April 2008

In This Edition

By Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President Elect

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

New Wellness Plan Guidance Released
- By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

2008 GMA SHRM Compensation and Benefits Surveys

Planning Considerations for Writing or Revising an Employee Handbook

“A Brilliant Carat”: Reset, Realign, and Reemerge
Simon T. Bailey , Lunch Keynote Speaker at the GMA SHRM Human Capital Conference on May 13, 2008.
Click here for program information.


- The GMA SHRM Membership Interaction Committee

- Kudos to Those Who Care!

- Martha Ramirez, PHR Promoted to North Central Regional Director

- WISHRM 20th Annual State Legislative and Legal Conference

- Welcome New Members

- What's Cool in HR

- In Transition

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

- April 17, 2008- New Member Welcome
Location: Boardman Law Firm

- May 13, 2008 - 3rd Annual GMA SHRM Human Capital Conference


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Cassy Van Dyke , SPHR , GMA SHRM President Elect
2008 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.

Fidelitec, LLC
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Right Management
UW Credit Union

Career Momentum
Edgewood College
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
QBE Regional Insurance
Stark Company Realtors

Thank you!

Hi Everyone, GMA SHRM is currently seeking nominations for the 2008-2009 Board of Directors. In the interest of serving our members and our mission, we are looking for people with diverse levels of experience, expertise, and strengths to apply for the positions on our Board. If you are interested, or want to nominate someone who you think would be a strong Board member, please visit the nominations home page at: http://www.gmashrm.org/website/nominations2008.shtml .

This year we have added a new Director of Government Affairs position to our Board structure, and it is among the eight positions that we are seeking nominations for. Some of those positions have current incumbents, and some are open positions, but we are accepting applications for all of our Board positions to ensure that we select the most qualified candidate to serve our members.

Serving on the Board is a rewarding experience, and one that benefits the volunteer, their employer, the Chapter and the community. If you have any interest or would like to learn more, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thank you in advance for your interest.

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR
GMA SHRM President Elect




GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Anthony Dix

Cassy Van Dyke
President Elect

Sue Estes
Past President

Chris Berg Thacker
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
VP, Membership

Kari Lauritsen
VP, Programming

Mike Leibundgut
Director, Marketing & Communications

John Komosa
Director, Education & Development

Additional information, including board contact information can be viewed at: http://www.gmashrm.org/website/leaders.shtml.

New Wellness Plan Guidance Released
By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released practical guidance for employers sponsoring wellness programs. In Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2008-02, the DOL has provided a wellness program nondiscrimination checklist. The checklist can help employers determine whether a wellness program complies with the DOL’s final wellness regulations.

Which Plans are Covered and What is Allowed?
The checklist follows the format of the final regulations, starting with making sure that the wellness plan is actually linked to a group health plan. Only wellness programs that are part of group health plans are subject to Part 7 of ERISA. If an employer operates a wellness program as an employment policy, it may be subject to other laws, but not the final wellness regulations. Plans are then checked to see if they discriminate based on a health factor, and if they do whether they are saved by the “benign discriminations provision” which allows plans to discriminate in favorof an individual based on an individual health factor.

Mandatory Health Risk Assessments Permitted
The DOL checklist includes an example specifically allowing health plans to require participants to complete a health risk assessment in order to enroll in a group health plan, so long as the employer does not use individuals’ specific health information to discriminate in individual eligibility, benefits, or premiums.

Additional Guidance
Reward amounts offered under wellness programs are limited to 20% of the applicable cost of coverage and apply to all of a plan’s wellness programs that require individuals to meet a standard related to a health factor. Plans may have more than one wellness program. Programs are required to be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease. Individuals who are eligible to participate must have the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once per year and the reward must be available to all similarly situated individuals. Plans must disclose the availability of a reasonable alternative standard, although the disclosure does not have to say what the standard is in advance. The new guidance specifically allows plans to tailor the standard for each individual on a case by case basis.

Because the wellness regulations are subject to Part 7 of ERISA, employers violating the rules may face penalties under ERISA that can include fines, participant lawsuits, and imposition of attorney fees. The text of FAB 2008-02 is available at: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/fab2008-2.html

Employers should review their wellness programs now for compliance with the new guidelines and be prepared to make adjustments if their plans do not meet the non-discrimination criteria.

Adam P. Jensen is a Senior Consultant with Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC and has worked in the insurance and employee benefits industry since 1986. Adam specializes in providing regulatory compliance and plan design services for health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. He also advises executive clients on non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Phone: 608.240.2582 Email: ajensen@virchowkrause.com

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2008 GMA SHRM Compensation and Benefit Surveys
By Cassy Van Dyke

GMA SHRM is pleased to announce that after a comprehensive RFP process, Enetrix has been selected as our 2008 Compensation Survey and 2008 Benefits Survey Vendor.

This decision was made by a sub-committee using a variety of selection criteria, including the needs of our members and survey users. Some of the benefits of the new surveys include:

  • Online survey access, including online data submission and reporting functionality
  • Real-time access to searchable reports
  • Data trending on the reports to allow forecasting
  • Automated population of your company’s previous year’s data to allow for easier data updates
  • Data security/confidentiality
  • Exceptional customer service, training, and support

…and more!

Thank you to the members of the vendor selection committee, who worked with the Board of Directors to select our new vendor:
Joan Provencher - member, survey user
Chris Storlie - member, survey user
Mike Leibundgut - Board Liaison
Heather Dyer - Chapter Administrator

A premier provider of online survey services, Enetrix offers over 30 years of compensation consulting and related experience in a variety of sectors. GMA SHRM is looking forward to this new partnership and to continuing to serve the needs of our members.

More information regarding the new survey will follow. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the surveys, please contact Chapter Administration at chapteradmin@gmashrm.org.

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Planning Considerations for Writing or Revising an Employee Handbook
By Betsy DeLaet, Human Resource Director
MRA -The Management Association

Has the employee handbook project been on the back burner for too long? With the end of the year approaching, why not make a vow to finally get to that handbook! Whether writing a new handbook or revising an old one, that task can be time-consuming when not properly planned out. Consider these issues before beginning a handbook project.

Who will write the handbook?
While the handbook is typically the responsibility of the Human Resource Department, many companies choose to solicit feedback from a committee of management personnel and, in some cases, employee focus groups. A committee can be useful for gaining “buy-in” for policies and for ensuring that the many voices of the company are heard. Obtaining consensus before a policy is written saves editing time and fosters an atmosphere of teamwork. While working as a group to form policies may be beneficial, it is recommended that only one person actually write or edit the material to ensure consistency in tone and communication style.

In some circumstances, it is more appropriate for an individual to plan and write the handbook. This individual should have the knowledge of what is necessary in a policy and what is administratively practical. The individual may need to consult with others in the organization during the drafting stage to ensure consensus.

Define the Audience
Will there be separate handbooks for different employee groups, such as exempt and nonexempt employees? Union and nonunion employees? Office and shop employees? Determine the best way to communicate to your employees without creating a “class” barrier. Note: When writing a union handbook, include only policies that are not in the collective bargaining agreement and do not include policies that relate to “bargainable” issues such as wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions.

Decide what the handbook will look like. Using a 3-ring binder or other loose-leaf type cover rather than a bound cover provides an easy way to make future updates and inserts. Number and date each page to keep the updates organized. Will section tabs be used? Will there be an appendix? Will both an index and a table of contents be included?

Writing Style and Tone
The tone of the handbook should reflect the way the organization wants to communicate to employees. A conservative company may choose to write in the third person referring to a worker as, “the employee,” while a less conservative company may choose to write in a conversational tone using “you” and other pronouns. Avoid terms that are not used at the organization. For instance, if the terms “employee” and “supervisor” are typically used, avoid using such terms as “associate” and “coach.” Avoid jargon and acronyms that new employees will not be familiar with. Remember, the handbook is one of the first documents that a new employee reads.

Consistency, consistency, consistency! Information in the handbook should be consistent with the company’s policies and practices. If the organization doesn’t follow its own policies, it can't reasonably expect employees to follow them.

The text should include all compliance-related policies the company is subject to, such as but not limited to, sexual harassment, Family and Medical Leave Act, contract disclaimer, and an at-will employment statement. Other policies that employees need to know in order to better understand the organization’s expectations and culture should also be included.

Getting Ready to Print
It is highly recommended that the handbook be professionally reviewed. Having an objective third party, from outside the organization, review the document for compliance and readability may prevent misinterpretations or legal issues later.

Dissemination of the Handbook
Consider how the handbook will be distributed. Is an all-employee meeting feasible or will the handbook be distributed during departmental meetings or individually by the management staff? How will the acknowledgment forms be returned? Will the handbook also be put on an intranet or a shared company file?

Planning for Updates and Revisions
Plan how the organization will update the handbook including how often internal and external reviews will be conducted. Internal reviews should typically be done once a year, or more often as necessary. It is good business practice to have the handbook professionally reviewed by someone outside the organization every two to three years. Keep a working copy of the handbook in a file so notes may be made for future revisions. Track interpretations or misunderstandings so they may be rectified at the next update. Keep relevant newsletter articles and other related information in a “handbook” file for reference during the next review. Writing or revising your handbook can be much less taxing if you plan ahead.

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“A Brilliant Carat”: Reset, Realign, and Reemerge
Simon T. Bailey , Lunch Keynote Speaker at the GMA SHRM Human Capital Conference on May 13, 2008.

Click here for program information.

I’ve been having problems with my cell phone for several weeks – it just hasn’t been working quite right. I called the service line, and the representative suggested I push the phone’s reset button to restore the settings to their original programming. Realizing I had nothing to lose except some reprogramming time, I did…it was like having a brand new phone! All the issues were swept away, the erroneous programming wiped clean. My phone and I had a fresh start.

Well, you know me well enough by now to know what happened next. I kept thinking in the back of my mind about that reset button. Many devices have a reset button – a way to get them functioning again when they get “stuck”. And then I had an epiphany: Sometimes, we have to hit our internal reset button in order to reconnect with our vision, our soul our purpose…our original programming. Click here to read entire article.


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The GMA SHRM Membership Interaction Committee

By Kristine Schmitt
GMA SHRM, VP for Membership

If you have ever attended a GMA SHRM Member Welcome & Orientation, Volunteer Recognition program, or one of the after work socials, then you already have a pretty good idea of who the Membership Interaction Committee is and what they do.

The purpose of the Membership Interaction Committee is to reach out and connect with new and existing members, encourage networking between all Chapter Members and GMA SHRM leadership and promote and recognize all of the hard work and dedication of the various chapter volunteers. The Membership Interaction Committee is responsible for coordinating, planning, and facilitating various activities including Member Welcome & Orientation, Outreach, Volunteer Recognition, and Networking.

As a GMA SHRM Board member and the board liaison for the Membership Interaction Committee I am pleased to highlight this group of hardworking, dedicated individuals! I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank the volunteers on the Membership Interaction Committee: Wendy Brendel, Jenna Ruehlow, Mila Stahl, Michelle Andler, Lisa Chupak, Shelly Kemp, Barbara Schlaefer, and Joanna Vanderpoel.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Membership Interaction Committee, please contact me at (608) 219-2161 or visit the GMA SHRM website and click on the Volunteer Opportunities.

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Kudos to Those Who Care!
By Sue Estes

GMA SHRM members serving on the newly formed Philanthropy Committee have taken on our Chapter’s strategic initiative to develop ways in which GMA SHRM can get involved in serving the community in charitable ways. Initially the group met to define the selection criteria, review prospective charitable organizations to support, determine ways to get involved in the organizations, and find tie-ins with our Chapter education/programming. Now that the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) has been designated this year’s charitable organization, the committee is in full swing facilitating the activities that have been planned.

We would like to recognize the Philanthropy Committee members who are making time to help the Chapter and our members find ways to help others. They are:
Carla Anderson, National Mutual Benefit
Holly Bonnicksen-Jones
Sue Estes, Celerity Staffing Solutions
Mike Leibundgut, Park Bank
Shane McPeak, Wisconsin Distributors
Cindy Schmelzer, QTI

We would also like to recognize the many members of GMA SHRM who have supported DAIS by making donations of used cell phones and new clothing and linens which have been collected at every GMA SHRM event since December. Some of our members also participated in DAIS’ Adopt-a-Family program during the holidays. Thank you for your support!

For those of you who have not participated yet, there are plenty of opportunities ahead. For more information about donations needed for DAIS, please see http://www.gmashrm.org/HRLINK/1207/index.htm#news2

In addition, be sure to mark your calendars for GMA SHRM’s 2 nd Annual Golf Outing on June 10 th. Golfers of all levels are encouraged to register. You can have a lot of fun and benefit DAIS at the same time! Not a golfer but want to participate? You can register for just the Barbeque/Networking event following the scramble.

Proceeds will go to DAIS. For more information about the event click here.

If you’d like to get involved with the Philanthropy Committee or recommend a charitable organization for future consideration, please contact Sue Estes, Immediate Past President, via email sue@celeritystaffing.com or by phone (608)238-3410. For more information about the criteria used to select the charitable organizations GMA SHRM may support, please see http://www.gmashrm.org/HRLINK/1107/index.htm#news2.

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Martha Ramirez, PHR promoted to North Central Regional Director!

It is my pleasure to announce the promotion of Martha Ramirez, PHR to the position of North Central Regional Director!  Not only has Martha served as Regional Manager to SHRM's North Central Region since 2006, but Martha has more than 11 years of HR experience including Training, Diversity, Recruiting, Leadership Development and HR Management, Martha also brings with her over 25 years of knowledge and experience from the finance and manufacturing industries.  Martha holds a Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University in Chicago.  She is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area and resides in the western suburbs with her family.

Martha's primary responsibility as Regional Director will be to evaluate the at-large membership of not just the North Central Region but the entire nation and to lead strategic initiatives to help those members find rewarding ways to get involved in our chapter structure, the profession and with SHRM.  As Regional Director, Martha will also be responsible for a specific segment of the SHRM domestic membership population.  Martha's Strategic Initiative will be to evaluate ways for SHRM and our Volunteer Leaders to engage the Gen X/Y population as employees in our member organizations and as human resource professionals and leaders. Finally, Martha will also lead the Staffing Management Panel at SHRM and have primary accountability for the Regional Council. 

Please change your websites and e-mail communication lists to reflect Martha as the Regional Director not myself. The position Martha previously held as Regional Manager will be posted next week.

Please join me in congratulating Martha on her promotion to North Central Regional Director!


Pamela J. Green, SPHR
Chief Membership Officer
1800 Duke Street
Alexandria , VA  22314
703-535-6169 Direct


Society for Human Resource Management Wisconsin Council's 20th Annual State Legislative and Legal Conference

May 7, 2008
Boardman Law Firm, LLP
1 S. Pinckney Street, 4th Floor, Madison

Click here to register...

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Welcome New Members

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in February 2008.

Jackie Anderson

HR Generalist


Judy A. Balistreri

Contact Center Manager


Ann Marie Becker

HR Administrator

The Guild, Inc

Mary Borland

Dir Marketing & Member Services

The Alliance

Thelma Busker

HR/Payroll Manager

Patch Products

Karen J. Digman

Administration Specialist

General Casualty Insurance

Wade C. Harrison


Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

Vicki Ingalls

HR Administrator

Chartwell Midwest Wisconsin

Karri Keepers


UW Credit Union

Roger Maclean


UW-Madison Executive Education

Amanda Millett

HR Business Systems Analyst

American Family Insurance

Dan G. Sackash

Manager Recruiting Services


Dawn M. Sharer

HR Manager

YMCA of Dane County, Inc.

Rena Somersan

Director, Strategy & Human Capitol

RSM McGladrey

Stuart B. Swanson

Vice President, Human Resource

Furst Group

Kalee J. Werth

Account Executive


Amy Wilcox


Dental Health Assoc of Madison, Ltd.

Kathryn A. Williams

Recruiting Consultant

QTI Professional Staffing

Kelly L. Zidek

Human Resources Assistant

UW School of Medicine & Public Health


What’s Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

Have you…

  • completed a major project,
  • implemented something new,
  • managed a change,

Is there something…

  • your company/dept does really well,
  • interesting about your company culture
  • that makes your company an employer of choice

We want to hear about it! Share it with your HR colleagues in HR InTouch. Send us an e-mail


In Transition

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.

Movin' Up

Jamie Wackerlin  has begun a new role within Precision Devices, Inc. in Middleton as HR Administrator, formerly serving as an Administrative Support/HR Assistant. Contact: jamie_w@pdixtal.com, (608) 831-4445 ext 247

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!

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 chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .










Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818
Web: http://www.gmashrm.org/

© 2004; Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc. All rights reserved.