You are here

HRExpress - February 2022


February 2022    

In this Edition ...

Iowa WorkSmart Project • Benefits • Health & Well-Being • Retirement Savings  • Education Opportunities  

Iowa WorkSmart Project

Get the latest news on the Iowa WorkSmart Project in the most recent edition of Smart Talk, including information on your 2021 W-2, a new Report Directory worklet, and updated resources for Phases 1 and 2 of the project. 

Refer to the Workday Support Chart for Workday assistance. For WorkSmart Project information and Workday resources, visit or contact the WorkSmart Team at

Return to Top

State of Iowa Benefits

Wellmark Now Offers No-Cost COVID-19 Testing!
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield® is now providing COVID-19 tests with no member cost share for State of Iowa employees and dependents. For detailed information on these new guidelines, please see the DAS Health Insurance webpage.  

You may also learn more by reading this story from BlueSM online, visiting the Wellmark website for COVID information, or contacting Wellmark Customer Service at 800-622-0043.

Return to Top

Health and Well-Being

Voluntary Vision Insurance: Open Enrollment Ends February 28
State of Iowa employees have an opportunity to elect vision insurance through the Voluntary Insurance Program. The State offers post-tax payroll deductions to pay your vision insurance premiums directly to the insurance carrier. 

Open enrollment for this insurance ends February 28, 2022. Elections made during this open enrollment period are effective April 1, 2022. If you are currently enrolled, you do not need to re-enroll unless you want to make a change.

You have two different insurance program options: Avesis and EyeMed/Delta Vision (Insight Network). Information about these voluntary vision plans is available at

Questions regarding the vision plans should be directed to Two Rivers/World Insurance Company at

Please note: The State of Iowa does not endorse or sponsor any voluntary vision insurance provider, or the products and services they provide, and assumes no responsibility
for any purchases or disputes between individual employees and the vendors. All arrangements are strictly between the employee, as a consumer, and the insurance company.

Could You Be Suffering From Burnout?
Burnout is your brain and body’s response to stress from sources such as work, parenting, financial, or relationship issues. To learn more about the signs and symptoms along with guidance on how to cope, check out Wellmark’s article Could I Have Burnout? How to Recognize and Treat It.

Tool Available to Help Assess Your Ergonomics
Check out this free online Ergonomic Self-Assessment training, based on the best safety practices outlined at The training covers several important areas of consideration when setting up or reconfiguring your work space. Topics include posture, adjusting your chair, evaluating your monitor, sit-to-stand options, and more! 

Free Health and Well-Being Seminars Offered Online
On-demand online seminars covering various health and well-being topics are available from 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 recent offerings accessible on the dates listed below.

  • Available now: Reframing Your Way Through 2022 - Learn practical steps to use positive reframing strategies to help guide you through 2022.
  • Available February 17: Navigating Through Grief and Loss - Discover ways to say goodbye and go through the five stages of grief in a healthy way.

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.

 Return to Top

Retirement Benefits and Savings

Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) Webcasts
Make the best use of your retirement savings by taking advantage of education opportunities offered by RIC. These webcasts may be viewed online from your computer or other internet-enabled device during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves. Click on the links below to register.

  • Tuesday, March 1, Tuesday, March 1, 1:00 p.m. - RIC Deferred Compensation Introduction & Enrollment
  • Tuesday, March 15, 9:00 a.m. - RIC Deferred Compensation Ready to Retire and Take Income

Retirement Benefit Presentations Offered On Demand
DAS-HRE has on-demand resources available for employees seeking information about State of Iowa retirement benefits. Retirement Benefits Before Medicare Eligibility and Retirement Benefits After Medicare may be found on the DAS Benefit Series Highlight page. 

IPERS Ready, Set, Retire Workshop Offered Via Zoom
Retiring in the next three to five years? If so, IPERS’ Ready, Set, Retire is designed to provide you 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, and you may view/attend sessions during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves. Spouses are welcome to attend. Reserve your spot by clicking on the workshop you wish to attend and then clicking Register. 

IPERS Offers Creating a Secure Retirement: The 3-Part Solution
IPERS and Iowa State Extension Services team up to present a free workshop for all State employees planning to retire in the next three to five years. Creating a Secure Retirement: The 3-Part Solution is a full-day workshop to bring together everything you need in order to plan a financially secure retirement. Workshop content will be customized with your personal information, so you’ll be able to figure out exactly where you are in the pre-retirement process. View upcoming workshop dates and description. Register to attend by calling IPERS at 800-622-3849 today!

News from State Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) Providers 
Please see the latest information, tools, and educational opportunities from various RIC providers below.

The do's and don'ts of portfolio allocation
For many investors, investing money consistently is a major achievement on its own. Having the time and know-how to pick from a dizzying array of investment products, allocate assets, and diversify your portfolio provides another set of challenges entirely.




Understanding the move to your new Empower experience
As you know, Empower Retirement acquired the MassMutual retirement plan business early last year. Between February 18 and 20, 2022, your retirement plan will move to a new and improved experience with Empower.

Throughout this process, we want you to know that our focus is on you and making this transition as seamless as possible. Please note: No action is required.

What you should know

  • Your investment fund options and contribution amounts will remain the same. 
  • You will continue to have access to the U.S.-based Empower Customer Care Center representatives.
  • There are no changes to the high-touch services you access today and no additional transaction fees.
  • You will still be able to manage your retirement account on the new participant website.

Get more information
Head over to for details about the new Empower experience. Join Empower for an educational opportunity to review the new resources that can help you achieve the future you imagine. You can register at for the virtual session of your choice.

We are here for you
With the volatility in the stock market these days, you may be concerned about your retirement account. We invite you to visit for information from our subaccount/mutual fund partners that speaks to inflation from the long-term market perspective.

If you have questions concerning your account, please contact your local Horace Mann representative.

At Voya, we believe in leading by example
Not only that…we have intentionally created an internal culture of diversity, equity and inclusion to provide economic opportunity for all Americans. As we celebrate Black History Month, our goal is to support real change for Black America – a true lasting change.
One way we do it is to educate and empower people to achieve economic growth and financial security through generational wealth. We champion everyone’s access to opportunity for financial freedom through authentic  alliances based on trust, accountability and consistent action.
It’s not enough to say we stand in solidarity. Actions speak louder. Explore our story. Learn how it supports your story at

Return to top

Education Opportunities

Enhance Your Skills with Featured PDS Courses
Be sure to check out these featured courses offered by PDS:

  • Project Management Seminar - February 23-24 - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., In Person
    Designed specifically for those actively managing projects, this class is a deep dive into what you need to know to manage projects more effectively. This hands-on, interactive, no-nonsense class can serve as a foundation for project managers new to their role, as well as an eye-opening refresher for seasoned project managers.
  • Leading Through Change - March 2, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Virtual
    This course is designed for seasoned leaders and managers to assist employees going through an organizational change. The four-step change process will be broken down step-by-step, so leaders will be able to guide employees through change, understand that people view change through differing viewpoints, learn action steps for change, and recognize what employees need to be successful in workplace changes.
  • Customer Service - March 21, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Virtual
    What are the pitfalls you encounter when trying to deliver a positive customer experience? How can your customer interactions go from good to great? What is the best way to handle difficult situations? Does attitude count? Find out the answers to these and other important customer experience questions during this interactive session. You’ll walk away with helpful tips to put into practice right away. Participants learn how to project a customer-friendly image, how to handle demanding customers, and more!
  • Strategies for Work/Life Balance - Day 1 - March 22, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., In Person, Day 2 – May 5, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., In person
    Do you feel as if you're too busy to enjoy your own life? Are you ready to discover what is important and how to make time for things that matter most at home and at work? This course provides employees with a variety of strategies to support them in determining their priorities and how to spend their time, resulting in a newfound peace of mind. This is a workshop much different from other training activities, offering group coaching as part of this very interactive workshop.

Sign up for these and other courses online today! Log in to Okta at to access the Learnsoft LMS application. For assistance, refer to these simple step-by-step instructions. If you have additional questions, reach out to your Training Liaison or the PDS inbox.

Performance & Development Solutions (PDS) Training

  • Virtual PDS Instructor-Led Courses
    Our virtual course offerings continue to be an excellent way to meet your professional development goals. PDS limits class size to 18-20 participants allowing opportunities for interaction between the facilitator and participants. If classes exceed the limit, new dates will be added and participants will be rescheduled as needed. Keep in mind there is a 14-day cancellation policy. Check out current course listings.
  • PDS On-Demand Courses
    Does your daily schedule make attending classes difficult? On-demand courses can be completed at any time. Many are policy related and may be required training. See these class listings at On-Demand Course Options.
  • New Horizons Virtual and On-Demand Computer Courses
    Computer training courses are offered by New Horizons. Please contact for information on availability and State pricing for New Horizons classes.

Return to Top


HRExpress is a publication for State of Iowa employees. Please print a copy to post or share with co-workers who may not have access to a computer. For prior editions, visit the HRExpress webpage. If you have questions or suggestions for future content, please contact us at

Thank you!