All you need is 15 minutes of prep time to let your slow cooker do its thing—all while you're at work.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage to pan; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer sausage to the inner pot of a 6-quart Instant Pot®. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add shallot mixture to pot.
Sort and wash beans. Add beans, 2 cups water, and next 4 ingredients (through chicken broth) to pot. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot®. Turn the steam release handle to "Venting" position. Press [Slow Cook], and use [Adjust] to select "More" mode. Press [-] or [+] to choose 8 hours cook time. (Cook additional time, if necessary, until beans are tender.) Serve with thyme sprigs, if desired.