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In The News

Woonsocket human resources expert conducts survey on personnel practices

by Michael Holtzman

Woonsocket, April 2, 2000 - David Wudyka, a Woonsocket businessman who's worked in the field of human resources for 27 years, sees trends in hiring and firing that's setting off alarms for him.

Whereas historically two week's notice was standard for job dismissals, he sees people increasingly terminated without notice. With such on-the-spot firings, there can be an attitude that "no matter how good you've been, you're going today."

"It's a despicable practice," said Wudyka, president of Westminster Associates at 800 Clinton Ave., who has set up a Web site containing a survey of "ethical questions related to human resource management" that he hopes colleagues in the field will access and answer.

He's asking such questions as whether employers are monitoring their workers' Inernet usage; how many companies refuse to hire job applicants with criminal records "for which they've paid their debt to society," how many fire employees without notice, along with their hiring practices.

The survey can be found at http://www.westminsterassociates.com.

Any human resource professional or member of an organization's management can participate in the survey. It will remain open for most of the year, Wudyka said.

The eight questions can be answered in five minutes, he said.

He said results will be kept confidential and they will be posted on the website by the end of the year.

Asked how this survey came to be, Wudyka, a Wrentham resident who was raised in Cumberland, said, "It was prompted by observations that companies are doing things differently today and not always in ways I'm proud of being part of the human resources community."

Since starting his company part-time in 1983 and moving it to Woonsocket 3 1/2 years ago, he's focused upon compensation consulting, training and development, while also teaching human resources management at Bryant College for the past 18 years. The business specializes in pay, performance and productivity issues and Wudyka emphasized it does not recruit personnel.

His experience in human resource management has included working for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, Conn. and for Newport Hospital and 10 years as a human resource specialist of international and sales compensation for Raytheon until 1988, when his business became a full-time venture.

Wudyka earned his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Rhode Island and his master's in business administration from Syracuse University. He's a member of the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va.

Westminster Associates has assisted well-known companies like CVS, A.T. Cross, Johnson & Johnson and Raytheon, among its clients.

Wudyka said the survey is something new for his company and is an attempt to learn more about the changing work place.

"We believe such issues as...the effects of downsizing on people's lives and organizations, the pressures to find quality workers and the desire to reduce costs are causing some organizations to compromise traditional ethical practices and their approaches to human resource management," Wudyka said.

Along with the survey, the company's new website features a special page called "ask the experts" questions concerning human resources or compensation related to their oganizations.

The website was created by Steven F. Riggs of Riggs & Associates in Warwick, who developed the content, and Josh Bell of Verbatim Design, Providence, the site designer and webmaster.

Wudyka said they have received a gradual response to the survey but have seen increased participation during the past four weeks since it became available via the Yahoo search engine.

David J. Wudyka, CCP, SPHR, is the Managing Principal of Westminster Associates, a human resource consulting firm located in Woonsocket, RI.

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