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The Springfield Area HRA shares it's knowledge and expertise of all things Human Resources related.


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Top tags: HR  human resources  conference  Recertification credits  training  Active Shooter  advocacy  Ban the Box  benefits  bereavement  charity  college  communication  community  comp  company policy  compensation  Conference Speaker  culture  Diversity  felons  first job  graduates  grief  hiring  Inclusion  Plan  professional development  speaker  Strategic Planning 

Want to have a voice in HR related legislation and the state and federal level? Join the A-Team!

Posted By Mandy Spigle, Governmental Affairs Chair, Thursday, August 16, 2018
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2018

The SHRM Advocacy Team (A-Team) is a resource to help HR professionals get involved in political issues which could and do affect their daily work lives. The program was developed by SHRM Government Affairs to assist HR professionals in speaking out about public policy issues that impact the workplace.

When federal and state lawmakers are developing workplace policy, it’s vital that the HR community has a voice in that process. HR professionals are the ones who truly understand how these policies will affect employees and employers.

Through the program, HR professionals have been able to meet personally with lawmakers to voice concerns or convey agreement with various bills in process and up for vote.

“The information I have received from the A-team has given me more confidence to discuss the issues and better understand the impact of legislation on the business I serve,” says Mandy Spigle, HR Manager with DHL Supply Chain. 

Upon joining the A-Team, HR professionals will receive ongoing email updates on local and federal issues affecting the HR community, information on opportunities to visit with local lawmakers, and direction on how to best have a voice in the legislative process.

The A-Team provides all the necessary tools to help HR professionals learn about the issues and become a voice for the HR profession. There is also an A-Team phone app that makes it super easy to receive alerts and reminders.

Constituent voices really do matter when it comes to public policy. Getting involved is the best way to ensure any legislative changes that are made are beneficial to your company and all its employees.

To keep up with HR-related legislation visit the SAHRA legislative update page at Governmental Affairs Blog.

Tags:  advocacy  hr  human resources 

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Hiring Felons

Posted By Stacye Perriman, Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018

Every year 650,000 inmates are released from prison in the US, according to the website A study showed that just under 50% of them were employed in the first year after being released.

Not hiring someone solely based on his or her arrest and conviction record could really be a missed opportunity. Jeff Smith, former Missouri State Senator, was convicted of lying on a government form and spent a year in federal prison. During that time he got to know many inmates, most of whom were in for drug-related offenses. In a recent Ted Talk he spoke about the reasons he’s working to get more felons hired and why they can be a great asset to any business.

“When I was in the Senate, I got wined and dined by some of the wealthiest CEOs in the state of Missouri. And I will tell you their entrepreneurial and business instincts - they had nothing on the guys who I did time with. There's not a single concept that you'd learn at Wharton or Harvard Business School that you couldn't learn inside federal prison.”

As an HR professional, you can help remove the stigma by not asking about convictions until you’ve already decided to make the job offer. The Ban the Box movement seeks to remove the box on some job applications that asks whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony. According to, over 45 cities and counties including New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have removed the question regarding conviction history from their employment applications. Seven states: Hawaii, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have chosen to reduce discrimination in hiring based on arrest or conviction records. Columbia, MO, approved Ban the Box legislation in 2014 and Kansas City, MO in 2018.

All that being said, it is best practice to keep in mind the crime that was committed and how it might possibly relate back to the position for which the applicant is being considered. If you’re hiring an accountant, you wouldn’t necessarily want to consider someone who was convicted of theft or embezzlement. It is important to be consistent and only consider the nature of the crime in relation to the position. The main objective is not to immediately disqualify someone because of a prior conviction. 

Tags:  Ban the Box  felons  hiring  HR  human resources 

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Community Outreach

Posted By Samantha Tyler, President-Elect, Thursday, July 12, 2018
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2018

“SAHRA is a service organization that extends well beyond HR,” says Samantha Tyler, HR Coordinator at Evangel University. “Our members work and live in Springfield and the surrounding communities, and we want to be able to give back and make a difference right here at home.”

SAHRA is committed to making an impact on the community. “We also believe building partnerships with organizations throughout the community helps strengthen the community, as a whole,” says Tyler.

To that end, SAHRA partners with at least one non-profit each year and SAHRA members volunteer on-site with the chosen organization. Typically, July is volunteering month, but due to a scheduling conflict, in 2018 it will be September.

Past partnerships and activities include:

In addition to volunteering and partnering with charitable organizations, SAHRA members also hold a collection drive during the December meeting, usually for an organization from a past partnership.

Last year, educational items and toys were collected for Boys & Girls Club. In 2016, needed items were collected for Rare Breed. Drives have also been held to collect items for the Make a Wish Foundation and Sammy's Window. Ozarks Food Harvest is the likely partner for September.

Marjorie Stewart of Missouri State University’s Career Center sums it up. “Helping our community is not just about giving back, but benefits us individually. It is a very rewarding feeling to help reduce barriers or provide guidance to others who truly need encouragement and hope.  That feeling outweighs any material or superficial reward out there.” 

Tags:  charity  community  hr  human resources 

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Inclusion in the Workplace

Posted By Diversity Committee, Thursday, July 5, 2018
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2018

Inclusion in the Workplace

SHRM defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

Inclusion has been shown to have a positive impact on a company’s employees and also on the bottom line. Inclusive workplaces tend to have high employee retention and satisfaction.

Research has also shown that companies that are known for inclusion and diversity tend to attract broader customer base. Inclusion and diversity go hand-in-hand and we’ll devote an entire blog to diversity in the near future. And the more diverse a workplace is, the more likely it is that numerous differing viewpoints will be presented and come together to create a product or service that will appeal to more people.

In a recent interview with sbjlive, Susan Stith, Vice President of Inclusion, Diversity and Corporate Giving at Express Scripts says a company’s goal should be to create a culture where no one’s diversity is used against them.

So what does an inclusive workplace look like?

“We are all diverse. The goal is to get to an inclusive environment where I can walk in every day and be my authentic self,” she says.

The bottom line is, every employee needs to feel seen and heard in the same way as every other employee. By creating this environment, a company is much more likely to succeed.

Some free resources:

50+ Ideas for Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

sbjLive interview with Susan Stith, VP of Inclusion, Diversity and Corporate Giving with Express Scripts

sbjLive interview with Emily Pitts, Principal, Inclusion and Diversity with Edward Jones

HR Council of California’s Inclusion and Diversity Toolkit


Tags:  Diversity  HR  human resources  Inclusion 

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Strategic Planning

Posted By Aimee Nichols, Thursday, June 28, 2018

What is Strategic Planning?

HR management has changed. What once was mostly an administrative function whose purpose was recruiting employees and managing benefits, has gradually become the backbone of employee retention and the ethical and cultural leadership of a company.


Strategic planning is defined as assessing the current and future needs of an organization and then planning how best to meet those needs. As a result of HR management becoming more complicated, strategic planning is now part of the job, especially in larger organizations.


The benefits of strategic planning include:

  • Avoiding costly and disruptive mistakes that interfere with goals
  • Addressing issues in a timely manner
  • Upping employee productivity and focus
  • Guided training initiatives

Getting Started

While the strategic planning process can seem daunting and time-consuming, it’s made less complicated if you start with these questions:

  • Where are we now? (Assess the current situation.)
  • Where do we want to be? (Envision and implement a strategy and objectives.)
  • How will we know if we are on track toward our intended destination? (Establish a mechanism to evaluate progress.)

Answering these questions will help you develop a plan of initiatives to achieve and promote the behaviors, culture and competencies needed to achieve your organization’s goals. And it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem.

The overall goal of strategic planning is to achieve competitive advantage (in the private sector) and efficiency and excellence (in the public and non-profit sectors). If you’d like to learn more about strategic planning, how to implement it and the positive effects it can have on your organization, register now for the upcoming Strategic Planning Workshop on July 10.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  HR  Strategic Planning 

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Active Shooter Events: Tips to Prepare Your Office

Posted By Mandy Spigle, Governmental Affairs Chair, Friday, May 25, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018

No one really wants to think about it, but workplace violence, especially as it pertains to active shooter situations, has been on a lot of minds in the last couple of years. Mandy Spigle, Human Resource Manager for DHL, says every training and informational seminar she’s participated in has been consistent in promoting the Run, Hide, Fight concept. This strategy for saving lives is being drilled into the minds of individuals and professionals across the country.

Run, Hide, Fight is fairly self-explanatory. The steps are listed in order of importance: run if you can, hide if you can’t run, fight back and attempt to disarm the shooter only as a last resort.

Six other good practices for staying safe before and during any active shooter event:*

  1. Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
  2. Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
  3. If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
  4. If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
  5. As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.
  6. Call 911 when it is safe to do so.

*Source: Department of Homeland Security “Active Shooter: How To Respond”

The free resources available online are vast and, for the most part, consistent. Every company needs to have an active shooter emergency response plan in place. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of these materials and make sure your office is prepared in the event of an active shooter event.

Some free resources:

Tags:  Active Shooter  Conference Speaker  HR  Plan  Training  Workplace Violence 

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Tips for graduates jumping into the search for their first HR job.

Posted By Margie Stewart, Membership Co-Chair, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In general, it can take graduating seniors three to six months to find their first job (after they start looking), and that's if they're dedicated to the job search process. It takes energy, perseverance, and commitment to conduct a job search.

If you are an HR student graduating this May and have a job search ahead of you, here are six tips to get you started:

  1. Take stock of any HR-related experience you have received from class projects, student SHRM associated organizations, HR internships, mentorship/networking opportunities so you can be sure to market those experiences in your resume, cover letter, conversations you may have in networking or interviewing environments.
  2. Connect with people you’ve met in HR who may be able to give you networking contacts, information on who might be hiring, and how to gain more exposure through a mentorship program.
  3. Attend any HR conferences locally, regionally or nationally. Conferences are a great way to network with HR professionals.
  4. Apply for any HR-related position you learn about (as long as it’s entry-level or comparable to your work experience). Titles may include HR Generalist, HR coordinator, HR assistant, HR intern, benefits coordinator, recruiting assistant, or payroll specialist, etc.
  5. Be organized and keep track of jobs to which you’ve applied, contact person(s), their status and follow-up as needed.
  6. Take initiative if you see something that needs to be done, don’t be afraid of hard work and don’t think you are above the work that needs to be done. A candidate is most marketable if they can show they are open-minded and willing to learn and communicate. 

Your school’s career center is a good resource for finding a job. 

College Career Centers can be great resources for finding a job. Career Centers are not just placement offices. They are staffed by professionals who can help you market yourself (resume, cover letter, interviewing) and teach you how to conduct a job search.

  1. College career center services are available to current students and alumni. Students already pay for this service through their tuition. Some universities may charge a small fee for alumni career services while some may not charge anything at all.
  2. Career Center staff are experienced professionals. They truly care about their graduates’ career development and outcome. They stay informed about the current job market, know what employers want in their job candidates, and have employer contacts. The career center staff stays up on new trends in resume writing, interviewing, and how to conduct a job search through networking.
  3. Career Centers are connected. Employers reach out to Career Centers for assistance in finding qualified college graduates. Employers listen to Career Center staff and see them as an important partnership to help them in their recruiting needs. Career Center staff campaign for you, your academic program and build relationships with potential employers for you.

Five other resources worth checking into. 

  1. Missouri State University has a student SHRM organization that HR students of any Springfield university can join. The student SHRM organization is a great resource for HR internship and job opportunities in the area.
  2. SHRM website posts job opportunities: HR students who are serious about getting in the HR field should consider joining SHRM.
  3. LinkedIn ( is a great social networking site that can connect you with professionals in the field. There are many groups in LinkedIn that are free to join and if used effectively and appropriately, can potentially lead to job openings.
  4. Visit company specific websites for HR openings but ask to conduct an information interview with an HR professional even before any opening is available. This is a great way to network and learn more about the HR function in that specific organization.
  5. HR job search link:

Four ways your local HR organization (like SAHRA) can help?

1.  If you are graduating with a degree in Human Resources, find out about any regional SHRM affiliated organizations in which you may want to connect and attend a monthly meeting.

2.  Visit the Springfield Area Human Resources Association (SAHRA) website if you want to connect with Springfield HR professionals. If an HR student is interested in attending a meeting as a guest, this is possible. There is a Student Membership option available as well.  Visit the SAHRA website: to learn more or contact SAHRA if you have questions.

3.  In the state of Missouri, there are several regional SHRM locations:

 4.  You can locate other regional SHRM locations in other states by visiting the SHRM website:

Tags:  college  first job  graduates  hr 

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HR Skill and Confidence Grows with Membership

Posted By President, SAHRA, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

For human resource professionals or managers charged with personnel supervision, having the ability to speak authoritatively on HR topics, developing professional connections, and gaining confidence is invaluable. The Springfield Area Human Resources Association, affiliated with Society for Human Resource Management, provides professionals numerous opportunities to grow through resources, relationships, and professional and personal development programs.


Receive regular, official organization information to stay abreast with compliance and trends with the following membership benefits.

  • Monthly meetings
    • Keep up with trends in HR
    • Network with peers
    • Gain assistance with compliance
    • Build knowledge base
  • Annual conference
    • Keep up with trends in HR
    • Receive HR credits in a short time span
    • Meet new people
    • Hear multiple speakers
  • Monthly newsletter and emails informing you of events, activities, trends in HR, chapter information, resources, and reminders.
  • Receive HR related emails with links to information relevant to HR professionals.
  • Timely state and federal legislative updates
  • Compliance reminders
  • Annual Wage and Benefits Survey

Professional Relationships

Sometimes your most valuable resource is a one-on-one relationship with a peer, or several.

  • Networking, networking, networking- you’ll constantly meet new HR professionals.
  • Membership Directory-provides access to others who understand your professional needs and opportunities, giving you a social support network.
  • Mentoring programs-Find a mentor or be a mentor as a way to earn re-certification credits.

Professional and Personal Development

When the HR professional is providing staff development, who provides development opportunities for the HR professional? SAHRA membership provides several growth opportunities.

  • Gain professional leadership/involvement skills.
  • Association-to-association partnerships provide you with the opportunity to explore and interact with other organizations that focus on the development of business and community.
  • Committees allow you to network, gain education, and build your leadership/teamwork skills.
  • Community outreach programs
  • Achieve pre-approved HRCI and SHRM recertification credits through attending monthly educational programs and professional development workshops.
  • Scholarship opportunities for continuing education
  • SHRM affiliate - You’ll be part of a nationally recognized organization as well as a local one.

Become a member of SAHRA to learn to be a better co-worker and leader, you’ll keep your company in compliance and you’ll build relationships that will last a lifetime. 

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Company Culture Case Study

Posted By Elody Tippie, Monday, April 2, 2018

There are plenty of things that can make a company unique, but the culture of a particular workplace can truly set it apart. It can attract or repel potential employees and clients and can affect the bottom line. GigSalad is one locally-based company that’s known for its commitment to creating a positive environment for employees and clients alike.


Established in 2007, online entertainment booking service GigSalad now has 31 employees split between its two offices in Springfield, MO and Wilmington, NC, including a few remote workers. Elody Tippie, Human Resources Manager at GigSalad, shares a bit about the culture of GigSalad and why maintaining that culture is a priority for the company.


Q: How would you describe your company’s culture?


A: We’re extremely proud of our company culture, and we strive to operate with an open-office policy. We make sure to support a work/life balance, such as allowing remote work and a flexible schedule to all our team members. We keep the door open for suggestions from all levels of employees. Additionally, our hiring process is very selective, and includes a group interview with the team to ensure that the candidate is a good fit (for both us and them). We also make sure we support and encourage one another in all efforts, whether it’s personal or professional. 


Q: Why does company culture matter?


A: Our company culture is important because it’s our foundation. If we didn't have the team we have at GigSalad, we would not be successful. The culture is what our customers hear when they call and see when they email us. We allow our individual personalities to shine in all our communications. Our culture is what makes us unique and drives our achievements.


Q: Can a company’s culture have an effect on the bottom line/profitability/growth?


A: Absolutely. When you have a team that cares about your company, it will always affect the bottom line. In the culture we have built, we know our team cares about GigSalad’s success and the growth of the company. If our team didn’t care, our customers wouldn’t be taken care of the way they are, and our retention and sales rates would drop. Our team works together to make sure every customer is taken care of, and they do it with passion because of the positive culture we have created. Our team members are our biggest asset.


All companies have a culture whether it’s intentional or not. Every company’s culture can benefit from a little examination once in a while. How would you describe the culture of your company? Do you think it’s set up in a way that benefits both employees and clients or is there room for improvement?


Be sure to join us Wednesday April 18 for the 7th Annual 2018 Southwest Missouri HR Conference and Expo where GigSalad founder Mark Steiner will be a featured speaker. Incidentally, his speech is titled “Lead with Mind, Heart, and Courage: Creating Company Culture.”


Register for the conference here:


Tags:  conference  culture  hr  speaker 

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Grief in the Workplace

Posted By Valerie Adams, Communications Chair, Monday, March 19, 2018

Many of us in the HR field chose our career path (or it chose us!) because of our desire to help people.  When co-workers are grieving, it can be difficult to know how to help our colleagues in a meaningful way. Since tragedies can strike in the blink of an eye, HR professionals need to be prepared at all times with tools to assist grieving employees during the difficult time. 

Company Policies & Benefits

Having thorough knowledge of the company’s policies and benefit plans that support the bereaved is crucial – for not only the HR department, but supervisors and managers as well. If these policies are not in place, it’s important that the HR department develops and implements such policies proactively.  A bereavement policy should be a standard part of the employee handbook - clearly stating the amount of bereavement leave available, the family member relationships for which the policy applies, any documentation the employee may need to provide, and that the leave is provided independent of vacation, sick, or other paid time off policies. 

In the HR role, we have access to ways to assist those grieving in the workplace – including oftentimes overlooked resources available through many company benefit plans. From mental health assistance covered under health plans to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that many companies provide for their staff, the HR team can help the grieving person explore which options may be right for them if they do have a need for additional support. Even if your organization does not have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), assistance may be available through the company’s health or other benefit plans. 

Management Training

Providing sensitivity training to management can be beneficial so they are equipped to help the grieving employee.  Although most organizations have an Open Door policy that encourages employees to discuss any issues that may arise, managers should be reminded that employees may not always seek the assistance of their manager in these situations – they may feel more comfortable speaking with another member of the management team or someone in HR. Wherever the employee seeks support within the organization, empathy can make all the difference.  

Open Communication

Communication is always important when you’re in HR, but times of grief and tragedy communication can have an even greater impact. The HR professional must handle the delicate task of respecting the grieving employee’s privacy while still providing enough information to coworkers so they allow the employee the space and time the employee needs to grieve. A good starting point for HR is to ask the employee how they would prefer their colleagues to address (or refrain from addressing) their loss when the employee returns to work.  

Another key part of communicating with a grieving employee is to let them know of the local resources available outside of the company benefit plan. Providing employees with information on local resources such as the Lost and Found Grief Center and support groups through CoxHealth allows the employee to seek support services privately when they have a need.

Being prepared and having the grief assistance resources on hand when these difficult situations arise can make all the difference when our colleagues have need.


Tags:  bereavement  communication  company policy  grief 

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