Check out the February 2019 HR Connect!
February 2019
Welcome to the State of Vermont
Where You and Your Work Matter 
Commissioner's Message

Winter can bring extra challenges for many.  I’d like to remind us all that health and well-being starts at ‘home’ - in our personal, professional and casual exchanges.  Let’s demonstrate our human powers by encouraging supportive environments for ourselves and each other.  Whether you take ‘steps’ to create a stronger body (Around the World: Phase 1 Challenge), offer a friendly ear or word to a colleague/stranger, or take a moment to indulge your artistic side, know that our Wellness Team is here to offer motivational ideas, information, and kind support as you seek positive outlets that will leave you better able to face adversity and stress.  

Strength and resilience lie in self-care and looking out for each other, in and out of the workplace. To learn more, about their programming, visit the DHR Wellness page.  

In this Issue:

VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets 
Annual Consumer Night Tonight!

Celebrate the diversity of Vermont agriculture on Wednesday, January 30th 2019 at the 8th Annual Consumer Night at the Vermont Farm Show!
Open on the second night of the Farm Show, local food, beverages, and crafts will take center stage in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Champlain Valley Expo Center where attendees can learn about, sample, and purchase a broad range of some of Vermont’s best agricultural products.

  • The Winter Buy Local Market begins at 4:00pm and provides Vermont producers from all over the state the opportunity to engage with customers through local food sales, sampling, and conversation.
  • #RootedInVermont, Skinny Pancake, and Salvation Farms have teamed up again to offer a ‘crêpe hour’ starting at 5pm!
  • At 5:15pm, watch your State legislators battle to be Capital Cook-Off champions!

Admission and parking for Consumer Night are FREE, and new this year, attendees can also enter to win a prize by visiting special vendors throughout the entire Farm Show Expo for a chance at the grand prize of 1 year of Cabot Cheese!
Make a purchase from any vendor at the Buy Local Market and receive a ticket to be entered into the raffle for other amazing local prizes from our partners at Ski Vermont, Shelburne Farms, Vermont Teddy Bear Co., and more!!

Find more information about Consumer Night at the Farm Show here!
For all inquiries, please email Alissa Matthews or call (802) 505-1661
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BCBSVT Case Management Goes High Tech!
BCBSVT has new mobile app technology for our case management programs.
Wellframe is a mobile app that connects you to your BCBSVT case manager via app text messaging. 

BCBSVT case managers are nurses and social workers who serve as a one-point person  who advocates for you.  They create individualized care plans to help you navigate your health care options.

Call BCBSVT today for more information.
1-800-922-8778 Option 3 then 2
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Department of Libraries Tuesday Talks
Feb 19th in Montpelier

VTLIB is proud to present another speaker for the state employee Tuesday Talks series on February 19th from 12N-1PM at the Pavilion Auditorium.
Cary Brown from the Vermont Commission on Women will be presenting on: Vermont Women: The Pay Gap, Representation, and Advancement   We’ve come a long way since women were paid 59 cents to men’s dollar, but women in Vermont are still playing catch up. In Vermont 43% of women working full-time aren’t making enough to cover their basic needs.  The good news is that Vermont is also ahead of the pack in many ways when it comes to women’s advancement, and we’ll talk about that as well as the challenges on the horizon.
Cary Brown is the Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women, a state agency working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls since 1964. She’s worked in the gender equity field in Vermont in nonprofits, educational institutions, and government. She lives in Montpelier with her family, where she is a Justice of the Peace.
For more information, please see the event poster here. Please feel free to share the poster and event information in your departments. For more information please contact April Shaw 
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Employee Engagement Survey 2019
We want to hear from you!

Please participate in this year’s Vermont State Employee Engagement Survey, which will be open for two weeks, from Monday, February 4 to Friday, February 15. You will receive an email with a link to the survey. To ensure your privacy, all responses remain anonymous and email addresses will not be tracked.

In addition to the base survey, there will be a section of new questions for 2019!  Robust employee participation makes for a more useful survey. Your individual feedback makes a huge difference. Past surveys have resulted in meaningful changes within individual departments and statewide.

The results of last year’s survey are available on the Employee Engagement Survey page of the DHR website. Please contact with any questions.
Thank you for participating!
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ADS Tip of the Month!
Computer Quick Key Tip – Undo a Previous Action

Did you know you can undo almost any action by pressing Ctrl + Z on your keyboard?  This doesn’t just apply to typing errors, if you accidentally delete or move a file, you can hit Ctrl + Z to bring it right back to where it was. Conversely, Ctrl + Y will redo whatever you just undid.

ADS Service Desk
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BCBSVT Snow Days!
Free Fun For Everyone!
Free access to cross country skiing*, snow shoes and tubing. First come, first served.  
Healthy snacks and a free fleece hat to the first 50 attendees. No preregistration required.

Feb 2nd -11AM-3PM
Mountain Top Inn & Resort

Feb 16 -11AM-3PM
Lyndon Outing Club
*No x-Country Skiing

Feb 23 -  11AM-3PM
Bolton Valley Nordic Center

For more info, call (802) 371-3205
or visit
Winter Driving Safety Tips
It’s always wise this time of year to dust off our winter driving skills, because we never know when Mother Nature will send nasty weather our way. Get through the holidays and on to spring safely with these winter driving tips. Ahead of time:
  • Practice handling your vehicle on ice and snow in an empty parking lot.
  • Make sure brakes, wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust system are in top condition.
  • Check that antifreeze and windshield washer fluid are ready for colder temperatures.
  • Put good snow tires (the same type) on all four wheels, and be sure they are properly inflated.
  • Add winter items to your emergency kit: ice scraper/snow brush, shovel, non-clumping kitty litter or sand, warm clothing and boots, food and water, windshield washer fluid, candle and matches, blanket, non-freeze cleaner and paper towels to clean windshield and lights, and fresh batteries in the flashlight,
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full.
  • For the latest information on road conditions check
  • Remember your cell phone but be aware that you can’t always depend on it.
  • Clear all snow and ice from windows, mirrors, lights, wipers, hood, trunk and roof.
Plan for extra time to prevent frustration when your trip takes longer due to slower speeds on slippery roads
Childcare Reimbursement

Do you need help finding quality child care or paying for it?

The VT/VSEA Child & Elder Care Committee may be able to help. You can apply for child care
reimbursement in our annual program. Child care provided by licensed day care facilities or registered day care homes could be eligible for reimbursement.

You can get more information by visiting the DHR website under Employee Support.
Child Care Referral can help you find quality child care. If you have further questions please call 1-800-287-8322.

February is
Black History Month
Also known as African History Month, it is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. 
To learn more visit HERE.

Read about Vermont’s role in African-American history HERE.
LiveWell Vermont kicked off Around the World: Ph 1 Challenge
The 2019 Incentive Program: Start Small Go Big! kicked off Phase 1 of its Around the World Challenges, which runs Jan. 28 - Feb 17.
Registration for this challenge open through February 3rd!
Learn about the Blue Zones where people live long, (many over age 100!) healthy, active lives. Our 1st stop: Ikeria, Greece!  Log steps and all activities and help the State walk around the world! Visit the Wellness Challenge page to learn more or register on your LiveWell Vermont portal

Successful completion earns you 60 points in the 2019 Start Small, Go Big! Incentive Program. 
Questions? Email Wellness or call 802-828-7308.
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AOA Continuous Improvement Trainings

Continuous Improvement Training in Action: Highlights from 2018  
Happy New Year State Employees!  We hope everyone’s 2019 has been off to a productive start.
As January comes to a close and we prepare to launch an updated training program in February, the Chief Performance Office would like to take a moment to reflect on and share some of work and accomplishments that occurred in 2018, with a specific focus on the training program and its outcomes.  Click here to read a brief summary.   
Changing the culture of state government is no easy task but little by little we are making progress thanks to the involvement of our wonderful employees.  Thank for making 2018 a great year.  We look forward to more learning, growth, and improvements in 2019.

Payroll Updates
W-2’s and 1095-C’s for the 2018 tax year have been completed and mailed to all employees’ mail address as listed in Employee Self Service. Employees who do not receive an original form in the mail should contact the VTHR Help Desk either by email or by calling 802-828-6700.

Current and prior year W-2' s are available in Self Service and can be accessed by active employees from within State firewalls.  
  • W-2’s -- For detailed information on the amounts represented in each box of the W-2, Payroll has put together a helpful guide called “Understanding Your W2” 
  • Please note that Box 14 only contains up to 4 amounts. For additional deductions not listed in Box 14, please refer to the Pay Advice in Self Service for year to date totals.
  • 1095-C’s -- Payroll has provided an example of your 1095-C Form and information on what it means.   
As always, beware of email phishing scams and/or phone calls requesting personal or bank account data.  Employees will not receive emails from the Department of Human Resources or VTHR concerning your W-2 nor does the IRS contact individuals by email or phone.
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Prudential Retirement
Earn up 80 points toward the 2019 Incentive Program
Prudential Retirement – EARN 80 WELLNESS POINTS!

As part of the 2019 LiveWell Vermont Start Small, Go Big! Incentive program, you can earn 40 wellness points by scheduling a no-cost appointment with a Prudential retirement counselor and completing the post-appointment survey.

Enroll in the plan
Learn about investing
Consolidate your outside accounts
Find ways to help you save for the future
Review and refine your retirement strategy
Schedule your appointment and complete the post-survey on your LiveWell portal to earn your 40 points! 

If you are already enrolled in the 457b Deferred Compensation Plan with Prudential, we encourage you to complete your Financial Wellness Assessment before meeting with your counselor.  It is not required but it’s worth an additional 40 points! You can access the Financial Wellness Assessment by logging into your account.

If you are not currently enrolled, you will need to meet with a Retirement Counselor and do the Assessment with him/her at your appointment. Meeting with a Counselor does not obligate you to enroll or contribute any money.  You are eligible to earn 80 points for just for participating in the meeting and doing the financial wellness assessment at that time.  Be sure to complete the post-survey for points!.
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Register to be a 2019 Wellness Ambassador!
LiveWell Vermont Needs You!
Help support your co-workers by being a Wellness Ambassador! 

Here's how:
  • Communicate wellness activities with coworkers
  • Assist with the coordination of on-site wellness activities
  • Encourage employees to participate in wellness programs
Ambassador Rewards:
  • Be the first to hear about LiveWell Vermont wellness programming in a monthly e-newsletter
  • Monthly wellness desk-drop
  • Participate in special ambassador drawings
  • Receive an honorary Wellness Ambassador certificate
Register Today!

Questions? Call 802-828-7308 or email
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DMV Implements New Credentialing Process with Driver's Licenses and ID Cards 

Changes to how Vermont Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards are produced will be occurring!
DMV is implementing a new credentialing system (VTPICS)

Who does this affect? All Vermonters who will be renewing or applying for a Driver’s License or Identification Card. 

What is changing? Vermont Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards will no longer be printed in your local DMV office. To better protect Vermonter’s identity, all cards will be produced and mailed from a secure off-site facility.  For those who have an Enhanced ID, the process will be very similar to what you have experienced in the past.  When applying for a license, you will receive a temporary document and your card will arrive in your mailbox within seven to ten days.  This temporary may not be accepted for identification purposes, so Vermonters should plan to apply for their new card well prior to their current card expiring.  Vermont Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards will also have a new look and feel with new design elements included, which are intended to better protect your identity.
Where is this change occurring? This change will affect all branch offices, as well as all those applicants renewing by mail. 
When is this change occurring? The change will take place over several days, one office at a time, and we expect that all offices will be operating on VTPICS (the new system) in July.
Why the change? DMV takes protecting your identity very seriously.  One of the ways that DMV can better protect your identity is to make counterfeiting more difficult.  The design elements and materials used to produce the new cards require special equipment, making it necessary for them to be printed off site.

Visit VTPICS on the DMV website for more information. If you have additional questions, please email the DMV Informational Unit.
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February is Heart Month! Give Your Heart a Valentine!
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women. Here are some tips to help you get heart healthy.
  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. Know your numbers: Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • Add exercise to your daily routine. Start by walking 15 minutes, 3 x/week, then, increase to 30 minutes,3 x/ week. Can't exercise due to pain?  Check out  Your Exercise Solution to personalize an exercise plan based on where you have pain and your current fitness level. You can choose an activity that is right for you and learn modifications.
  • Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at least 3 x/ week. Make your favorite recipe lower sodium. 
  • Take steps to quit smoking. Quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Need help? Visit or call1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  • Take medication as prescribed. If you’re having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you’re having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
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