departure and to give your management the time and opportunity to find a suitable replacement in order to allow the knowledge transfer to occur.

The third obstacle to this overlap will be cost. Your company may say that the overlapping salaries are too costly. I would challenge your management by saying the cost of not having a smooth transition with sufficient knowledge transfer will be more costly over time than three or four months of overlapping salary.

In the last three years, I have seen several high-level key employees leave our company. In one situation, the individual only gave about one months’ notice. While this individual left all of their paper and electronic records, they did not spend any time with their successor before they left. Even though the successor came from within our company, the successor has struggled because of the lack of “head” knowledge transfer and that very important soft knowledge.

In my situation, I will have three-and-a-half months to transfer “head” knowledge, including soft knowledge, to my successor. This is even more critical since my successor has come from outside the company. This overlap time has been invaluable to allow the individual the luxury of shadowing me and transitioning into the role while I am still here to provide the soft knowledge regarding people, relationships, culture, land mines and so much more that can only be shared in face-to-face conversations.

This type of knowledge transfer may not be as important if your company has a fully-developed succession plan for every position. My experience suggests to me that as hard as we try to have good succession plans, there are still transition periods and knowledge transfer periods for hand-picked successors, and there will be times when a successor is not in place at the time a transition is needed.

The effective transfer of “head” knowledge, including soft knowledge, is not just for our positions, but all positions in our companies. It is critical for continued and ongoing success of our companies. I encourage you to refine and/or implement plans within your companies to have effective knowledge transfer.

Anita R. Bunten is executive director of talent management at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Company (IFBI). She has spent her entire 40-year human resources career at the company. The HR Professional of the Year award is a statewide recognition given annually to those that provide lasting impact through the implementation of best practices, organization design and effectiveness and accomplishment of the company’s strategic direction.