HR Council talks employee skill-building and wellness
By Sarah Einselen
The county HR Council met for the final time this year at Ohio Mutual Insurance Group in Bucyrus to discuss what was being done in the participating companies to encourage skill-building and educational development among its employees. The council also discussed how they were encouraging employees to live more healthy lifestyles.
Most of the human resources representatives in attendance said their companies used a combination of individual and group on-the-job training, written manuals and webinars/video conferences. Software providers and state business organizations were the main webinar sources that the HR representatives noted, though those in larger corporations were able to access training webinars through their corporate offices. One woman mentioned that the company where she’d previously worked encouraged its employees to join Toastmasters, too.
Some of the companies also coordinate with NC State College and Pioneer Career and Technical Center to hire new people already trained on the equipment or computer systems in question.
A hurdle faced in some on-the-job training experiences was that longtime employees knew their job so well, it was difficult for them to bring it back down to a beginner’s level and explain every single step included in a task. Juanita Carter of Carter Machine and Ruth Karl of Larry M Karl Trucking had both experienced this. Karl said she was in the habit of observing training sessions in order to be able to get a feel for the jobs being taught and then to point out steps or tips that she’d seen in previous training sessions but were missed this time around.
Some companies offered college tuition assistance in addition to other opportunities for training, but not all. In some companies it has been difficult to retain employees for the required duration after they had availed themselves of the tuition assistance. At least one company discontinued offering tuition assistance because of such abuse of the offering.
Mike Horvath, OMIG vice president of human resources, noted that his company used a combination of on-the-job technical training, tuition assistance and internal leadership development to train new employees, since most people hired didn’t plan on a career in insurance. “One of our values statements is ‘keep your skills current’,” he said, so the company offers in-house or online classes teaching leadership skills like conflict resolution and interpersonal skills.
After discussing employee educational development, the council turned to the question of how to encourage wellness and healthy lifestyles. Ruth Vogel of C.E. White in New Washington said that company worked with its insurance provider, Anthem, to coordinate wellness challenges and health fairs. The current challenge is to walk for a total of sixty hours over three months and the next one is to maintain one’s current weight over the holidays.
Each activity is oriented toward participation, not judging the healthiness of anyone’s lifestyle, and participation has been “phenomenal,” Vogel said. Employee participation at the most recent health fair reached 75 percent and the activities have helped keep the insurance rates from increasing. Vogel said some employees that participate already live healthy lifestyles but the activities were encouraging others to alter their habits.
Cheryl Coon of Buckeye Pumps reported that BP had an in-house exercise room open for use by any employee and had removed its snack machines. Ruth Karl said the veggie tray provided to the Karl truckers at the end of the driving day had encouraged the drivers to snack on healthy food rather than stop by a fast-food place.
The HR Council will take a break over the holidays and resume meeting in January. For information about the Council contact Angela Neef, JobsPlus coordinator, at (419) 563‑1568.