September 2007



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2007 Corporate Partners

American Family Insurance
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.
Right Management

Fidelitec, LLC
Klaas Financial

Higgins Hemb Insurance Group
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Stark Company Realtors
UW-Madison Executive Education
Winterthur North America / General Casualty

Thank you!


ark Your Calendar

Click here to view the full calendar of events and meeting notices.

September 12 - Wednesday in the Park - Is Your 401K Program Broken?

This program will help you identify signs of a broken 401K program and define roles and responsibilities of the key players within your program.

Program Details

September 18 - Chapter Meeting - Focus on COBRA

With 3 years under your belt since the most recent COBRA updates, this may have become an issue that has fallen off your radar.  The September Chapter Meeting will give you an opportunity to revisit the basics of COBRA to refine your knowledge of the topic and how to work through those tough issues.
During the morning announcements members will be asked to ratify changes to the GMA SHRM by-laws to allow electronic voting. This is a ratification process required for SHRM compliance. Electronic voting was approved by the membership at the September 2005 GMA SHRM Chapter Meeting.

Program Details


October 10-12 - WISHRM State Conference

Program and Registration Information NOW AVAILABLE!

2007 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

The participation deadline has now passed and the data is now being compiled. Order your survey now so you will be on the first shipment expected September 1.

Click here for the 2007 Compensation Survey Information Page!


News/Updates - for more information, click topic in left hand column

- SHRM National news  
- State Council news  
- Committee announcements  
- View 2007/2008 GMA SHRM Board of Directors  
- New members  
- Job line See the latest job postings!
- Office News  
- Partner Program Learn more about our Corporate Partner Program and other Sponsorship Opportunities
- Certifications  

Printable version

By Anthony Dix, PHR GMA SHRM President


The month of September marks the end of summer and the start of the 2007/2008 GMA SHRM year.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the WI State SHRM Leadership Conference in Wausau on August 9 and 10 with my fellow board members. The conference provided several opportunities to network with chapter leaders throughout the state and enjoy great presentations to enhance our leadership capabilities. I would like to share some highlights of the conference from my fellow board members:

Cassy VanDyke , SPHR, President Elect : The 2007 WI State SHRM Leadership Conference was once again a rewarding experience. There were a number of dynamic presentations, including “HR Strategies for the New Millennium” by Steve Miranda, SHRM’s Chief Human Resources & Strategic Planning Officer, and “The 21 st Century HR Leader” by Pam Green, SHRM’s North Central Regional Director.

Pam outlined 10 HR challenges that should keep you up at night, including:

  1. Becoming more strategic and less transactional
  2. Aligning HR with key business objectives
  3. Recruiting top talent and building leadership capability
  4. Building an inclusive culture
  5. Globalization
  6. The practitioner’s skills, competencies, and well-being
  7. The rising cost of health care
  8. Religion and spirituality
  9. Immigration
  10. Legal risks and reputation.

We also had the opportunity to network with other SHRM chapters across the state and discuss best practices. The best practices and unique perspectives that were shared at the conference provided us with additional strategies for how we can continue to execute our mission to serve the professional and advance the profession.

Kari Lauritson, VP of Programming: I enjoyed hearing more about the process for submitting a Pinnacle Application.  I found the information interesting and inspiring!  I hope that we can take some of the existing offerings we have within GMA SHRM and use them as a springboard for a project that can be submitted for an award. The chapter best practice sharing was also a highlight of my experience.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear what other chapters are doing to bring quality programs to their membership.  Getting to know the leaders within other chapters has given me a network to use when we plan similar events here in Madison.

Karol Buckingham, Director, Workforce Readiness: I think the most powerful thing for me was listening to chapter leaders discuss the methods they have used to implement and enhance Workforce Readiness and Diversity.  It definitely gave me some ideas to take to our committee meeting next week.

Chris Berg-Thacker, Secretary/Treasurer: I thought it was great and really made you feel as a part of the whole organization.  I loved meeting new people from other SHRM chapter’s as well as the State Council.  I was very impressed by SHRM national’s presence as well.  Making the connections was great for me. I thought the best practices sessions were invaluable.  I learned new information and also that many chapters are struggling with the same issues that we are. 

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR, Director, Communications & Marketing: T he presentation from Steve Miranda was very interesting.  I was taken back by how worldly he was and how small the planet is becoming from a business standpoint.  One of his points hit home for me; how your company can't be the employer of choice in all areas that candidates evaluate.  For example, you can't offer the best benefits, best wages, best environment, best training, etc.  You need to pick one or two and do them very well.  Most companies don't have the funds to do ALL of them. 

I also enjoyed learning about how other chapters have found success by trying innovative methods to keep members engaged and active.  I liked the "Member Spotlight" idea where the board picks a member to write about for extraordinary HR work and writes a small blurb about them for the newsletter. 

Finally, I would like to encourage all of you to sign up for our September 18th chapter meeting which will give you an opportunity to revisit the basics of COBRA and network with other HR professionals.

Best regards,

Anthony J. Dix, PHR
GMA SHRM President

GMA SHRM Board Member Profile - Kari Lauritsen, Vice President of Programming

1. Describe your current position on the Board and any volunteer or leadership positions leading up to it.
I joined the Programming Committee in October of 2004. After working on the committee for approximately one year (October 2005), I accepted the position of co-chair on the Programming Committee. I served 1 ½ years as co-chair before being appointed to the VP of Programming position July of 2007.

2. Tell us two or three goals you have in your position on the Board this year.
At the Strategic Planning Session the board reviewed results from the most recent member survey. These results are extremely important to the development of initiatives to ensure we exceed the expectations of our membership. Over 80% of respondents stated that the reason they joined SHRM was for professional development & programming. The second reason being for networking opportunities. I take these survey results seriously and know that it is our responsibility to develop quality programs and networking opportunities for our membership.

The board used the survey data to determine the initiatives we would pursue and where we would invest time and resources for the 2007-2008 year. Knowing that quality programming is one the most valuable aspects of your membership, it has been chosen as one of our focus areas.

Through this initiative we hope to:

  • Define our programming options and evaluate program effectiveness
  • Determine the right frequency and mix of program offerings
  • Develop a process to market our programs
  • Obtain more feedback from membership on speaker quality
  • Develop a deep and diverse speaker pool

3. How do you see your role as supporting our chapter mission to serve the professional and advance the profession?
I see my role as a liaison between our membership who are looking for opportunities for professional development and networking and the programming committee who develops those programs. If I am able to successfully measure the needs of membership and implement programs to develop their talents in those areas we are ‘Serving the Professional’.

Expanding personal networks and providing valuable programs/speakers are ways that GMA SHRM & the Programming Committee can also contribute to ‘Advancing the Profession’.

4. Please share with our chapter members any other news or information related to your Board position.
If you have ideas for future programs or speakers please feel free to contact us. (Via the links provided or by going to We welcome your input and ideas!

I would also like to invite you to volunteer for the Programming Committee. We are always looking for individuals who may be interested in developing programs and sessions that will be of interest to members. Volunteering for SHRM has been a wonderful experience, and has helped me to develop personally and professionally! For more information on the volunteer opportunities we have available on the Programming Committee and other volunteer opportunities please visit our website!

Kari Lauritsen
Field Services Consultant
American Family Insurance


No-fault attendance policies: Are they valid?
By David Friedman, Fridman Law Firm

You may be aware the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued a decision involving Stoughton Trailers and its no-fault attendance policy. The court ruled that the company’s no-fault attendance discriminated against an employee because of his disability which was migraine headaches. But you probably are not aware of the court’s rationale for its decision.

The Stoughton Trailers no-fault attendance policy stated that when an employee exceeded 6 occurrences in a prescribed time period, the employee would be terminated. The employee in this case accumulated 6.5 occurrences, two of which were caused by migraine headaches. LIRC (Labor and Industry Review Commission) found that the two occurrences caused by the employee’s disability were sufficient to conclude that the termination was because of this disability. LIRC also found that the company did not reasonably accommodate the employee in that it failed to give him sufficient time to submit documents to avoid being assessed an occurrence under the company’s policy.

Finally LIRC found that the company failed to exercise “clemency and forbearance” when it refused to temporarily tolerate the absences that were caused by his disability to allow medical intervention to take its course and potentially resolve the problem of the employee's absences.

The Supreme Court found a different basis to uphold LIRC. The Court found that the company did not follow its own no-fault attendance policy in terminating the employee when it failed to provide him with 15 days as allowed under the policy to submit documentation to avoid being assessed an “occurrence.” Because the Company did not follow its own no-fault attendance policy, the court said the company may not claim whatever protection that policy may provide in its termination of the employee. The court further said LIRC's conclusion that the employee was terminated because of his disability is more reasonably based on the unique circumstances surrounding that termination. “Based on these circumstances, we conclude that LIRC's determination that Stoughton terminated Geen because of his disability was reasonable. We therefore do not address the issue of whether a termination for exceeding the maximum number of absences permitted under a no-fault attendance policy is because of disability under the WFEA when some of the absences were caused by disability and others were not.”

The dissent chastised the majority’s decision for a number of reasons. The dissent said that for years employment law aimed at requiring that all employees be treated neutrally and impartially based on their merits. Now it might be discrimination if you fail to treat each employee differently.

The dissent cautioned that “employers should be wary of applying their facially neutral no-fault attendance policies to treat all absences alike regardless of the reason for the absence.”

If you are confused as to the validity of a no-fault attendance policy, you are not alone. There is at least one lesson that can be learned from this case. Make sure you follow your policy.

Left unanswered is at least one question. If the company has to follow its policy, how can it exercise “clemency and forbearance” in dealing with an employee who needs something more than the policy provides without violating its policy?

As the majority said, we will have to wait for another case to determine the validity of no-fault attendance policies.

The opinions expressed or implied are those of the author and may not represent the official position of GMASHRM. This article is intended for general information purposes and highlights developments in the legal area. This article does not constitute legal advice. The reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

LocalNet Online

Earlier this year, the chapter moved to an online format for LocalNet. LocalNet is a members-only service where you can contact your peers as an information resource on a variety of HR topics. Members select the topics on which they would feel their experience may be helpful to offer to other members. LocalNet used to be a part of the annual printed directory, but the chapter has moved it to an online functionality to improve its value as a real-time resource for GMA SHRM members.

All GMA SHRM members should login to the LocalNet and check if the appropriate topics are selected for which they are willing to act as a peer resource. To login to the GMA SHRM members only site, go to and click on Login at the top right side of the page. Enter your user ID and password and then click on Update My LocalNet from the left menu. Next, click on the subject-matter areas in which you have HR experience and then check the specific topics within that subject-matter.

For example, if you would like to share your experience in recruitment, click on the LocalNet Recruitment subject-matter area. Then perhaps you would check OFCCP Audit, Immigration, and Reference Checking as your specific peer resource topics. Based on experience, members can select all or just a few of the specific topics within the subject-matter area.

Please also see related article on Chapter Spokespersons about how you can further offer your HR experience to the Greater Madison community.

Website of the Month: Drug-Free Workplace Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor is participating with several agencies to promote this year’s Drug-Free Work Week set for October 14-20. Besides the health and safety concerns, substance abuse can reduce productivity and increase absenteeism and health care costs. Among other objectives, the Drug-Free Work Week intends to highlight the resources available not only to people suffering from substance abuse but also to employers seeking to create a comprehensive drug-free program in the workplace.

If your organization is looking for some help to participate in this year’s Drug-Free Work Week, the Department of Labor has a list of ideas and resources available on its website. You can access free training materials for supervisors and workers or offer a self-administered online screening tool. There are also posters available and “drop-in” articles for employee newsletters.

Click here to review the comprehensive list of ideas and resources along with links to many other helpful sites and materials.

Employment Branding
By Sarah White, MRA Recruiting Solutions Director

A brand is a promise. An employment brand, then, is a promise about what job seekers can expect from your company if they become employees. In the past, it may have been assumed that employment branding was only for large companies who had high volume staffing needs and a large budget. But with competition for good candidates on everyone's mind, small and mid-sized companies have also begun to create or refine their employment brands.

To start, imagine you are a qualified candidate looking for a job. Then imagine visiting your company's Web site, or seeing your organization's representatives at a job fair, or viewing your job openings online or in print. What impressions would you have of your company? What makes your company memorable and a place you want to work?

Next, think about how all those pieces of company information are being viewed by different candidate groups through their individual lenses. For example, if I'm a new college grad, I might be looking for clues that speak to career progression and growth. If I'm the parent of small children, I might be looking for clues that speak to flexibility or work/life balance. Of course, you can't make ten different Web sites or ads or booths, but you can recognize that there are differences in what people are looking for and that can affect what you lead with and how you present information.

It's easy to become overwhelmed and lose sight of what the small details say about your company and what it's like to work there. A great source of information is your recent hires. How well have their initial impressions matched up with their experiences? Often, you will find that you are under-representing the great things about your company and culture in your branding efforts.

A complete review of your employment branding can be done at anytime. I often recommend doing this as part of a Recruitment Review, especially if you are planning to launch a large recruiting project.

Creating and improving your employment brand is a simple, cost-effective, and important step in your recruiting process. Ultimately, it saves you time and money by providing an appealing and accurate picture of what your company represents and by attracting top candidates to compete today.

Sarah has over 10 years of diverse experience aligning talent strategies with business strategies. She is an experienced talent acquisition consultant, recruiter, author, and trainer. Sarah has expertise in recruitment strategy design, recruitment process optimization, online recruiting, employment branding, college recruitment and internship program development, and applicant tracking software selection.

Chapter Spokespersons Needed

Besides going to an online format for LocalNet (see other article), the chapter also has an exciting new enhancement to the functionality of this peer resource. For many years, GMA SHRM has tried to assemble a list of members who are willing to talk to the media about HR topics, but it has often been difficult to keep a list of chapter spokespersons current and easily accessible, especially with tight media deadlines.

To overcome this problem, the LocalNet now has a checkbox “Media Contact” at the bottom of every LocalNet topic. You can select this checkbox when updating your LocalNet topics if you are also willing to talk to the media about them. Members who check this box will be part of a list given to reporters and journalists who contact the chapter about HR-related stories.

We encourage any member who is comfortable working with the media to login to LocalNet and sign up as a media contact/chapter spokesperson. When you do so, the Communications & Marketing Committee will also follow up with you about appropriate guidelines to represent SHRM in the media.

Important Message from Robert Swanson, State Director, WI SHRM

The Center for Patient Partnerships is reaching out to Wisconsin's HR professionals to develop training materials to help employees and their families navigate through the health care system. The WI SHRM State Council asks your help. What are the most important training issues you face as you help employees access quality health care?

We ask you to take five minutes to complete the online questionnaire, posted at the following link:

Results from this survey will shape a new, ground-breaking curriculum designed to train HR professionals to help Wisconsin families navigate the health care system. We ask that you complete this survey no later than Friday, September 7th.

Information regarding the training sessions currently scheduled in WI can be found at:

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert Swanson
Director of Human Resources
State Director, WI SHRM
Medical Associates Health Centers
Phone: 262-415-1006

Community Events and Programs

The International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (CEBS) is offering a one-day seminar on the Fundamentals of Health and Welfare Plans. The seminar will be held on Friday, September 14th at the Sheraton Hotel in Madison. Click here to view brochure.

Governor Doyle Declares October 10, 2007 as Human Resources Professional Day

Click here to view the declaration!

Welcome New Members!

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

Ann Anderson

HR Manager

Marine Travelift Inc

Pamela S. Barnes

HR Assistant

Econoprint, Inc.

Magdalena A. Bartoszewicz

HR Manager


Andrea L. Birnbaum

HR Generalist

Johnson Health Tech NA

Mary T. Bjorklund

HR Generalist

Oakwood Village

Andrew Bohacek


Best Western

Michael J. Braun, PHR

HR Administrator

ACD Distribution

Lisa M. Collins

Associate Director

UW-Madison School of Business Career Center

Kristine Dewitt, PHR

Sr. HR Generalist

Johnson Health Tech NA

Elizabeth Dye, FLMI, ACS, AIAA

Account Manager

Group Health Cooperative of South Central WI

Katrina Klipsic

HR Generalist

Meriter Health Services

Rachel Mathson

Marketing Coordinator

MRI Sales Consultants of Madison

Amber Medina

Recruitment Assistant

TDS Telecom

Susan E. Mohr

HR Specialist

Planning Design Build, Inc

Erin Pinnow, PHR


Spectrum Brands

Kris Sutter-Parent

HR Director

Turville Bay MRI & Radiation Oncology

Sylvia A. Thornton

HR Manager

Dane County

Dean Woldstad

Relocation Director

Stark Company Realtors

Melissa M. Zernick



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.

Carla Anderson, SPHR , a native Wisconsinite and UW grad, has recently relocated to Madison with her family after gaining almost 20 years of senior HR generalist experience in the Washington, DC area. Carla's most recent position was VP of HR at WETA Public TV and Radio in Arlington, VA; she is seeking strategic and operational HR consulting opportunities. Carla is also a certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) administrator and offers to provide and interpret the MBTI to interested GMA SHRM members for no fee. Feel free to contact her at

Kay Moore has held a variety of career positions in Madison at a management level.  She is hoping to find a new career path using a blend of past experience, including training, materials design and development, call center technology, and customer service.  Her key talents are leadership, counseling, creative thinking, writing and editing, and the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Kay can be reached at  or 608-274-2678.

Movin' Up

Sharon Harkins of Lee Hecht Harrison would like to recognize two new consultants that have joined the organization in Madison: Sandy Anderson, formerly VP Human Resources & Administration with American Girl and Jennifer Kraemer, formerly Sr. Human Resources Consultant with Virchow Krause & Co. Both bring many years of experience to assist our customers with career management issues.

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 .







Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818

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