Ontario Systems: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Talent Recruitment

Lehman_JillGreat minds think alike.

Jill Lehman, vice president of administration and chief people officer at Ontario Systems (an Indiana Chamber member since 1992), views its collaboration with Indiana INTERNnet – an internship-matching program linking employers, students, high schools, colleges and universities – as a perfect fit.

Based in Muncie, Ontario Systems is a leading accounts receivable technology and services provider.

“Indiana has great students. It has great talent. We believe in trying to find that talent, keep that talent and grow that talent,” Lehman emphasizes. “Our mission is very similar to the mission of Indiana INTERNnet. It’s definitely something we want to be a part of.”

During a telephone conversation in July, Lehman raved about the 12 students participating in Ontario Systems’ summer internship program. Three were EARN Indiana-eligible. EARN (Employment Aid Readiness Network) is a partnership between Indiana INTERNnet and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education that allows employers to be reimbursed for up to 50% of their interns’ wages from the state.

Lehman’s take on the initiative? “It’s phenomenal.”

Ontario Systems’ summer interns included mainly college juniors, seniors and recent graduates. They gained experience in areas ranging from software engineering, client support, legal, human resources and marketing.

“We’re getting great ideas generated from the students as we look at different ways to approach how we do work and solve problems,” Lehman declares. “We’re really excited that our interns are wanting to continue their careers with us – whether it’s through part-time employment or full-time employment depending on where they’re at (college student vs. graduate). And we’re able to have quality jobs for them right here in Muncie, Indiana.”

Changing the Way We Work

7768406The Dolly Parton song and film “9 to 5” are 35 years old. If recreated today, there would undoubtedly need to be a new title.

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that, much like flip phones and fax machines, the traditional eight-hour work day may be on its way out. More than 1,000 full-time workers in information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and business services – industries that historically have more traditional work hours – participated in the nationwide study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, to discuss their habits and attitudes toward the traditional nine-to-five work day.

According to the survey, 63 percent of workers in these industries believe “working nine to five” is an outdated concept, and a significant number have a hard time leaving the office mentally. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) check work emails during activities with family and friends.

Today, many workers in these industries find themselves working outside of the traditional eight-hour time frame: 50 percent of these workers say they check or respond to work emails outside of work, and nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) say they continue to work outside of office hours.

Though staying connected to the office outside of required office hours may seem like a burden, most of these workers (62 percent) perceive it as a choice rather than an obligation.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies (yet), but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.”

But just because the office – or the blackberry – is out of sight, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out of mind: 20 percent of these workers say work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed, and more than twice as many (42 percent) say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. Nearly 1 in 5 of these workers (17 percent) say they have a tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work.

Male workers in these fields are more likely than female workers to work outside of office hours (44 percent versus 32 percent); check or respond to work emails outside of work (59 percent versus 42 percent); and check on work activities while they are out with friends and family (30 percent versus 18 percent).

Female workers, however, are more likely than male workers to go to bed thinking about work (23 percent versus 16 percent).

When it comes to working outside of traditional office hours, 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-old workers in these fields will work outside of office hours, compared to 50 percent of 45- to 54-year-old workers and 38 percent of workers ages 55 and above. Meanwhile, 52 percent of workers ages 18-24 check or respond to work emails outside of work, versus 46 percent of workers ages 55 and above.

 

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Potrait of a young multi-racial Business Group

The operative word in the headline above this post is ALL. With that being a factor, the answer is probably a resounding No. It’s just human nature.

A recent Ragan Communications’ article (based on a survey by Viking) identified lateness, whining and eating smelly food as office workers’ most annoying habits. Ragan reports:

More than 40 percent of respondents said the annoyances made them consider leaving their jobs — with a striking 5 percent having actually quit.

The top 20 most annoying habits by rank:

1. Being regularly late
2. Whining all the time
3. Eating stinking food
4. Taking lots of cigarette breaks
5. Deliberately taking a long time to do something/constant procrastination
6. Not replacing things that run out (e.g., printer paper, coffee)
7. Talking on the phone too loudly
8. Having bad hygiene (coffee breath, BO, visibly dirty clothes)
9. Gossiping
10. Spraying deodorants, aftershaves and perfumes at desk
11. Coming to work when very ill
12. Texting/using mobile phone all day
13. Having an untidy desk
14. Talking too much about private life
15. Invading personal space
16. Not making a tea round
17. Humming/whistling/singing
18.Constantly tapping/clicking pens/typing too loud
19. Stealing other people’s food/lunch
20. Using jargon

Only a third of respondents were prepared to try and solve a given problem, with a further 30 percent saying they avoided approaching the problem in order to avoid conflict.

Women are more likely to be riled by an empty toilet paper holder, whereas men ranked office gossip as a top bad habit. When it comes to confrontation, women are more likely to keep quiet to keep the peace.

Knox County ARC: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Helplines

ODell_AmyKnox County ARC has 36 locations across the county, including five group homes, 25 waiver homes and several plants. Amy O’Dell, director of human resources, leverages Indiana Chamber membership to make sure HR operations are running smoothly.

The organization, which has been an Indiana Chamber since 1992, works with people who have developmental and intellectual disabilities, providing jobs/skills training, housing, and even school and preschool programs to the community.

To help O’Dell stay on top of industry regulations, she calls the Chamber at least once a quarter with HR questions.

“(I call when) I need to bounce ideas off someone else who understands where I am coming from with the HR laws and regulations,” O’Dell explains.

O’Dell notes that she has used the Chamber’s HR Helpline for everything from ordering posters to handling difficult staffing situations. She says Michelle Kavanaugh, human resources director at the Chamber, is like “an extension of the HR department.”

“I would recommend it because Michelle is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience in HR, and I trust the feedback she gives me,” O’Dell remarks. “She is very willing to get on the phone and listen to all the details. She always has time to help.”

O’Dell has also used Chamber membership to attend conferences, at a discounted rate, that helped her gain additional training, including a workshop on the Family Medical Leave Act and the annual HR conference.

The Chamber’s helpline, though, may be a “best kept secret” for HR professionals, says O’Dell.

“It is something I use instead of calling an attorney right off the bat,” she explains. “It is definitely a huge resource to companies, so I hope they know it’s there and they utilize it.”

Data: Fewer Workers Making Move for New Jobs

iStock_000021218674_LargeThe percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions declined in the first half of 2015, suggesting that as the recovery spreads, individuals are able to find better employment opportunities in their local market.

Over the first two quarters of the year, 10 percent of job seekers moved for new employment, according to the latest job search data from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. That was down from an average of 15 percent in the last half of 2014. In the first half of 2014, 11.4 percent of job seekers relocated for new positions.

The relocation rate in the last six months of 2014 was the highest since the first half of 2009, when an average of 16.3 percent of job seekers moved in the immediate wake of the recession.

The Challenger relocation rate is based on a quarterly survey of approximately 1,000 job seekers who concluded their search by finding employment, starting a business or retiring.

“The tipping point for relocation is very sensitive. Most people do not want to pick up stakes and move solely for employment. We tend to see relocation surge at the onset of recessions and in the early stages of recovery, as different geographical areas are impacted at different times. However, as recovery spreads and jobs become more available throughout the country, relocation begins to ebb,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Nationally, the unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent in June. However, there were 183 metropolitan areas below that level as of May, according to the latest available data on state and local employment from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Furthermore, there were 148 metropolitan areas with an unemployment rate below 5.0 percent, at which point the balance of power in the job market shifts away from employers and toward job seekers,” noted Challenger.

“As local job markets improve around the country, there is less incentive to move. Employment alone is not a strong enough factor. There would have to be some other motivation, whether that’s family, health, lifestyle, or cost-of-living,” he added.

MDWise, Inc.: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Employee Training

Lux_LindseyAre great leaders born or made? The answer is simple: Great leaders are “made” – and embracing learning opportunities is a key step.

The Indiana Chamber’s annual Human Resources Conference & Expo provides a variety of tools to boost leadership skills. Lindsey Lux, a regular attendee, enjoys the panel discussions, legal updates and collaboration with fellow HR professionals.

Lux is vice president of operations at MDwise — an Indiana Chamber member since 2007. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the Indiana nonprofit health insurance company is focused on giving uninsured and underserved Hoosiers the compassionate service and care they want and need.

“The legal presenters at the conference have given interesting presentations with real-world applicability,” she comments. “The conference is the best in Indiana to earn strategic recertification credits necessary to maintain my SPHR (senior professional in human resources).”

Lux participated in a focus group with other past attendees regarding ways to enhance the event.

“Most conferences ask you to complete a satisfaction survey once you are finished. This is the first time I’ve been asked to discuss (my input) face-to-face with attendees,” she emphasizes.

Reflecting on an especially memorable experience at the Human Resources Conference, Lux describes a session about leadership development.

“I walked away with a workbook full of information after having clearly identified my values, my company strategy, goals, etc.,” she recalls. “It’s nice to leave a session feeling empowered to improve in areas as an individual and as an organization.”

Tired But Still Plugging Away

19185195MarketWatch shares some facts from recent surveys and reports that seem to provide some contradiction (at least in the first two). Judge for yourself:

  • More than half of Americans (53%) are burned out and overworked (Staples Advantage survey of 2,000-plus workers) …
  • … But 86% report that they’re happy and willing to work to earn a promotion within their organization
  • Regarding email: About half say they receive too much, with a third of those claiming the overload harms their productivity. In a separate survey, the majority (52%) expect replies to work-related emails within 12 to 24 hours
  • In a highly-publicized 2014 finding by career web site Glassdoor, workers do not utilize all of their paid vacation or other time off. And, 61% work while on vacation; 25% say they are contacted about the job by co-workers while taking time off and 20% are in contact with their boss
  • Finally, the Staples survey finds employees citing inefficiencies: 20% spend more than two hours a day in meetings and nearly 50% say productivity is harmed by distractions (including loud co-workers)

Study: Independent Workers Flourishing

Independence Day 2015 may have just passed, but here is some recently released information on the growing population of independent workers.

MBO Partners, a provider of independent contractor engagement solutions, released this data from its 2015 State of Independence in America research. The full report will be available later this year.

The topline data demonstrates that the full-time independent workforce, with close to 18 million workers earning a significant portion or all of their income outside of traditional employment, is a permanent and rapidly growing portion of the American economy. In addition to these full-time independents, there are 12.5 million “side-giggers,” who take on part-time independent work.

High-earning independent workers now represent 10% of all independents and are the fastest-growing segment. The number of independents earning $100,000 or more per year has grown 45% over the last five years, totaling 2.4 million people.

The American economy is bouncing back, but in a fundamentally different form from what it looked like pre-recession. The independent workforce, a small portion of the overall labor pool before the recession, has seen unprecedented growth, outstripping traditional employment gains and jobs report numbers despite some predictions that a recovery in the job market would lure independents back to traditional employment.

Overall, the independent workforce has recorded 12% growth, compared to 7% growth in overall employment over the last 5 years. This trend is forecasted to continue, as 4 in 5 independents plan on staying independent, and 1 in 7 non-independents plan to join that group in the coming years.

When evaluating the independent lifestyle, a majority of independents say that it was entirely their choice to go independent, and 4 in 5 say they are happier for it. Flexibility and ownership are major draws to independent work, as is earning potential. With multiple revenue streams from an average of four or more clients, 4 in 10 workers say they feel more secure working independently than in a traditional job.

Tracking five-year growth, the MBO Partners State of Independence series is based on more than 14,000 in-depth surveys of independent workers since 2011. The study evaluates the motivations, satisfaction, and demographics of those working as independent consultants, freelancers, contractors, and self-employed, temporary, or on-call workers.

 

Dodge These ‘Dirty Dozen’

16010132Ah, “The Dirty Dozen.”

No, I’m not talking about the iconic western. The phrase popped into my mind when I read this Business Insider story about 12 ways you’re sabotaging your career.

Some of the mistakes are pretty obvious. Acting like you can’t learn anything new, for instance, has “bad move” written all over it. Some are less apparent – and the “offenders” may not even realize their blunders.

Career development specialist and author Sylvia Hepler offers comments on each of the missteps. Here is a memorable trio:

  • Criticizing your boss.
    Whispering behind his back, carping to her face or making your supervisor out to be wrong, pathetic or inept puts you in the danger zone, Hepler says. “If you’re doing this, don’t expect to land a promotion or last there.”
  • Wearing your emotions on your sleeve.
    Going overboard with disruptive displays of anger, whines of frustration and dramatic tears usually sends messages of warning to bosses, staff and peers, she says. “People may conclude that you can’t manage your feelings, and that’s never a good thing.”
  • Complaining.
    “Chronic complainers generally focus on the problems at hand rather than on the potential solutions,” she explains. “Instead of moaning about policies, processes and people, accept what you cannot change or make recommendations for positive change.”

Report: American Manufacturing is Still Alive and Well

According to a report from Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana, the American manufacturing industry is hardly in the downward spiral that some have projected — and they anticipate openings for new manufacturing jobs will range from 80,000 to 150,000 per year over the next 10 years.

“There are major misunderstandings among the public and the media about the manufacturing sector,” said Michael Hicks, director of CBER and the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ball State. “The U.S. manufacturing base is not in decline, and we have recovered from the recession. Nor are jobs being outsourced because American manufacturing can’t compete internationally. Moreover, new jobs in manufacturing pay well above the average wage.”

The study notes that the Great Recession had lost its stranglehold by 2014, when U.S. manufacturers attained record levels of production.

“Changes in productivity, domestic demand and foreign trade all impact manufacturing employment in the U.S.,” Hicks said, “and it’s important to clarify those impacts in order to understand what is happening in the manufacturing and logistics industries.”

The study also found that:
• More than 87 percent of manufacturing job losses are due to productivity gains, including better supply chains, more capital investment and advanced technology.
• Only 4 percent of manufacturing jobs have been lost to international trade (also known as outsourcing) since 2000.
• Since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, the economy has added 750,000 manufacturing jobs.
• The biggest job losses occurred in low productivity sectors with low transportation costs.

The report points out baby boom generation retirees are leaving behind good, well-paying jobs in those sectors, and younger workers are filling those jobs at an unprecedented rate. Recent new hire salaries averaged $20.06 per hour — almost $42,000 a year. As millennials move into the workforce, wage gaps between new and existing jobs are primarily age- and tenure-related, he said.

The report, “The Myth and the Reality of Manufacturing in America,” and the individual state report cards may be found online.