Michele Bender

Michele Bender


Highly accomplished PHR certified professional with extensive experience designing and executing innovative staffing, training, and procedural solutions that meet business objectives. Cut costs and enhanced performance by developing and monitoring company strategies to proactively meet the needs of the organization. Proven ability to delegate and manage HR projects as well as counsel or support management teams on HR policy and procedures.

Having had a broad business background working in various industries from manufacturing to service I am extremely resourceful, hands-on and proactive. Promoted twice within the last four years from a Generalist to a HR Manager and was trusted with increased autonomy each year. Strategically aligned HR programs, policies and procedures to manage the company’s risk and meet the needs of the organization at the local level. Partnered with the Operations Manager to provide leadership, manage change, and increase productivity levels. Strengths include; building relationships, project management, recruiting, employee relations, performance management, organizational development, safety and being able to see the big picture without losing sight of the details. Managed risk and delivered cost effective staffing and/or training solutions to drive continuous improvements and retain top talent.


Interested in continuing my HR career and I am open to different opportunities regardless of industry. 


Looking for a new position as a HR Manager or Generalist in the northern NJ area. 

Work History

Work History
Oct 2009 - Present

Real Estate Sales Associate

Weichert Realtors

Since the economic crisis I have been pursuing a full-time position in HR.  I am presently working in real estate to generate an income. Selling homes in Essex, Bergen and Passaic Counties. 

2002 - 2009

HR Manager

Wagner Decorative Finishing Division ( aka Titan Tool Inc)

Managed the daily HR operations for Wagner’s Decorative Finishing Division a worldwide leader in residential, commercial, and industrial paint and coatings application equipment and related products.

Reported to Vice-President of HR (US) located in MN. Managed two direct reports and supported a client base of 300 plus regular (non-union) employees by effectively communicating and providing guidance on policy and procedures. Managed HR budget and worked closely with executive management to strategically align and implement new programs to reflect organization’s overall philosophy. Identified skill-gaps and developed and/or resourced cost-effective training solutions.Assured the division administered performance appraisals in an equitable manner. Created service award program and managed leaves of absence process. Facilitated monthly safety meetings and ensured all OSHA training requirements were met.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Reduced voluntary turnover rate by 54% within one year while managing several workforce reductions over a three-year period; total reduction approximately 65%. Prepared separation agreements, issued WARN Act letters, and arranged onsite counseling sessions. Supported displaced workforce by working directly with unemployment, staffing firms, outplacement services and presented a Resume Writing & Job Search Workshop. Qualified the Company for the Federal Trade Act Program.
  • Increased line management effectiveness by creating and/or partnering with selected vendors to deliver policy and skill training: Policies & Procedures, Interviewing Techniques, How to Conduct an Effective Performance Appraisal, Harassment, Diversity, and How to Improve Retention.
  • Improved existing workforce productivity by participating in several state funded training programs. Successfully negotiated an onsite training program minimizing employee downtime. Partnered with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) to qualify for a DOL Customized Training Grant worth $54,000; provided Lean Manufacturing training at no cost.
  • Increased quality/productivity of skilled-labor workforce by partnering with Quality Team to design, implement and document a Characteristic Verification Program. Assessed skill levels, identified skill gaps; provided training to address deficiencies; 61% passed initial test, 33 failed; after retraining and retest 100% were certified.

Sr. HR Generalist (2005-2008)

  • Selected to represent the local facility at the Wagner Global HR Strategic Planning meeting held in Germany; discussed succession planning to identify top performers/leaders and implemented the new staffing review process in NJ.
  • Improved retention and hiring process; recommending cost-effective solutions to attract and retain talent; developed a comprehensive new hire orientation program to address a smoother on-boarding experience within the first 90-days.
  • Changed culture in NJ and increased HR presence within one year; partnered with Operations Manager and local managers to gain buy-in and increase communication. Built relationships and credibility by addressing concerns, and counseled or trained line-managers. Results: increased accountability, improved morale and employee retention.
  • Conducted wage survey analysis to determine competitiveness in local labor market.Recommended changes to executive management resulting in the implementation of a new market -based compensation plan for production and office pay groups. Provided training to managers to assist them in accurately applying the company’s pay for performance philosophy and how to effectively conduct a performance appraisal.
  • Designed a Comprehensive Annual Safety Training Program to comply with OSHA training requirements; reduced work related injuries, lowered worker’s comp modifier and incident rate to 2.31 in 2008.

HR Generalist (2002-2005)

Primary functions; staffing/recruiting, manage new hire process, training and employee relations.

  • Cut recruiting/placement costs by 31% in first year of employment by introducing a web-based applicant tracking system. Negotiated an on-site contract for contingent workforce; reduced mark-up rates by 22%.
  • Applied and awarded (2003) a DOL Customized Training Grant worth $98,000 to improve existing workforce skills e.g.; computer training, Pro-E, ESL and management training.
  • Awarded Employer of Choice Award (2002) by The Employers Association of New Jersey (EANJ) for implementing a “safety first” program.
  • Implemented and scheduled a Hearing Conservation Program; minimized hearing recordables.
1999 - 2000

Account Manager

Start-up Professional Employer Organization (PEO); created cost-effective outsourced benefit solutions for small to mid-size companies affording them a broader breath of benefits to attract and retain talent.

  • Leveraged HR expertise to introduce small to mid-size companies to the PEO service concept.
1998 - 1999

Major Account Manager

Leafstone Staffing Services

Managed staffing solutions for mid to large sized corporations, identified client needs and recommended cost-effective staffing alternatives; negotiated on-site contracts for contingent work force. 

1996 - 1998

Real Estate – New Home Sales Representative

K. Hovnanian Companies
  •   Received SAM Award (Million Dollar Circle) for sales of more than 6 million dollars in one year.
1987 - 1996

Account Manager

Top Producer

  • Instrumental in creating the first sales training manual; provided OJT training and formal classroom training to new hires.




GPA 3.24

2005 - 2008

MBA- (pending)

Attended online MBA program. Completed six HR Concentration courses (21 credits). Current GPA 3.89

Degree pending.


Dec 2001 - Dec 2010


HR Certification Institute -Society for Human Resource Management