Steinberger Construction: Maximing Chamber Investment Through Employee Wellness

Blayne-HammelSteinberger Construction began building a wellness program nearly a decade ago, but its partnership with the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI) is adding to its success.

WCI members can take advantage of benefits such as coaching, discounts on educational training, networking opportunities and more.

In 2014, Logansport-based Steinberger Construction (which focuses mainly on steel and concrete work) earned Three-Star certification through the WCI’s AchieveWELL workplace analysis and recognition program. It has three levels: Three-Star, Four Star and Five Star.

“For us, that’s where we stepped up our wellness initiative and kind of refocused our goals,” explains safety and wellness director Blayne Hammel. “The main thing I feel they helped us do was utilize our data (related to health risk assessments and biometric screenings, for instance) more efficiently.”

He also values networking at Connect and Collaborate luncheons (the 2014 statewide tour, which stopped in eight cities, emphasized wellness), employee training and the opportunity to seek guidance from WCI executive director Chuck Gillespie.

“We started a monthly wellness newsletter, and he helped us develop our focus,” Hammel comments. “Typically, when people think about wellness, they think about nutrition and staying fit, but don’t really look at the financial wellness portion of it and stress management options. Utilizing that for some of our articles has been great.”

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.”

Indiana Schools Earn Campus Technology Innovators Awards

Campus Technology, one of the top information sources for higher education news, recently presented its annual Innovators Awards. Four of the 12 national awards presented went to universities in the Hoosier state.

IT Infrastructure and Systems
Indiana University
Project: One.IU (OneCampus)
Project Lead: Eric Westfall, enterprise software architect
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house, rSmart

Category description: IT Infrastructure and Systems (including, but not limited to): learning management systems; collaboration technologies and environments; learning space design/architecture/smart classrooms; classroom management and control systems; data security and authentication; networking; SaaS and cloud computing; telecommunications; digital repositories/digital libraries; high-performance computing; green technologies; disaster recovery and business continuity; help desk.


Student Systems and Services
Ball State University
Project: Ball State Achievements
Project Lead: Kay Bales, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house

Category description: Student Systems and Services (including, but not limited to): technology for career services; advising/online advising; technology for housing; physical security and emergency planning; eTextbooks/bookstore; instructional resources and library services; recruitment/eRecruitment.


Teaching and Learning
University of Notre Dame
Project: E-Portfolios With Evidenced-Based Badges
Project Lead: G. Alex Ambrose, associate professor of the practice and associate director of e-portfolio assessment
Vendors/technologies: Credly, Digication

Category description: Teaching and Learning (including, but not limited to): learning design/instructional design; immersive technologies; social software, Web 2.0; mobile learning; teaching in the smart classroom; collaboration tools; student assessment; student ePortfolios; lecture capture; eLearning; accessibility.


Education Futurists
Ball State University
Project: The Traveler
Project Lead: Kyle Parker, senior software engineer for developing technologies
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house

Category description: Education Futurists (including, but not limited to): visionary learning technology development; new program development; institutional reformation; trend spotters: technology and society.

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)

Q & A: A Healthier Vending Evolution

domination concepts with apples

John Whitlock is Project Analyst with Compass Group North America, though he is informally referred to as “Avenue C Champion.” Avenue C is a micro-market concept, where beverages, snacks and even meals are available in an open kiosk rather than a traditional vending machine. Whitlock operates out of Lafayette and covers mid-central Indiana. (Read the full story in BizVoice.)

Indiana Chamber: Has there been a recent evolution in the vending industry with more focus on the health-conscious consumer?

Whitlock: With the health regulations coming in for grade school children, when this generation grows up, they’re not going to be looking for the Mt. Dew and Snickers bar. The younger generation is already starting to snack healthier. We also handle university settings and without making any real effort, the healthier options sell much better on campuses.

One of the misconceptions is that the vending industry has been reluctant to go to the healthier options, and it’s really not the case. It’s market-driven. While the number of people who want baked Cheetos has increased significantly, that number still doesn’t compare to the demand for regular Cheetos.

IC: What are the hurdles for offering fresher, healthier options, like fruit and sandwiches?

JW: We’ve found that people tend to shy away from fresh food out of a vending machine. If you have a vending machine with an apple in it, people are reluctant to buy that apple because they can’t look at it and touch it. The Avenue C concept addresses that issue.

Avenue C is expanding very quickly. It is the most current thing in vending. In the past eight months, we have had just shy of 100% growth. The projection between now and the end of our fiscal year, which is October 1, we’ll be close to an additional 50% growth on top of what we already had.

IC: What vending innovations are on the horizon?

JW: Smartphone technology. We’re in the process of implementing it here in this area. We’ve had our pilot programs already start. We’re adding QR barcodes to the vending machines. With a smartphone you can scan the barcode and then gain nutritional information through an app on your phone.

Getting the Job Done — or Not?

Disagreements in Washington are nothing new. But this time the topic is a little different. The following comes from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council:

SBA recently celebrated the federal government’s achievement in exceeding contracting goals with small businesses, but members of Congress are disputing the claim.  An SBA communications piece says that Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has worked “tirelessly” to hit the goal since she took over SBA’s helm.  SBA reported that 24.99% of federal contracting dollars went to small businesses in 2014, thus exceeding the 23% goal. SBA says this is the highest percentage ever reached since the goal was established in 1997.

House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) called the report “flawed” because (according to a media release) “the SBA continues to exclude nearly $78 billion in federal contract dollars reported into the federal procurement data system, plus at least $6 billion to $10 billion that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illegally excluded from the database. These are dollars spent by the federal government that should be subject to small business contracting goals.

Moreover, the SBA scorecard focuses intensely on just one factor — prime contract dollars. While this is certainly an indicator, it does not represent a holistic–and more accurate–depiction of the industrial base. For example, there are 100,000 fewer contractors today than there were four years ago and the number of contract actions being awarded to small businesses has fallen by nearly 60 percent. Furthermore, the Administration is still not meeting its subcontracting goal, even though SBA lowered the goal last year.”

Senate Small Business Committee Chairman David Vitter (R-LA) has also focused on the issue of flawed reporting in small business procurement.  On May 19, Chairman Vitter sent a letter to the SBA Administrator requesting detailed information about their reporting following an IG report, which found that contracts being counted towards the small business goal went to bigger businesses.

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.

 

No Easy Answers: Charting the Future of Higher Ed

higher edFor a century, Hoosiers didn’t need a college degree to make a good living. But with the manufacturing-based economy changing dramatically and giving way, in part, to the knowledge-based economy, you can’t make that case anymore.

Amid the backdrop of an increased emphasis on postsecondary education, we turn to three recognized leaders in the higher education community to discuss the current climate and what needs to happen next:

A quick survey of the college landscape reveals some obvious challenges: rising tuition, student debt and getting more students to complete their degree. The latter is the focal point for Jones and his organization.

“We know that completion rates at most colleges in the country don’t exceed 50%. So the freshman class looks very good in terms of numbers and in terms of diversity, but in the graduating class we only have about half of those students there – and we’ve lost a lot of the diversity that we set out to accomplish. So that’s a huge challenge,” he offers.

Read the rest of the BizVoice magazine article. And be sure to check out the NEW July/August edition at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.