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HRExpress - March 2021

March 2021    

In this Edition ...

Iowa WorkSmart Project • Benefits • Health & Wellness • Retirement Savings  • Education Opportunities  

Iowa WorkSmart Project

Progress Continues

Nearly a year has passed since the State of Iowa launched the Iowa WorkSmart Project, a cloud-based application which will replace our human resources and financial management legacy systems. 

During the past several months, State employees from multiple organizations have been actively involved in Phase 1, the Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) implementation. Throughout the process, the Organizational Change Management (OCM) Team has engaged State employees through Readiness, Training, and Communication efforts.

The statewide Change Network, which includes 145 Change Agents and 249 Contributed Trainers, will be busy in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for Smart Talk bulletins with Project updates and training announcements. 

For more information about the Iowa WorkSmart Project, please visit or contact the WorkSmart Team at For questions specific to your organization, reach out to your designated WorkSmart Change Agent.

State of Iowa Benefits

Important Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Deadline: April 15

Time is running out to file claims for reimbursement for 2020 eligible FSA expenses. April 15, 2021, is the deadline to file dependent care and health FSA claims incurred from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

You may submit claim requests and supporting documents to ASI, the State’s third-party FSA administrator, in one of the following ways:

  • Mobile app. Please note, your login is case sensitive.
  • Online. Log into your ASI account here and attach a pdf version of your supporting documentation to your claim request.
  • Fax a claim form and supporting documentation to 877-879-9038.
  • Mail your claim to ASIFlex, P.O. Box 6044, Columbia, MO 65205-6044.

Access claim forms online and read more about submitting claim forms on the DAS website today.

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Health and Wellness

Twenty Fatigue-Fighting Superfoods . . . Plus, Energy Zappers to Avoid

Spring weather is on the way, but at times it still feels as though winter may never end. Add in the global pandemic and many of us feel socially isolated, anxious, or stressed.

If you’re feeling tired and sluggish, there are ways you can help turn it around, including exercise and fresh air. But one of the most important things you can do is improve your eating habits and make the most of energy-boosting nutrients found in some everyday foods.

To learn more about the connection between what you eat and how you feel, read this informative Wellmark article in its entirety.

Source:Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Six Useful Tips for Safety and Comfort at your Computer Keyboard

It may seem like a simple thing, but your choice of computer keyboards can make a huge difference in your daily work. 

When looking for a keyboard, it’s important to understand the concept of “neutral position.” In this posture, your upper arm points toward the floor with your elbow bent at a 90° angle. The lower part of your arm should reach toward the keyboard, with your wrist and hand flat and in line. You can test your position by laying a pen/pencil across the top of your hand and wrist. If it lays flat and balances easily, you are in the neutral position.

Knowing the correct ergonomics is a great start, and here are some other useful tips for effective and comfortable keyboard use: 

  1. Keyboards come in various styles. If your keyboard does not support your neutral hand position, find one that does. 
  2. Drop the back legs on the keyboard so it lays flat on the work surface. This will help keep your wrists and hands flat and in line.
  3. Fingers should be gently curved and touch the keys lightly. No heavy pounding!
  4. Place your keyboard directly in front of you, centered in front of your monitor/s. Move it close to the edge of your work surface so your wrists and arms don’t touch your desktop. If you tend to drop your wrists and arms, which can ultimately affect blood flow, consider placing a gel wrist guard close to the edge of the work surface, touching your keyboard. Do not drop wrists to rest on the wrist guard while keying.
  5. At a minimum, remember to take a micro pause (10-15 seconds) after keying for 40-50 minutes. Take your hands away from the keyboard and do an alternative task or stretch your hands and fingers. 
  6. Become familiar with the shortcut keys for the software and programs you use. This often results in fewer keystrokes during the day. 

For more information on workplace ergonomics or if you are interested in learning more about getting an ergonomic assessment, contact DAS Safety Coordinator Cindy Houlson

Your Financial Health Matters

Financial safety and security have never been more important than they are today. Wherever you find yourself financially, planning and saving are the surest tools for creating more financial stability for you and your family.

Not sure where to start? Visit the Save4Later website to begin sharpening your financial skills with educational modules to help you plan and save for the future. It’s easier than you think, and it’s free.

Learn more from Iowa Insurance Division Commissioner Doug Ommen, and visit the State of Iowa employee portal to enter your email address and get started today!

Free Health and Wellness 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.

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

  • Available now: Planning for Success - Feeling overwhelmed? Explore the secrets behind being more organized and efficient to help ease the load.
  • Available April 20: The Steps to Financial Security - Understand the practical ways you can feel more secure and more stable in your finance management.

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

COVID-19 Resource Webpage

As a reminder, DAS Human Resources provides information on its COVID-19 Resource webpage. Bookmark to keep it handy for future reference.

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Retirement Savings

Creating a Secure Retirement: The Three-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. Learn more and pre-register for one of the upcoming sessions today!


Same Great Retirement Benefit Presentations Now Offered On Demand

The Division of Human Resources has recently added new information to the website for employees seeking information about State of Iowa retirement benefits.The presentations, previously offered live online, are now available on demand any time day or night.

Retirement Benefits Before Medicare Eligibility and Retirement Benefits After Medicare may be found on the DAS Benefit Series Highlight page.


IPERS’ Ready, Set, Retire Workshops Offered Via Zoom

If you are thinking about retiring in the next three to five years, 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.

IPERS has recently scheduled these Ready, Set, Retire workshops:

Seating is limited, so reserve your spot by registering today

Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) Webcasts

Make the best use of your retirement savings benefit 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.

April 13, 1:00 p.m.       RIC Introduction & Enrollment
April 20, 9:00 a.m.       RIC Ready to Retire & Take Income
May 11, 9:00 a.m.        RIC Introduction & Enrollment
May 18, 1:00 p.m.        RIC Ready to Retire & Take Income

News from State Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) Providers

Please see the latest information, tools, and educational opportunities from various RIC providers below.

Financial Wellness is Important Too
Learn how to gain control over your financial life and become more productive in other areas of your life, including your ability to focus on family, friends, and work. Register for Financial Wellness today!

  • Date: April 20, 2021 - Choose to attend one of three sessions at 11:30am | 12:30pm | 4:00pm
  • To register:  Go to
  • Enter registration code:  SOIPWA11AD  (A webinar link will be sent after completing registration.)

These webcasts may be viewed online from your computer or other internet-enabled device during work time if scheduling permits and your supervisor approves.
Presented via Webex.AIG Investment Planning Webinar 




Participate in the Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club (RIC) Retirement Plan
Reaching your retirement goals depends almost entirely on the saving and investment decisions you make today. By creating your plan—and sticking to it—you create the foundation of a financially independent future.

Your financial situation is unique, so your strategy should be as well. You should also adjust your strategy as your priorities change and as you draw closer to retirement. Here are six tips to help you along the way:

  1. Participate in the Iowa Retirement Investors' Club (RIC) plan.
  2. Save as much as you can pretax and/or post-tax Roth.
  3. Invest for the long term.
  4. Diversify your holdings.
  5. Consult an Empower Retirement advisor today.
  6. Don’t use your retirement savings for short-term needs.

Contact an Empower Retirement advisor to learn more about creating a plan for your financial future, including help with saving in the Iowa RIC plan.


Are You Saving Enough?
If you're not sure how much money you'll need to retire, you're not alone. A survey by real estate company Clever, published in ThinkAdvisor on January 12, 2021, found retirees had saved only 39% of the amount experts recommend for their income level. 

What can you do to avoid this situation? If you haven’t already, enroll in the Iowa Retirement Investors’ Club and get on the road to saving today.

Already Enrolled?
Use this savings calculator to see how increasing your contribution, even by a little, could significantly boost your retirement income. Complete the RIC Account Form or contact your local Horace Mann representative to increase your contribution today.


Your Financial Check-Up: Find More Ways to Build a Healthier Road to Retirement

Most of us have a vision of our best retirement. As priorities in life change, it is wise to review your existing retirement goals and consider:

  • Creating a plan. To better anticipate your future monthly income goals in retirement, use myOrangeMoney®, a personalized interactive educational online experience that shows you how your current retirement savings may translate into monthly retirement income.
  • Reviewing your beneficiaries. It is always a good idea to periodically check your beneficiaries to make sure they are correct and up to date.
  • Reviewing your investments. You will want to periodically review your asset allocation to check whether it still aligns with your retirement strategy. Your Voya representative can help. 
  • Periodically reviewing your account. Remember to keep reviewing and monitoring your account. Periodic reviews could help you stay on track toward your retirement savings goals.

Log into your Voya accounts at to take advantage of tools like myOrangeMoney and to review your accounts to help build a healthier road to retirement. Call Voya at 800-584-6001 if you need more information or help logging into your accounts.

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Education Opportunities

FEATURED Course Spotlight: Creative Thinking Offered April 13 

What others are saying about this course!  
“I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is about to work on a big project, especially if it’s a group of folks.The problem-solving tools that were provided are helpful. Helena is very encouraging, engages her audience, and discusses the thought process behind many of the scenarios that come up during her courses.”


Learn to generate creative ideas and solutions to rapidly changing work settings, roles, and information employees face by using practical thinking and problem-solving tools. Creative Thinking participants will select one of their own work-related challenges for real-time application of the strategies and techniques discussed in the class.

This class is part of the Management Development Certificate (MDC).

Sign-up is easy! Enroll online through the LMS today to reserve your seat. If you have any questions, reach out to your Training Liaison or the PDS inbox.

Performance & Development Solutions (PDS) Training

Virtual PDS Instructor-Led Courses

Many classroom courses have been updated to an online live format. Courses will run as scheduled, and a 14-day cancellation policy applies. PDS limits class size to 18 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. For classes with more than 18 people enrolled, new dates will be added and participants will be rescheduled as needed.Check out current course listings.

PDS On-Demand Courses

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.

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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

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