Human Resources (HR) Basics for Non-HR Professionals

Looking to add leadership skills to the technical content you learn in HR Basics? Join us for one of our GROW classes, indicted on our Classes & Training page by the icon at left? These courses are designed to help you improve your skills in areas like conflict management, emotional intelligence, delegation, communication, performance management, and more.


For most small business owners and managers, there is a wide gap between hiring your first employee(s) and bringing on an HR manager or team of HR professionals. Yet in the meantime, there are a lot of legal details and best practices to know to best position your business for success. This course focuses on the laws most often violated (unknowingly) by small businesses (according to the Small Business Administration), how to prevent these violations, and common issues that arise in the employee management process.

This course is designed for:

  • Business owners or managers without a dedicated HR expert on your staff
  • Administrative staff that are performing HR duties as part of their responsibilities

Topics Include:

  • Employment Laws most often violated by Small Businesses
  • Independent Contractor VS Employee
  • Exempt VS Non-Exempt Employee
  • Overtime & Other Pay
  • FMLA, OSHA, Harassment and more
  • Non-Compete Agreements
  • Ways to protect yourself and your company
  • Job Descriptions
  • Background Checks
  • Testing
  • Benefits
  • Disciplining
  • Termination

“Everything was helpful; it made HR duties feel less scary. I appreciated the wide range of topics covered, and dependable/free resources to use going forward – a crash course on being a good employer.”

Allison Rodriguez
Owner, Delta Remodeling LLC

Registration Spring 2024

Location: Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

Date: April 10, 2024

Time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Fee: $289

Register here for Spring 2024 or call 608-262-2451 to register. BONUS: Place 2 or more paid leadership courses in your cart, and use discount code SBDC10 for 10% off. Classes must be purchased in the same transaction.

Registration Deadlines

Registration type Date Fee
Earlybird Earlybird closes: 3/20/2024 Earlybird Registration Fee: $260.10
Late Registration Late Registration begins: April 2, 2024 Late Registration Fee: $317.90
Course registration closes April 9, 2024

Registration & Cancellation policies

  • Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.
  • Cancelations at least 24 hours before the program begins will incur a $25 cancellation fee. Cancelations less than 24 hours before the start of the program will incur the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-2451. Please note that in the case of a cancellation (by either the participant or the SBDC), participants can only be transferred one time into a new course.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations.


The Small Business Development Center at UW Madison is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®.

[I appreciated] The confidence I gained in [my] new role.

HR, White Rhino Company

Very awesome course. Short and sweet with a lot of relevant information, which every manager and leader should take. [I appreciated] practical applications of HR policies at work.

Saransh Choudhury, Koerber Tissue North America (Spring 2022 participant)

The information on employee files, interviewing, and job descriptions were most valuable to me. Brittany Hanson taught the class very well. She kept the info relevant, and truly seemed very passionate in regards to the material.

-Foreman, Elk Grove Village Public Works, 2023 participant

I appreciated that questions were answered fully. There was a lot of material, but it was organized and well put together. I appreciated the different scenarios that were presented to see how the things being discussed could be applied. Very good class!

Sarah Mark Fleet and Facilities Manager, City of Moline, IL (online participant, Fall 2021)


Tracy Niesen Breunig
Director of Human Resources, Culver Franchising System, LLC

Tracy has been in the Human Resources field for over 25 years in a variety of industries working across small and large businesses around the Madison area. Her experiences include union and non-union environments, profit and non-profit and has lead HR teams as well as being the single HR practitioner. Tracy’s expertise covers areas such as recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement and relations, union relations, training and development, compensation, and benefits. Currently, Tracy is a Director of Human Resources at Culver Franchising System.

Website business legalities, state and federal, shipping, etc.  Great examples and discussion, the slides and links were excellent.

Diane Marquardt,  Kim Swisher Communications

The instructor was great and answered our real-life questions.

Associate Director, Corporate Operations (Spring 2022 participant)

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System.
It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact us at or call (608) 263-2221.