Our very own Ellen Slane was interviewed on HR BREW as an HR business partner from Employers Advantage. HR BREW keeps HR professionals educated and up-to-date on all things HR.
Adam DeRose wrote:
Ellen Slane’s nature is to serve others. She sees her work in HR as a way to help people, and, yes, to help the business along the way. In her work as an HR business partner, Slane provides support to a handful of small and mid-sized companies. After years as an HR specialist and generalist at different manufacturing companies, Slane was looking for something different, with more flexibility and work–life balance. She’s now loving her work educating business leaders who “don’t know what they don’t know” on compliance, employment law, and better people practices, pleading her case to presidents and CEOs about the importance of human resources so that they can get back to doing what they do best.
What’s the best change you’ve made at a place you’ve worked?
There’s a small…distribution company that I’m working with, it’s an e-commerce company…I have been really proud of myself for coming in there and…making sure that they have a handbook, but also implementing some safety protocols as well…I’m very proud of setting that up within the small company because they really didn’t have anything in place.
What’s the biggest misconception people might have about your job?
I think there is a common misconception that going to HR is like going to the principal’s office. We are not bad people! The majority of HR professionals are emotionally intelligent, servant-heart-based, and very empathetic to the needs of their employees—just give us a chance!
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
I really empathize with the limits that small businesses can have, especially when it comes to operating expenses. They have a heart for their product and for their people. I enjoy helping them to think of new and creative ways to reward and recognize their folks, without breaking a tight budget.
What trend in HR are you most optimistic about? Why?
I’m very excited and optimistic to see what impact AI [and] ChatGPT has on the HR function. I feel so many HR professionals can get stymied by transactional duties…to the point that they’re not getting more strategic experience [or] able to advance in their careers. I’m interested in seeing if new AI technology might take some of the burden of those transactional duties, so HR pros can focus more on strategic initiatives.
What trend in HR are you least optimistic about? Why?
I love the workforce initiative of getting those with lived experiences [in the criminal justice system] back into the workforce, but unfortunately, there is still a negative stigma and bias when it comes to employing [them]. I’m not optimistic right now, because I’ve seen the bias firsthand in recruiting and have had to rescind offers just because someone has a lived experience [with the criminal justice system]. It’s very frustrating, especially when it has nothing to do with the job they’ve applied for, and was many years ago. I’ve seen the discouragement firsthand, and I think we really need to engage with our hiring managers and leadership team and address the stigma and bias that they have.
Tell us one new or old HR tech product or platform that’s made your life easier, and why.
I love the BLR Employee Handbook Builder. I have some clients that have employees in over 20 states, and [it] allows me to create an all-encompassing document to satisfy each state’s mandates. I also appreciate the state and federal update notices I receive via email that may affect policies within the handbook.