Meet the HR Consultant: Eyad Salem

Eyad Salem Employee Photo

Eyad Salem is an HR Consultant who joined EmPower HR in June 2015. He works out of our Schaumburg, IL office, where he provides dedicated service to clients throughout Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A football player. I played football for Illinois State and took my dream as far as the Buccaneers training camp in 2010. Unfortunately an injury kept me from the NFL, but I was able to play arena football for a few more years.

What was your first job?
I was an umpire for baseball games. At 12 years old, getting $25 a game was pretty amazing at the time.

What is your role at EmPower HR?
My title is “HR Consultant”. My role is to be a true business partner to guide my clients through some of the rough waters that come with a growing employee base – strategic planning, benefits consultation and anything related to the employee lifecycle. When you’re a company of two or three people, it’s easy to manage all aspects of your business. But when you start adding people and benefits, it becomes more complicated. EmPower HR takes these things off of our clients’ plates so they can focus on growth. I help develop employees, drive the company’s success with those employees and help them enrich their companies and, in turn, the communities they are a part of. When you have small businesses doing well, it only enhances the community and helps make things better.

What does your typical day look like?
I work with 28 different clients, whose companies range in size from 3 to 65 employees. I have the opportunity to visit unique companies all around the Chicagoland area and provide unique HR solutions for all of them. I spend about half of my time visiting my clients, so no two days are the same. I’m visiting small companies and bigger organizations that are all at different stages in their company’s growth and in different industries. Small companies have a more family feel, whereas larger companies start to put more formal processes in place.

I can visit one client’s manufacturing plant where the assembly lines are running, then head to a trading firm or not-for-profit in downtown Chicago. I love going to the manufacturing plants because they remind me of when I was a kid: visiting my dad at his plant, where he worked for 30 years manufacturing aerosol cans – and I also love going to see unbelievable buildings in downtown Chicago with state-of-the-art office space. No matter where I am, my goal is the same – I make sure my clients are on track, help them meet their timelines and offer strategic guidance.

What is the most outrageous HR question you’ve been asked?
“Can I add my dog to my health insurance?” (Unfortunately, no.)

What is the most challenging problem you’ve been asked to solve?
At the strategic level, it’s always challenging when there is an economic change, whether it’s a downturn that leads to a reduction of workforce, or an influx of funding that needs to be managed. I help the owner make the best decisions to keep the company on the right path for growth. At the employee level, challenges come from a communication breakdown that leads to confrontations.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any of these issues, and there’s no one way to handle things. I have a deep familiarity with my clients, and because I’ve taken the time to get to know my clients and spend time with them, when action needs to be taken I can help them make the right decision and support them through the difficult times.

What is the best part of your job?
Seeing my clients’ businesses succeed. By putting in time with them, I help create a foundation where my clients can start growing their business. When you continually support them and you start seeing their employee engagement and efficiency go up, and you can coach them through communication issues and help develop processes, this lets the business owners and employees focus on growing the business. When the machine is humming really well, they start seeing gains. This is the best part of my job.

What is the best “perk” or benefit of working at EmPower HR?
We have Summer Fridays, so from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we’re able to be flexible with our schedules on Friday afternoons. While I’m always there for my clients, I’ve used this time to give back to the community. I wasn’t really that involved in my hometown when I was younger, so now I try to give back by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, IL. When you’re part of a company that preaches “Give Back,” it seems like the best way to take advantage of the perk.

Describe EmPower HR in three words.
Commitment. We are committed to what we are doing and providing solutions to clients.
Passion. We have a startup feel and awesome energy, and my colleagues are really passionate about their work.
Fun. We do a lot together and enjoy working with each other.

Why should someone partner with EmPower HR?
EmPower provides 1440 level service. 1440 represents the number of minutes in a day, and reminds us that we should create the best experience with each other and our clients every minute of every day – not just in the office but outside of work as well. Our Pillars - Dream Big, Have Courage, Take Initiative, Be Accountable, Give Back and Enjoy It – guide how we take on each day. I personally try to keep everything in perspective, enjoy my time with my coworkers and clients, try to communicate well and find solutions when issues arise, and have courage when hard conversations need to happen. Our culture helps us stay accountable, trust ourselves and have confidence in what we do. Even with giving back, I’ve started doing more community service and have seen that even the smallest things make a big impact when they become habit.

What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Chicagoland area?
I love Chicago – I just moved back downtown after living in the suburbs for several years. It’s easy to enjoy city life and visit my clients, most of whom are downtown… and spending time at a rooftop restaurant downtown is pretty awesome. I like to try new places, but I have some standbys like Cindy’s rooftop bar at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, or Parlor Pizza in the West Loop.

If you're in the Chicago area and in need of HR services, contact us today