Breaking Down the Latest Union Numbers

wNationally, union membership did not change from 2014 to 2015 – remaining at 11.1% of wage and salary workers. In Indiana, membership declined from 10.7% to 10% over that same time period.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released updated union data. Five states had union membership below 5%: South Carolina (2.1%), North Carolina (3.0%), Utah (3.9%), Georgia (4.0%) and Texas (4.5%). Two states – New York (24.7%) and Hawaii (20.4%) – topped 20%. Nearly half of the 14.8 million union members lived in seven states: California (2.5 million), New York (2.0 million), Illinois (800,000), Pennsylvania (700,000) and Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey (600,000 each).

Other findings include:

  • Public-sector union rates (35.2%) were five times higher than that of private sector workers (6.7%).
  • Within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government (41.3%). In the private sector, industries with high unionization rates included utilities (21.4%), transportation and warehousing (18.9%), educational services (13.7%), telecommunications (13.3%) and construction (13.2%).
  • By age, highest union membership rates were among older workers – 14.3% for ages 55 to 64 and 13.6% for ages 45 to 54.

See more information.

Health Means Business for Indiana’s Economy

tom hironsThe improvement in Indiana’s economic environment is an outstanding success story. The series of top 10 business climate rankings from respected national sources is a tribute to the work of many throughout our state.

The same broad-based, dedicated effort is required in one very important area in which the state is not faring well in national comparisons. And if we don’t finally make some significant advances, those sought-after employers and their talented employees might not find Indiana to be such a great place to work and live.

The inferior health of our workforce – and overall population – is no secret. In the 2015 Report Card measuring progress on the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, two rankings stood out in a negative manner: 39th in adult smoking rate (despite a four percentage point improvement from the prior measurement) and 42nd in adult obesity.

In the most recent America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation, Indiana’s behaviors (physical activity in addition to smoking and obesity) and outcomes (diabetes, cardiovascular deaths and cancer deaths) fare no better.

Health Means Business. That is a statement and the title of an upcoming event intended to promote business-led community health initiatives. As the Wellness Council of Indiana has been advocating, a healthier Indiana is vital in recruiting and retaining employees, reducing health care costs, limiting absenteeism and increasing productivity.

Details are coming soon on a new Indiana Healthy Community Initiative – modeled after the Wellness Council’s AchieveWELL process for employers – that will allow towns/cities/counties to lead collaborative efforts to improve the health of their citizens.

Indiana is one of 10 stops on a national Health Means Business tour. The Indiana Chamber Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the February 5 event. We see this as just one of many steps to putting Indiana on a healthier road and keeping our state among the nation’s business leaders.

Tom Hirons, president and CEO of Hirons, is the 2016 Indiana Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board.

Survey Seeks to Assist in Veteran Hiring

sThere are still more than one million veterans looking for full-time jobs with tens of thousands of soldiers leaving the military in 2016. Many employers aren’t getting the right information and networking help they need to successfully hire veterans, Reservists and National Guard members.

Center for America (CFA), a nonprofit, is conducting a national survey among employers to identify the specific problems that employers in different industries and locations are having in recruiting military candidates. CFA is funded by foundations and Phillips 66, so it is providing its help to associations and employers at no cost.

“We realize many resources to help employers hire veterans are too general, too complicated or too costly to really help them find and hire military candidates,” said Brig. Gen. (ret) Marianne Watson, director of Outreach for Center for America. “So, CFA is developing free, industry-specific networking and web-based education resources to make it easier and faster for employers to connect with the right military candidates.

“We are asking for your help to complete a 10-minute online questionnaire – anonymously if you wish – that will identify the challenges you’re having in hiring veterans,” said General Watson. “Hundreds of employers from all over the country are participating.”

Here is the link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/36PW85F_CFA (In the first question, please input the code – G444.)

CFA has been coordinating the American Jobs for America’s Heroes national campaign for four years under a written agreement with the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C.

Contact Steve Nowlan (snowlan@CenterForAmerica.org), president of Center for America and coordinator for the American Jobs for American Heroes campaign, with any questions or for free help with your veteran recruiting. Get a head start by downloading a free copy of CFA’s Best Practices Guide for Veteran Hiring at www.CenterForAmerica.org/bpg.html.

Workers Crave More than Currency

domination concepts with apples

Losing weight isn’t always fun. Dropping the pounds is rewarding, but the journey can be tough. Very tough.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get paid for your efforts? It turns out that doesn’t always entice employees, according to a new study.

Here’s a taste:

The study, published in January’s issue of the journal Health Affairs, reported the results of a yearlong randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of financial incentives to encourage weight loss among 197 obese employees of the University of Pennsylvania health system.

Participants were asked to lose 5% of their weight. Each was assigned to one of four study groups. The control group wasn’t offered any financial rewards. The three other groups were offered an incentive valued at $550.

People in one group were told they would begin receiving health insurance premium discounts biweekly immediately after reaching their weight loss goal. In another group, the people were told they would receive biweekly premium adjustments the following year if they reached their goal. Volunteers in the final group were eligible for a daily lottery payment if they met their daily weight loss goal and weighed in the previous day.

At year’s end, no group had met the 5% weight loss target. Participants’ average weight was virtually unchanged, whether or not they had a financial incentive to lose pounds. Nineteen percent of participants did meet the 5% target, but they weren’t concentrated in any particular group.

Job Hopping on the Upswing

37193874Job hopping is increasing among employees seeking opportunities to expand their knowledge, develop their talents, increase their network and boost their salary.

Currently, half of U.S. employees are watching the job market or actively looking for a job, based on findings from a recent Gallup Workforce Panel study. This is a major problem for employers, as workers job hopping from one organization to the next can create considerable costs.

To learn more about what drives job-hopping, Gallup asked U.S. workers who were considering a job change or who had recently switched employers to indicate how important particular factors were when deciding to take a job with a different company. The top-ranked reason was “it allows me to do what I do best,” followed by “it significantly increases my income.”

What can you do to keep your employees loyal? First, don’t take your long-term employees for granted. Gallup’s findings reveal that longer-term employees do not feel as supported as employees who are new to a company. Find ways to create learning opportunities and provide feedback to retain and engage top-level employees throughout their time at the organization. In regard to newer employees, help them understand the fundamentals of their role immediately and look for ways to help them apply their strengths early in their careers.

Rochester’s Appraisal Management Research Co. Maximizes Its Chamber Investment Through Helplines

Cook_DavidDavid Cook has called Rochester home since 1989. One year later, he incorporated property tax consulting firm Appraisal Management Research Company (AMRC) — an Indiana Chamber member since 1993.

Its core team of six employees works with a variety of companies. “We’re small, but we accomplish a lot,” remarks Cook, who serves as president.

Remaining informed on state and local laws is critical. He describes how AMRC has benefited from the expertise of Bill Waltz, Indiana Chamber vice president of taxation policy.

“I’ve known Bill for a long time,” Cook shares. “He (on many occasions) would help us keep up-to-date on various changes in the property tax laws.”

In addition, Cook seeks free, confidential guidance on human resources matters by calling the HR Helpline.

“I like to get an opinion,” he asserts. “We do, as necessary, work with an attorney also, but Michelle (Kavanaugh, human resources director at the Chamber) was very helpful in reviewing our personnel policy guidelines and helping us update those. That saves quite a bit of money rather than an attorney doing that. It’s very helpful.”

Chamber Board Votes to Support Expansion of State’s Civil Rights Law

?????????????????????????????????????????The Indiana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly at its annual fall meeting Wednesday to support expanding the state’s civil rights law to include protection for sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Indiana Chamber Board of Directors is comprised of more than 100 top business executives and civic leaders from throughout the state.

“We believe this expansion is a necessary action for the General Assembly to take,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “After the negative perception of our state generated by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the spring, we need to get this right in order to secure the reputation of Indiana as a hospitable and welcoming place.

“The time has come for Indiana to expand protections against potential discrimination. This action will increase the state’s future business competitiveness in the recruitment, attraction and retention of talent, as well as enhance respect for all employers and employees. We encourage our state leaders to work together to take this next critical step.”

The Indiana Chamber’s annual fall board meeting is where the organization’s public policy positions (formed by members serving on various policy committees) for the upcoming sessions of the General Assembly and Congress are discussed and acted upon.

Maple Leaf Farms: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Wellness

Christy_BobWhen Maple Leaf Farms’ facility took over the space occupied by an old elementary school in the small town of Leesburg, the building was nearly entirely gutted and changed, but one room remained the same: the gymnasium.

With the on-site gym and fitness center already in place and remodeled, Bob Christy, benefits manager, began to set forth a competitive wellness plan with a little help from the Indiana Chamber.

Chuck Gillespie, executive director of the Wellness Council of Indiana, provided a wellness consultation to Maple Lead Farms to help the company determine how to move forward with its wellness program and answered questions from employees.

“I would highly recommend the consultation,” Christy asserts. “I think it should be a requirement. You need to do it once a year and have somebody (from the Council) talk to your whole group.”

For the past year and a half, Christy says Maple Leaf Farms has done “everything from poker walks to health challenges to biometric screenings.” The business’ efforts have earned it a Three-Star AchieveWELL certification from the Wellness Council of Indiana.

“When I started, (it took about the first year) to get most of the health programs set up,” Christy says. “Before that, the wellness program was kind of nonexistent. I spoke at the first annual meeting on portions … and that’s when I really got started.”

A wellness program that once was “nonexistent” now even has its own jackets – emblazoned with the words “Wellness Protection Program” and a picture of a duck, a very important symbol for the company.

Maple Leaf Farms is a family-owned business that raises and processes ducks; today it boasts 17 locations. The wellness plan now extends to all employees, regardless of their whereabouts, and each year, Christy spends two weeks on the road encouraging employees to complete biometric screenings and the Anthem health assessment.

Because Maple Leaf Farms leads the nation in the duck market, it often works with a lot of celebrity chefs and cooking initiatives. With its large kitchen and focus on healthy eating, Christy saw an opportunity to promote healthy eating through lunch-and-learns or quick dinners, meal prep demonstrations, vending machines with nutritious options and the upcoming fresh fruits on Fridays.

“We’re trying to do ‘Fruitful Friday,’” Christy explains. “We eat so much food here because there are always things going on in the kitchen.”

The wellness program continues to grow, with presentations from nutritionists and dieticians, new partnerships with the Warsaw YMCA and the potential of on-site chair massages. Maple Leaf Farm’s partnership with the Chamber and its attendance at Chamber conferences has improved its offerings for employees.

“The biggest thing with this (Chamber) membership is the resources that they have,” Christy says. “It’s some of the best you can get. It’s in Indiana, and it’s about Indiana. These people all work here just like us, and we deal with the same laws, the same tax codes, the same everything. It is about Indiana.

Wellness Council of Indiana Recognizes 35 AchieveWELL Companies

Wellness-Indiana-LogoThe Wellness Council of Indiana recently announced that 35 Hoosier organizations across the state have qualified for new AchieveWELL certification.

Groups working toward creating a corporate culture that encourages and supports employee health through worksite wellness programs are eligible for the designation. AchieveWELL provides an independent assessment of wellness processes and is divided into three levels: Three Star, Four Star and Five Star. The standards are progressive through the Five-Star Award.

New Three-Star recipients:
• Bona Vista Programs, Inc. – Kokomo
• CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions – Indianapolis
• Gregory & Appel Insurance – Indianapolis
• Hamilton County – Noblesville
• The Indiana Rail Road Company – Indianapolis
• Indiana University – Bloomington
• Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation
• Katz, Sapper & Miller CPAs – Indianapolis
• Lenex Steel Corporation – Indianapolis
• LHD Benefit Advisors – Indianapolis
• Monarch Beverage – Indianapolis
• Muncie Delaware Co. Chamber of Commerce and Horizon Convention Center
• Muncie Indiana Transit System
• MutualBank – Muncie
• Open Door Health Services – Muncie
• Riverview Health – Noblesville
• Shindigz – South Whitley
• Simon Property Group – Indianapolis
• State of Indiana – Indianapolis
• Taghleef Industries, Inc. – Terre Haute
• Walgreens Pharmacies – Carmel

New Four-Star recipients:
• Apex Benefits Group, Inc. – Indianapolis
• City of South Bend – South Bend
• Covance Central Laboratory Services, Inc. – Indianapolis
• Hancock Regional Hospital – Greenfield
• IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital – Muncie
• Margaret Mary Health – Batesville
• Mulzer Crushed Stone, Inc. – Tell City
• The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indianapolis
• Walker Information, Inc. – Indianapolis

New Five-Star recipients:
• Ball State University – Muncie
• Citizens Energy Group – Indianapolis
• Ontario Systems – Muncie
• Vectren Corporation – Evansville
• Youth Opportunity Center – Muncie

Without dictating how worksite wellness programs are conducted, the AchieveWELL process offers a clear understanding of the necessary components of successful worksite wellness and recognizes excellence in the field of health promotion. Helpful tools, templates and personal coaching are offered to those aspiring to become AchieveWELL organizations.

The AchieveWELL program is free to members of the Wellness Council of Indiana. For information on joining the Wellness Council, visit www.wellnessindiana.org or call (317) 264-2168.

The Wellness Council of Indiana is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.