November 2006



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- Movin' Up



2006 Corporate Partners

American Family Insurance
Career Momentum
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.

Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum, Inc.
Stark Company Realtors
Quarles and Brady LLP

ABR Employment Services
Higgins Hemb Insurance Group
General Casualty Insurance Companies
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Right Management

Thank you!


ark Your Calendar

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

2006 Compensation & Benefits Surveys are Now Available!
For more information including the order forms, click here to visit the Survey Information Page from the GMA SHRM website.




November 8 — Wednesday in the Park

The New Dynamics of Immigration - Finding the Way Between Getting Tough and Getting Employees
Program Details

November 14 — Chapter Meeting

Developing Strong People Skills in Managers and Supervisors
How to Avoid Taking Things Personally

This Meeting Sponsored by our Gold Partner Lee Hecht Harrison

Program Details

December 12 — Chapter Meeting

HR Rejuvenation - "Getting Fresh" with Jodi Cohen

Program Details

This program is sponsored by our Gold Parter Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C


- Community activities  
- Conferences


- Orientation  
- Certification Prep Information


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

- SHRM National news  
- State Council news  
- Student Chapter news  
- PEG announcements


- Committee announcements  
- View 2006/2007 GMA SHRM Board of Directors  
- Open board positions  
- New members  
- Job line See the latest job postings!
- Question of the month Volunteers needed
- Office News  
- Partner Program Learn more about our Corporate Partner Program and other Sponsorship Opportunities
- Certifications  


Printable version

By Sue Estes, GMA SHRM President

Recently I had the privilege of attending the WI State SHRM Conference. It was an invigorating three days with many opportunities to learn something new, expand on existing knowledge, and network with many of the 800 attendees at the event. The program included learning tracks for the HR executive, future trends and forecasting, employment law & labor relations, employee benefits, diversity, compensation, motivation & rewarding performance, and certification. There was something for everyone!

While there is so much that I could share with you from the sessions I attended, space in this article is limited. You may access information from some of the sessions yourself by visiting the WI State SHRM Council website and clicking on the link at the top of the page for the WI SHRM State Conference. From there you will find a link that will lead you to the Milwaukee JS Online page where you can find many of the handouts from this year’s presentations.

There is one presentation that I would like to share with you that for me was the highlight of the conference. Keith Harrell’s keynote address, “The Attitude of Leadership”, came at a time when I needed to hear it the most. Keith’s message was delivered in an energetic manner that electrified the room. He had everyone moving and reenergizing themselves with the music and his signature line, “Super- Fantastic!”

When I returned from the conference I thought about Keith’s message and I would like to share a little of what he outlined in his keynote address and also in his book, Attitude is Everything.

Here are his 10 steps for turning attitude into action:

  1. Understand the power of attitude - You can develop your attitude and stay positive even in the most challenging times
  2. Choose to take charge of your life - Accept responsibility for what goes on inside your mind and monitor your internal dialogue
  3. Identify through self-awareness the attitudes that hold you back or propel your forward
  4. Reframe your bad attitude - Shift your perspective, discover the power of self-forgiveness which will allow you to forgive others
  5. Find your purpose and passion - Look ahead and analyze where you want to go; consider which attitudes are conducive to goal setting and which ones are not.
  6. Be pre-active - Become better prepared to handle the hazards you face in life
  7. Discover how to motivate yourself - Have an Attitude Tool Kit: affirmations, visualization, attitude talk, positive greetings, enthusiasm, spiritual empowerment, humor, and exercise
  8. Build supportive relationships - Have an attitude that will make others want to support you; build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships
  9. See change as an opportunity - Develop a “whatever it takes” attitude when confronted by change
  10. Leave a lasting legacy - Plant positive seeds: seeds of hope, encouragement, faith and love

The power of positive thinking can make a difference. We have all seen examples in our workplaces of the ways positive attitudes help improve communication and teamwork, boost morale and increase productivity. As Keith Harrell states in his book Attitude is Everything, “the difference between winners and losers in the workplace is often attitude.” Hopefully we’ll all be seen as winners in our professional and personal lives because of our attitudes.

Have a great month of November and I hope you share a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends!

Sue Estes

Oh What a Mess We Have Created
By David R. Friedman, Friedman Law Firm

You probably never thought your company might have to advance legal fees to a former employee so that the employee could defend himself in a lawsuit that your company brought against him.

Well, this is exactly what happened to one company. Here is its saga. SeeInternational Airport Centers, LLC. v. Citrin, 440 F.3d 418 and 445 F.3d 749 (7 th Cir. 2006).

IAC sued its former employee (Citrin) in federal court. The company claimed that the employee had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. During his term of employment, IAC lent him a laptop computer to use to record data he collected in the course of his employment.

Citrin decided to quit IAC and go into business for himself in breach of his employment contract. Before returning the laptop to IAC, he deleted all of the data on the computer. He did this by loading a secure erasure program into the laptop. This deleted not only the data he collected in the course of his employment, but also data that would have revealed to IAC his improper conduct. It is the deletion of the company’s data that formed the basis for the company’s lawsuit against Citrin. A Federal District Court dismissed the company’s lawsuit, but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and reinstated the lawsuit.

After that happened, Citrin sued in Delaware state court (because the company is a Delaware corporation) claiming that his employment contract with IAC required it to indemnify him for any damages he might incur if he was sued based on acts performed in connection with the company’s business and if he prevailed in the suit. Citrin’s employment contract also required the company to pay his expenses in defending any suit based on such acts “in advance of the final disposition of such action…upon receipt of an undertaking by [him] to repay such amount plus reasonable interest in the event that it shall ultimately be determined that [he] was not entitled to be indemnified.” Based on this language, the Delaware court ordered IAC to advance Citrin the $1.3 million dollars in attorneys’ fees he had already incurred. After this decision, IAC went back into Federal Court in Illinois seeking to enjoin the Delaware Court’s decision. The Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of IAC’s requested injunction.

The result of all of this is that IAC has to advance at least $1.3 million dollars which Citrin will have to repay if IAC ultimately prevails.

Just look at the dilemma IAC created. If it loses, by contract, it has agreed to pay all of Citrin’s attorney fees. If IAC decides to stop its litigation, it is not clear whether it could ever recover any of the advanced legal fees.

It is not uncommon to have indemnification language covering an employee who is “acting within the scope of employment.” What is unusual is the language advancing fees. Regardless of whether your company would ever agree to such language, it would be prudent to review employment contracts, handbooks, or any company policy and make sure that an indemnification language is not broader than necessary. You want to make sure your company does not have to finance a lawsuit against itself.

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.

From the National SHRM Bulletin Board…

Topic: Job Absence Rate

Posted : 10/11/2006 2:51:54 PM

Post: I am currently reviewing our attendance policy and trying to determine if we have an attendance issue. We currently have a job absence rate of 2 to 3 percent depending on the month.

I've seen quite a few surveys that show the average is somewhere between 1.5 to 2 percent, but I question what environment that is looking at. Our employees work in a pretty physically demanding manufacturing environment, and I can understand some call-ins.

What is the absence rate at your manufacturing plant?

Number of Replies: 10 by 10/13/2006 11:03:00 AM

Posted Reply 1: I am also working on a project to revise our attendance program.

I work at an oil refinery and our absence rate is 2.55% overall for hourly employees. This rate excludes absences longer than 30 days. When the longer term absences of more than 30 days are factored in this rate goes to 3.85% year-to-date.

Have any of you heard of the Bradford Factor? I've read about it in my research of attendance programs. It uses a formula that gives weight to number of days missed and number of episodes. For examples, if you miss 40 single-day episodes you would have a higher factor than someone who misses a single 40-day episode. It looks like a good measure to use but don't know of anyone using it. It is from the UK and Rolls Royce seems to be best known company who uses it.

Posted Reply 2: From what I learned in your post, Chet [Posted Reply 1], our attendance system is similar to the Bradford factor. We consider 5 incidents or 40 hours of absence in a rolling 12 month period to be excessive, and counsel when someone gets near/goes over this. This does give some flexibility to the supervisors, as an incident can be 3 hours (if you go home sick mid-day) or 40 hours, if you're out for a whole week with the flu. We definitely look at someone who's out once for a whole bunch of hours differently than someone with low hours, but lots of incidents.


Website of the Month: Occupational Information

HR professionals know that job descriptions affect many aspects of our daily lives. Without accurate job descriptions, we run the risk of recruiting the wrong candidate, managing compensation poorly, or exposing our organizations to unnecessary risk and litigation. If you need some help with a job analysis or other task to create a solid job description, you may want to check out the online O*NET.

O*NET is the nation’s primary source of occupation information. The organization builds its database through a model of six hierarchies and several hundred job descriptors. Data comes from several federal agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To get started, you can click on Find Occupations and then make a selection in a few different ways, such as Job Family or Industry. For example, if you are trying to create a job description for a Database Administrator, you could Browse by Job Family, select Computer and Mathematical, and then click on Database Administrator. Once you find an occupation, the website will give you a wealth of summary and detailed information to help you create a job description based on tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, and much more.

The website is not exceptionally user-friendly or full of the latest graphics, but it may be the extra tool you need to manage the many positions within your company more effectively.

2007 Marketing Opportunities With Society for Human Resource ManagementIs your organization looking for strategies to promote its products or service to Madison-area HR professionals?  Then consider the many opportunities available through GMA SHRM.

For 2007, our chapter continues to offer a variety of options for any size budget.  Some highlights include:

  • Annual opportunities including Corporate Partnerships and Membership Directory advertising for 2007.  Sign up available now through November 10.
  • Year-round opportunities available on a limited basis (first come, first-served), such as website advertising, e-blast sponsorship, displays at meetings, and meeting sponsorship.

The GMA SHRM chapter is one of the largest in the United States.  It is comprised of a diverse group of over 800 professionals representing more than 500 employers.  View our chapter's expanded marketing opportunities.

For the Corporate Partnerships and Membership Directory advertising, the chapter contacted past participants and potential partners and dvertisers by email in September and will follow up through October on these time-sensitive annual opportunities. This year, we are offering an “early bird” special -- additional marketing opportunities at no additional charge -- for those who respond early to participate in our 2007 partnership program. If your organization has not received the email about the 2007 marketing opportunities, please contact Dave Furlan, Marketing and Communications Committee Co-Chair.

We appreciate your consideration of these opportunities and look forward to another successful year with our corporate partners and advertisers.

November Keynote Speaker: Conflict Management
By Meg Arneson, Marketing & Communications Committee

This November’s GMA SHRM Chapter Meeting brings HR professionals the opportunity to sharpen our conflict management and problem resolution skills!

In his keynote presentation – How to Avoid Taking Things Personally, Stephen Pearson, Director of UW Madison’s Employee Assistance Office, will:

  • Describe five types of employees who inhabit our workplace.
  • Identify why people are inclined to take things personally.
  • Clarify why taking things personally is counter-productive.
  • Offer strategies to avoid personalizing situations/interactions.
  • Describe five strategies available to persons in conflict.

The issue of taking things personally at work is an important one for Stephen Pearson. Often employees will utilize his services to report a frustrating and painful interaction/situation. To the individual, it’s about them and it’s personal! They feel disrespected and they want to know what measures(s) are available to them to deal with the situation. When conflict is personalized it leads to a significant amount of disappointment, tension, and wasted energy.

Stephen Pearson’s goal is to assist the employee in realizing they are free to respond differently – other than defensively or aggressively. When individuals react with a fight or flight response, the real issue is lost, leaving them paralyzed to identify the actual issue(s) and thus solve the problem!

As Human Resources professionals we are serving employees and the organization well when we can present alternative reactions, and facilitate the processes of identifying issues and resolving problems.

We hope you will join us at our November program meeting to learn more about this important topic.  To register, click here.

Committee Spotlight: Membership Interaction Committee
By Kristine Schmitt, VP, Membership and Membership Interaction Committee Chair

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.

As a GMA SHRM Board member and the chair of the Membership Interaction Committee I am pleased to highlight this group of hardworking, dedicated individuals! 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. At this time I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank the volunteers on the Membership Interaction Committee: Holly Marciniak, David Binder, Wendy Brendel, Jenna Ruehlow, Jamie Teal, Tricia Perkins, Mila Stahl, Michelle Andler, Lisa Chupak, Deborah Colar, and Matt Shefchik.

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 link for more information.


Welcome New Members!

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

Melissa L. Amos-Landgraf

Asst. Dean for Administration

UW Madison School of Business

Faustina M. Bohling

Administrative Assistant of HR


Stacy M. Bolger

Staffing Specialist

American Family Insurance

Kris Guckenberger, SPHR

H.R. Manager

GE Healthcare

Renee A. Mailhot

HR Manager

John Deere Horicon Works

Jennifer M. Martin

Senior HR Specialist

Dean Health System

Bette L. McCarthy, CRP, GMS

Business Development Realtors

Restaino Bunbury & Associates

Linda B. McNeel

Training Consultant

Bachman McNeel & Associates

Scott E. Nelson

HR Manager

Hallman Lindsay Paints

Jeanne Pluemer

Account Executive

Employee Benefits Corporation

Donna W. Robbins

HR Manager

Neschen Corp


Your Foundation at Work

The SHRM Foundation has a goal of raising $550,000 in 2006.  They have currently raised approximately $262,000, 30% of last year's mark.  The breakdown of this $262,000 is as follows: $113,000 from individuals, $92,000 from chapters, $19,000 from State Councils, $3,000 from student chapters, and $35,000 from corporations.  The National Silent Auction held at the annual SHRM conference in June was a particular highlight, as the SHRM Foundation raised approximately $44,000. 

In addition, two important products are in the SHRM Foundation pipeline. In September, the SHRM Foundation produced a DVD entitled "Ethics - The Fabric of Business."  The DVD is a case study of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and highlights their singular approach to ethics in the workplace.   In October, the SHRM Foundation will publish another item in their Effective Practice Guidelines series, this time focusing on the subject of employee engagement.

Finally, the SHRM Foundation scholarship program is proving to be quite a draw for HR professionals.  In 2006, nearly 390 applications were received, resulting in 60 scholarship winners (including Wisconsin's own Jackie Swanson of the Blackhawk chapter.  Congratulations Jackie!!!)

As the fiscal year comes to a close, make sure you are not left out in helping the SHRM Foundation.  As the previous examples demonstrate, your financial assistance contributes to advancing the profession and serving the professional.

Movin’ Up

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

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