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All Things Human Resource with Jane Murtaugh

Written by: Carolyn Sotos

Welcome back to the Plastics Proud Blog and Happy New Year to all! To kick off the first blog post of 2020, I sat down with Jane Murtaugh, SHRM-CP, and we talked all things Human Resource Management. At the local community college near the iD Additives headquarters, College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL), Jane is a Professor of Human Resource Management. Fun fact: we have a few College of DuPage alumni here at iD Additives!

Jane has been full time teaching since August 2001, and this fall she will hit 20 years of teaching at College of DuPage. She has a lot of experience in the HR world and this inspired her to start a new program at College of DuPage for the future of HR. This program consists of three classes: Strategic HR Management, Workforce Development & Compensation, and Talent Acquisition & Retention. All classes are taught by very experienced professionals in the field, which makes this program a very unique learning experience. Another thing that makes this program unique is it is structured as a Learning Community. This allows for the integration of the three classes into one class setting and allows students to share personal experiences in their professional career, which promotes learning through conversation. Once the program is completed, the students are awarded a Human Resource Management Certificate. The certificate also combines career services and workforce development instruction which helps to make students marketable in the HR field upon completion.

As we all know, the Plastics Industry is in need of talent in the Manufacturing side of the industry. We are struggling to recruit and retain the talent. Here is what Jane had to say about the program at College of DuPage and her advice for the role of HR in the Plastics Industry:

1) How did you get your start in Human Resource?

"I am one of those whose work in Human Resource began through my promotion into management positions. My first promotion was as a working supervisor managing two individuals and then after being promoted into a branch management position, the number of individuals I managed grew and thus did my HRM work and experiences. I have managed for two companies prior to returning to teaching and joining the College of DuPage Management faculty team."

2) How did you come up with the structure of the Human Resource Management Certificate at College of DuPage?

"In community colleges we must demonstrate employment possibilities available to students who complete a certificate, so in 2016 after seeing the growth forecasts for the Human Resource Management career showing double digit growth by 2020, it became obvious we should expand upon our one HRM course at that time to offering a HRM certificate designed to help individuals launch their careers in HR as well as helping individuals expand upon a current career in HRM.

I wanted a certificate to offer true career and workforce development skills as well as studies in advanced human resource management, so the decision was made to create three new classes, for a total of four HRM courses in the certificate. This enables a student to be able to complete this certificate within a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 months. Offering the three advanced classes in a learning community format allows for an accelerated 50% hybrid (classroom & online) learning environment. Today’s employers are looking for quick “get in and get out” educational opportunities to help with workforce development. This certificate’s structure allows for that.

I sat for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional (CP) exam in May 2016 to ensure our content matches that which employers are looking for in new as well as experienced HR professionals.

We integrate our career services department professionals into classes to also help students with improved resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and elevator pitches. These skills also help with employment placements.

I also wanted students to learn from current working HR professionals and have now hired four HR professionals to teach with me in this certificate program. All are director-level or higher professionals and combined we bring 70 years of HR experience to our students. All of us are certified through either SHRM or the Human Resource Certificate Institute (HRCI) and are all well connected within the DuPage County and Illinois HR associations."

3) There are many different styles of interviewing such as Behavioral, Case, Structured, and etc. Throughout your experience, what type of interviewing style do you find the most beneficial for hiring employees and why?

"I have to say my first interviews were dreadful. I was not prepared, had not planned out what my questions should be, had not really thought about asking questions related to the job, etc. We don’t necessarily do a great job of teaching managers how to manage, let alone how to interview. Through experience I quickly learned behavioral interviewing in a planned/organized manner work best. Whichever style you use based on what works for you, do be sure your interview plan and questions are based on the job you are hiring for."

4) In the Plastics Industry, we are seeing an increase in benefits and pay for plastics manufacturing positions to help retain talent. Do you think there are other ways companies in our industry can retain the talent for these types of positions beyond just pay and benefits?

"Retention is a key issue for HR professionals and managers in general today. Yes, we all want high rates of pay and lower costs for our health insurance, but the reality of that just isn’t always available. I’m a huge believer in management’s philosophy and culture being what keeps us wanting to go to work each day and remain in our positions. We should be thinking about our employee value proposition (EVP) just like we think about it from our customer perspective. People stay where they feel valued – and that applies to even our minimum-wage workers as well. Trust, honesty, respect, and integrity are most valuable to me."

5) If you had to give one piece of advice to someone starting their HR career, what would it be?

"Make connections with others, join HR professional associations, use twitter and LinkedIn to get connected and meet others, and most of all remember we all have a lot to learn – don’t ever stop your desire to learn or think you know everything. Every day in a HR Department is different and will bring opportunities and challenges. Stay open-minded and realistic."

Thank you Jane for your time and expertise for the Plastics Proud Blog!

If you are interested in the College of DuPage Human Resource Management Certificate, please email Jane Murtaugh at or go to

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