September 2023

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State of Iowa Benefits

Annual Benefits Open Enrollment for 2024 Starts October 2
The Open Enrollment period for 2024 benefits begins Monday, October 2, and runs through 6:00 p.m. (CST) on Friday, November 3, 2023. Employees will receive directions and resources by email in a special edition of the October HRExpress newsletter on October 2. The Open Enrollment process will take place in Workday. 

If you take no action during the Open Enrollment period, your 2023 benefit elections will automatically roll over for 2024 - except for healthcare or dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employees must re-enroll each year to participate in either FSA plan. Even if you don’t make any benefit changes, employees are encouraged to take this opportunity to review and/or update your beneficiary designations.

Watch for the October issue of HRExpress in your mailbox on October 2.

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WorkSmart with Workday

New Expense Hub Now Available
A new Expenses Hub is now available, which centralizes expense tasks and reports to help employees address pending expense actions quickly and easily. From the Expenses Hub, employees can access tasks to create expense reports, spend authorizations, and travel-related payment elections.

The new hub displays certain “cards” when payees have expenses to address. Each card includes a link to a related report, such as:

  • Spend Authorizations to Submit
  • Expense Reports to Submit
  • Transactions to Expense
  • My Cash Advances
  • My Expense Transaction
  • My Spend Authorizations

Learn more about the Expenses Hub by visiting the Expenses area on the WorkSmart website.

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Health and Well-Being

Make a Difference by Pledging to One Gift: September 18-October 13!

One Gift logo

The One Gift Program gives State of Iowa employees the opportunity to contribute to participating charitable agencies through payroll deduction. You may choose from more than 350 charitable agencies, providing services to your neighbors, friends, and family.

When you contribute to One Gift, 100% of your donation goes directly to the charitable agency of your choice without any administrative fee withheld. You may elect a one-time donation out of your first paycheck in January, or spread your donation throughout the entire year.

To donate in 2024, simply submit your pledge in Workday from September 18 through October 13, 2023. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the One Gift Smart Guide. A paper pledge form is available for those without computer or Workday access. If you have questions, contact your agency's One Gift Liaison

Together, we can make a difference!

4 Important Things to Know About Mental Health and Your Health Insurance
Twenty percent of Americans report struggling with their mental health, with seeking treatment, up from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2021. Remember, it’s okay to not feel okay. If you are looking for mental health solutions, your State of Iowa health plan from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield can quickly connect you with the care and support you need. Read 4 Things to Know About Mental Health and Your Health Insurance to learn more!

Eating for Healthy Aging - Your Gut and its Microbiome
Wellmark and Livongo have partnered to discuss how to keep your gastrointestinal tract in good shape as you age. Read Your Gut and Its Microbiome: What to Eat for Healthy Aging for recipes and tips to keep your GI tract healthy over time.

Getting Traction on Slips and Falls
Just as tire traction is critical to keeping your vehicle on the road, footwear traction is critical to keeping you on your feet.  

Tire manufacturers use different compounds to affect how flexible a tire’s tread is. In addition, the tread pattern helps determine what part of the tire comes in contact with the road. The more contact there is, the better traction you’ll have. 

 Footwear works very much the same way, with patterns on the soles made from various compounds.  Some are more flexible and others are rigid. Some have complex designs and some are extremely flat. The flexibility of the sole will affect traction and how it performs as conditions change on the walking surface. Similar to a tire, the more tread pattern on the surface, the better traction you’ll have.  

What else can affect footwear traction? Footwear traction is affected by speed of walking and weather conditions that impact the walking surface.  If the walking surface is compromised, slow down and keep your sole as flat as possible to increase the amount of tread on the surface. As footwear ages it is important to evaluate the tread on the sole. As the tread flattens or the sole is worn unevenly it may be time to consider new footwear.    

When conditions are particularly slippery, you may consider using additional foot gear such as cleat type devices or specialized footwear with additional tread.
Source: State of Iowa safety team members

Free Health and Well-Being Seminars Offered Online
On-demand online seminars covering various health and well-being topics are available from Kepro the State’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Use Company Code: IOWA and click on e-learning for a list of available online seminars.

Seminars may be viewed from your computer or any other internet-enabled device during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves. They are free of charge, with the most current offerings accessible on the dates listed below.

  • Available now: Digging Deep - Explore smart financial management and learn practical steps for getting out of financial ruts.
  • Starting September 19: The Gratitude Habit - Discover how to create gratitude habits in your daily life. 

EAP also offers confidential resources at no cost to help employees and eligible family members address challenges which may impact job performance, well-being, and overall health. For more information on EAP resources, visit the DAS Employee Assistance Program web page.

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Retirement Benefits and Savings

Where Did My Favorites Go?
The DAS website and Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) web pages have a new look and feel! On the new DAS website, RIC information is available under Programs & Services (in the top menu), then click on Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) as seen in this illustration. 

chart for RIC

RIC Online Webcasts
Make the best use of your retirement savings by taking advantage of Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) educational opportunities. These webcasts may be viewed online from your computer or other internet-enabled device during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves. Register to attend a webinar.

Ready, Set, Retire Workshop Offered In Zoom
Retiring in the next three to five years? If so, IPERS’ Ready, Set, Retire is designed to provide State of Iowa employees with a broad range of retirement-related information. Ready, Set, Retire is a free all-day (9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) Zoom webinar. You may view/attend sessions during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves. Spouses are welcome to attend. View the description and upcoming workshop dates. Reserve your spot by clicking on the workshop you wish to attend and then click “Register.” 

News from State Retirement Investors’ Club Providers


RIC and Corebridge to Co-Host Webinar on September 26 at 10:00 a.m.

This presentation provides information and an interactive demonstration about the RIC 457 and 401a plans, including how to enroll, contribute, and build a secure retirement. 

Corebridge’s Retirement Pathfinder is an interactive retirement income planning tool that can help you see your retirement plan like you’ve never seen it before. It is designed to dynamically build your retirement plan and can illustrate numerous scenarios and potential retirement pitfalls

Register for the RIC and Corebridge to Co-Host Webinar


Are you preparing for retirement income? 

Will you be ready to make the transition from retirement saving to retirement income? Just as you need a plan to save and invest to meet your goals, you’ll need a plan for how you’ll use the money you’ve worked so hard to save for your future.

The 4% guideline - How much can you withdraw from your retirement account each year without running out of money over the long run? The 4% guideline is a measure used by some financial planners and retirees to estimate a comfortable but safe income for retirement. 

The 4% rate doesn’t guarantee you won’t run out of money in retirement. RIC is just one part of your retirement income. You may have Social Security (SS) benefits, pension income (IPERS, POR, Judicial), IRAs, and other accounts to draw from in retirement. 

Access calculators and planning tools

Go to to access Empower’s retirement tools. You may also schedule a session with your Empower advisor to discuss a personalized plan for you. 


 What does your ideal retirement look like? 

Less than one-third of American workers feel very confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement. Starting early can help get you on track, but is that enough? 

Horace Mann is hosting several informational sessions that provide the education you need to plan for your dream retirement. Space is limited. Click on the links below to register for one of these discussions today! Horace Mann can equip you with the knowledge you need to plan for a successful retirement.

October 3 at 6:00 p.m.
October 10 at 11:00 a.m.
October 12 at 4:00 p.m.
October 17 at 7:00 p.m.
October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
October 20 at 11:00 a.m.
October 24 at 6:00 p.m.
October 26 at 4:00 p.m.
October 30 at 3:00 p.m.


Make your New Year’s plans now
Before the holiday rush begins, take time to check in on your financial health. It’s time to celebrate how far you’ve come financially and look ahead to your future self. Here are some things to consider to become more financially healthy: 

  • Review your investments
    Are your investment choices still on target with your long-term financial goals? Log into your Iowa Retirement Investors' Club (RIC) Retirement Plan at to find out.
  • Check to see how much you’ve contributed this year for retirement 

Look at what you’ve contributed, determine how much more you plan to contribute this year, then consider saving more with your remaining paychecks in 2023 to maximize your savings.   

  • Simplify your financial life 

Do you still have retirement accounts from previous employers? Review your options and consider if consolidating outside retirement accounts into your RIC plans aligns with your future goals.

  • Keep your account updated
    It’s a good idea to check your personal information at least annually. Make sure that your mailing address, email address, and your beneficiary designations on file are up to date. Log into your Voya accounts at to see if your information needs updating.

To learn more about how to improve your financial health for 2024 and beyond, visit


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Education Opportunities

New to the Manager/Supervisor Role?
Are you new to the manager/supervisor role? Looking to sharpen your skills? Check out our two manager-directed certificate series: Leadership Capacity Building Development (LCBDC) and Management Development (MDC). 

Learn about state policies such as the investigation process and discipline and grievance. Build your leadership skills in developing employees, shaping your team, and navigating important conversations. Download the enrollment form from our website to track your progress. Courses can be taken in any order, they just need to be completed within five years. Start enrolling through the LMS today.

Project Management
Working on a certificate series? Looking to sharpen your project leader skills? Dates for our two project management courses have been added to the LMS! Find them listed below and enroll through the LMS today.

Project Management Fundamentals

(one-day course)

Project Management Seminar

(two-day workshop) 

September 20, 2023 - virtualNovember 8-9, 2023 - virtual
October 18, 2023 - in personMarch 5-6, 2024 - virtual
January 17, 2024 - virtualMay 15-16, 2024 - in person
April 10, 2024 - in person 

Featured Upcoming Classes

  • Project Management Fundamentals | September 20 | virtual | TDC
  • Managing Stress & Workplace Accountability | September 21 | virtual | ATDC
  • Introduction to State Procurement | September 26 | in person
  • Managing Effective Meetings | September 27 | in person | LCBDC
  • Leading Through Change | September 28 | virtual | MDC

PDS Quick Links


HRExpress is a publication for State of Iowa employees. 
For prior editions, visit the HRExpress webpage. If you have questions or suggestions for future content, please contact us at Thank you!

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