2022 WI SHRM Day on the Hill Wrap Up
This year’s 8th Annual Wisconsin State Council SHRM Day on the Hill event was colder than the 2021 virtual event, but quite warmer than the 4 degrees we braved in 2020! It was a great day to get updated on employment law and public policy updates.
The pre-conference event Wednesday evening was very enjoyable. It was great to get to reconnect with fellow WISHRM members. The Kahoot game was a blast and a very enjoyable and educational activity. We hope to continue this next year as we learned a lot about the history of Wisconsin (fun facts) as well as being challenged to answer questions with regards to legislation and the framework of our government. I didn’t know that the original colors of the Green Bay Packers were blue & gold! Thanks to the committee members that submitted questions and to our emcee, Sandy Martin.
Over the course of this event, were able to interact, connect and share best practices and ideas in the new world of HR. The interest and enthusiasm for “Policies Not Politics was very evident; the speakers were very well-versed in their fields of expertise and the attendees were very engaged.
The first speaker was Jesus Villa, JD, Administrator from the Equal Rights Division. Jesus spoke about “What’s New at the ERD”. He gave insight about what issues the ERD is seeing arising out of the pandemic, other workforce challenges, and how the ERD is responding. He touched on how they ensure compliance with over 40 different laws, including labor standards, employee leave, and civil rights. Jesus presented great information with regards to how they adapted how they work, how they adapted their services, record low unemployment, and work search requirements. He shared insight with suggested strategies for growing Wisconsin’s workforce and their investment in workforce solutions. Workers have higher expectations in this labor market regarding fair pay, flexibility, safety and a healthy work-life balance. They also expect equity, inclusion and respect. Addressed was also current questions and issues with regards to remote and hybrid work, virtual recruiting, virtual hiring, joint employment, worker misclassification and drug policies.
The second speaker was Attorney Bob Gregg from Boardman & Clark, LLP, Legislative Partner for the Wisconsin State Council SHRM. Bob again shared much interesting information about the current state of affairs, development, trends, hot topics, and lessons learned in Washington, DC. He said this is the year for employment law and hiring dilemma’s – “Good Help is Hard to Find – The Hiring Crisis”. He discussed what they are seeing in terms of upcoming developing issues with regards to non-competition and confidentiality agreements. Lastly, he gave insight with regards to employment handbook issues that can cause you trouble, fair labor standards act, the growth in joint employment liability, disability, and the intersect of some laws. And then, of course, Bob went over his ever famous and highly entertaining “Strangest Cases”. He reaffirmed that as HR professionals, employment laws can keep us awake at night, but by understanding how to mitigate through them by keeping abreast of new legislation that we can sometimes get a good night’s sleep! As always, Bob was highly entertaining in discussing topics that we all always don’t like to hear about as HR professionals.
After a quick overview of Wisconsin State Government – “Under the Capitol Dome” we took a break for lunch, some networking, and visits with the event sponsors Boardman Clark, M3 Insurance and SHRM – Greater Madison Area. A shout out to the Park Hotel as the lunch and service was wonderful. Also, great hotel and location for the Day on the Hill event.
Our third speakers were Charles Palmer, Partner – Sub-Practice Leader, Workplace Safety & Health and Holly Courtney – Senior Associate with Michael Best Law Firm. They tagged teamed this session and discussed employment law updates, legal trends and the emergency temporary standard (ETS). Of course, COVID was a big topic for the presentation. We were given an overview of OSHA ETS, executive order 14042 and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We were updated on vaccine mandates by state, vaccine mandate exemptions, ADA and work from home do’s and don’ts. We then we given updates on sexual orientation, gender, identity, expression discrimination, expansion of the workplace protections for sexual harassment, ban the box laws, pay equity trends, paid sick leave, and restrictive covenant & non-compete agreements. As you can see, we covered a lot of material with their presentation as well.
Our last speaker was the famous Matt Glowacki – WI SHRM Diversity, Inclusion and Workflex Director. I’m sure many of you have seen him present in the past and know his energy level! Matt discussed the aftermath of the pandemic and the challenges resulting from the impacts of apparent and non-apparent disabilities including mental illness concerns. He reinforced that us HR professionals are required by law to develop legally defendable workplace accommodations for our employees. Matt then outlined and explained how the “Accommodate in Place Initiative” is designed to implement a business climate focused on perception and awareness of disability and inclusion in the Wisconsin workforce and provide HR professionals with a set of data-informed tools to develop and implement an accommodate-in-place plan.
We then headed to the Capitol! Some of us took a well guided tour and some of us met with our representative to discuss our concerns and ask questions. The message largely was advocating for them to use us as a collaborative partner and to reach out to us when Human Resources related issues are brought to the Capitol. Our viewpoints, as highly recognized professionals, and how it relates to our everyday workplace challenges and issues in the state of Wisconsin can be a resource to them. They are here for us, and we are here for them. Other topics brought to the Capitol were addressing the labor shortages, unemployment, workplace policy bills, and workforce flexibility.
We were all again reminded it is policy, not politics and that SHRM pursues nonpartisan public policy efforts to promote flexibility, inclusive and equitable workplaces that help employers thrive as talent is tapped, trained and empowered to reach its full potential. HR professionals, like us, can help elevate the voice of HR and play an integral role in making positive, and impactful policy change for the HR profession in the workplace. Make your voices heard and reach out! To learn more about the SHRM Advocacy Team please visit: www.advocacy.shrm.org or SHRM Public Policy Action Center.
A special thanks to all those on the Day on the Hill Planning Committee, Morgan Data and our sponsors (Boardman Clark, M3 Insurance and SHRM – Greater Madison Area)! Also, to all of you that not only attended the event, but also took the time to complete the post event survey. The survey responses are very valuable in planning next year’s event. As a reminder, all the materials (slide decks) can be accessed from the Virtual Library for referencing.
Overall, the 8th Annual WI SHRM Day on the Hill provided updated topics and new opportunities for attendees to advocate, network, and become more aware of public policy issues that impact all our workplaces. Planning will begin in a few months for the 9th Annual WI SHRM Day on the Hill in 2023, and we hope to see many of you again in-person in Madison, Wisconsin next year for this event.
Please contact Erinn Stromberg at email@example.com if you are interested in being a member of the WI SHRM Day on the Hill Planning Committee. And finally, thank you for attending and we will see you next year!