Getting to Know: Marci Price

The Indiana Chamber Foundation has been making a difference for Indiana employers and beyond for more than 30 years. In addition to the Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 initiative, the Foundation’s studies, surveys and programs provide the information and resources to enhance the state’s business and workplace climates.

Marci Price brings her talents and experience to the Foundation as the new executive director. Get to know Marci in this brief Q&A:

Tell us a little about your background.

“I have been a development professional for the past 15 years, focusing on individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy for regional and national organizations. After earning my master’s degree in nonprofit management from IUPUI, I lived in Chicago for several years.

“My husband and I then decided to settle down in Indianapolis to be closer to family. I have since fallen in love with Indiana and have built strong relationships with so many incredible people here.”

What was one of your favorite previous jobs and why?

“One of my favorite positions was at Feeding America, where I developed partnerships with private foundations to support national hunger relief efforts. I truly enjoyed dedicating my talents to improve food security for vulnerable populations throughout the country. It’s an area of great passion for me, and I continue that service as a volunteer for Gleaners Food Bank.”

What attracted you to join the Indiana Chamber team to lead the Foundation efforts?

“Having worked for higher education and human services organizations for several years, I have become acutely aware of the role that research plays in informing solutions to broad societal problems, as well as the role that good public policy plays in developing and sustaining those solutions.

“The Indiana Chamber Foundation has a great reputation for securing research that has led to impactful change through Indiana Vision 2025, and I’m excited to dedicate my time and effort in a way that will support continued economic growth for Indiana’s future.”

What’s one of the most important skills in your role?

“One of the keys in my role is the ability to listen and communicate with diverse audiences. The best partnerships are built on trust and a shared vision for what is possible.”

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

“I try to spend as much time as possible with my husband and two young children. I love exercise and do my best thinking on long runs. I also enjoy going out with friends and listening to live music.”

If you could have dinner and conversation with any one person, who would it be and why?

“I would love to have a chance to have dinner with Michelle Obama. She is such a captivating and strong female leader, who leveraged her challenging position to inspire people to action.  It would be a true honor to spend time with and to learn from her.”

Record 125 Companies Named Best Places to Work in Indiana

Best Places to Work in Indiana

A record number of Hoosier companies – 125 in total – have been named to the 2018 Best Places to Work in Indiana list.

“We have many tremendous employers in the state, so it’s great to see more and more companies take part in this effort to evaluate their workplace cultures and gain the recognition they deserve,” offers Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.”

“These organizations come from a wide variety of industries yet they all have a common thread. They continually demonstrate to their employees through their culture, communication, career opportunities, benefits and more how much they value their contributions.”

Read the press release here.

The actual rankings for the companies will be unveiled at a May 3 awards dinner at the Indiana Convention Center (Sagamore Ballroom) in downtown Indianapolis. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

Companies were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 25 other states.

Winners were selected from four categories: small companies of between 15 and 74 U.S. employees; medium companies of between 75 and 249 U.S. employees; large companies of between 250 and 999 U.S. employees; and major companies with 1,000 or more U.S. employees. Out-of-state parent companies were eligible to participate if at least 15 full-time employees are in Indiana.

All companies that participated in the 2018 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.

Organizations on this year’s list that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 13-year history receive additional recognition.

Hall of Fame companies are those that have been named a Best Place to Work in Indiana at least 60% of the time in the program’s history; a total of 19 organizations on the 2018 list meet that criteria. Two companies – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list all 13 years of the program.

For more information on the Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

The 2018 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies listed in alphabetical order, no ranking:

*Hall of Fame companies

Small Companies (15-74 U.S. employees) (57)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Accutech Systems / Muncie
* Apex Benefits / Indianapolis
Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc.  / Indianapolis
Big City Cars / Fort Wayne
BLASTmedia / Fishers
Bloomerang / Indianapolis
BlueSky Technology Partners / Noblesville
Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) / Indianapolis
Brite Systems / Indianapolis
CENTURY 21 Scheetz / Multiple locations
CleanSlate Technology Group / Carmel
ClearObject, Inc. / Fishers
Clinical Architecture / Carmel
Community First Bank of Indiana / Kokomo
* Cripe / Indianapolis
DK Pierce and Associates / Zionsville
eimagine / Indianapolis
* FirstPerson / Indianapolis
General Insurance Services / Michigan City
Goelzer Investment Management, Inc. / Indianapolis
Greenlight Guru / Indianapolis
Grote Automotive / Fort Wayne
Guidon Design / Indianapolis
Hamilton County Tourism / Carmel
Hanapin Marketing / Bloomington
* Indesign, LLC / Indianapolis
Inovateus Solar LLC / South Bend
Insurance Management Group / Marion
JA Benefits, LLC / Bedford
Jackson Systems / Indianapolis
Lakeside Wealth Management / Chesterton
Leaf Software Solutions / Carmel
LHD Benefit Advisors / Indianapolis
mAccounting, LLC / Indianapolis
Magnum Logistics / Plainfield
Merritt Contracting / Lebanon
netlogx LLC / Indianapolis
Nix Companies / Poseyville
OfficeWorks / Indianapolis
OrthoPediatrics / Warsaw
Peepers by PeeperSpecs / Michigan City
Pondurance / Indianapolis
Probo Medical / Fishers
Public Safety Medical / Indianapolis
RESOURCE Commercial Real Estate / Indianapolis
RQAW  / Indianapolis
Sharpen Technologies Inc. / Indianapolis
Sigstr / Indianapolis
Springbuk / Indianapolis
T&W Corporation / Indianapolis
That’s Good HR / Indianapolis
The Garrett Companies / Greenwood
The Skillman Corporation / Indianapolis
University High School of Indiana / Carmel
Visit Indy / Indianapolis
VOSS Automotive / Fort Wayne
Wessler Engineering / Indianapolis

Medium Companies (75-249 U.S. employees) (30)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

American College of Education / Indianapolis
Blue Horseshoe / Carmel
Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc. / Indianapolis
CREA, LLC / Indianapolis
* E-gineering / Indianapolis
* Elements Financial Federal Credit Union / Indianapolis
Emarsys North America / Indianapolis
Envelop Group / Indianapolis
ESCO Communications / Indianapolis
First Internet Bank / Fishers
Formstack / Indianapolis
Fort Wayne Rescue Mission Ministries, Inc (DBA The Rescue Mission) / Fort Wayne
Gregory & Appel Insurance / Indianapolis
HWC Engineering, Inc. / Indianapolis
IDSolutions / Noblesville
J.C. Hart Company, Inc. / Carmel
Lessonly / Indianapolis
Merchants Bank of Indiana and PR Mortgage & Investments / Carmel
Midwest Mole / Greenfield
Morales Group, Inc. / Indianapolis
Moser Consulting / Indianapolis
Oak Street Funding LLC / Indianapolis
Parkview Wabash Hospital / Wabash
Peoples Bank SB / Munster
* Schmidt Associates, Inc. / Indianapolis
* Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) / Carmel
United Consulting Engineers / Indianapolis
United Way of Central Indiana / Indianapolis
Visiting Nurse and Hospice of the Wabash Valley / Terre Haute
Weddle Bros. Construction Co., Inc. / Bloomington

Large Companies (250-999 U.S. employees) (25)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Aluminum Trailer Company / Nappanee
American Structurepoint, Inc. / Indianapolis
Appirio, A Wipro Company / Indianapolis
Bastian Solutions / Indianapolis
Blue 449 / Indianapolis
* Blue & Co., LLC / Carmel
* Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company / Fort Wayne
Carbonite / Indianapolis
* Centier Bank / Merrillville
* FORUM Credit Union / Fishers
Hylant / Multiple locations
IPMG / West Lafayette
* Katz, Sapper & Miller / Indianapolis
Kemper CPA Group LLP / Multiple locations
* Monarch Beverage / Indianapolis
MutualBank / Muncie
Onebridge / Indianapolis
Ontario Systems / Muncie
Pacers Sports & Entertainment / Indianapolis
Parkview Huntington Hospital / Huntington
Parkview Noble Hospital / Kendallville
Parkview Whitley Hospital / Columbia City
Sikich / Indianapolis
The Kendall Group / Fort Wayne
* WestPoint Financial Group / Indianapolis

Major Companies (1,000+ U.S. employees) (13)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Aerotek / Multiple locations
Ameristar Casino + Hotel East Chicago / East Chicago
* Capital Group / Carmel
CareSource / Indianapolis
Colliers International / Indianapolis
Comcast Corporation / Indianapolis
* Edward Jones / Multiple locations
First Merchants Bank / Muncie
* Horseshoe Casino / Hammond
Kronos Incorporated / Indianapolis
Perficient / Carmel
* Salesforce / Indianapolis
Total Quality Logistics / Indianapolis

Raising the Woof: Speak Your Dog’s Language, Sort Of

87739557It appears there really is a business idea waiting to happen for just about everything.

When I first got a Shih Tzu puppy, the thought of leaving him alone while I was at work bummed me out – and probably him, too. I turned the radio on in the mornings so he wouldn’t be lonely and even left a message on our answering machine once or twice that first week (something along the lines of “mommy will be home soon!”) Ridiculous or endearing? You decide.

If only there had been a way for him to give me a verbal “paws up” that he was OK.

Now there is.

WÜF, touted as “the world’s smartest dog collar,” offers two-way audio with man’s best friend. The collar sounds pretty cool – it’s waterproof, shockproof and bite-proof. Other features include activity tracking, GPS, feeding recommendations, games and more.

I heard about this device in an Entrepreneur.com story. Here’s an excerpt:

The mutual communication magic happens using a companion app and a microphone-speaker combo embedded in the rugged collar. You’ll receive alerts on a companion app from WÜF whenever your dog is, uh-oh, “barking a lot, crying, whining, growling or whimpering unexpectedly.” And, because it would be torture to listen to all that drooly doggy talk from far away without being able to respond, the app also lets you squawk back.

… the collar monitors your dog’s overall health and activity levels, lets you remotely play with and train your dog using customizable programs and even helps you keep your dog within an invisible “geofence” perimeter around your yard.

Now I don’t have to wonder what my beloved dog does all day – I’ll simply ask him.

How Can One Little #Symbol Go So Wrong?

Okay, I’m going to vent for just a minute about the degradation of my beloved English language.

I gripe every year when a host of new “words” are added to the dictionary. I do not agree that “selfie,” “squee” or “srsly” are actual words. Srsly? SERIOUSLY, Oxford English Dictionary? If only you could see my computer screen right now, you’d see all the little red squiggly lines under these so-called “words.”

As much as I loathe that, there is one thing that drives me crazier than almost anything else (almost anything else: the blanket usage of the Oxford comma is still No. 1 on my list of ridiculous things) – and that’s the misuse of hashtags and the fact that they’re infiltrating our communication.

We’ve all done it – used a hashtag on Twitter or Facebook to not describe or sort news (the reason hashtags were created in the first place), but to instead, make yourself look like you get this whole Internet thing. “Look ma! I can write the pound sign in front of phrases! My friends will think I’m the #bee’sknees!”

As they were originally intended – to sort news or topics and make it easy for readers to follow along with those subjects on Twitter – hashtags can be quite useful. Businesses can make great use of hashtags to promote specific products or events, or news topics that are relevant to the organization’s followers.

But past that, we must draw the line. No more using hashtag phrases in conversations! No more lazy or cutesy writing! Instead of giving me 12 hashtags to try to figure out what in the world you’re talking about, dig down deep and use actual words, phrases and sentences to describe what you are doing and how it makes you feel.

You are not too good for the English language.

Here is a funny little clip from "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and special guest Justin Timberlake that personifies what might happen if we let this kind of nonsense continue.

Just Pick Up the Phone, Please!

A recent CareerBuilder survey has some interesting numbers related to generational differences in the workplace. It focuses on communication and work styles, hours on task and career paths.

The one (of several) that jumps out for me is the fact that no one — no matter their age — wants to use the telephone anymore. As some of my co-workers can attest, this really bothers me. When a 30-second direct conversation (preferably in person but the phone will suffice in many instances) can replace many, many e-mails, why do people insist on hiding behind the keyboard?

There was the time I banned my team from using e-mail at all for internal communications. Maybe a bit extreme, but the point is valid — talk to/with people, not at them.

Anyway, here are the survey results. Some are revealing, while others confirm common perceptions.

Communication Styles

While a majority of both age groups expressed a preference for face-to-face communication, evidence of a small digital divide exists. The phone, however, has fallen out of favor across the board.

How do you most like to communicate at work?

· Face-to-face: 60 percent (ages 55+); 55 percent (ages 25-34)

· E-mail/Text: 28 percent (ages 55+); 35 percent (ages 25-34)

· Phone: 12 percent (ages 55+); 10 percent (ages 25-34)

Perspectives on Career Path

Younger workers tend to view a career path with a “seize any opportunity” mindset, while older workers are more likely to place value in loyalty and putting in the years before advancement.

You should stay in a job for at least three years:

· Ages 25-34 – 53 percent
· Ages 55+ – 62 percent
 

You should stay in a job until you learn enough to move ahead:

· 25-34 – 47 percent
· Ages 55+ – 38 percent

Similar contrasts were found when looking at promotions:

You should be promoted every 2-3 years if you’re doing a good job:

· Ages 25-34 – 61 percent
· Ages 55+ – 43 percent
 

Hours Working

Younger workers are more likely to log shorter hours than workers 55 and older.

Work eight hours or less per day:

· Ages 25-34 – 64 percent
· Ages 55+ – 58 percent

Older hiring managers are more likely to arrive to work earlier than younger managers but less likely to take work home with them.

Arrive earlier than 8 a.m.:

· Ages 25-34 – 43 percent
· Ages 55+ – 53 percent

Leave by 5:00 p.m.:

· Ages 25-34 – 38 percent
· Ages 55+ – 41 percent
 

Work after leaving the office:

· Ages 25-34 – 69 percent
· Ages 55+ – 62 percent
 

Younger workers are more open to flexible work schedules than their older counterparts.
Arriving on time doesn’t matter as long as work gets done:

· Ages 25-34 – 29 percent

· Ages 55+ – 20 percent

Work Styles

Different generations take a much more distinct approach to workplace projects. Younger generations are more likely to want to plan rather than “dive right in” to a new initiative.

I like to skip the process and dive right into executing:

· Ages 25-34 – 52 percent
· Ages 55+ – 66 percent

I like to write out a detailed game plan before acting:

· Ages 25-34 – 48 percent
· Ages 55+ – 35 percent
 

However, there is one area where older and younger workers see eye-to-eye: Approximately 60 percent of both groups prefer eating alone during lunch hour, as opposed to dining with their co-workers.
 

Southwest Sees Rewards from Social Media

According to most frequent flyers I know, Southwest is the only major airline that "gets it right." Seems air travel isn’t the only concept the company understands, as it receives kudos for its social media efforts from Ragan. Here’s an excerpt, but I’d recommend you read the entire piece to see if your company can benefit from Southwest’s approach: 

On social media, behave like regular people.

Too often, brands appear stiff on social media sites. Not the case with Southwest—its tweets and status updates are brimming with personality. To that end, Moffat stresses the importance of being real on social media.

"You should sound like you’re talking to a person," she says.

One way Southwest manages to sound human is by tapping its employees to be voices for the airlines. After Southwest redesigned its blog about a year ago, it recruited employees to tell stories on the blog. The social media team chose 30 people-flight attendants, pilots, mechanics and more-armed them with Flip cams, and let the authors use their voices to tell stories.

Southwest also lets employees create local Facebook pages to connect with their communities. The company trains employees interested in managing a local site and allows them to be creative in their approach. It does check in on them to help determine which strategies work.

Moffat says it’s important for companies to foster the unique qualities of their employees when tapping their voices. The approach has paid off for Southwest. "Customers embrace our quirkiness," she says.

Understand that transparency isn’t just a buzzword.

If there’s a situation that Southwest feels its audience should know about, the company will "send out a statement and post it on Twitter and Facebook so people know we’re handling it," Moffat says. "It’s better to be proactive than reactive."

She adds that Southwest strives to respond to as many customers as possible via social media, especially when a customer has a problem or question.
 

 

Eli Lilly Finds Positive Use for Social Media

Ragan.com recently reported on Eli Lilly’s foray into the world of social media. As the article mentions, it’s a little tricky for large pharmaceutical companies, as regulations dictate some of what they can say in that space.

Eli Lilly and Co. can’t talk about drugs or diseases, nor share patient stories on its blog or Twitter account.

Talk about a communication challenge.

Despite the restrictions of the heavily regulated pharma industry, it’s managed to find its voice. During a webinar with Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Ragan Communications, Greg Kueterman shared what he’s learned about blogging and tweeting as part of the company’s corporate communications team.

Until last September, the company was invisible on social media. Strict regulations and the company’s ties to the federal government made it wary about getting involved on social media. Kueterman’s team wrestled with this question, “As a pharmaceutical company, where could we make a meaningful difference?”

Instead of worrying about what Lilly couldn’t say on social media, it concentrated on what it could…

How @LillyPad uses Twitter to spread its message

Are people really interested in following a Big Pharma company on Twitter?

“Not a lot of people are,” Kueterman concedes.

But @LillyPad hits its key audiences: legislative and staff, the media, philanthropists, and key stakeholders in Indiana, where the company is based.

So far, it has gathered more than 4,000 Twitter followers. Kueterman and his team tweet two to three times each day.

@LillyPad isn’t tweeting about drugs. Instead, the company is tweeting information about policy, sharing blog posts and news articles with stakeholders.
 

8 Things Bosses Probably Shouldn’t Say

If you manage people at your business, you know it can be tough. You want to walk that balance of being nice and garnering respect and getting the job done. While you shouldn’t be a pushover, BNET does have some recommendations on things you shouldn’t say to your employees unless you don’t mind them taping a picture of your face to a dartboard.

Here are 8 things a good leader should never say to employees:

1.“I’m in charge, so this is what we’re going to do.” Dealing with different opinions or even open dissent is challenging for any leader and can make you feel defensive and insecure.  When that happens you might be tempted to fall back on the golden rule:  She who has the gold makes the rules.  Don’t.  Everyone knows you’re in charge; saying you are instantly destroys any feelings of collaboration, teamwork, and esprit de corps.  When you can’t back up a decision with data or logic, possibly that decision isn’t the right decision.  Don’t be afraid to back down and be wrong.  Employees respect you even more when you admit you make a mistake.

2.“I have a great opportunity for you.” No, you don’t; you just want the employee to agree to take on additional work or the project no one wants.  If you say, “Mary, next week I’m assigning you to work on a new project with our best customer,” she immediately knows it’s a great opportunity.  If you say, “Mary, I have a great opportunity for you; next week I’m assigning you to sort out the problems in our warehouse,” she knows she just got stuck with a less-than-plum assignment.  Any opportunity that really is great requires no preface or setup.  Don’t sell.

3.“Man, this has been a long day.  I’ll see you guys.  It’s time for me to get out of here.” No employee wants to feel your pain. From your perspective, running a business can be stressful, draining, and overwhelming.  From the employee’s perspective you have it made because you make all the rules.  Don’t expect employee empathy; instead talk about how today was challenging and everyone pulled together, or how you really appreciate that employee’s help. Continue reading

Congress Uses over 25% of Communication for Taunting

I was sent this article and at first thought it was from The Onion. It seems a fairly in-depth study found that Congress spends a significant amount of its communication efforts simply goading one another. The Washington Post has the depressing story: 

To come up with this insight, King and two graduate students analyzed 64,033 press releases sent out by all U.S. senators from 2005 to 2007. They used a computer program to sort them into different categories, based on their content.

Three of their categories were well known to political scientists. Over the years, they have come up with a Grand Unified Theory of Congressmen, which holds that there are three primary ways a legislator expresses him- or herself.

The first is credit-claiming. That involves a legislator trumpeting his own role in securing a bridge or a dam or some other thing voters want. “ ‘The government did this thing. It’s because of me,’ ” King explained.

The second is position-taking. This is the thing that “Schoolhouse Rock” and civics classes teach you is the point of congressional speechifying. “ ‘I’m at this point on the ideological continuum,’ ” King said.

The third traditional category is “advertising.” It might be recognizing some hometown team or dignitary, a nonpartisan effort to get one’s name out there. “ ‘Look at me! I’m a member of Congress!’ ” King said.

But, he said, some news releases he and his team studied didn’t fit neatly into the three traditional categories.

“They’re a different thing. To say that the only thing members of Congress do is advertising, credit-claiming or position-taking, that’s not right,” King said. “Because sometimes, they just stand up there and taunt the other side.”

Now, it’s not earth-shaking news that legislators like to insult each other. But what King did is quantify how much they do it: more than a quarter of the time. He found taunting was most common in members whose districts were “safe” — strongly held by their party.

And the Most Annoying Winner Is …

Most surveys produce interesting results. Depending on the size of the sample, those findings may be statistically valid. Even if that is not the case, they are often, well, as I said, interesting.

Marist College (upstate New York for those not familiar with the school probably most famous around here for producing former Pacer big man Rik Smits) polled about 1,000 people to test words or phrases that are most annoying in conversation. The responses for the five phrases under consideration:

  • Whatever — 47% (55% among Midwest respondents)
  • You know — 25%
  • It is what is is — 11%
  • Anyway — 7%
  • At the end of the day — 2%

Why was this the subject of a Marist College poll? You know, it is what it is. Anyway, at the end of the day, it’s simply whatever. Wow, put those five together and we’re really talking annoying.

What words or phrases bug you the most? Let us know.