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2018 WI SHRM Diversity Advocate Award Announced
The Wisconsin Council recently announced TDS Telecom of Madison a company of 3400 employees, as the recipient of their 2018 Diversity Advocate Award.  TDS was presented their award on October 12 during the recently held WI SHRM State Conference held at Kalahari Resort in WI Dells, WI. The award was accepted by Patrick Yates manager of Diversity and Inclusion and Kathy E. Cefelu, Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer.
 
The award is given annually to an organization that has been a role model within their local community as a strong organization advocate for diversity, inclusion and workplace flexibility.
 
TDS Telecom has implemented a number of internal and external practices that demonstrate their efforts to advance diversity and inclusion within its organization. TDS demonstrated the seriousness of advancing their diversity efforts by appointing a full time Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, Patrick Yates.  Since 2016 TDS has grown from one employee resource group to five. ERG’s within the organization are Patriot, Intern, Achieving a Better Life/Work Environment, (ABLE) Women in technology and Emerging Professionals.  Progress of ERG’s are measured such as the Intern group that showed that 70% of interns that participated on the intern ERG leadership committee were converted to full-time employment.
 
The organization found innovative ways to provide cultural awareness to its employees such as sending two groups of employees to view the movie Hidden Figures during work hours. After viewing reflections of the movie were shared with groups of employees. They have also created an internal e-learning course to educate employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion. The course is woven into their new employee orientation process and completion is a mandatory requirement.
 
TDS has also demonstrated their commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within their community. Rather than offering monetary resources to a non-profit organization, a contribution of people resources was lent to the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation’s Justified Anger Initiative.  TDS allowed 60% of an employee’s time to address racial disparities for a year, spending three days a week within the Madison community. They also allow every employee 16 hours to volunteer their time at other approved community organizations.
 
Workplace flexibility is also important to TDS having 13% of their workforce that work from a remote setting. This allows TDS Telecom to cast a wider net to increase talent and diversity across a geographically-dispersed workforce.
 
The Wisconsin State Council SHRM is proud to recognize TDS Telecom for its work in displaying the ideals of which the award represents in diversity, inclusion and workplace flexibility.
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