HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Dana Denny

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Independent Contractor or Employee

Professional Development and Events

October 27th - GMA SHRM Member Networking Event!

User Friendly Performance Management

October 12-14 - WISHRM State Conference

November 15th Professional Development Summit -
Legal and Legislative Update

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Committee Updates: Diversity Observances in October

My Experience Surrounding Jewish High Holy Days

GMA SHRM and Member News

Committee Spotlight: Corporate Relations Committee

Volunteer Spotlight: Brittany Gill

Welcome New Members!





President's Message

2022 Corporate Partners

Platinum Level

Boardman & Clark Law Firm
Delta Dental
Hausmann Group
The QTI Group
Wisconsin School of Business Center
for Professional & Executive Development


Gold Level

The Alliance
Group Health Cooperative of
  South Central Wisconsin

Silver Level

Cottingham Butler
Edvest - Wisconsin's College
  Investment Plan

Incredible Bank
KerberRose (formerly Career Momentum)

Bronze Level

Carex Consulting
Carlson Dettmann
M3 Insurance
Restaino & Associates Relocation
Reynolds Transfer
Robert Half

Thank you!


Hello GMA SHRM Members!

I guess the autumn season comes with divided loyalties, doesn’t it? Yesterday, decorated around our neighborhood were NFL Team flags on just about every other porch, which I took in while walking my new 6-month-old puppy, Merlyn. As they waved gaily in the breeze, Merlyn vainly tried to catch them, jumping vertically – or horizontally - from the pavement (puppies really need professional wranglers). Neighborhood flag dominance was co-established by the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Every home proudly broadcasted strong support and desire for a definite win later that day – based on the flag decorations, some homes were rooting for BOTH teams! Watching the joyous outpouring of support made me reflect on how fitting it is to remember and recognize Human Resource Professional Day and demonstrate just as enthusiastic support to our fellow Human Resource mentors, colleagues, management, and staff. They are the wind beneath our wings, and all play a part assisting us to become better personally and professionally.

Luckily, GMA SHRM doesn’t present you with the dilemma of selecting which team to root for – please know we’ve got you covered and are here to provide all human resource professionals the necessary tools, professional development, and network activities to get you through! You’ll be happy to know GMA SHRM has some fantastic events coming up this October to assist you, so please visit our website, and watch for our LinkedIn page updates and Facebook posts to ensure you don’t miss any registration opportunities! First off, from October 12-14, we have the annual WISHRM State Conference, which will be held in Wisconsin Dells. The Conference will be a hybrid event this year, so those of you unable to attend in person will be able to join colleagues and join in the fun offsite. Also, if you are thinking of attending in person, please know that although that The Kalahari Resort and Hotel is sold out, there are several available options where you may still obtain reservations – please see the website for details.

Our Membership Committee has a great networking event planned for October 27th!  The event will be held at KEVA in Middleton.  Check out details on the October Networking Event page.

Well, that’s about it for October – please enjoy the beautiful color of the autumn leaves, the tailgate parties, and the evening outdoor bonfires!

See you at our October events!

Dana Denny, IPMA-CP
GMA SHRM Chapter President


Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Independent Contractor or Employee

Submitted from Brian P. Goodman, GMA SHRM Programming Member, Sarah J. Horner, and Storm B Larson, all Attorneys at Boardman & Clark LLP, a Platinum Sponsor

Brian P. Goodman

Sarah J. Horner

Storm Larson

Several recent cases highlight the importance of properly classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors.  The preferences, labels, and intentions of the business and the worker play almost no role in this determination.  Somewhat surprisingly, even having a specific contract between worker and the business explicitly designating the worker as an independent contractor is not dispositive if the relationship more closely resembles employment relationship in practice.

To determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, courts apply legal tests that evaluate the key aspects of the relationships.  Complicating the issue further is the fact that not all laws use the same test.  This means that the same worker could be considered an employee under one law but be considered an independent contractor under another.  For example, Wisconsin’s unemployment law has a two-part test that considers 14 factors to determine an individual’s classification as either an employee or contractor.  By contrast, federal wage and hour law looks to the “economic reality” of the arrangement by looking at approximately seven different factors. The IRS uses its own test, as does Wisconsin worker’s compensation law.

Some businesses might think that as long as the business and the employee are on the same page, the legal risk is low.  However, HR professionals are likely well-aware that even if everyone starts on the same page, that can change if the relationship sours over time.  The result can be misclassification lawsuits from former “independent contractors.”  Businesses are encouraged to work with legal counsel to assess the proper classification of these workers at the inception of the working relationship.

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Professional Development and Events


October 27th - GMA SHRM Member Networking Event!

8312 Forsythia Street
Middleton, WI

Please join your fellow GMA SHRM members at KEVA Sports Center to reconnect and network or simply unwind for a couple hours from 4:00 to 6:00PM. 

The first round of drinks is our treat to you including a variety of appetizers.  Enjoy laid back games like cornhole while sipping on a beverage or just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. 

We look forward to seeing you Thursday, October 27th!

Registration and more information here.



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User Friendly Performance Management

Submitted by Deborah Spring Laurel, Founder and Director of The Peer Learning Institute

Formal performance evaluations are often stressful annual events that are too little and too late to make a positive difference in employee performance.

Instead, there should be ongoing coaching dialogue throughout the year between the employee and the supervisor. This way, when they walk into a formal evaluation session, they can simply continue their dialogue.  

A Six-Step Model
This model is a performance standard-based system that incorporates the six basic steps involved in effective supervisory leadership. Active employee participation in the decision making for the first four steps will ensure their commitment to and trust in the process.    

Step One:  Identify Key Responsibilities

The key responsibilities are the general goals or objectives of the job. Each job will tend to have five or six of these key responsibilities. 
For example:  "The development and delivery of training programs." An employee will not know exactly what this entails until the worker activities necessary to accomplish this goal have been clearly defined.

Step Two:  Clarify Worker Activities

The worker activities are specific activities described with action verbs and generally listed in sequential order of performance. 

If the key responsibility is "The development and delivery of training programs, "a list of eight worker activities nec­essary to explain how that general goal is to be accomplished might be: (1) Conduct a needs assessment; (2) Establish training subject area priorities; (3) Perform research in the subject area; (4) Develop the training materials; (5) Schedule the training; (6) Deliver the training; (7) Evaluate the training; and (8) Revise the training, if necessary.

These two steps are essential to an employee's understanding of what is expected and how it is to be accomplished.

Step Three:  Establish Standards

Qualita­tive and quantitative performance standards define the minimum level of acceptable performance for significant worker activities. This minimum level can be set as high as it is reasonable to expect that employees can per­form at that level. The standards must be spe­cific, observable, measurable, realistic, documentable, and job-related.

Very often professional standards, proce­dures and protocols establish a minimum level of acceptable performance which can be incor­porated by reference. For example, attorneys must abide by the rules of evidence and accountants must follow accepted accounting principles.  

Qualitative and Quantitative Standards

The most effective standards are those that focus on the worker activity or activities that, if measured, will also measure whether or not the remaining activities have been per­formed. In the example being used, it is possible to establish both qualitative and quantitative stan­dards for worker activity seven, "Evaluate the training,” that will indicate whether or not the other six worker activities have been accomplished.

For example, a qualitative standard could be that the training: (1) subject met the client’s needs; (2) content was up to date; (3) developed the desired skills; and (4) notice was adequate.

A quantitative standard might be that 85% of the respondents feel that the training fulfilled these four criteria. Another quantitative standard could establish the fre­quency with which the training should be pro­vided and the number of subject areas in which the training courses should be offered.

Step Four:  Monitoring

Now that there are standards, they need to be monitored. The employees know how well they are expected to perform. They need meaningful and timely feedback. Identify the means and fre­quency of measurement to determine the degree to which the key responsibilities and worker activities are performed in compliance with the standards.  

The monitoring must be "user friendly," otherwise it will not occur. It will be "supervisor friendly" if it coincides with normal supervisory contact and activities. It will be "employee friendly" if it provides sufficient objective feed­back with adequate timeliness so that if there is a problem, it can be corrected before it is repeated.

Continuing with our example, the employees and the supervisor may mutually decide that the supervisor should audit training sessions to be able to give meaningful feedback to the employees. By involving them in the decision, the employees will be more likely to understand and accept the supervisor's monitoring presence.

At this point in the process, the employees know what they are expected to do, how they are expected to do it, how well the worker activities are to be performed, and how their performance will be measured. This empowers the employees to be accountable for doing a good job. Since they can measure their own performance against the established stan­dards, they will not need to wait for supervisory monitoring to identify if a problem exists. They will be more likely to assume re­sponsibility for contacting their supervisor for assistance in resolving that problem. 

Step Five: Provide Feedback 

Once the frequency and means of moni­toring have been established, it is important that the supervisor follows through to monitor and give feedback. Employees need to know how their performance measures against the standards. Unless the employees are specifically aware of how they are performing, they cannot know what to continue or where they can improve. 

Step Six: Take Action

Take action in response to ob­served performance. The standards may be retained or revised. Rewards, including addi­tional compensation, may be provided for per­formance that is satisfactory or better. Unsatisfactory or below standard performance may be remedied through improvements in the system, training, coaching, closer monitoring, or ulti­mately discipline.

Performance Evaluation is Effective Supervisory Leadership

This six-step model is essentially the supervisory leadership process. It enables people to do a better job. Success is a powerful motivational force. It is the key to intrinsic motivation. People do the things they do well before they do the things that they do not do well. Implementing these six steps will increase the probability of employee success.


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October 12-14 - WISHRM State Conference

Kalahari Resort & Convention Center
Wisconsin Dells, WI

November 15th Professional Development Summit - Legal and Legislative Update

Alliant Energy Center

Session 1: Legal Update
Session 2: Elections Matter - What to Expect Now

Program Details and Registration

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Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Committee Updates

Submitted by Mary Vesely, Employee Experience & Inclusion Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation and GMA SHRM Director of Diversity

Interested in joining or sharing suggestions for our committee? Contact Mary Vesely, Director of the Diversity Committee at mary.vesely@fairwaymc.com.


Forbes:  5 Steps for Employers to Build a Disability Inclusive Workplace
As written by Paula Morgan in the April 28, 2022 edition of Forbes

Building a disability inclusive workplace isn’t just about hiring people with disabilities. To foster a workplace that’s truly inclusive of people with disabilities, employers should ensure every worker has access to equal opportunities to learn, succeed, advance, and receive appropriate compensation. Thoughtful, evidence-based long-term strategies, systems, and support can create an environment where people with disabilities can succeed. An inclusive workplace should align with and help achieve the organization’s objectives.
Click to read full article on Forbes.com

Non-Profit Feature of the Month: Pathways of Wisconsin, Inc - a non-profit dedicated to helping adults with physical and developmental disabilities since 1978.  We believe everyone has employable strengths, and the ability to work in competitive jobs with the support and careful consideration of their interests and abilities. You can donate here.

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Diversity Observances in October

Submitted by Mary Vesely, Employee Engagement & Inclusion Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation and GMA SHRM Director of Diversity 

  • Global Diversity Awareness Month
  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month – Learn more.
  • Italian-American Heritage Month
  • Polish-American Heritage Month​​​
  • Filipino American History Month
  • Yom Kippur: Oct 4-5​​​​
  • German-American Day: Oct 6
  • World Mental Health Day: Oct 10
  • Indigenous People's Day: Oct 10​
  • National Coming Out Day: Oct 11​
  • U.S. Navy Birthday: Oct 13​
  • Diwali: Oct 24
  • Halloween: Oct 31
  • Day ​of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos): Oct 31 - Nov 2​
Use these observances for team engagement! Have fun, celebrate diversity, and take this opportunity to share stories and learn more about your teammates.


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My Experience Surrounding Jewish High Holy Days

Submitted by Rachel Leader (she/her/hers), Employee Benefits Consultant at Johnson Financial Group and GMA SHRM Diversity Committee Member

Each fall, on varying dates in the Gregorian calendar as the date is dictated by the Hebrew calendar, Jews around the world observe two of their holiest holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement respectively. While it would be almost unfathomable to plan a team event or corporate meeting on Christmas or Easter, each and every year there is at least one event that I have to miss due to my religious observance. Already this year I have had to decline a meeting that was scheduled on each of these days, and it comes with an awkward conversation of why I can’t make it. Even though I am white passing and have the privilege that comes along with that, I still have a hesitation when having to disclose to someone that I am Jewish. Many of my peers don’t understand the heightened and rising levels of anti-Semitism that exists that would make it unsafe in certain circumstances for people to know I’m Jewish. While I understand that businesses need to run and meetings need to happen, there are many comprehensive resources which can help minimize the chances of scheduling an event on any cultural holiday.  It takes the effort of the organizer to be culturally aware and do the research on the front end. I’m hopeful that with the current emphasis on DEI initiatives that one day I won’t have to bring this to others’ attention and that we can all live in a more conscientious work world.

GMA SHRM and Member News

Committee Spotlight: Corporate Relations Committee

Submitted from Samantha Tews, Director of Corporate Relations, and Director of Human Resources at Hausmann Group

The Corporate Relations Committee is responsible for implementing the Corporate Partnership program, securing Sponsors for the Human Capital Conference in May, as well as overseeing other marketing opportunities with GMA SHRM.

Learn about how dynamic the Corporate Partners are for the Chapter with the below 2022 metrics:
21        The number of GMA SHRM Corporate Partners. 

58        The number of chapter members our Corporate Partners employ.

$57k    The financial support our Corporate Partners provide the chapter.

14        The number of years Boardman & Clark has been a Corporate Partner. Boardman & Clark is our longest continuous partner, beginning with us in 2008. 

4          The number of new Corporate Partners we welcomed in 2022.

         The number of volunteers on the Corporate Relations Committee. The 2022
and 2023 Corporate Relations team includes: Sam Tews, Laura Bermudo, Christine Storlie, Brittany Gill, Samantha Erdman, Elise Zielicke, Raj Vaidyanathan and Susan Gafner. 

To learn more about the Corporate Relations committee, feel free to contact me.   To learn more about our amazing partners, check out our Corporate Partners page.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Brittany Gill

Submitted from Samantha Tews, Director of Corporate Relations, and Director of Human Resources at Hausmann Group

How long have you been a member of GMA SHRM?
4 years

How long have you been a volunteer with GMA SHRM?
4 years, on the Corporate Relations Committee.

Why do you volunteer with GMA SHRM?
After a career transition from Marketing to Human Resources I wanted to get involved with GMA SHRM to learn and grow my network.

What would you say to others who are unsure about volunteering with GMA SHRM?
Volunteering with GMA SHRM is a great way to make connections, both professionally and personally, and to learn from others while also having an impact on the local HR Community

What’s been the biggest “surprise” to you since being a member of or volunteer with GMA SHRM?
The GMA SHRM community is so incredibly welcoming and always willing to help and welcome others.

What’s been the biggest “reward” for you since volunteering with GMA SHRM?
The biggest reward has definitely been the amazing connections I have made especially with my fellow committee members, but also other SHRM members and our corporate partners.

In addition to volunteering with GMA SHRM, Brittany is a member of the Palmer Johnson Enterprises HR Team and is a coach/board member with Girls on the Run of South-Central Wisconsin. Outside of work, she loves all things outdoors - traveling, camping, kayaking and spending time with her niece and nephew.

Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in July 2022!
Jackie Aguilar SHRM-CP Metcalfe's Market
Tameaka Bryant   City of Madison
Carol Fuentes PHR Extreme Engineering Solutions
Sarah Giencke   The Perk
Jenna Hanson SPHR Wisconsin Hospital Association
Andrea Hines   NYU Langone Health
Rachel Maldonado Student - UW Madison
CHRISTINE McNerney SHRM-SCP Summit Golf Brands
Julia Melzer   Hovde Properties, LLC
Shannon Murphy   Summit Golf Brands
Wendy Raymond SHRM-CP, PHR Evident Change
Liliana Roebke   Dungarvin Wisconsin
Mai Xiong   Retail


HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:
Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!
Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.
The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.
Article length:
Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.
GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.
If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .
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