INDIANAPOLIS — As many employers and businesses have "now hiring" signs in their windows, one of the state's largest employers is also facing challenges when it comes to recruiting workers — the State of Indiana.
"This last year we saw the great resignation impact state government, just like it did most other employers," said Matthew Brown, Indiana state personnel department director. "It's really a time for us to re-evaluate what kind of employer we want to be and what kind of experience we want our employees to have."
Gov. Eric Holcomb recently announced the "Next Level State Work Agenda", the most sweeping work policy change the state has seen in decades. The state surveyed current workers and managers to plan its shift in a new direction. Starting this month, the plan will be rolled out in three phases.
"Flexibility was important to them. They enjoyed the work-life balance and stability that government offers, but we could be more flexible. Compensation is lagged behind in the market in state government. Also, employees wanted to be rewarded for the work they've done and recognized for it," Brown said.
Indiana's government has more than 1,400 open positions, ranging from nurses and highway technicians to attorneys, accountants and executive assistants.
Some workers, like Zachery Cramer, are already benefiting from the changes.
"I'll be taking advantage of the remote work policy to allow me to work from home two days a week, which really just allows me to change around my work schedule. I can fit in some extra gym time earlier in the afternoon once I finish my workday, which is great," Cramer, who was recently hired as an equity, inclusion and opportunity liaison, said. "I'm sure other people who are not like me will be using them in very different ways to support their own personal lives."
The State recently updated its education reimbursement policy so that workers could be reimbursed about $5,200 a year for taking classes.
"I consider myself a lifelong learner; I already have several degrees. I could choose to get a Ph.D. I could go get a law degree or I could just take a class across town and learn more about the government or how to use Excel or Tableau," Cramer said.
They're also offering extra time for community service leave - 15 hours per year for employees to do charity work in their communities.
Part two of the plan will come in May, which includes another survey to determine how the state can help its workers with child care and dependent care. Phase three, which deals with the pay scale, arrives in July and could lead to higher wages across the board.
The State also wants to bring back retirees, some of who have worked in state government for decades.
"We have a vast network of retirees and we understand that in the pandemic retirees are interested in coming back to work — even maybe not in a full-time role," Brown said.
The state is also offering referral bonuses of up to $500 to current workers who recruit new talent.
Also coming this year is the Governor's Public Service Achievement Awards, which will recognize exceptional work and service with monetary prizes.