INTERNnet Partnership with enFocus in Northern Indiana to Battle Brain Drain

enfcouseThis column originally appeared in the Inside INdiana Business BigWigs & New Gigs newsletter.

Indiana INTERNnet (IIN) is forging partnerships with regional groups that share equal tenacity for increasing talent retention in the state. Our newest partner, enFocus, is already making a difference in South Bend.

enFocus is a “talent incubator and social innovation engine” whose approach is to cultivate what’s in its own backyard.

Its fellowship program encourages recent graduates from the area to stay and help develop St. Joseph County by giving them the resources to solve real community problems. In addition, a partnership with the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce is creating more internships in the area than ever before.

IIN has teamed up with enFocus to pilot a strategic feedback mechanism for experiential learning program development, expansion and improvement in St. Joseph County, with the goal of expanding it statewide. The comprehensive survey will measure internship success and the impact on talent retention.

Kathleen Ryan, a first-year fellow at enFocus and project lead on the survey pilot, credits an internship as the key to discovering what she truly wanted out of her career.

“It is because of an internship with a community health outreach organization during my senior year of college that I pursued an enFocus internship,” she explains . “At that time, I fully intended to continue on to medical school post-graduation. Through this experiential learning experience, however, I found that I was more drawn to community development.”

This type of career exploration is the cornerstone of enFocus’ mission in St. Joseph County and IIN’s mission statewide. enFocus works to curb the area’s brain drain with a two-pronged system: consulting with local organizations and offering time and resources to its fellows, who work to find solutions for regional industries. Following the program, enFocus works to place fellows in jobs in the area.

Since its inception in 2012, enFocus and its fellows facilitated regional projects like SB150, South Bend’s 150th birthday celebration, and the Regional Cities Initiative.

enFocus also partners with the St. Joseph County Chamber and its internship program, InternSJC.

“Through InternSJC we offer consultative services to local companies, working with them to make internships more valuable, efficient and exciting for company staff and students seeking employment in the area post-graduation,” Ryan describes. “Also through InternSJC, we help facilitate a summer community engagement program for interns in the area, seeking to improve the student experience and perception of our region’s opportunities through social programming, networking events and community service opportunities.”

All of the organization’s facets come together for a common goal: to make St. Joseph County a better place to work and live.

“We expose students and graduates to real-life issues felt by our regional partners and challenge them to alleviate those pain points,” Ryan emphasizes. “This enables them to develop professionally and gain experience while providing invaluable service to the community.

“We realize that Michiana is not the only region in Indiana that could rally around talent and youthful leadership to grow. We want to expand our model across the state to make Indiana an even more preferable place to start a career, business or family.”

IIN and local economic and community development groups are making strides in other regions as well.

For nearly 10 years, IIN has worked with the Northeast Indiana Graduate Retention Program (GRP, now a part of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.). The Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Fellows Program is a 12-month experience that connects high potential college students with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. investors who have a regular need for new talent. The program utilizes dedicated summer internship experiences as admission into the fellowship.

In Northwest Indiana, colleges and universities are joining forces to promote their students under the umbrella of Ready Northwest Indiana, an economic development and education initiative. Ancilla College, Calumet College, Valparaiso University, St. Joseph’s College and the Center of Workforce Innovations, Inc. are teaming with IIN to meet the needs of employers through a common platform to access students prepared for internships.

We look forward to the difference these efforts will make in St. Joseph County and statewide.

To register for our free service, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net, or call (317) 264-6862 to speak with our staff about your internship program.

Janet Boston is executive director of Indiana INTERNnet — an affiliate program of the Indiana Chamber.

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.

Chamber Offers Triple Crown of Compliance Books

HThe Kentucky Derby is fast approaching, and it will likely be another great event — especially for all those in the Kentuckiana area who love a good time. But if you’re tired of the horse race of trying to keep up with regulations and the myriad issues employers and human resources departments must keep tabs on, you’re not alone.

The Indiana Chamber is offering three new books this spring that can help you pace the field.

Authored by attorneys at Ogletree Deakins, The Immigration Guide for Indiana Employers – Fifth Edition (formerly known as the Indiana Guide to Hiring and Managing Foreign Employees) is currently at the printer and headed toward the finish line. The book covers what employers need to know when hiring foreign workers. Some of the topics updated in this edition include:

  • temporary work visa sections: H-1B professionals and L-1 intracompany transfers;
  • Form I-9 completion and compliance;
  • information about President Obama’s pending executive order on immigration and what it means for employers;
  • Indiana-specific E-Verify requirements for certain employers; and
  • handling site visits from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Fraud Detection Unit.

Ogletree has also authored a brand new title: Indiana Guide to Retaliation Claims. This ePub (online publication) features over 40 pages of instruction and case information that will help your company prepare against retaliation and whistleblower claims. Making a small investment in this guide can help prevent your company from becoming the next cautionary tale. This book is scheduled to be released later this month, but you can place your order now.

Additionally, the Performance Appraisal Handbook – Second Edition can help you effectively conduct appraisals on a regular basis. Authored by attorneys from Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, this book is ideal for HR professionals and small business owners who don’t want to take unnecessary chances in evaluating their employees. This book is slated for May publication.

You can order these respective guides via their web pages or by calling (800) 824-6885.

Telecommuting Now a Growing Part of the American Workplace

10061396As companies seek to become more worker-friendly, flexibility becomes more critical in retaining quality employees. The Learning House, on behalf of Grace College’s Department of Online Education, recently published an article on telecommuting and managing off-site employees.

The article includes statistics from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and includes comments from some leading business executives.

According to the SHRM, more companies began offering telecommuting in 2014 than any other benefit. The group also found that from 2005 to 2012, telework grew 79.2 percent. The largest growth year over year came from 2007 to 2008 with 14.1 percent, but the recession began to slow the growth of the practice. However, even as the total workforce declined, telecommuting grew and appears to bouncing back to new heights with the most recent figures.

Teleworkers by Sector
– Federal employees = 3.3%
– Private sector nonprofit employers = 2.9%
– Private sector for-profit employers = 2.6%
– State government workers = 2.4%
– Local government workers = 1.2%

Read the full article online.

Child Adult Resource Services: Maximizing Its Investment Through Compliance Resources

Teri King

Knowledge is power – and empowering. Just ask Teri King, HR manager at Child Adult Resource Services (CARS), a Chamber member since 1991 that has around 250 employees. CARS provides Head Start, group homes, employment and other services to people with a variety of needs. Headquartered in Rockville, it covers 40 Indiana counties.

“I count on the Chamber to keep me up-to-date and out of trouble,” she declares.

King shares how an email from the Chamber helped keep CARS in compliance with Indiana’s smoking ban law, which went into effect on July 1, 2012. As part of the law, businesses are required to post signage at public entrances indicating that smoking is prohibited within eight feet.

“I had missed that (component of the) law,” King recalls. “Had it not been for her (the Chamber’s Rhea Langdon, manager of business resource marketing and sales) email telling me there was new signage available, I would have been out of compliance.”

King also is a fan of the Chamber’s ePubs (“I’ve enjoyed the forms and links to different topics,” she remarks) and completed the Chamber’s human resources and safety compliance certificate programs by attending a variety of training events.

“Being a nonprofit, training dollars are very tight. Whenever I’ve submitted a training (request) to go to the Chamber, it’s always approved. Other trainings may not be,” she emphasizes.

“In HR, you get all kinds of sales calls. You get all kinds of flyers from companies that are trying to sell their stuff. I always tell them, ‘I’m getting it from the Chamber. I know I have the right stuff that way.’ ”

March Madness: Is It Really Fouling Up Productivity?

9819223Thankfully, our beloved Hoosier state is rejoicing as we’ve placed five colleges into the Big Dance!

But with much attention this week now devoted toward brackets and sneaking in an online stream of a game, are Indiana employers paying the price?

Fortune cites stats from Challenger, Gray & Christmas indicating that a staggering 60 million Americans will be solely focused on tourney games later this week. And it could be costing employers up to $1.9 billion in wages.

That does sound like a big ol’ negative. But the executives quoted in the article report they’re not too concerned about it. So is it possible we should all just relax on the “it hurts productivity” argument and simply enjoy the experience?

Sports broadcaster and Talk Sporty to Me founder Jen Mueller says claims of lost productivity are overblown because the brackets increase camaraderie and conversation within the office. She contends that actually boosts your bottom line in the long run. (Frankly, this Indiana University alum likes the way she thinks.) See her reasoning below:

Engaging Employees is Critical to a Thriving Business

45379113Some companies have a very difficult time getting engagement and “buy in” from their employees. Ragan lists some of the reasons your employees may be feeling disillusioned. (Read the full article for elaboration.)

  1. Employees don’t know what game they’re in, how it’s played, and what the stakes are.
  2. Employees don’t know exactly how to make the biggest contribution.
  3. You don’t give employees a reason to care about contributing.
  4. Managers don’t know how to create an environment that fosters passion, courage and a desire for excellence.
  5. Employees are set up for the “Agony of Defeat” rather than the “Thrill of Victory.”
  6. Bad behavior and poor performance go unchallenged.
  7. Employees feel unappreciated.

Fortunately, many Indiana companies are making those valuable connections with their team members — and 100 were recently recognized by earning a spot on the Best Places to Work in Indiana list. The rankings will be announced at the 10th Annual BPTW in Indiana Awards Dinner on May 7. Get your tickets now.

 

Free Webinar Can Help Avoid Mistakes in Hiring Veterans

sNational Guard and veteran unemployment continues to outstrip national unemployment numbers, while employers post job openings at a 14-year high, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

So what’s the missing connection? Small and mid-size employers often hit snags when seeking to hire trained and experienced veterans and National Guard members. Challenges include bureaucratic issues, translating military experience into civilian job descriptions and connecting with qualified military job candidates through a myriad of available programs and job boards.

The Center for America, coordinating the non-profit American Jobs for America’s Heroes military hiring campaign, announces a free webinar replay,How to Achieve Greater Success in Hiring National Guard and Other Veterans,” to give employers practical advice on hurdles they may encounter in the military hiring effort and specific action steps that will help employers find qualified job applicants. There is no cost and no registration to watch the program.

The program features three experts who have extensive experience in helping veterans and employers: Brig. Gen. (ret.) Marianne Watson, the former Director of Manpower and Personnel (J1) for the National Guard Bureau; Stacy Bayton, a retired U.S. Marine and Chief Operating Officer for Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), a 2014 Call of Duty Endowment award-winner for excellence in military hiring; and Erin Voirol, the CASY-MSCCN Executive Director and military spouse. CASY and MSCCN placed more than 5,000 Guard members and veterans in jobs in 2014.

The “live” version of this webinar was hosted by the Maryland State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.

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

Wick’s Pies: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Compliance Resources

foodserviceLife is sweet at Wick’s Pies

The family-owned business, which opened in 1944 and has been an Indiana Chamber member since 1984, has a tight-knit team that whips up flavors such as pecan, pumpkin, sugar crème (the state pie), coconut crème, German chocolate and more. During an eight-hour production shift, the associates can bake as many as 12,000 pies. In addition, they can make 40 shells per minute in a seven-hour period.

Wick’s has spawned Wick’s Foods (which makes pie glaze for Wick’s Pies) and a restaurant – all located within a block of one another in Winchester.

Human resources specialist Tonya Fouse notes that prior to joining Wick’s Pies in 2006, “I worked in the automotive industry and was a purchasing manager. I had strong managerial skills, but I didn’t know a thing about HR.

“It was baptism by fire and our tool to teach me was the Indiana Chamber – the seminars I went to, all the reading material I could get my hands on (citing publications that cover topics such as unemployment law, worker’s compensation and labor relations), and the (helpline) resources I could call.”

Fouse proudly shares that she earned the Chamber’s Human Resources Specialist Certificate in 2012 after attending a variety of training events. In addition, she routinely utilizes the Chamber’s HR Helpline, a free, confidential resource exclusively available to members.

“We’ve just about hit every topic there is. With FMLA (for instance), it seems there’s always something that evolves. I totally trust in that resource, and it’s wonderful for me to be able to shoot an email (to director of human resources Michelle Kavanaugh) and a response comes back within the hour. It’s been a lifesaving tool for me.

“(The Chamber) kind of formed me and molded me into the HR specialist I am today.”