In June, our eCase HR Team was joined by a new consultant, Sandra (Sandy) Sherman. In her career, Sandy has served three U.S. federal agencies and won multiple awards for her work in HR. Through consulting, Sandy will be applying her expertise to improving our eCase HR solution for the federal customer. We asked Sandy some questions regarding her experience as a career federal HR professional and her impressions of eCase. Here are her answers:
AINS: Can you provide a summary of your work experience?
Sandy: I have worked in federal human resources for my entire career. This work spans three federal agencies where I served in operational, policy, supervisory, and managerial roles that touched on all HR functional areas. During this time, I was recognized with the highest Department of the Interior (DOI) honorary award, The Distinguished Service Award, for my sustained outstanding service and contributions. I also received numerous other awards including the DOI Meritorious Service Award, the DOI Superior Service Award, and the DOI Unit Award, multiple honorary awards while at TSA, and numerous cash awards throughout my career. I was consistently recognized and sought after for my technical knowledge and problem-solving skills which I supplemented with creativity and a customer service focus. Since retiring six years ago, I have brought my federal HR expertise to companies providing HR services to federal clients.
A: What are the main roles and responsibilities of your job?
S: I am in the fortunate position of doing what I love. I am responsible for sharing my insights and knowledge of federal laws, regulations, policies, and procedures with our technology experts (aka “magicians”) to design and implement efficient, compliant solutions that enable federal agencies to execute their responsibilities in the most timely, accurate, and effective manner. When I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1980, I ended up with a summer job at the Department of Health and Human Services that turned into a permanent position in the HR department. I was extremely lucky to have a boss and mentor who was passionate about her work. Her passion was contagious! That good fortune continued with me as I grew within the field. I particularly enjoy the purpose of the work—recruiting, hiring, and retaining highly qualified employees to enable organizations to meet their mission requirements. I also enjoy the problem solving skills and creativity required to most effectively do this in a compliant, efficient, and customer-focused manner.
A: What is your philosophy as an HR consultant? What are your areas of expertise?
S: My philosophy as an HR consultant is very simple: to exceed the needs and expectations of our clients. While I have experience in all functional areas within HR, I have the most expertise in recruitment, staffing, and personnel transactions processing.
A: What have been some highlights of your career? Problems you have solved?
S: When I think back on my career, the following are some of the highlights that immediately come to mind:
- The development and implementation of nationwide diversity outreach recruitment teams. Diversity in underrepresented scientific occupations throughout the organization increased.
- Participation in the development and implementation of a number of automated solutions for HR processes to include recruitment, onboarding, orientation, awards processing, and the exit clearance process. These solutions all added efficiencies of service to the organization, including:
- The development of templates, drop-downs, and auto-generated information drastically decreased the amount of manual entry required while increasing accuracy and efficiencies of service.
- Supervisors were provided the ability to initiate and submit an unlimited number of cash awards to the personnel processing system on one automated form. This resulted in huge savings in time and cost.
- Automating the onboarding and orientation processes allowed new hires to complete upfront documentation prior to their start date. This allowed for more accurate submissions of documents, reduced the number of agency staff required for the onboarding process, and resulted in more efficient processing of paperwork.
- The automated exit clearance process optimized the completion and tracking of all required exit documentation and return of equipment.
- The career development, engagement, and professional growth of my staff. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than seeing my staff grow, learn, and even accept higher level opportunities based on their hard work, expertise, and accomplishments.
A: What current issues/trends do you think are most affecting HR?
S: Working in a remote/virtual environment; diversity, inclusion, and equity; employee engagement and the employee experience; talent development; technology; and AI.
A: How do you think AINS will benefit from your expertise?
S: My federal HR expertise will be an asset in the development of systems that not only meet the needs of the government, but also address and simplify the more complex processes and requirements for the user. I will provide decision-makers with the data they need to make the best and most informed decisions.
A: What are your initial impressions of eCase HR? How do you see our products meeting the needs of users now and in the future?
S: eCase HR has taken complex processes and incorporated end-to-end requirements that allow users to carry out their responsibilities with minimal data entry while optimizing compliance, timeliness, and quality of service. It provides information to enable data-driven decision-making for HR functional areas that have historically consisted of onerous processes and paperwork. Through its in-depth tracking and reporting capabilities, eCase HR simplifies processes and provides users with greater visibility. These tools address and resolve many of the greatest challenges that have confronted HR over the years and as a result enable HR to be more responsive to their customers’ needs.
A: How are you using your experience to work with AINS?
S: Having spent my career in Federal HR, I am fully aware of the requirements and challenges facing agencies, including specific pain points that if addressed could optimize operations, workload, and compliance, and ultimately improve customer service and employee satisfaction. I am able view situations and challenges from the federal client’s perspective and assess the solutions that will meet their needs. Highlighting these areas in my work with AINS allows us to bring the best, most innovative solutions to our clients.
A: How would you describe the ideal workplace?
S: I consider the ideal workplace one in which employees are committed to the organization’s mission, treat each other with respect, value each-others’ opinions, and work together with the purpose of providing the best service to its customers. Further, it is one in which employees continuously learn from each other in a positive and upbeat atmosphere.