Share Your ‘Best Places’ Story

If you’ve ever been stuck in a terrible working environment, you know a good one when you find it. The difference could not be more obvious – not only how the employer treats employees, but how happy co-workers are to be working together to accomplish a singular mission.

Since the Indiana Chamber of Commerce hosts the Best Places to Work in Indiana program, we are obviously not putting ourselves in the race to be named one of the top workplaces in the state. We love shining the light on the companies that are true difference-makers in their industries; those that are innovating and making Indiana a better place for not only the products or services they provide, but for their employees to live, work and play.

Each year we highlight many of the companies on the Best Places list in BizVoice magazine. Through interviews and interactions with employers and employees, one of the themes that is evident is the personal connections happening at these companies. Employees are more than just a number. More than just a workforce.

To shine the spotlight even brighter, we’re going to be sharing some of our personal stories with you over the next three weeks as we gear up for the Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration on the evening of May 3. (You can go ahead and reserve tables or tickets here.)

And we want you to share your stories with us and with our followers on social media. If you’re interested in sharing why your workplace is special to you, please take a short video of yourself, tag us @IndianaChamber and use the hashtag #BPTWIN in your posts. We’ll retweet and share those so others can see what makes your company a great place to work.

As an example, here’s my story about why I’ve been proud to work at the Indiana Chamber for the last seven years.

Keep an eye out for more and we can’t wait to hear from you!

Don’t forget to register for the Best Places to Work in Indiana event on May 3. Find more information at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents

Throwback Thursday: Senior Staffers Still Going Strong a Decade Later

I recently came upon the Indiana Chamber’s 2003 Annual Report. In reviewing our old products, a snapshot of our web site at the time and the overall design elements in our marketing materials, I discovered a lot can change in 10 years.

However, what struck me most was what hasn’t. On this page featuring our senior staff leaders at the time, you see Darla Barnett (CFO), Jennifer Elkin (Senior VP), Mark Lawrance (Senior VP) and Jim Wagner (Director of Business Development). What’s quite intriguing is that all of those people are STILL on the Chamber staff in 2013. (The page also lists our former VP of Labor Relations George Raymond as the fifth senior staff member — who just retired from the Chamber last year.)

Hopefully this speaks to our workplace culture that our most experienced employees are with us for the long haul, and it’s a pleasure to work in their company.

And speaking of workplace culture, we look forward to honoring other Indiana companies for their efforts at the 9th Annual Best Places to Work in Indiana Awards Dinner on May 1.

Celebrating Workplace Best Practices: FORUM Exemplifies Going the Extra Mile

The 2012 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies (70 in total) will be honored at an awards dinner at the Indiana Roof Ballroom tonight. Many practices go into creating a positive work culture – one of them is fostering teamwork and fellowship, which can be achieved many ways.

For FORUM Credit Union, a first-time honoree, that often takes the shape of giving back to the local community in Hamilton County.

An internal group, FORUM Spirit, coordinates activities and the staff votes on the charity of choice for an entire year.

They once bought a van and packed it full of supplies for the Dayspring Center (a family homeless shelter). The nine FORUM board members also contribute.

“That year, the board chipped in for 12 $100 gas cards so Dayspring would have that for every month. So when you see that from the ultimate leadership, that speaks to the employees,” shares chief operating officer Jenny Budreau.

In 2012, the charity is the Agapé Therapeutic Riding Center in Cicero, which serves approximately 200 clients per week.

Offers Anne Wiseman, vice president of human resources: “Our employees really embrace it. We can make much more of an impact if we’re focused on one group a year. Also, we want our employees to embrace our charities of choice and things that we are doing as an organization because it builds camaraderie with employees – you have a common goal.”

FORUM and its employees also spring into action when needed. When the devastating tornados hit Southern Indiana in February, those working in the call center volunteered, on company time, to a local television outlet to man the phones for the station’s fundraiser.

Best Places to Work Winners Are …

In this time of primarily doom, gloom and unfortunately a little more doom, it sure is nice to be able to tell some positive business stories. Our Chamber communication staff is doing just that in putting together the Best Places to Work in Indiana issue of BizVoice magazine.

Everyone rightfully touts the line that people are what make their company what it is. Only those that back it up, however, with visible actions are the ones that develop the strongest of workplace cultures. These are the organizations that have people knocking on their door wanting to be part of the team, along with earning deep loyalty from existing associates.

The 70 companies being honored at the May 5 awards dinner have been identified. We’ve found businesses that go beyond just generous benefits and flexible work arrangements. Leadership shows it cares, with employees responding with strong productivity and commitment. Leading the way at the top of the small/medium and large company lists are … you didn’t really think I was going to tell, did you?

You’ll need to come to the dinner or catch the BizVoice, debuting at the end of the May 5 event, for the actual rankings. All the companies, however, are winners. Congratulations to them — and thanks for providing us some good news.