HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD

COVID-19 Resources 

Information for Madison Area HR Professionals

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Avoid Retaliating Against Employees Expressing Safety Concerns Regarding COVID-19

Compensation & Benefits

The 2021 Compensation Survey is Now Available!

Professional Development

January 25, 2022 Professional Development Summit - Virtual
Focus on Retention


College Relations

GMA SHRM Student Scholarship

Recruitment & Retention

Excuse Me, Your Story is Missing

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Observances in December

Video - All That We Share

DEI Webpage and Resources!

GMA SHRM Member News

Welcome New Members!

Member Awards and Recognition

In Transition





President's Message

2021 Corporate Partners

Platinum Level

Boardman & Clark Law Firm
Delta Dental
Hausmann-Johnson Insurance Group
The QTI Group
UW Credit Union
UW Center for Professional &
  Executive Development


Gold Level

Career Momentum
Group Health Cooperative of
  South Central Wisconsin

Silver Level

Cottingham Butler
Edvest Wisconsin

Bronze Level

Edgewood College
Restaino & Associates Relocation
Reynolds Transfer
Workforce Solutions

Thank you!


Greetings and Happy Holidays, GMA SHRM Members!

As we look ahead to the holiday season and see 2021 in our rear-view mirror, chapter leadership and I would like to thank you for another successful year! GMA SHRM members, corporate partners, volunteers, contributors, and guests continue to engage in the chapter and keep us strong as we deliver on our mission to offer Madison area HR professionals high quality professional development
and networking opportunities with the goal to educate, share ideas, shape experiences, and build lasting relationships, and our vision to equip and inspire HR professionals to lead and build a better workplace and community.

I’m sure many would agree that HR professionals have been navigating a unique set of challenges over the past 20 months, and we have benefitted greatly from sharing our practices, having thought partners, and simply having a great support network of professionals as we lead our workforces through these uncertain times. Despite the challenges we’ve faced, I continually hear stories of people finding “silver linings”— getting clarity around what matters most, having a new appreciation for the people around us, ,and taking time to give to and serve each other.

In that spirit of service, I want to say a special thank you to all our volunteers on the GMA SHRM board and our committees, and to MDS, our chapter administration partners. Collectively, board members, committee members and MDS  generously serve by sharing their efforts, expertise, and time to plan chapter networking opportunities and professional development events, conduct student outreach and participate in career
events to help students learn more about the HR profession. They, work with our valued corporate partners who are serving the HR community by developing new resources that benefit our workplaces, creating communications and newsletters that keep the Madison-area HR community connected and informed, and many other “behind the scenes” activities.  Each month this group of dedicated individuals contribute and serve, keeping us all connected and well-equipped to navigate the times ahead. Thank you!

It is at this time of year that we begin our succession planning to seek additional volunteers who would like the opportunity to serve on our committees or in board leadership roles beginning in July 2022. Want additional information about ways to get involved? Check out our “Get Involved” page here or feel free to reach out to Dana Denny, our President Elect here.

Mark your calendars now for our January 18, 2022 virtual Professional Development Summit where Michelle
Venturini will be sharing “How to Protect your Culture Through Organizational Change,” and Sharon
Hulce will be presenting “How to Get to ’I Love my Job:’ Tools for Retaining Top Talent.”

Also, “Save the Date!” for our biggest event of the year, our annual Human Capital Conference on May
17, 2022 at Alliant Energy Center.  Check our website at 2021 GMA SHRM Programs and Events List
for details on our fabulous speaker lineup!

Wishing you all a beautiful holiday season, and a new year ahead full of good things!

All the best,

Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD
President-GMA SHRM

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


COVID-19 Resources

Information for Madison Area HR Professionals

GMA SHRM HR COVID-19 Resource Page

This page has direct links to:

  • SHRM HR Specific Resources
  • Government Agency Websites
  • Partner Pages with HR specific COVID-19 resources representing:
    • HR Law
    • Best Practices
    • Managing a suddenly remote workforce
    • Finance
    • More... 


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Avoid Retaliating Against Employees Expressing Safety Concerns Regarding COVID-19

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

As employers continue to navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) demonstrates the importance of ensuring that employee concerns about COVID-19 safety protocols are being addressed appropriately. The DOL lawsuit arose because an employee at a luxury car dealership in Austin, Texas complained to his employer about the company’s response to positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace. The employee asked management to notify others that they might have been exposed to COVID-19, but management did nothing in response. The employee then emailed all company employees about the potential hazard associated with the positive test. Less than an hour later, the employee was terminated.

Upon review, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) sided with the employee and determined that he had exercised his legal rights under section 11(c) of the OSH Act which prohibits retaliation against employees for asserting their rights under the OSH Act. OSHA therefore determined that he had been wrongfully discharged. The DOL filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division seeking lost wages and benefits resulting from the termination, reimbursement for costs and expenses, compensatory damages, and exemplary or punitive damages.

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Compensation & Benefits

2021 Compensation Survey Now Available!

Greater Madison Area SHRM and Gallagher Surveys are pleased to present the annual salary survey.   

Local compensation data is hard to find and the GMA SHRM Compensation survey is a great resource!   This year thirty-three organizations participated in the 2021 version of the survey.  

Visit the GMA SHRM Compensation Survey page to view:

  • a list of participating organizations
  • a sample of the survey data
  • purchasing information
New this year is tiered purchase pricing based on size of your organization. 


More Information

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Professional Development

January 25, 2022 Professional Development Summit
A Virtual Event


Focus on Retention

Session 1:  Protecting Your Culture During Organizational Transition

Presented By:   Michelle Venturini, SPHR, UW Madison Center for Continuing Studies

Session 2:  Loving My Job – Tools To Retaining Top Talent

Presented by:  Sharon Hulce, Employment Resource Group

Program Details and Registration

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College Relations

GMA SHRM Student Scholarship

Greater Madison Area SHRM offers two $750 scholarships to students pursuing a career in human resources.  Applications are accepted in the fall of every year with the recipients being announced in February.  This is one of the easiest scholarships to apply for - so apply now!

Visit the GMA SHRM Student Scholarship Page

Recruitment & Retention

Excuse Me, Your Story is Missing

Submitted by GMA SHRM member Justin Vajko Principal & Chief Strategy Guy at Dialog Design Co/

How to attract talent with an Employer Value Proposition.

Just a few months ago our family was sitting around the dinner table when my wife and I started talking about the shows we used to watch as kids. I immediately thought of The Lone Ranger. Although this black and white series was from the 1950s, it had been available to me through the unlimited replay-ability of VHS as a kid. I watched the show for what felt like hundreds of times. 

That evening I got the idea of introducing the Lone Ranger TV show to my own kids. I didn’t have high hopes for them to enjoy what I had grown to love as a kid. Entertainment options for kids these days are incredibly varied and with much better production quality. So imagine my surprise when my kids watched it with rapt attention and even came back to me later wanting to watch more! 

This got me thinking: what was it that made this series so compelling both to me as a child as well as my own kids? It certainly wasn’t the stiff acting, borderline racism, popping audio, or lack of color. I realized that it was the story they were attracted to. In the show, a group of Texas Rangers fighting for good were betrayed by one of their members and ambushed by the notorious Cavendish gang. But one survived -- the lone ranger --  and made it his passion to fight for justice for the rest of his life, his identity hidden by a black mask. 

It was a story that stuck with my kids because it hit at their sense of justice and right versus wrong. It appealed to their emotions and their human instinct to follow a good story. 

So what does this have to do with recruiting? 

We all know that businesses need an elevator pitch to sell their products or services. Without knowing what makes your product or service worth buying, why would anyone buy it? The same question now applies to workplaces more than ever. Yet in this day and age very few employers have a good pitch for why folks should work for them.

Too many times I read job descriptions or hiring ads that are just a list of requirements or a mention of the pay. Never are they interesting or compelling. That’s because most businesses have no idea of the power of storytelling they’re missing out on in their hiring efforts. Yet the biggest and best companies in the world have recruiting campaigns based on telling their story. And that story helps them build a reputation as an employer of choice. Unfortunately too many great employers in our state miss out on the opportunity to use such a tried and true tool in their recruitment efforts. 

I’ve found that the best employer stories, also called Employer Value Propositions (EVP) have the following defining features: 

  • They’re short. Three to five sentences are all you should need to be able to make your case for being a great employer. In fact, a good EVP can be summed up in a tagline that’s just a few words long.
  • They’re positive without ignoring reality. They’re not a made up version of what it’s like to work there. For example, employers with a rotating shift could mention that they work hard to build a fun team and offer free lunches while at the same time acknowledging that the tough shift isn't for everyone.
  • They’re clear. They’re not filled with jargon. They don’t have “weasel words” that could mean multiple things. Reading them is easy and it’s easy to get the gist of what it’s like to work there after doing so. 
  • They’re compelling. They offer a transformation or an opportunity to dive into something bigger than the employee’s existing work experience. For a manufacturer with a solid schedule, this can mean offering consistent work for the person who’s been yanked around by a crazy hospitality or retail industry. For a non-profit, this can mean giving the candidate a chance to turn their passion for helping people into a career. 

If you don’t develop your own Employer Value Proposition you’ll be letting others tell your story for you. Don’t hand the reins to someone else to build your reputation because it probably won’t reflect reality. Without a good EVP, you’ll keep struggling to attract the right people to your job applications. You’ll keep missing out on the people who might be a great fit for your workplace but who would never apply because you didn’t paint a picture for them. If you can’t afford the highest pay, latest benefits, or incredible schedule flexibility but still have a good culture and treat your employees well, tell your story. The people who connect with it will apply.

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Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Observances in December

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

 Why not have fun, celebrate diversity, learn about each other, and use these observances as themes to engage your team!

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Dec 3
Happy Hanukkah: Nov 28 - Dec 6​
Human Rights Day: Dec 10​
Christmas Day: Dec 25​
Kwanzaa: Dec 26 - Jan 1​


Interested in joining or sharing suggestions for our committee? Contact Mary Vesely, Director of the Diversity Committee at

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DEI Webpage and Resources


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

All That We Share: We live in a time where we quickly put people in boxes.

Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
Check out this 3 min video.

This video is also on our: SHRM DEI Resource Page. We welcome any ideas/suggestions.
Our Diversity Committee is proud to announce our DEI Resource Page is now live! This is a work in progress page we will continue to build and keep the resources up to date and relevant on a quarterly basis.

We certainly welcome any feedback/suggestions, requests on what content you’d like add, and any contributions you may have!

Email Director of Diversity Committee Mary Vesely at
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GMA SHRM Member News

Welcome New Members!
GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in October 2021!
Colton Haas   Hausmann Group
Tanya Hanson PHR, SHRM-SCP Paradigm
Laura Roth   Advanced Employment Inc

Member Awards and Recognition

Have you recently earned a professional achievement award? If so, we want to hear about it. 
If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!  

In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc. Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.


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 .
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