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 or call (317) 264-2168.

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

Monarch Beverage: Best Places to Work Recognition Has Internal, External Benefits

Monarch Beverage has been recognized as a Best Place to Work in Indiana five times. CEO Phil Terry explains how that recognition helps with both validation and recruitment.

Nominations are now open for the 2016 contest!

WellCert Level 1: A Must for All Employee Wellness Professionals

Wellness-Indiana-LogoYour wellness career didn’t come with an instruction manual. Let’s face it, creating sustained behavior change is hard.

Professionals like you need specialized skills to create effective wellness programs for the organizations they serve. We are passionate about empowering wellness professionals with the tools they need to succeed. That’s why we’re bringing you WellCert.

WellCert Level 1, Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) is a professional certification training course with a unique skill-focus that ensures graduates can immediately put their knowledge to work on the job. Designed by Chapman Institute founder Larry S. Chapman MPH, WellCert synthesizes 40+ years of experience with over 1,000 organizations.

WHAT: WellCert Level 1 Certified Wellness Program Coordinator (CWPC) training course
WHEN: October 29-30, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WHERE: Indiana Chamber Conference Center
– Worksite wellness professionals
– Presidents, CEOs, CFOs and COOs
– Brokers
– Benefit managers
– Wellness committee members
– Human resource staff
PRICE: $1,350, Wellness Council member price: $1,050 with code WI-Member-15

Drawing from best-practice solutions and proven industry research, WellCert provides the skills needed to plan, implement, manage and measure employee wellness programs that improve health and reduce employee costs. Register for the October course today to ensure you’re well-equipped with cutting-edge expertise to create programs that deliver results.

Defying – Not Glorifying – Stereotypes

Every once in a while, something really fires me up. Today’s trigger is about misconceptions regarding women engineers.

First, there’s the words of wisdom (insert heavy sarcasm) of Nobel Peace Prize winner Tim Hunt. This summer, he declared – at the World Conference of Science Journalists – that labs should be segregated by sex. “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he reportedly mused. “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry!”

Shameful, indeed. It reminded me of another recent high-profile controversy, this time involving Isis Wenger. The brilliant OneLogin platform engineer unwittingly found herself at the center of a firestorm when she posed for a recruiting photo.

To both the company and Wenger’s surprise, what got people talking about the campaign wasn’t the image of its security engineer wearing a black hat and hackers shirt … Instead, it was the photo of Wenger. TechCrunch reported a taste of what people had to say about it:

“This is some weird haphazard branding. I think they want to appeal to women, but are probably just appealing to dudes. Perhaps that’s the intention all along. But I’m curious people with brains find this quote (appearing on Wenger’s shirt) remotely plausible if women in particular buy this image of what a female software engineer looks like. Idk. Weird.”

And here’s what another guy said:

“If their intention is to attract more women, then it would have been a better to choose a picture with a warm, friendly smile rather than a sexy smirk. …”

To change the way people think about engineers, Wenger started the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer.

“#ILookLikeAnEngineer is intentionally not gender specific,” Wenger says. “External appearances and the number of X chromosomes a person has is hardly a measure of engineering ability. My goal is to help redefine “what an engineer should look like” because I think that is a step towards eliminating sub-conscious bias towards diversity in tech.”

Wenger’s hashtag has inspired women to post their own photos illustrating that they also “look like an engineer.”

You go, ladies!

Jobs Numbers You Need to Know

rThe National Conference of State Legislatures breaks down some recent job statistics and trends. A few of the numbers:

  • 5 million new workers in health care from 1997 to 2012
  • 77.5% — growth in the mining industry in that same time period
  • 157 million – number of people 16 and over in the nation’s labor force in June 2015
  • 15 million – number of female workers 16 and over in service occupations in 2013 male workers numbered 11.6 million
  • 86.1 – percentage of full-time, year-round workers ages 18 to 64 with health insurance during all or part of 2013
  • 76.4 – percentage of workers who drove alone to work in 2013
  • 25.8 – average time in minutes it took workers to commute to their jobs in 2013
  • 4.4 – percentage who worked from home in 2013

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.