Two Earn Honor as HR Professionals of the Year

Sometimes two is better than one and that’s especially true when it comes to recognizing two long-time leaders in the field of human resources with one of the industry’s top honors.

On Wednesday, Cari L. Kline of Grundfos Americas Corporation (Indianapolis) and Kendra L. Vanzo of Old National Bank (Evansville) were named the 2017 Ogletree Deakins Human Resources Professionals of the Year during the Indiana Chamber’s 53rd Annual Human Resources Conference & Expo in Indianapolis.

Kline and Vanzo received the honor that is given annually to a human resources professional that provides lasting impact through the implementation of best practices, organization design and effectiveness and accomplishment of the company’s strategic direction.

This is only the second time the award has been bestowed upon two deserving individuals; the first was in 2015.

Also honored at the luncheon and receiving the Award of Excellence was Lori L. Gooding, vice president of human resources for Buckingham Companies (Indianapolis).

Cari L. Kline

Cari L. Kline
Kline is regional director of human resources, Americas operations for Grundfos Americas Corporation and is based in Indianapolis. Grundfos is a $4.5 billion company and global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technology, with headquarters in Denmark.

After joining Grundfos in 2012 as human resources director for the company’s Peerless Pump business unit in Indianapolis, she was promoted into her current position and oversees human resources for all of the Grundfos operations facilities in North and South America. As a strategic business partner, Kline provides leadership on a broad range of issues and has implemented key initiatives throughout the company’s Americas operations.

“I am flattered to be honored (with the award),” Kline adds. “I think HR is one of the most unique and challenging professions in today’s business environment. The variety of opportunities and issues that present themselves – sometimes even in a single day – can be astonishing and I find that hugely motivating. I learned many years ago to stop saying, ‘Now I have seen it all!’”

Kline holds an MBA from Ball State University and an undergraduate degree from Purdue University.

Kendra L. Vanzo

Kendra L. Vanzo
Vanzo, executive vice president of associate engagement and integration for Old National Bank, has been with the company since 1994. Old National Bank has $14.9 billion in assets and more than 200 branches in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Illinois.

Old National Bank President and CEO Bob Jones nominated Vanzo for the award. His nomination letter highlights several initiatives in the past year that Vanzo led for the company, including the largest merger in the company’s history. She also implemented a system to simplify training and career development, and she is credited for spearheading the creation of an employer-sponsored health clinic for associates and families.

In addition, Vanzo leads the company’s mission to hire and retain diverse individuals, including active military, veterans and individuals with disabilities.

She credits her team and the values at Old National Bank for her honor.

“This recognition is reflective of the contributions of our entire HR team and the people-first, ethical culture of Old National. I am humbled and honored to accept it on behalf of our HR team and company,” Vanzo offers.

She received an MBA from the University of Southern Indiana and her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois.

How Will the 2016 Elections Impact Labor and Employment Policy?

UWe’re all still recalibrating after last Tuesday’s election results. While the citizenry ponders what this means for the country and the issues dear to us, the impact on labor and employment policy is a top consideration for business-focused organizations like ours.

Harold P. Coxson of the law firm Ogletree Deakins articulated some thoughts in a blog post just after election night:

What do last night’s election results mean for labor and employment policy? In the first place, it means that Republicans will control the White House and both the House and Senate.

For another, it means that President-elect Trump will select the candidate for the current vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as seats on the 12 federal circuit courts, only four of which remain under the control of judges appointed by Republican presidents.

It also means that President-elect Trump will fill the two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board with two Republicans, thus switching majority control of the agency on his first days in office. The NLRB’s record of historic reversals of long-established labor law precedent in areas such as joint-employment, independent contractors, waivers of class and collective actions in arbitration agreements, “ambush” union elections and micro bargaining units will, over time, be reversed.

It means the appointment of other key policy positions throughout the federal labor agencies, including the Secretary of Labor, Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. They, in turn, will be expected to roll back or recall many of the controversial labor and employment regulations, such as the recently issued Part 541 overtime regulation, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (government contractor “blacklisting”) executive order and implementing regulations, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act’s revised “persuader activity” regulations.

The election results also represent an opportunity for Congress to promulgate regulations and pass legislation that would represent responsible immigration policy on a path to earned legalization of undocumented workers and that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

As a result of last night’s elections, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will likely remain with Sen. Alexander (R-TN) rather than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The House Education and the Workforce Committee will be chaired by Rep. Virginia Fox (R- NC) with Rep. Bobby Scott (D- VA) likely to remain as Ranking Democrat.

Whether the election results will bring about greater bipartisanship and less political acrimony and gridlock remains to be seen. However, with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, those angry voters who complained that “nothing ever gets done in Washington” will expect better.

KAR Auction Services Exec Named 2016 HR Pro of the Year

LisaPriceThe Indiana Chamber of Commerce announced today the 2016 recipient of the Ogletree Deakins Human Resources Professional of the Year award. Lisa Price, executive vice president of human resources at KAR Auction Services in Carmel, was honored during a luncheon at the 52nd Annual Human Resources Conference & Expo at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.

The HR Professional of the Year award is a statewide recognition given annually to those that provide lasting impact through the implementation of best practices, organization design and effectiveness and accomplishment of the company’s strategic direction.

“Lisa is instrumental in furthering KAR’s overall goal of bringing our various subsidiary companies together under one unified banner and spearheading a common set of employee policies, practices and organizational structure,” praises Don Gottwald, chief operating officer at KAR Auction Services.

“The fact that Lisa is an experienced employment attorney enhances her already stellar HR skillset and makes her invaluable to furthering KAR’s ‘One Company’ vision.”

In 2013, Price switched lanes from exclusively being KAR’s in-house employment counsel to her current human resources position.

Knowledge Transfer: Taking the Time to Get It Right

Anita-BuntenEDITOR’S NOTE: Anita Bunten was one of two winners of the 2015 Ogletree Deakins Human Resources Professional of the Year award. Nominations are open for the 2016 award through March 4.

What is knowledge transfer? How important is it? If you have been a part of managing talent in your company for any period of time, you have heard this term. We all talk about it and think it is important, but do we know what it is and are we effective at facilitating it in our companies?

I, like many others, have used this term for several years. I have sat with our company leaders and discussed knowledge transfer, but not until I actually began to lay out a knowledge transfer plan for my own position did I realize how overwhelming it can be to actually be a part of true knowledge transfer.

We know how important it is to document everything we do – whether it is benefit plans, recruiting activities, employee relations or employee development. But our documentation does not generally include all of the knowledge that we as talent management professionals and leaders have retained while diligently working to support our company’s goals and take care of our company’s employees.

I realized very quickly as I put an onboarding plan together for someone to succeed me that while we document, there was a significant amount of historical “head” knowledge that was not documented. Some may have been documented but then purged over time. Knowledge transfer in its purest form is the “head” knowledge that we may share from time to time, but is not written or stored where others can easily access and/or use the information.

This knowledge is vital for our organizations, the staff who continue after we leave and our successors to continue the legacies and programs we leave behind. While change will come, this knowledge will assist others in making change decisions with a complete picture of why programs, policies and benefits are designed and set up as they are today.

So you may ask: How do you transfer this “head” knowledge to someone else? You could begin by manually recording every piece of information you can pull out of your brain storage bins. Of course, this would probably take you many months to actually put all of this information in a document. More than likely, you would have multiple documents and it would be difficult for someone in the future to truly absorb all that you had written. This also is probably not the most effective way because you are only pulling information out as you try to think back over time as to what might be important.

Another option is to hire someone to transcribe all of your thoughts. You can then review and edit what has been transcribed. After you spend an inordinate amount of time talking, reading and editing, you will still just have a large number of documents that will be difficult for anyone to truly absorb.

One important factor is missing in the two options listed above. That factor is you. While you may have tried to document everything you could possibly recall, there has not been any interaction with you to fully understand your limitless “head” knowledge. While documentation is extremely important, documentation does not provide the full understanding of why programs, policies and benefits are designed as they are today. You can also not effectively share “soft knowledge” in documents. Soft knowledge addresses the people, relationships, culture, land mines and so much more that can (and maybe should) only be shared in face- to-face conversations.

Given the above, I believe there are two important steps to effectively complete knowledge transfer. First, you need to make a list of all knowledge areas that are pertinent for someone succeeding you. This should not be a short list of categories, but a detailed list of anything and everything included in your responsibilities. While some items may not seem that important, the person new to your position does not want to be caught by surprise or learn at a later date that something fell through the cracks because you did not put it on this very important list. Examples of what you might consider minor could be an annual company cookout, how you handle birthdays for staff, do have you special reports you use periodically, how your company handles weather emergencies and the list goes on.

Second, you need to spend a significant amount of time with your successor, talking through all of the items on the list. I know your first question is how to do this when the overlap time from you leaving and your successor starting is often 30 days or less. It probably is not possible if you are leaving to accept another position or you are being asked to leave the organization. However, if you are retiring or leaving the organization in a situation where it is possible, you should make sure you give enough advance notice so that you have three to four months of overlap.

The first obstacle to this overlap will be your own personal fear of loss of ownership. This is an unfounded fear. If you are choosing to leave the organization and you want your legacy and passion for the employees to continue, it is essential that you be willing to share freely all of your “head” knowledge. As you take a successor through a well-designed onboarding program of all of your responsibilities, you will find that you will have the opportunity to share all of the historical information and nuances only you can effectively give. As I have continued to work with my successor, I cannot count the number of times I have said, “Let me give you a history lesson before we go into the detail,” or “let me talk with you about how you can effectively work with this person or through this type of situation in our company.”

The second obstacle is fear of sharing too early with your management your plans to leave. I can clearly relate to this because this was my greatest fear. I did not want my colleagues to think I was coasting. I did not want to be left out of future plan discussions. The list goes on, but if you plan to be an outstanding leader until you leave your company, your sense of responsibility and passion for your legacy and company employees require you to effectively plan for your departure and to give your management the time and opportunity to find a suitable replacement in order to allow the knowledge transfer to occur.

The third obstacle to this overlap will be cost. Your company may say that the overlapping salaries are too costly. I would challenge your management by saying the cost of not having a smooth transition with sufficient knowledge transfer will be more costly over time than three or four months of overlapping salary.

In the last three years, I have seen several high-level key employees leave our company. In one situation, the individual only gave about one months’ notice. While this individual left all of their paper and electronic records, they did not spend any time with their successor before they left. Even though the successor came from within our company, the successor has struggled because of the lack of “head” knowledge transfer and that very important soft knowledge.

In my situation, I will have three-and-a-half months to transfer “head” knowledge, including soft knowledge, to my successor. This is even more critical since my successor has come from outside the company. This overlap time has been invaluable to allow the individual the luxury of shadowing me and transitioning into the role while I am still here to provide the soft knowledge regarding people, relationships, culture, land mines and so much more that can only be shared in face-to-face conversations.

This type of knowledge transfer may not be as important if your company has a fully-developed succession plan for every position. My experience suggests to me that as hard as we try to have good succession plans, there are still transition periods and knowledge transfer periods for hand-picked successors, and there will be times when a successor is not in place at the time a transition is needed.

The effective transfer of “head” knowledge, including soft knowledge, is not just for our positions, but all positions in our companies. It is critical for continued and ongoing success of our companies. I encourage you to refine and/or implement plans within your companies to have effective knowledge transfer.

Anita R. Bunten is executive director of talent management at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Company (IFBI). She has spent her entire 40-year human resources career at the company. The HR Professional of the Year award is a statewide recognition given annually to those that provide lasting impact through the implementation of best practices, organization design and effectiveness and accomplishment of the company’s strategic direction. 

Chamber Offers Triple Crown of Compliance Books

HThe Kentucky Derby is fast approaching, and it will likely be another great event — especially for all those in the Kentuckiana area who love a good time. But if you’re tired of the horse race of trying to keep up with regulations and the myriad issues employers and human resources departments must keep tabs on, you’re not alone.

The Indiana Chamber is offering three new books this spring that can help you pace the field.

Authored by attorneys at Ogletree Deakins, The Immigration Guide for Indiana Employers – Fifth Edition (formerly known as the Indiana Guide to Hiring and Managing Foreign Employees) is currently at the printer and headed toward the finish line. The book covers what employers need to know when hiring foreign workers. Some of the topics updated in this edition include:

  • temporary work visa sections: H-1B professionals and L-1 intracompany transfers;
  • Form I-9 completion and compliance;
  • information about President Obama’s pending executive order on immigration and what it means for employers;
  • Indiana-specific E-Verify requirements for certain employers; and
  • handling site visits from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Fraud Detection Unit.

Ogletree has also authored a brand new title: Indiana Guide to Retaliation Claims. This ePub (online publication) features over 40 pages of instruction and case information that will help your company prepare against retaliation and whistleblower claims. Making a small investment in this guide can help prevent your company from becoming the next cautionary tale. This book is scheduled to be released later this month, but you can place your order now.

Additionally, the Performance Appraisal Handbook – Second Edition can help you effectively conduct appraisals on a regular basis. Authored by attorneys from Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, this book is ideal for HR professionals and small business owners who don’t want to take unnecessary chances in evaluating their employees. This book is slated for May publication.

You can order these respective guides via their web pages or by calling (800) 824-6885.

HR: Flex Work Environments Can Benefit All — and Nominate Your HR Pro of 2014

Jill Lehman, the vice president of administration and chief people officer for Muncie-based Ontario Systems, was the 2013 Ogletree Deakins Human Resources Professional of the Year. She penned a web exclusive column for BizVoice about the benefits of a flex work environment.

(NOTE: Nominations for the 2014 award are being accepted through March 3. The award will be presented April 30 at the Indiana Chamber’s 50th Annual Human Resources Conference. Additional details and nomination form are available here.)

Lehman writes:

We all make New Year resolutions, usually to lose weight, clean out the attic or something else of the same ilk. But this year, I propose we consider a business resolution geared toward increased engagement, retention and productivity among employees.

All three can be achieved at once with a more flexible work environment; that is, giving your staff more control over their work time and schedules. That might be a scary thought, but I assure you the advantages of the practice outweigh the drawbacks for many businesses.

Workplace flexibility makes the most sense for executives who believe in three principles:
1)    Creativity, innovative spirit and quality are more important than location
2)    Associates need to be energized, engaged and successful both at work and at home
3)    Energy leads to improved morale, increased productivity, better service and reduced turnover

Traditionally, flex has meant variable hours or part-time work. But today, we’ve evolved to discussing an effective workplace where realistic work patterns are agreed upon by employers and employees in an effort to meet the needs of both. Three approaches are typically considered:

Formal Flex.  Formal work arrangements (paid time off, leave of absence, transitional schedules and full-time telework, for example) tracked and managed by supervisors and human resources, create a framework for employees to arrange their own schedule.

Informal Flex.  Ensuring efficiency without formal arrangements between associates and supervisors might include slight modifications to work hours or location.

Occasional Flex.  Occasional, brief flex time as life happens, starting with an associate’s timely request to their supervisor to remain at home with good cause. Each approach has a similar set of risks and obstacles: Will individuals abuse the system and make life harder for others in the organization? Will business be disrupted? Will there be a perception of favoritism attributed to supervisors? Admittedly, some operations simply may not be suited to broad approach flex work arrangements. Weighing the risk and reward is an important exercise.

But when you consider that most workers spend more time at their job than with their family, it’s a risk worth exploring. Workplace flexibility should be designed to create an environment recognizing that commitment, while supporting associates as they balance their work and personal lives.

For more information on workplace flexibility, organizations such as World at Work, the Society of Human Resources and The Families and Work Institute have additional information including surveys and guidance on crafting programs.

FMLA: Are You Eligible?

It's been 20 years since the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed by President Clinton and since then many changes have been implemented, creating headaches and frustration for both employers and employees.

Some have even been forced to choose between their family and their jobs because they were not aware of new regulations or did not read the “fine print.”

FMLA is supposed to give a full-time employee a sense of job security when they need to take an extended leave of absence. Their leave can be due to a birth or adoption of a child, personal or family medical emergencies, or a health condition. Leave can be up to 12 weeks during a 12-month period and is generally unpaid.

However, the confusing part is knowing whether or not you are eligible. New regulations are constantly being added to FMLA and are causing many headaches for those trying to qualify. Just a few months ago, new regulations went into effect for military leave and flight crew eligibility.

FMLA is not just a hassle for employees but for the employer as well. Businesses who employ less than 50 people do not qualify for FMLA.

For employees, they must meet a few requirements such as working for their covered employer for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours before their leave. When applying for a job, you must be aware of how many employees there are because, again, if there are less than 50 your employer is not qualified for FMLA and neither are you.

If you and your employer qualify for FMLA, then you will continue to receive any benefits — such as health insurance coverage — while on leave. Upon returning to work, you will retain the same rate of pay before you took leave as well as your same position. Note that you must be a full-time employee to qualify.

Aside from all the headaches, FMLA is the most widely used leave program. Human resource professionals need to stay on top of these changes to best serve their employees. Every year, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce partners with Ogletree Deakins to provide HR professionals and small business owners with information on the FMLA, including seminars and publications. In fact, our upcoming Employee Benefits seminar in September will educate you about new changes and allow you to ask important questions.