November 2012

HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Melissa Perry GMA SHRM President

Government Affairs Update

Case Review - Accommodating Employee's Religious Beliefs

Employee Relations 

Violence in the Workplace

Talent Management

The Talent Management Imperative

GMA SHRM Social Media

FacebookTwitter & LinkedIn

Forward HR

GMA SHRM Upcoming Events

GMA SHRM Roundtable Wednesday, November 7, 2012, Topic: Leadership in Small and Mid-Size Companies

GMA SHRM Strategic Summit
Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 
Topic: Finance Made Easy for HR Professionals 

Click here to see the full 2012 GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

GMA SHRM Announcements

GMA SHRM New Student Membership

New Year, New Group for Young HR Professionals

GMA SHRM 2013 Partnership Opportunity

Certification Study Group

Referral Bonus $50 Gift Certificate Winner


GMA SHRM Member News

GMA SHRM Member Spotlights

Welcome New Members!

Movin' Up

In Transition

GMA Membership Poll 


Printable version


President's Message

2012 Corporate Partners

Gold Level
Boardman & Clark Law Firm
Career Momentum
Celerity Staffing Solutions
Dean Health Plan

First Choice Dental Group
The Payroll Company
Remedy Intelligent Staffing


Silver Level
Cottingham & Butler Employee Benefits 

Smart Solutions

Bronze Level
AMPT Physical Therapy
The Alliance
Delta Dental
Edgewood College
Hausmann-Johnson Insurance Group
Hemb Insurance Group
Higgins Insurance Group
Ultimate Software Group
Unity Health Insurance
UW Credit Union
The QTI Group
Wegner CPA's & Consultants
Wisconsin Rx


Thank you!


We have many exciting things going on with our chapter this fall.  I’d like to first take a moment to thank all of our GMA SHRM members who had a hand in another successful WI SHRM Conference held in Wisconsin Dells from October 3-5th.  Many thanks go out to Cindy Cerro, Kari Heilman, Anthony Dix, Matt Nechodem, and Amy Doepke.  The volunteers put in a tremendous amount of effort every year to make this event such an amazing time for all attendees.  If you are interested in volunteering for the 2013 conference, you can visit for more information. 

Our Education & Professional Development committee has been busy in planning upcoming study group sessions and rolling out a student membership.

• Each year GMA SHRM offers a study group for those preparing for the PHR or SPHR certifications.  This year the meetings will focus on having open discussion/dialogues for participants on topics in any of the modules as well as test taking skills.  Meetings will be held at the corporate offices of The QTI group starting in mid-November and going through mid-December. Questions can be directed to Jennifer Lindberg, SPHR, at 608-258-5525 or
• We are pleased to announce a new, discounted student membership option for students enrolled in a full-time HR program at an undergraduate or 2 year community or technical college.  This is a fantastic opportunity for students to partner with GMA SHRM and we hope this will assist any members who may be looking for interns!  To learn more, visit:
The 2013 Corporate Partnership Program is in full swing as well. If your organization is looking for strategies to promote its products or services to the HR community, or just wishes to support our chapter, you will find more information, you guessed it, on our website.
As we head in to year-end, this is the time of year when many HR professionals are working on open enrollment, 401(k) audits, and staffing plans for the upcoming year.  I’d like to remind you that we have a GMA SHRM LinkedIn  group that is open to all current members of our chapter.  If you find yourself wondering what other companies in the greater Madison area are doing, feel free to utilize this resource to reach out to your fellow GMA SHRM members! 
If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to continue to move our chapter forward, please feel free to contact me at 608-826-1122 or
Stay Warm,
Melissa Perry

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GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Melissa Perry
Jake Siudzinski
President Elect
Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
Immediate Past President
Dawn Koopman
Secretary Treasurer
JoAnna Vanderpoel, PHR
VP, Membership
Tara Conger, PHR
VP, Marketing & Communications
Jeff Russell
VP, Programming
Melissa Chadwick
Director, Education & Development
Michelle Thoren
Director Workforce Readiness & Diversity
Tammy Barden
Director, Government Affairs

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Government Affairs Update

Case Review - Accommodating Employee's Religious Beliefs  
Contributed by Tammy Barden, PHR, Sr. Employee Relations Specialist, WPS Health Insurance

The guidelines surrounding employee requests for accommodation are constantly changing. A current Title VII case illustrates another example of this. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled on a case September 25, 2012 regarding an employee’s request for an alternative work schedule because of her religious beliefs. It was determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant submission to a jury for resolution at trial.

The employee in this case worked at a bank where her position required working on Saturdays. After the employee converted to the Hebrew Israelite religion, she told her employer that she was unable to work on Saturdays because of her religious observances. When she first made the request, her employer granted her request. Due to staffing changes in the branch in 2009, the employee’s accommodation was rescinded and she was told she would be required to work every other Saturday. The employee claims that she tried to compromise by asking about other alternatives to working on Saturday. According to the court, there was conflicting evidence as to whether the employer discussed other shift options with her. Ultimately, the employee refused to work Saturdays and was terminated because of her inability to work on Saturdays as a requirement of the position. Even though the employer established the need for this position to work on Saturdays, it failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that continuing to accommodate the employee’s request would impose an undue hardship. In fact, the bank found other ways to cover the Saturday duties after this employee was terminated.

The main reason summary judgment was denied in this case was failure to show undue hardship. It is increasingly important for employers to keep this in mind when reviewing accommodation requests, even those not considered under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). For the details of this case, go to


Employee Relations

Violence in the Workplace
Contributed by Mike Leibundgut,VP Human Resources, Park Bank

Since 1977, DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) has worked passionately and effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their families, and to change societal attitudes that perpetuate violence and the abuse of power. DAIS offers, seven comprehensive crisis intervention and prevention programs, including the only domestic violence shelter in Dane County.

DAIS also provides outreach and training to area businesses, schools, law enforcement agencies, community groups, and other partners to help them recognize warning signs of domestic abuse and more effectively work with survivors.

Only 4% of workplaces train employees on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace; however, in the U.S., domestic violence homicide is one of the leading causes of workplace death for women.  DAIS offers workshops, presentations and trainings tailored for human resources professionals to address this issue.

Click here for a Fact Sheet on Domestic Violence in the workplace.  For more information about how to get involved and connect with DAIS click here

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Talent Management

The Talent Management Imperative
Contributed by Cory Erickson, SPHR, President, Career Momentum, Inc.

Many companies today are investing in the talent they have.  They have realized their investments in their current employees will pay benefits in the long run with increased retention, loyalty and commitment which all lead to higher levels of employee engagement.  Let’s explore how we got to this point.

The baby boom generation began to hit retirement age in 2011.  Over the course of the next 10-15 years, people will retire in numbers never seen before in the U.S.  The generations that follow do not have the same sheer numbers as the baby boom generation.  Even if demand for employees stays the same, the supply will inevitably go down.  Increasingly, employers are becoming more sensitive to the cost of employee turnover (costs of having the position open, recruitment, and training a replacement, to name a few).  They are finding, in many respects, it is much less costly to retain your employees versus replacing them, especially since we have transitioned to a knowledge-based economy.

In addition to the pressures of increased cost of employee turnover, recent employee surveys show many companies are struggling with the lack of employee engagement. 

• Lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370B/yr. (Gallup)
• 70% of engaged employees understand how to meet customer needs; 17% of non-engaged employees understand how to meet customer needs (Right Mgt.)
• 78% of engaged employees recommend their company’s products/services; 13% of disengaged employees recommend their company’s products/services (Gallup)
• 86% of engaged employees very often feel happy at work; 11% of disengaged employees very often feel happy at work (Gallup)

Companies are focusing on talent management to improve employee engagement and development.  What is talent management?  It is a relatively new discipline housing the roles of competency modeling, assessments, on-boarding, career management, retention strategies, succession planning, executive coaching, leadership development and coaching.
Companies that are focused on winning the war for talent will not only focus on a strong recruitment strategy but also on a comprehensive talent management strategy.  Progressive companies are investing in their current employees through talent management strategies focused on increasing employee engagement and development.  This is especially important to employees of Generations X and Y who, in general, are focused on “what can the company do for me and my personal growth?”  So when employers are determining where to invest, there are many compelling reasons to invest in talent.

GMA SHRM Social Media



Forward HR

Want to know what’s going on in HR for the other areas of Wisconsin?  WI SHRM has a new blog, Forward HR. Click here to take a look.

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GMA SHRM Upcoming Events


Wednesday, November 7, 2012, GMA SHRM Roundtable

Topic: Leadership in Small and Mid-Size Companies
Location: M3 Insurance

Leadership in small to mid size companies: it’s important to do it consciously! Being a strong leader and having a strong culture facilitate strong organizational clarity.  Some small to mid size business owners may consciously decide to wait to develop an infrastructure until the company is larger but studies show that as much as 15% of a company’s profitability and performance comes from the people strategy and that the associated human resources programs can affect the success of a company by as much as 22%.

Join us for this interactive discussion on how small to mid size companies have been successful in consciously leading and developing their strategic vision, developing infrastructure, engaging in quality hiring processes that impact retention, exude strong decision making abilities, outstanding communications and the overall efforts of having a competitive advantage.

For more information and to register, click here .

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012, GMA SHRM Strategic Summit

Topic: Finance Made Easy for HR Professionals
Location: Alliant Energy Center
Could you use a crash course in using the numbers to make a business case for your initiatives? If so, then attend this Strategic Summit to gain an understanding of how to interpret accounting and financial performance data. This program will give you the confidence to use the language of financial analysis to communicate more effectively with your financial peers and to clearly define the strategic direction of your organization.
Our presenter, Wade Huseth, CPA and Partner with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, is experienced in the preparation of benchmarking and trend analysis tools and analysis and design of equity compensation programs.
For more information and to register, click here .

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GMA SHRM Announcements

GMA SHRM New Student Membership

GMA SHRM believes fostering a relationship with local students will provide them an opportunity to connect with HR professionals while creating opportunities to assist them in their future job search and increase their learning of the HR profession. Effective immediately, GMA SHRM is providing a discounted membership to students enrolled in full-time HR programs at an undergraduate or 2-year community or technical college. The onetime membership fee is $20 and covers Student Membership thru anticipated graduation date.
What a great opportunity for students to connect with the HR profession!
For more information, click here
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New Year, New Group for Young HR Professionals
GMA SHRM will be launching a Young Professionals group in early 2013.  As GMA provides excellent professional development opportunities, this group will be socially oriented with a focus on meeting younger professionals in and around the Madison area!  If interested in getting involved, please contact Melissa Chadwick at .  More information to follow in the December newsletter!
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GMA SHRM 2013 Partnership Opportunity
Now is your chance… partner with GMA SHRM for a year-long opportunity to reach out to over 800 HR professionals representing more than 500 employers!
A few really important reasons to partner with GMA SHRM…
  • 93.2% of GMA SHRM member survey respondents currently use our present partners for services (59.4% use 2 to 4 partners and 16.4% use 5 or more).
  • 71.9% of GMA SHRM survey respondents estimate to spend $5,000 or more with   our current partners.
Here’s what our current partners have to say…

“I’ve never questioned the benefits associated with partnering with GMA SHRM.” Clara Hurd Nydam, CEO & Chief Talent Officer

“The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Edgewood College and GMA SHRM share the critical goal of promoting life-long learning in our communities. Sponsorship of GMA SHRM provides us with the opportunity to connect with the dedicated HR professionals in the Madison area and to demonstrate how Edgewood College can help them meet their own professional goals as well as those of the staffs they serve in their businesses and organizations.”  Tom Bartelt, Marketing Coordinator for Online Programs, Edgewood College

If your organization is looking for strategies to promote its products or services to the Madison-area Human Resources community, you’ll want to reach out to HR professionals via the Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management (GMA SHRM)! Our chapter is one of the largest in the United States.

We are currently offering Corporate Partnerships for 2013. There are three Partnership levels to suit your budget. Click here to see the benefits of becoming a Corporate Partner and to view the application form.
We offer other advertising options during the year as well. Highlights include:

  Opportunities throughout the year on a limited basis (first come, first-served):

  • Web site advertising
  • E-blast sponsorship
  • Displays at meetings
  • Meeting sponsorship
  • Annual Human Capital Conference Sponsorship.
Click here to learn more about these options.
Don’t miss it…November 9th is the deadline!
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GMA SHRM Certification Study Group

Each year GMA SHRM offers a study group for those preparing for the PHR or SPHR certifications.  This year the meetings will focus on having open discussion/dialogues for participants on topics in any of the modules as well as test taking skills.  The meetings will be held at the corporate offices of The QTI Group (702 East Washington Avenue, on the corner of East Washington and Blount Street).  The meetings will be held on the following dates beginning at 5:30pm:
  • Tuesday November 13
  • Tuesday November 27
  • Wednesday December 5
  • Wednesday December 12
Questions can be directed to Jennifer Lindberg, SPHR, at 608-258-5525 or
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Referral Bonus $50 Gift Certificate Winner

Twice a year at our New Member Welcome & Orientation events we have a drawing for our referral program. For all those members who have referred a member since the last event we put their name in a drawing to win a $50 gift card (in addition to the $10 they are already receiving). This events winner is…… Tim Seifriz, SPHR from Covance! Congratulations Tim!

To learn more about our referral program, click here .


GMA SHRM Member News


GMA SHRM Member Spotlight

Name: Jeff Westra

Where do you currently work?  Herzing University

What is the focus of your position? Director of Career Development; my role is in the area of creating meaningful networks between employers seeking well-qualified candidates and our students and alumni who aspire to work in those career paths.

How long have you been in the Human Resource field? 8 years in this capacity.

Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest?  One of the most memorable moments would have to be the invitation by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board to participate as a panelist to discuss the Advisory Board process we have developed at Herzing to incorporate employer feedback into our curriculum for all of our academic offerings.  The second would be as a member of the management team at Herzing University that helped to launch our Nursing program and working with our employer partners as we went from candidacy to being awarded full accreditation status by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.   Finally, the most rewarding thing I have done to date was through my SHRM Workforce Development Committee, we planned and produced the first ever Madison Job Boot Camp this year, assisting approximately 60 job seekers to prepare for the Department of Workforce Development’s job fair the following week.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? During a conference for Associate Managers when I was managing my first restaurant just out of college, an area supervisor approached a group of us while we were discussing poorly performing employees.  He said something to the effect of “99.9% of your employees want to do a good job, chances are that if they are not doing a good job that the fault lies with you because you have failed to give them the tools they need to do the job well.”  It changed my outlook on improving employee performance from that day forward, it is not just what the employee can do to improve, but also what management can do to assist the employee with their personal development.

Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM? I saw GMA SHRM as a wonderful opportunity to network with the Human Resources community and create strategic relationships that would be beneficial to both their employers and the alumni of Herzing University.  I also liked the idea of paying it forward through helping those individuals who do not have access to resume and interviewing counseling in the community.  The work done by the Workforce Readiness Committee provided that opportunity, the volunteer work we do has been very rewarding personally for me.

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Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in September of 2012!


Human Resource Coordinator
American Family Insurance
HR Assistant
Ballweg Automotive Group
VP-Human Resources
Pacific Cycle, Inc.
Director, Human Resources
First Supply, LLC
HR Coordinator
Covance Laboratories
CustomCall Data Systems
VP-Human Resources
Gordon Flesch Company
ABR Employment Services

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Movin' Up

Congratulations Scott Weiland in your new role as Manager of the Employee Benefits Agency division at Midwest Financial Group!  

Have you started with a new company? Has your organization recently promoted you to a new position? Or do you want to recognize a new person or promotion within your department? If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!

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In Transition

Kari Knox has over 18 years of HR experience and possesses her Master’s degree and PHR certification. She has multiple industry and multi-site experience and has also been the sole HR practitioner at prior employers.  She also has experience with labor relations, payroll, and safety along with outstanding communication and the ability to build and maintain strong working relationships with vendors and colleagues.  Click here to view Kari's resume.

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc. Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.

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GMA SHRM Member Poll

Do you have a burning HR question that you’d like to see featured on our GMA SHRM Member Poll? If so, please submit your questions to Tar Conger at

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HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:

Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!

Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.

The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.

Article length:

Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.


GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.

If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at .