The people side of business: HR professionals weigh in on regional talent gaps and how to fill them

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent in northeast Indiana, Human Resources professionals are on the frontlines of the fight.

Along with finding creative ways to fill talent gaps and keep employees satisfied on the job, they’re in charge of staying up-to-date on an ever-evolving list of legal regulations that could make or break businesses.

But after generations of being relegated to the softer side of company conversations, they're finally being recognized for the value they bring to organizations.

As forward-thinking leaders realize the importance of the people side of business and the significance of company culture, they’re pulling HR representatives into more critical strategy meetings to share insights and help organizations chart innovative paths into the future.

Business leaders are pulling HR professionals into more meetings to help direct company culture and inform strategic decisions.

This shift comes at a critical time when Indiana, as a whole, faces the uncertainty of a growing talent gap in its workforce. As of 2020, 60 percent of jobs in the U.S. require post-secondary education of some sort, yet only 30 percent of Indiana residents ages 25-34 currently have a bachelor’s degree or higher. On top of that, more people are retiring than are entering the workforce.

So who are some of the leading voices in HR shaping northeast Indiana’s business strategies, and how are they equipping themselves to make a positive impact on the regional economy?

Many are members of NIHRA, or the Northeast Indiana Human Resources Association, based in Fort Wayne. NIHRA hosts monthly meetings and annual conferences that bring HR professionals together from across the region to network, share strategies and ideas, and learn from some of the leading thinkers in HR nationwide.

Input Fort Wayne sat down with four NIHRA members who work for different northeast Indiana employers to give you a glimpse into their perspectives on what it takes to attract and retain talent in the modern workforce.

Meet our interviewees 

From left to right, Steigmeyer, Mast, White, and Renteria.

Nancy Steigmeyer (NS): NIHRA President and Vice President of HR at Lasting Change, Inc., a mental health services organization that is the parent company of Lifeline Youth & Family and Crosswinds Counseling. Steigmeyer has been in her current position for two years, a member of the NIHRA for eight years, and in HR for 18 years.

Lindsay Mast (LM): Benefits Manager at DMA (DuCharme, McMillen & Associates, Inc.) a tax consulting firm headquartered in the Ash Skyline building in downtown Fort Wayne. Mast has been in her current position for four years, a member of the NIHRA for seven years, and in HR for seven years.

Morgan White (MW): Supervisor of Talent Acquisition at Parkview Health, the branch of Parkview’s HR team that does hiring for the entire hospital network (except for physician recruiting). White has been in her current position for two years, a member of NIHRA for three years, and in HR for 8.5 years.

Rose Renteria (RR): HR Director at the Superior Auto, Inc., home office in Fort Wayne. Renteria has been in her current position for eight years, a member of NIHRA for 20+ years, and in HR for 30 years.

IFW: What initially attracted you to HR?

NS: Like a lot of people, I sort of happened into HR. I started working in a temp office, recruiting, filling, and hiring positions. That turned into getting more versed in the laws and legal side of things like workers comp. I ended up pursuing advanced degrees in organizational leadership, and they tied into HR, too.

LM: I actually first became interested in HR because of the HR person at my first job. The impact she was able to have on people’s lives was really intriguing to me. So being able to help people on a personal level was what first attracted me to this work.

MW: My interest started with my internship at Parkview in HR and Talent Acquisition, specifically. But I like that every day is different in this job, and you’re always facing new challenges.

RR: I love solving problems, and of course, in HR, ours are all people problems for the most part. It’s the unknown factor. Every day, I get managers calling me at any given time, and I have no idea what they’re going to throw on my plate for me to solve.

That’s what makes it fun and challenging. You never know what you’re going to get when you answer the phone.

IFW: A lot of people might think they know what HR professionals do, but what is one thing that might surprise them about your work?

RR: One thing people probably don’t know about HR jobs is that we practically have to be lawyers these days. There are laws around everything, and with the internet, employees are educating themselves to know their rights. But one mistake could result in a costly lawsuit.

LM: I think the thing that would surprise people most is how much change is in the world of HR. Things like jobs, employees, policies, expectations—just to name a few—change regularly. HR professionals have to stay on top of all of these changes to be impactful to both the employees and the organization as a whole.

IFW: You’ve all been in HR for varying amounts of time, from seven years to 30 years. How has the industry and the work evolved over the course of your careers?

LM: Being in the benefits arena, the healthcare system as changed dramatically, and it’s currently in a whirlwind situation with the Affordable Care Act. But generally speaking, I’ve also noticed that slowly, but surely, HR has been starting to be used as a strategy arm of organizations—especially here at DMA.

Our leadership has been realizing that HR does have a wealth of knowledge of things they need to be aware of, but are not clued into every day. We keep track of the laws that impact employees and companies as they’re trying to grow, like immigration policies.

So, they’re trying to make us a bigger piece of the puzzle in all aspects of the company here.

RR: I agree. Way back when I first started, we were the paper shoppers in HR. All of the decisions were made by the business leaders. Then the paperwork landed on our desk, and we finished it up and filed it. That was about it.

I’ve been in the industry for 30 years now, and in that time, it’s been a drastic change. We’ve been going paperless, but we’ve also become so much more strategic and involved in business opportunities. HR finally has a seat at the table, and we’re there knowing what’s going on with the business on a highly informed level and able to offer our advice.

MW: There’s been a lot more technology used in the recruitment process, too, like electronic applications and virtual interviews—even texting. We have a text Parkview number (97211), so even by text message, people are connecting with recruiters.

We’ve also started using a mobile recruitment vehicle and two talent ambassadors who are actually going outside of our region to target different schools and community events to promote Parkview and our region and help bring talent back to this area.

We approach finding talent in as many ways as we can.

Parkview uses a mobile recruitment vehicle staffed by two talent ambassadors to find talent.

NS: I’ve been in HR for 18 years, and I’ve seen a change even since I’ve been with my company for the past two years. About a month ago, I joined the officer’s team at my company, and it speaks to how HR has a bigger hand in the overall company’s scope and culture.

I have a day-to-day team that focuses on typical HR business, and I focus on things from an organizational development perspective.

For 2020, our company’s focus—and my focus I preach to the HR team—is all about employee experience, and how does that fit into our work? As a mental health services organization, people are our business, and the turnover rate for employees industrywide in mental health services is always high, around 35-45 percent annually.

We’re a little higher than that right now because we’re in the process of reorganizing, and because of the current state of our national economy, so we’ve got to improve that employee experience.

Right now, the economy is good, and unemployment is low, but that means all of the really good people are already gainfully employed, so how do we attract and retain talent? We’re offering more perks and benefits and recognitions.

I’m working on a recognition program right now and other things like sign-on bonuses. Those are all totally different issues we’re dealing with that weren’t necessary 10 years ago when we were in an economic crisis.

Back then, we had tons of applicants and not enough jobs, so everything is flipped.

Amplify the good economy with the fact that we only have a few available employees in rural parts of Indiana, and things get even more difficult.

IFW: Speaking of difficulties in finding talent, what are some of the biggest challenges facing HR professionals in northeast Indiana?

LM: We’ve struggled to pinpoint what we need to do to maintain a culture that attracts and retains the employees we need.

We’ve implemented things like volunteer time off, which is a full day or two half-days you can take to volunteer and give back to the community. If you give to an organization financially, we’ll match 50 percent of what you donate.

We also have reimbursement programs for fitness, standing desks, recreation rooms, and nice spaces to take a break. We know that we can’t expect everyone to sit at their desks for 8 hours a day, so we’ve made a lot of changes in the past two years, and those are some of the high points.

NS: I would say meeting employees' needs and expectations is probably our biggest challenge. We have a workforce of close to 700 employees, and I would say about 450 of them all work from home because that’s how our business is structured. They don’t have offices to go to, so it does make our jobs more flexible, but what I have learned is that not every personality style is suited to be working from home. I know that I couldn’t work from home every day because I’m a people person, and most people in social work are, so the challenge is that working from home could also make them dissatisfied.

Working from home is a growing trend, but it doesn't work for everyone.

RR: With the low unemployment rate nationally, there’s a big talent shortage, which is probably the biggest issue for all employers right now. But one of our challenges, specifically, is flexibility. Employees today expect a tremendous amount of flexibility, and not all businesses can offer that.

At our business, we’re operating auto dealerships, so we need our people at the dealerships, and we can’t be very flexible on the hours, so we can’t always meet the expectations of what a lot of the workforce is looking for, which limits in who we can attract and retain.

MW: With unemployment rates low, it is getting harder to find talent. We’ve added incentives, and we’ve really been promoting growth and continued education opportunities at Parkview. We have tuition assistance programs to help retain talent and attract talent, too. Any coworker at Parkview, as long as they work a part-time position or more, is eligible to utilize tuition assistance, where we reimburse your tuition up to a certain dollar amount, depending on your degree program. We also partner with Ivy Tech to offer an Achieve Your Degree program for associate’s degrees where we cover the cost upfront versus a reimbursement.

IFW: Tell us more about some of the talent gaps you’re seeing in your industries and the ways you’re working to fill those gaps.

NS: We went through an experience about a year and a half ago at my company, looking for licensed social workers with master’s degrees or family certifications, because that’s a huge talent gap for us.

We operate throughout the entire state, and in smaller markets with 2-3 percent unemployment rates, we don’t have many clinical social workers to serve clients. Yet, we need to have licensed therapists to do therapeutic counseling.

So we decided to launch a career track program to develop our own therapists, paying for a portion of their schooling and providing them with clinical supervision in-house when we can.

We partner with area schools, primarily Indiana Wesleyan, and we’re using that funnel to grow our own talent. Our goal is to develop 100 therapists as interns annually and walk them through that process, so we’ve had to get creative to fill the talent gap.

MW: Our biggest talent gap at Parkview right now is Registered Nurses (RNs), and that’s an issue both nationally and locally, so we’re doing things both in our region and outside of the region to fill this gap.

Outside of the region, we’re using our mobile recruitment talent ambassadors to do roadshows and job fairs, going to other cities to promote Parkview.

In our region, we’re trying to find opportunities, starting at the high school level, to expose students to the direct patient care side of things, and we’ve created a career path internally to get those students into RN positions.

IFW: Northeast Indiana itself has evolved a lot in the last 10 years. To what degree has this impacted your talent attraction and retention efforts?

MW: It’s really helped our talent attraction efforts. We are finding that when we get out of the region and talk about Parkview and the Fort Wayne area, people now know about us. So it’s definitely helped to have more progress here and more news about what’s happening in this region.

Before now, people didn’t really know anything about our region, so we’ve been working with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to really promote Fort Wayne.

LM: Having an office in downtown Fort Wayne at the Ash Skyline building, we have noticed how it’s easier to get people through our doors for interviews. We have a beautiful outdoor space here at the Ash building, and it’s smack dab in the middle of where some of the coolest city growth is happening. There’s stuff to do at lunch and lots of good restaurants to go to, which has helped us at this particular office. But we’re only 50 employees here, so it’s only part of the puzzle.

RR: We’ve seen that the growth and development of Fort Wayne—particularly downtown—have made it easier for us to attract employees and to keep them.

We also see more people who complete college are coming back to Fort Wayne right out of school. It used to be that they wanted to live in Chicago or Indianapolis first, but now, they’re coming back to Fort Wayne.

Eight years ago, I was working in Indianapolis myself, and from a distance, I was seeing all of the changes happening here, and I couldn’t wait to come back.

NS: I was a transplant here, and what I love about Fort Wayne is that it’s a big small town. It’s big enough that there are cultural offerings and wonderful things to do downtown. (I’m a big proponent of downtown.) But it’s also small enough that you can go to the grocery store and probably run into someone you know.

IFW: When you’re attracting talent to the region, what are some of the biggest things that top talent is looking for?

MW: It depends. Some of them like the downtown atmosphere; some of them like the countryside. But it’s nice because northeast Indiana has both. When we talk to candidates, we always tell them about the downtown amenities, outdoor activities, parks and trails, as well as the area’s schools and quality of life.

NS: Amenities like the Fort Wayne Trails are popular, and the Parkview Field ballpark is great. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Embassy Theatre are popular, too. It’s a whole mixed bag of what this city has going for it. People have liked to see that we’re building more residential units downtown.

The team at DMA enjoys a Tincaps game together at Parkview Field.

RR: I always tell people that every weekend, there’s something to do, and there’s something for everybody here.

LM: It’s a family-friendly city, too, which is a draw for people wanting to settle down. You can still go to downtown events, and most of them are family-friendly during the day. Then at night, there’s more of a nightlife vibe.

IFW: How are your companies working to retain and grow talent that is already in northeast Indiana?

RR: At Superior Auto, we’ve been adding incentives, like salary increases. I have had to go to our CEO to ask for salary increases more times in the past two years than I have in the past six years. But I have had to do it. We want people to be happy, so we keep changing our incentive plans to make them better and retain talent.

LM: One thing we’ve just implemented with our HR team is using resources to do lunch and learns. We’ve had local organizations like Fort Wayne Trails come in and talk with our employees about biking in the city. We’ve had financial advisers and ergonomics professionals come in, and they all teach us about things during the lunch hour.

MW: Going back to offering continued education assistance. We work hard to grow our talent at Parkview by providing leadership development programs to our internal coworkers so they can grow with us.

We’re also getting into high schools, sharing the job opportunities they can go into once they graduate, but also having some opportunities for employment while they’re still in high school, too.

IFW: What excites you about the future of HR?

NS: HR has become a cornerstone for most businesses and how they operate. I was meeting with our CEO a couple of weeks ago and talking about our strategic plan, and he was like, “HR is a part of all of this.” That’s a huge eye-opener for business leaders—realizing that there’s a people piece that goes into everything is huge.

I’m excited to see the training, development resources, and technologies that can help with the ongoing growth of the workforce in our area.
with Lisa Mungovan
with Lisa Mungovan
Mungovan HR Consulting, LLC

While large corporations may have entire teams devoted to Human Resources, small businesses often find themselves with one HR staff member who wears many hats—or worse, no one on staff who manages HR.

That’s where Lisa Mungovan’s business, Mungovan HR Consulting, LLC, comes into play. In 2016, she launched her business to help small business owners get the counsel they need on the legal, strategic, and human elements of HR matters until they can hire someone fulltime.

As a member of the NIHRA, she also works diligently to help busy HR professionals juggle the myriad of tasks that cross their desks and urges them to pay more attention to hiring understaffed populations, like veterans and people with disabilities, who are often eager to find meaningful work.

Input Fort Wayne sat down with Mungovan to learn more about her work and her insights on addressing critical talent gaps in northeast Indiana.

IFW: Tell us about Mungovan HR Consulting, LLC. What inspired you to launch your own business?

LM: I worked for WorkOne Northeast for 7 years before I decided to start my own business. What I saw—and verified with my colleagues and other economic development people—was that other than attorneys, there were limited resources for the small businesses in northeast Indiana to help them be compliant with HR laws and regulations.  

They didn’t know what they didn’t know, and they didn’t have the resources to hire a fulltime HR person. So I created a solution for them to hire me on contract. My clients are primarily the office manager, the owner, or the CFO of the business.

During my initial consultation, I ask a number of questions to understand what their business needs are, what they have in place, and then can recommend various things based on their business needs. I educate them on what they need to do and why.

After that, I’m their HR person until they have the capacity to hire someone fulltime. So if HR issues come up, I provide guidance to limit their liability.    

I love educating small businesses on HR, so they can focus more on the growth of their business.

I’ve had enough experience in my career to work with larger companies, too. For instance, if a company needs their compensation analysis redone, I can do that.

I actually just completed research for a nonprofit client on wage and staffing strategies, so they can determine their needs.

IFW: How early on do you work with new entrepreneurs and startups?

LM: I’ve learned that with a lot of startup programs, like those run by the WEOC and SEED, it’s too early for them to work with me because they’re just getting going. That said, I’m more than willing to educate them on what they will need in the future in a short discussion.

A lot of times, new entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know, so I focus on giving them what they need and not volumes of documents to dig through.

IFW: What initially attracted you to HR?

LM: When I first got out of high school, I took a year off school to work for Rogers Markets and Lincoln National Bank in Fort Wayne. Tom Rogers, who was one of our managers, encouraged me to go to school and just take one class.

I ended up earning my associate’s degree in operations management from Indiana University Fort Wayne, and I went from Lincoln Bank to a position in HR at Lincoln National Life. Then I earned my bachelor's degree in personnel and supervision from Purdue Fort Wayne.

IFW: Over the course of your career, what are some of the challenges you’ve seen facing HR professionals?

LM: Earlier in my career, at Lincoln National Life and Navistar, we were large companies, so we had the benefits of having separate departments for compensation, pension and benefits, staffing and recruiting—all of these people who specialized in one part of HR work.

But when I went to Poly Hi Solidur, Inc., a plastic machining company in Fort Wayne (now part of the Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials Inc.) it was a totally different experience. We were a subsidiary of a national corporation, which was based in Appleton, Wis., so it was a big family-owned corporate company, but we did a lot of stuff in the local area.

For instance, we did our own recruiting and negotiated benefits plans for the geographic areas where our plants were located instead of on a national basis, and that gave me a lot of experience in a wide range of HR work. But it also came with drawbacks.

What I’ve seen amongst my peers is that we have a lot of one-person HR generalists who wear many hats, and they’re the ones challenged the most right now in trying to do recruiting on top of payroll and benefits and discipline—everything else that goes into the HR role.

Hiring qualified individuals who are willing to perform work is critical to a business. Technically, recruiting should be the first priority in HR, but instead, it gets moved down the priority list depending on the priority of the day. Employers started to use automated applicant systems to prescreen applicants and in some cases, complete the interview and an assessment. This can be extremely ineffective if the systems aren’t used properly.

For instance, a lot of employers have gone to automated applicant systems that have high filters set up to compare certain words on resumes or applications to a job posting. But if the employer does not take the time to adjust or remove the filter and add additional words that mean the same thing as what they are looking for, then it’s a miss. Viable applicants are being automatically disqualified in less than a second.

On top of that, a lot of applicants don’t know how to tell their story effectively on paper. 

IFW: You mentioned how many HR professionals have to juggle a lot of tasks at their workplace because they are the only person in their department. Tell us how you’ve leveraged your connections at NIHRA to help them?

LM: When I worked in private industry, I was limited to attending NIHRA meetings, and I appreciated the opportunity to network with others who had similar issues.

Today, if an HR colleague has too much on their plate and needs to get a project completed, I offer my assistance or provide them with credible resources who can help. Those resources weren’t readily known in the past, so we just did it all on our own. 

As a business owner, I have met so many interesting people, and when I find an opportunity to connect people who can benefit from knowing each other, I take the time to do so. 

IFW: What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing employers in northeast Indiana today?

LM: Benefit costs are one challenge. My small business clients find it very hard to be competitive and offer the same types of benefits that bigger companies can offer regionally.

Another challenge is that many skilled laborers are retiring and there is limited pool of talent to replace them.

Historically, our schools have focused on encouraging students to go to college over pursuing careers in the military or tech ed careers after high school. On Feb. 6, 2020, the State of Indiana released a draft of its Strategic Workforce Plan. It includes Career and Tech Education programs in the Perkins Act, which supports high-quality career and technical education programs that could help fill talent gaps. The time for comments on this closes March 8th.  

But in the meantime, employers in manufacturing and the skilled trades (welding, HVAC, plumbing, bricklaying, carpentry, sprinkler fitting, and electricians) are seeing a huge talent gap, and this gap will affect consumer pricing on these services when supply is low and demand is high.

IFW: We often hear about the talent gap employers need to fill in northeast Indiana. What are some of the ways this could be improved?

LM: Last year I presented at one of the Greater Fort Wayne Inc., CEO roundtables and I talked to them about strategic recruiting and staffing. Sometimes companies are very narrow in where and who they recruit. Demographics like people with disabilities are a group they don’t typically consider making an effort to attract. Ex-offenders are another under-staffed population. veterans are another.

Many employers also don’t know there are a lot of free places where they can advertise for candidates online, too. The Regional Partnership’s website has a job board. All colleges have places to advertise for jobs, both for students or alumni.

When they do advertise for jobs, employers need to be creative in how they advertise, too. I’m not an advocate of a three-page job description as an ad. Instead, people today are looking for pictures—and if you can provide a picture of the work environment, all the better. If you have a production facility that is brightly lit, clean, family-oriented, and easy to get to, that can set you apart to applicants.

IFW: Tell us about your work at the NIHRA in helping understaffed populations find meaningful work.

LM: From November 2015 until recently, I was the NIHRA’s Workforce Readiness Director, and that position gave me the opportunity to work with the board on strategy.

Two of our big initiatives on the Workforce Readiness Team were recruiting, hiring, and retaining veterans, as well as the inclusive hiring of people with intellectual and physical disabilities. We felt it was important to educate our members on both of those topics.

Helping veterans find jobs has been an initiative of the NIHRA for quite some time now. Not only is it an initiative at the federal, state, and regional levels, but we see opportunities for our members to help veterans and their families find job opportunities too.

As for inclusive hiring, I worked with Lynn Gilmore, the now-retired Chief Program Officer at AWS, because I saw a gap among our membership concerning what people know about inclusive hiring. My goal was to identify new ways for people with disabilities to be employed. For example, a lot of career opportunities for people with disabilities in northeast Indiana involve “chasing” grocery carts at the grocery store or bagging groceries and cleaning offices. But there is so much more potential for these employees.

When I worked at Navistar, we hired three wheelchair-bound engineers who were very talented. We are fortunate to have many organizations available to work with our members to help find better opportunities for people with disabilities. NIHRA has more than 400 members and northeast Indiana has a large number of job openings to be filled. I want to find ways to collaborate and get those who want to work viable job opportunities.

IFW: Tell us about your personal experience with veterans and people who have disabilities and how that has made you passionate about helping these residents find meaningful employment.

LM: I am a child of a veteran, a mother of a daughter who was previously married to someone in the U.S. Army, and a cousin to three military veterans. I knew very little about the challenges they face before my daughter was the spouse of someone who was deployed twice, with limited credible resources to support the family while the soldier was deployed. I got involved in NIHRA, NIBCC (Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and NIMAN (Northeast Indiana Military Assistance Network) to learn and support this community. 

I am also a parent of a child with intellectual disabilities. She was born with underdeveloped wiring between her left and right brain. She is high functioning due to many years of different types of development therapy. This while I worked full-time and worked with my husband to raise two other daughters. We're proud of how far she has developed.

But she isn't the reason why I feel strongly about NIHRA's Inclusive Hiring Initiative; that's more about what I've experienced with employers. When I speak with employers, they're willing to consider hiring veterans and most are willing to consider some ex-offenders, but they're quick to come up with reasons why they can't hire someone with disabilities. Some like to group them into one disability (saying that blind people can't operate our large machines; therefore, we can't hire anyone with a disability). 

None of the organizations that work with people with physical and intellectual disabilities would recommend that someone is placed in an unsafe work environment nor create a safety risk for their co-workers. There are non-visually impaired individuals who would be excited about working and contributing versus individuals who arrive on their first day and don't return after the lunch break.  

What I believe is the demographic isn't understood. It's not only the hiring of an individual. HR professionals need to teach their employees how to work with individuals who may be different than themselves. The dynamics aren't different from hiring another employee if they structure it in the right way. We are fortunate to have John Martin who is certified to train employers in the Windmills: Changing the Perception of Ability Program, so they can structure the work environment well before someone with a disability to joins their team. But doing this takes time and commitment on top of the several other things the HR professional is juggling. 

IFW: In addition to talent retention and development, tell us about some of your talent attraction efforts.

LM: When I worked at Navistar, our primary candidates to recruit were new college graduates who were engineers. Most of them were not married, so we were very strategic with the way we recruited them. We did not recruit them when there was snow on the ground; we waited until spring.

Early on, the only thing they saw on the car ride from the Fort Wayne International Airport to downtown was crops, so we changed the routes we would take them to show them everything that was available in Fort Wayne, and today, there’s so much more to highlight.

We used to hear, “You’re a farm community,” because that’s all the candidates saw when they came into town. As we started giving tours of our downtown and neighborhoods, we found that several very qualified engineers from warmer climates and different parts of the country really liked it here, and they were hooked. We were creative about how we advertised when we went to college campuses, too, and our teams included employees who graduated from those schools.

At Poly Hi Solidur, we recruited single people and people with families, so we asked a lot of questions during the selection process and provided information about their respective interests. We also had or employees who had families explain why they relocated here.   

IFW: When you’re attracting talent to the region, what are some of the biggest things that top talent is looking for?

LM: If it’s a family, they’re often looking for activities for kids as well as schools, religious communities, ethnic communities, crime rates, tax bases, and the cost of housing.

For people moving from bigger cities to Fort Wayne, one sell is our proximity to bigger cities like Chicago and Indy that are only a short drive away.

For single individuals, there’s an interest in festivals and local music, clubs, concerts, coffee shops, and sporting events. They’re more into: What is there to do in this community?

IFW: What excites you about the future of HR?

LM: What excites me is employers who understand that company culture plays a huge part in whether or not people stay or leave their jobs.

Having a positive company culture involves having respect for all people at all levels of the company.  Effective onboarding, providing timely communications and training and development opportunities for employees matter. Respecting and valuing what employees bring to the position is important, too—letting them do their jobs rather than micromanaging them.

One of the challenges that all employers face these days is the lack of physical communications among people because they rely so heavily on electronics. NIHRA hosted Lindsey Boccardo at a recent meeting, and she presented, “Managing Your Millennials: Why Building Multi-Generational teams is the future of work."

It’s important to identify ways for people to respect each other and work together. Communication has many forms, and employers who value multi-generational teams will find ways to help their employees appreciate how each was raised, educated, and uses technology differently.