March 2012

HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Mike Leibundgut, SPHR GMA SHRM President

Government Affairs Update

Absence as an Accommodation

Compensation and Benefits

Fast Facts for Employers about Preventative Dental Health Care

Employee Relations

Consensus Decision Making

Professional Development

PHR/SPHR Study Groups

GMA SHRM Social Media

Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Forward HR

GMASHRM is LinkedIn

GMA SHRM Upcoming Events

GMA SHRM Strategic Summit
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Topic: Creating a Coaching Culture

GMA SHRM Roundtable
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Topic:Ethical and Legal Considerations for Wellness Programs

GMA SHRM Toolbox
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Topic:  Employee Engagement: Putting Common sense into Common Practice


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

GMA SHRM Announcements

SHRM Foundation News: Effective Practice Guidelines

GMA SHRM Member News

GMA SHRM Member Spotlight

Welcome New Members!

Movin' Up

In Transition

GMA Membership Poll 


Printable version


President's Message

2012 Corporate Partners

Gold Level
Boardman 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!

Hello GMA SHRM Members,

Can you believe our premier education event, the GMA SHRM Human Capital Conference, is just over two months away? It will be held at the Alliant Energy Center on Tuesday, May 15th.  In its seventh year, the conference promises to provide interesting and relevant HR topics providing PHR and SPHR credits, new and innovative ideas, law updates, and entertaining presenters. Our Human Capital Conference Committee members have been working diligently over the past few months to search out and choose great speakers. I have no doubt that their dedication and hard work will make “The Evolution of Human Resources”, the theme of this year’s conference, a worthwhile learning opportunity for all of you. Check the GMA SHRM website, newsletters, and weekly e-blasts for regular updates. Don’t procrastinate, register now!

Since this event is the largest we have throughout the year, I encourage you to not only attend, but to spread the word.  Networking is one of the primary reasons why members join GMA SHRM, what better place and time than this event to increase the networking pool.  Every year I attend this event and meet a dozen or more new HR related contacts.  These contacts become professionals I can call on when I need advice or a sample policy or confirmation on an employment law I’m interpreting. Some of them even become friends.  The scheduled line-up of speakers will provide useful and practical information which can enhance your skills, experiences and ability to do your jobs. By attending you will see two nationally recognized keynote speakers and your choice of nine (9) breakout session speakers covering many aspects of the Human Resource field. 

It’s also that time of year when GMA SHRM offers our Professional Award. The annual award of $1000 is given to a chapter member to support his or her professional development. Among other things, you can use the award to attend a conference or pursue a degree or certification. I know many of our members are always actively challenging themselves to become more knowledgeable and further develop their skills in the HR profession. The GMA SHRM Professional Award is a great way to support your efforts in this way. I strongly encourage all of you to consider applying this year. You will be able to find the application form on the GMA SHRM website , the deadline for applications is April 20.

I hope to see many applicants for this wonderful award and just as importantly, all of you at the One Day Human Capital Conference this May.

Let’s inspire someone today! 

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR

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GMA SHRM Board of Directors

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

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Government Affairs Update

Absence as an Accommodation
Contributed by Tammy Barden, PHR, Sr. Employee Relations Specialist, WPS Health Insurance

With the changes passed in 2008 to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it has become apparent that leave from work is now considered an accommodation. The case law on this matter also supports that medical leave of absence may be considered a reasonable accommodation. For obvious reasons, it is very important for Human Resource Professionals to know how to deal with this type of accommodation.

As always with the ADA, the main factors to consider are whether the request is a reasonable accommodation and causes undue hardship to the company. Many employers would say an unpaid leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation. Unfortunately, the courts in many cases have not agreed from this perspective. Therefore, employers, when reviewing these requests, should be able to provide a defense of undue hardship.

There are some helpful resources available to help employers evaluate these types of requests. One resource you may find helpful regarding the ADA is



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Compensation and Benefits

Good Dental Health Makes Good Business Sense: Fast Facts for Employers about Preventative Dental Health Care
Contributed by Hilary Kleese, Marketing Director, First Choice Dental Group

In today’s tough economy and with rising health care costs, we all face ongoing pressure to control costs, identify what coverage is essential and see where there may be opportunities to trim costs. Research shows that oral health is integral to overall health. It’s becoming more apparent that dental health coverage and promoting a message of dental wellness is essential to helping your employees be healthy, happy and productive. Consider these statistics:

  • More than 90% of all systemic diseases, including diabetes, leukemia, cancer, heart disease and kidney disease, have oral characteristics that can be detected during an oral exam.
  • Oral health issues are a common reason for lost productivity and increased health care costs. Neglected oral health can lead to physical consequences that negatively influence an employee’s overall quality of life and productivity at work.
  • The Surgeon General reports that 51 million school hours are missed each year because of dental-related illnesses. (When kids miss school, parents miss work.)
  • The Surgeon General also reports that more than 164 million work hours are lost each year because of dental problems, not including hours missed to care for children impacted by dental health issues.

Source: Delta Dental reporting of Taylor Nelson/Sofres Intersearch survey 2002 and Academy of General Dentistry’s Know Your Teeth report October 2008.

Click here for the full article.

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Employee Relations

Consensus Decision Making
Contributed by John F. Macek LCSW

Making decisions by consensus is far and away the most desirable approach, but achieving it is much easier said than done.
The reason for its desirability is that consensus can lead to full digestion of the facts and arrive at sound, evidence based solutions.  Unfortunately, there is one major stumbling block: humans are social creatures and readily influenced by the views of others. Kurt Lewis, a pioneer in social psychology, demonstrated in his studies that the need to conform can lead individuals to distort or revise initially accurate perceptions. 
How, then, do we take the social interplay out of consensus decision making?  Having chaired hundreds of management team meetings, I think it starts with the group leader. As the group leader, I could not sidestep the fact of my authority and people’s concern about displeasing an authority figure. To overcome that obstacle, I used many approaches to make disagreement “safe.”
I started by making it clear that this was a brainstorming decision, not a social niceties session.  Our job was to test ideas, regardless of source, fully digest them and come up with well-informed solutions. Unfortunately, what many consider “consensus” is not consensus at all.  It’s compromise in which some win, some gain. Compromise isn’t all bad, but it isn’t the best of approaches. First, some members will feel they yielded their judgment in order to reach agreement. Second, the group will not have fully vetted the data at hand.  Our political process is based on compromise, which often leads to the “least worst” solution.

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Professional Development

PHR/SPHR Study Groups

Prepare for the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), Professional in Human Resources (PHR), or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification examinations by joining the PHR/SPHR study group offered by Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resources Management Chapter.

In the study group you will interact with fellow HR professionals who are also looking to advance their career by preparing to take the PHR/SPHR Study Group.

Methods used in the study group include group discussions, answering practice questions and opportunities to discuss the test taking experience with HR Professionals that have successfully passed the examination.

The study group sessions last 10 weeks and are held in both the fall and spring.

For more information please contact Jake Siudzinksi at


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GMA SHRM Social Media

‘Like’ us on Facebook

Have you liked us on Facebook yet? Visit!/GMASHRM. Another great way to stay connected to GMA SHRM and your HR ‘friends’. 

Please note - By “liking” the Greater Madison Area SHRM page you will not be sharing your personal Facebook page with the other users that “like” GMA SHRM.  If you have your settings set to friends only, only those you “friend” will see your page.

Follow us on Twitter!

Do you tweet? Maybe you are a Twewbie (Twitter newbie) and are looking for organizations to follow. Whatever your tweeting experience, you can now follow GMA SHRM on Twitter too!!/gmashrm

GMA SHRM is LinkedIn

Are you on LinkedIn? Come join our GMA SHRM Chapter group on LinkedIn! What is LinkedIn? It’s a business-oriented social networking site that can be used to connect with friends (old and new), find or post jobs and get information. In order to join, sign in at and keyword search GMA SHRM Chapter.

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

GMA SHRM Strategic Summit
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Topic: Creating a Coaching Culture
Location:  Alliant Energy Center

As HR professionals, we influence corporate culture in many ways.  Culture consists of the unwritten rules we live by, the traditions we uphold, the beliefs, values and assumptions that shape the way we live and work together.  It is reinforced through various HR systems we implement (e.g., talent management, incentives/rewards, team development, and performance management). 

Your organization feels it would be a competitive advantage to build more of a “coaching culture.”  Talent development is considered a strategic imperative and coaching from the C-Suite to the frontline is an important part of that.  It is on your plate to champion the effort; but, you have a sense that there is a wide gulf between the current culture and the ideal “coaching culture.”

This highly interactive session examines the importance of organizational culture and its effect on the achievement of organizational strategies and goals.  We’ll define what a “coaching culture” looks like and examine the important role coaching plays in talent development and high performance.  We will provide specific ideas for developing a coaching culture and challenge participants to model the skills and behaviors essential for success.

Diane Hamilton, PCC, SPHR, is the owner and founder of Calibra, a coaching and consulting firm focused on maximizing leadership potential.  Diane’s passion is to build better workplaces and improve work lives. 
Diane has worked with organizations large and small, across a variety of industries throughout the United States and across the globe.  She brings 25 years of practical leadership, management, and business experience to her coaching, training and consulting. 
For more information and to register for this event click here.

GMA SHRM Roundtable Event
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
  Topic: Ethical and Legal Considerations for Wellness Programs
Location:  M3 Insurance

Wellness programs are an invaluable tool for both large and small organizations to lower medical insurance costs, raise employee morale, lessen sick and leave days, attract new hires and influence retention.  But what are best practices for implementation and maintenance, and what is legal and ethical when you focus on employee’s health, and what crosses the line into personal lives and decisions?

There are three key components that Human Resources professionals need to be aware of when implementing and reviewing their organization’s wellness programs:

1.       Understanding the ethical and legal considerations involved in a corporate wellness program.
2.       Exploring empowering offerings and presentations instead of directives.
3.       Developing a simple but effective method for testing wellness initiates and marketing materials.

Please join Pat Barone, IFC Master Certified Coach and owner of Catalyst Coaching, LLC and your peers in an interactive exchange of thoughts, ideas, and best practices at our Roundtable discussion on Wednesday, April 4th. 

For more information and to register for this event click here.

GMA SHRM Toolbox
Wednesday, April 17, 2012,
Topic:  Employee Engagement: Putting Common sense into Common Practice
Location:  City Center West


Do you want to:
  1. Become even more keenly aware of the impact of dealing with others in a positive way?
  2. Discover valuable tools for engaging others at any level of an organization?
  3. Learn to use time-tested principles to coach, build and work with others?
Please join Terry Siebert: President of Siebert Associates, Inc., and your peers Tuesday April 17th to explore what drives high performance teams, as well as the opposite. More often than not, it is the habits, “the way we do things around here,” that will determine whether the workplace fosters team synergy or a lack of teamwork.
Time-tested principles will serve as the foundation for building and maintaining positive business relationships. You will be reminded that it is usually a very good idea to put more common sense into common practice. Not only will you learn, this session should be lots of FUN!
For more information and to register for this event click here.


GMA SHRM Announcements 

SHRM Foundation News: Effective Practice Guidelines

If you are like most HR professionals, you probably lack the time to keep up with the latest research findings in human resource management. Yet knowing which HR practices have been shown by research to be effective can help you in your role as an HR professional. The SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guidelines are a series of reports that distill the latest research findings and expert opinion into specific advice on how to conduct effective HR practice. They are written in a concise, easy-to-read style to provide practical information to help you do your job better.

The SHRM Foundation publishes new reports each year. Recent reports include Promoting Employee Well-Being, Transforming HR through Technology and Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success.

Promoting Employee Well-Being summarizes the latest research on wellness and prevention programs and their impact on the workforce. It will help you assess your organization’s health risk, lower your health care costs and develop a healthier workplace culture.

Transforming HR through Technology explores both the opportunities and the potential pitfalls of HR technology. This report will help you to better leverage e-HR to transform your HR practices and market your HR brand.

Other titles in the series include The Search for Executive Talent, Employment Downsizing and Its Alternatives, Recruiting and Attracting Talent; Retaining Talent; Developing Leadership Talent; Implementing Total Rewards Strategy; Learning System Design; Employee Engagement and Commitment; and more. All of the titles are available as free .pdf downloads under "SHRM Foundation Products" on the Foundation website ( The Effective Practice Guidelines series is made possible by your tax-deductible contributions to the SHRM Foundation.

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GMA SHRM Member News

GMA SHRM Member Spotlight

Jodi Riley

Where do you currently work?  
I currently work as a Human Resource Generalist for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. We also support the Morgridge Institute for Research, WiSys Technology Foundation and WiCell Research Institute.
What is the focus of your position? 
I work in a generalist capacity supporting all HR-related functions including recruitment and selection, compensation, communication and interpretation of policies and procedures, employee relations, and onboarding.
How long have you been in the Human Resource field?
I have worked within Human Resources for the past eight years in positions that have all provided me with great learning opportunities and have allowed me to excel in the work that I am truly passionate about.  
Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest? 
Obtaining my PHR certification has been one of the highlights of my career, providing me with additional knowledge and confidence within the HR field. I also pride myself on the relationships that I have formed throughout the years with employees, managers and other HR professionals.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
I had an amazing manager that had provided me with a great amount of advice and mentoring that made me a stronger individual and employee. She encouraged me to “always seek opportunities to learn and grow” and “work hard and success will follow.”
Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM?
I joined GMA SHRM early on in my career and have recently started to get more involved in the Marketing and Communication Committee. I value the learning opportunities that the GMA SHRM offers and the network that I have established with other HR professionals is extremely advantageous.


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Welcome New Members!

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

Executive Director
Workforce Operations Director
Urban League of Greater Madison
Director of Services
DAIS - Domestic Abuse Intervention Services
Branch Manager
Director, HR
Charter Communications
Client Services Specialist
HR Generalist & Office Manager
Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies, Inc.
Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland Council
Executive Director
Woods Hollow Children's Center
Director & Market
First Choice Dental
HR Representative
Baker Tilly Virchow Krasue, LLP
YWCA Madison
Director of Guest & Employee Engagement
The Madison Concourse Hotel
Management Consultant
Page Management Consulting
Human Resource Manager
Hartung Brothers Inc.
The Alliance
Chief Human Resources Officer
Meriter Health Services, Inc.
HR Assistant
UW-Madison University Health Services
Executive Director
Lussier Community Education Center
Community and Campus Relations Coordinator
UW Credit Union


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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!

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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.

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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 .