Indiana Workforce Recovery Making Progress

The opioid epidemic impacting many parts of Indiana and our country did not happen overnight. The solutions won’t be immediate, either, but the Indiana Workforce Recovery effort of the Indiana Chamber and the Wellness Council of Indiana is moving forward.

The initiative, announced earlier this year in partnership with the state, is in place to help address the effects of drug use in the workplace. Among the recent and ongoing steps for Indiana Workforce Recovery:

  • Allyson Blandford

    Allyson Blandford

    Project manager Allyson Blandford is on board to guide the day-to-day activities

  • More than 30 key stakeholder meetings have taken place to identify potential partners and align Indiana Workforce Recovery programs with other initiatives
  • Funding discussions continue with a variety of local, state and national organizations
  • Initial actions that employers can take today have been released

Indiana Workforce Recovery is focused on the workplace, disseminating best practices that support prevention, early identification, treatment and recovery. The goals include helping to educate employers and reduce the stigma around substance abuse disorder.

Among the upcoming actions:

  • Convening sessions for employers in conjunction with the state’s Family and Social Services Administration. Bloomington, Greenwood, Fort Wayne, Terre Haute and Lafayette will be the initial locations. Look for details soon
  • Establishment of a peer review panel to evaluate effectiveness of toolkits and other support initiatives
  • Addition of a Mental Health First Aid training pre-conference to the 2018 Indiana Health and Wellness Summit, which will also have a session on substance use disorder in the workplace

The Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine will feature an Indiana Workforce Recovery update in its September-October issue.

Learn more from Blandford at (317) 264-2166 or ablandford@indianachamber.com.

Chamber Staff Comings and Goings

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is just a few years away from celebrating 100 years (the organization was founded in 1922). Over nearly a century, there have been countless staff changes and evolutions to help move the organization forward.

Janet Boston

Today, we say “thank you and farewell” to Janet Boston, who is retiring as executive director of the Indiana INTERNnet program, which is managed by the Indiana Chamber. Boston has been in the role for seven years and caps off an outstanding career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Read more about Boston’s impact with the organization here. The Indiana Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet Board sent Boston out in style – with a luncheon and office celebration, and presented her with a custom necklace in appreciation of her taking the program to new heights.

Mark Lawrance, who has most recently been advocating in the economic development and technology areas, will replace Boston as interim executive director of Indiana INTERNnet, starting June 1. Lawrance will be retiring later this year and is expected to stay in the interim role until the fall.

Additionally, as previously announced, the Indiana Chamber has partnered with the Wellness Council of Indiana and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to help combat the state’s opioid epidemic. The new Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative is a joint effort among the groups and is led by Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council. The initiative provides employers with resources and guidance on how to help their employees who are impacted by the opioid epidemic. Allyson Blandford has come on board at the Wellness Council to support the initiative as project manager.

Also at the Wellness Council, Madie Newman has joined as program coordinator for the Indiana Healthy Communities initiative. The role has been created to support the organization in helping communities coordinate wellness efforts, ensuring healthier citizens and acting as a draw for economic development opportunities.

Abbi Espe rounds out our membership team. She was hired this spring as the manager of member services for northeastern Indiana and will focus on bringing new companies into the fold.

On the education front, the grant-funded college and career readiness position, held by Shelley Huffman, ends today. Lobbyist Caryl Auslander, who handled education and workforce matters, has left for new endeavors.

Greg Ellis, vice president of energy and environmental policy, is now responsible for federal lobbying. Members of the Indiana Chamber’s advocacy team are assuming Auslander and Lawrance’s other policy committee duties on a temporary basis until new staff is hired later this summer.

We wish everyone well and good luck in their future activities and look forward to the contributions of our new team members to continue the important work and mission of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of Indiana and their enterprises.”

For our complete staff listing, visit the web site at: https://www.indianachamber.com/about/staff-listing/

Taking a Wellness Inventory

Many organizations attempt to execute an operating plan for workplace wellness without the knowledge of what they even have to offer. There is no need to build duplicate programs or commit limited resources to something that already is working well!

Take inventory of your current workplace wellness programs to help educate you and your champions about what is already occurring. Look for programs that are both employer-sponsored and more “grassroots” programs that have developed organically and informally. Consider any policies (i.e. smoke-free campus) or environmental characteristics (i.e. safe/accessible stairways) that promote overall well-being.

Once you have a good understanding of the programs, efforts and resources your workplace already has, reflect on the following questions:

  • What has made these programs successful?
  • What can we learn so we can build on their success?
  • How do we keep momentum going?
  • How will we evaluate improvements?

Spend the time to supplement other programs that support your wellness mission – and focus more on initiatives that go beyond physical wellness. Consider career development programs, financial wellness, support for a community project and simply creating a way to get to know fellow employees in a more social way. Inventories should take place at least once a year.

One of the key AchieveWELL steps to managing a successful initiative is creating a supportive environment. Knowing your inventory and keeping up to date on that inventory is a critical success factor. Use the Wellness Inventory developed by the Wellness Council of Indiana to make certain you are promoting everything that is already occurring at work.

Indiana Chamber, Wellness Council Leading the Way for Employers on Battling Opioid Epidemic

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to “cultivate a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.” And as an organization that partners with 25,000 members and investors (representing over four million Hoosiers), we’re well-suited to lead on critical topics to employers and employees in the state.

That’s why the Indiana Chamber and the Wellness Council of Indiana are joining forces with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, one of the most challenging and devastating issues of our time.

The Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative, announced today to the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, is being convened to educate and guide employers to:

  • offer health benefits that provide coverage for substance abuse disorders;
  • expand drug testing to include prescription drugs;
  • provide effective employee assistance, wellness and work-life programs that include information and services related to substances abuse prevention, treatment and return to work issues; and
  • train managers to recognize and respond to substance abuse issues.

“The workplace has long been a provider of the resources and support that help Hoosiers enhance their quality of life,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Today, employers can and need to be part of the solution to this epidemic. By bringing together the required resources, our goal is to help deliver the information and training to help them do just that.”

Jennifer Pferrer and Kevin Brinegar announce the initiative.

Specific programs will be unveiled as they are developed. Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council of Indiana (part of the Indiana Chamber since 2011) will lead the combined effort of the two organizations.

Gov. Holcomb has made attacking the drug epidemic one of the five pillars of his agenda.

“The effects of Indiana’s opioid epidemic are far-reaching and devastating to individual Hoosiers, families, communities and our economy,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It will take all of us working together to slow down and reverse this addiction crisis. I commend the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana for joining forces to launch this new initiative that will help our state’s employers, who are directly impacted by the opioid epidemic.”

Find the full press release here and a fact sheet on the workforce impacts of the epidemic at www.indianachamber.com/opioids. Follow us on social media for updates and more information about the initiative.

It Was a Very Good Year

Out with the old and in with the new?

Not at the Indiana Chamber, where each year brings a mix of familiar membership offerings and additional opportunities to maximize your investment. All businesses – and their needs – are different. That’s why you can choose from a multitude of resources and benefits.

Revisit 2017 with a brief (though not comprehensive) recap of highlights:

  • Legislative advocacy: The Chamber’s policy work in 2017 yielded a return on investment of $1.575 billion for Hoosier businesses (or $587 per employee). Among many legislative victories were a long-term road funding plan, expanding the state’s pre-kindergarten program, and several technology and innovation advances.
  • Preparing for 2018: The second annual Indiana Technology & Innovation Policy Summit on December 1 set the stage for the upcoming General Assembly
  •  session. Discussions centered on enhancing the state’s tax and business climate, software-as-a-service, certified technology parks, expanding investment capital, autonomous vehicles and data centers.
  • Indiana Vision 2025: The Chamber’s long-range economic development plan includes a biannual Report Card comparing the 50 states in 62 metrics related to 36 goals (grouped by four drivers: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture). The Chamber conducted 11 statewide regional forums – expanding the conversations to even more areas than in the past – to discuss the results, obtain local analysis and share best practices.

Business Education and Events: Did you take advantage of the 50-plus training opportunities or variety of regulatory compliance guides? Many members turn to these resources to ensure their staff is trained and protect their business from non-compliance fines!

Ann Compton

Annual gatherings collectively draw thousands. Among them were the Safety and Health Conference and Expo (the largest event of its kind in the state), Human Resources Conference and Expo and Legislative Dinner (former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton shared personal stories and an optimistic perspective about our country’s future).

An extraordinary 100 workplaces celebrated their success at the 2017 Best Places to Work in Indiana Awards Dinner. Mark your calendar for the 13th annual event on May 3, 2018!

NFL legend Peyton Manning entertained 2,000-plus attendees at the Chamber’s 28th Annual Awards Dinner on November 7. Register today for the 29th Annual Awards Dinner on November 13.

Stretch

Affiliate programs: The Wellness Council of Indiana recognized 19 organizations with AchieveWell designations (part of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation) and continued to grow its Indiana Healthy Community Initiative.

Indiana INTERNnet, a free high-tech and high-touch internship matching service, filled 909 internships (up from 726 last year!) and broadened its focus with a pilot program aimed at high school students. The annual IMPACT Awards luncheon, which recognizes internship excellence, drew a record number of nominations for its February 2018 celebration.

Indiana Chamber web site

Inside the Chamber: Our new web site is more streamlined and user friendly. In addition, the site is responsive – you can access on your tablet or smart phone any page or post you can view on your desktop. Another highlight is the Member Benefits page, now organized in four key areas: advocacy, compliance and information, savings and visibility.

The EchoChamber podcast features informal discussions with Indiana leaders in business, education, technology, politics and much more. Most recently, Blair Milo, Indiana’s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, discusses state efforts to meet employer needs. Stay tuned for what’s coming and check out the archives.

Wrap up the year by celebrating Indiana’s manufacturing legacy in the January-February issue of BizVoice® magazine. We’ll feature companies and stories from across the state as we explore “Manufacturing: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” It will be available online and in the mail the last week of December.

Hoosiers Need More Zzzzzzzzs (Employers Can Help)

Sleepy worker

Ten years ago, sleep was not one of my top priorities.

I slept whenever I wanted (outside of my work hours). It was glorious.

Now that I’m a parent of two small children and come home to chores and tasks and homework and all the things you have to squeeze in to a 24-hour period (along with any sort of relaxation at the end of the day … Netflix on the couch, anyone?), sleep is the thing that gets squeezed out of my schedule.

I know skimping on sleep is not a healthy habit and that I need to make it more of a priority. But, like other busy people, I have a lot of priorities. What’s the motivation for more sleep?

It turns out I’m not the only Hoosier with this particular challenge. A recent article in the Indianapolis Star reports that more than 38% of Hoosiers say they don’t get the recommended amount of sleep per night (at least seven hours).

The article’s headline claims Indiana is the 8th most tired state. While we beat out Hawaiians (who came in last), the residents of South Dakota are seemingly very well rested.

Why should employers care if their employees aren’t prioritizing their rest?

Obviously, sleepy employees make for less productive employees. That’s not surprising.

What is surprising is how much the unrested employees might cost employers. The National Safety Council this week revealed a cost calculator to show the impact of sleepy employees.

Other concerns for employers include health care-related costs – from paying more over time for employees with sleep disorders who require medicine or machinery to get their required rest to the correlation to Indiana’s obesity rate, which can impact sleep quality. All of this can cost employers in terms of health care expenses and absenteeism issues.

So what is an employer to do? For one, the Wellness Council of Indiana offers employers a road map to implementing wellness programs in the workplace. Whether or not your wellness game plan directly targets the sleep of your employees, you can take steps to encourage your employers to eat, move and sleep better. Here are a number of resources you might find useful, including this article on sleep habits; one on workplace fatigue risk management; and this newsletter focusing on the dangers of insomnia and suggestions for how to deal with the condition.

You can also simply ask your employees if they feel well-rested and if there is any other way you can motivate them to get better rest. Perhaps an internal policy change regarding work hours or flexible scheduling could make a bigger impact than you realize. Even encouraging employees to make sure they take advantage of their vacation time could help ensure rested, rejuvenated employees who are ready to work.

What other ideas do you have for encouraging employees to get more rest (at home)?

Brew Up a Formula for Wellness at Annual Summit (Oct. 3-4)

Learn how to combine five key factors to create the perfect Formula for Wellness at your organization by attending the Indiana Health and Wellness Summit on October 3-4, presented in partnership by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana (WCI).

“It will hit on all elements of wellness: mental, physical, purpose, community and financial,” remarks WCI executive director Jennifer Pferrer. “It’s important that purpose is a focus of the conversation. Connecting employees to purpose allows them to be more balanced in their well-being and more engaged in the workplace.”

The event, which is Indiana’s largest gathering of workplace wellness professionals, will take place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. Topics include legal updates, engaging the community, using data technology, exploring food deserts and more.

Additional highlights:

Keynote presentation: Changing the World Through Food by chef, author and food equity advocate Michel Nischan (opening general session)

Keynote presentation: Adding More Meaningful Purpose to our Communities Through Sharing Acts of Kindness by former media executive and best-selling author Laura Schroff (morning general session: October 4)

Keynote speaker: Bryan Mills, Alliance for a Healthier Indiana and president and CEO of Community Health Network

Choose Your Own (Wellness) Adventure! A fast-paced session in which attendees can hear four different presenters speak on four topics of their choice.

AchieveWELL Awards Luncheon honoring Three-, Four- and Five-star organizations that have participated in the WCI’s comprehensive assessment and evaluation.

“The mission of the Wellness Council is really built around the wellness conversation around the state and bringing resources together to help organizations learn from each other. The Wellness Summit is a great example of that,” Pferrer adds. “Wellness isn’t a one-time event; it’s a year-round engagement. We’ll be taking what we hear at the Wellness Summit and facilitating discussions through 2018 until next year’s program.”

Register online at www.IndianaWellnessSummit.com or contact Nick at (800) 824-6885.

Delta Dental of Indiana is the presenting sponsor. Platinum sponsors are Gibson, OurHealth and Washington National. Gold sponsors: Apex Benefits and Dental Health Options by Health Resources, Inc. Silver sponsors: Complete Wellness Solutions, Hancock Health, Indiana Vein Specialists, IU School of Public Health – Bloomington, NovoNordisk, PHP and R2 FIT.

It’s Time to Redefine Wellness

chuck2

The Wellness Council of Indiana’s Chuck Gillespie recently had a column featured in the new U.S. Chamber Foundation report, “Healthy Returns: The Value of Investing in Community Health.”

A simple Internet search can show why the wellness industry is at a crossroads. In today’s market, the definition of “wellness” is based more on which classification best fits a person’s specific need, want, or ability, or a vendor’s specific product or service. Wellness is sometimes tied to chronic disease management, fitness, nutrition, weight loss, clinical health services, tobacco use, and behavioral therapy just to name a few. However, workplaces and communities that use an economics-based approach to wellness have proven to be the most successful at creating a culture of health and well-being. Read more in the report on page 16.

 

Don’t Overlook Financial Freedom; Help Available

?????????????????Despite Indiana’s less-than-exemplary health status (too much obesity and smoking), financial wellness is a factor that cannot be overlooked. Primerica is one of many organizations trying to make a difference through employee education.

Chase Eaton has been a regional vice president for the organization in the Indianapolis area for the past nine years. (During that time, he has also been a member of the Indiana Pacers’ Power Pack — that high-flying dunk team that entertains fans during each home game.)

Eaton says there are two parts to the Primerica plan for businesses:

  1. Group presentations that teach employees basic money concepts such as the Rule of 72, debt stacking (how to pay down debts faster), efficient budgeting, saving for retirement and more.
  2. Individual sessions in which associates can develop, with a coach, a personalized financial game plan. Outcomes include a debt freedom date, financial independence number (amount of savings needed to retire), itemized budget worksheet and comprehensive insurance review.

Contact Eaton to learn more.

The Wellness Council of Indiana focuses on the financial side of wellness as part of its work with organizations throughout the state. Membership is an excellent first step to establishing an overall culture of wellness.

Wellness Council Program a Real STAR

Five-Star-150x150Do you need any additional evidence that workplace wellness and its importance are here to stay? Digest this fact: In 2014, the number of companies completing a level of the Wellness Council of Indiana’s AchieveWELL program exceeded the total of the previous five years combined.

AchieveWELL was recognized as a winner (for innovative membership program) recently in the Indiana Society of Association Executives’ STAR awards program. The Wellness Council has been a part of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce since 2011.

The program provides a blueprint and a strategy for implementing a successful wellness initiative in the workplace. It was developed to assist employers in creating a corporate culture that encourages and supports employee health through worksite wellness.

AcheiveWELL’s process is proven to reduce the costly and time-consuming mistakes many internal wellness committees make when attempting to deliver wellness at work. It promotes productivity, presenteeism and engagement at work.

There are three different levels in the AchieveWELL program (three star, four star level and five star l). Each level has goals and programs for organizations to promote wellness. Companies are provided with tools, templates and personal coaching to help them comply with the established criteria for delivering a comprehensive and consistent workplace wellness initiative. Once one level is completed, a company may advance to the next level.

Check it out online and connect with the Wellness Council of Indiana to learn how your organization can benefit.