It’s not easy to step in to a new role, especially for a short time. It takes an understanding of the job duties, but also an appreciation of its goals and culture. Susie Slonecker has stepped into the role of interim Human Resources Director with just this, as well as an awareness of the work being done and also a positive and collaborative way to improve upon it.
A northwest native, Susie first came to Washington for college, attending the University of Washington, Seattle. She returned to her hometown of Eugene, OR for law school before coming to work for the King County Prosecutor’s office in 1993. In her time here, she has become well known for her ability to work with employees and labor relations professionals from across the County on labor and employment issues. She continues to bring these skills into her work within HR.
“I’m looking at things we’re doing and saying ‘is this the right way to do it, and if not, what is the new way to do it?’” said Susie. “It’s about finding a balance and giving employees the space to breathe so that they take the time to do their work well.”
“In any job, everyone seems to be running all the time, and I just think, do we need to be?”
Ensuring work is done in an efficient manner, while still being conscious of employees needs is an important part of how Susie addresses workplace improvements.
“It’s looking at how do we prioritize our work and chunk it out,” she said. “There’s these great big policies and initiatives but saying ‘I’ll get work done on this part’ helps us not lose focus on our own day-to-day.”
“At the heart of Human Resources is humans. We need to listen to a problem in the work place and learn how to collaboratively solve it.”
Susie takes on the community approach to her work because she believes it’s integral to being an award-winning County with nationally recognized practices. She understands that at times it can be difficult due to the divisions and separations between each department, but explains that the success of one hinges on the achievements of all.
“HRD is here to be a partner and a resource. I know there’s some employees who may think we just say no, but we can really help with the many challenges that come with being a big employer.”
“We’re listening and thinking of ways to do things to help people become better employees.”
Done in a strategic and holistic style, Susie works to ensure the system is working well for each employee by helping managers become coaches, providing tools for the workplace and holding people accountable for their actions.
“It’s about supporting both sides of employees – getting to that point where something works for the whole group – and checking back with people to be sure they are happy in their workplace.”