What do the faces behind blackbee look like? Starting now, we’ll regularly introduce one of our employees to you on our blog. This time, our HR manager Sabrina explains how to find the right balance at work and what defines a perfect working environment for her. She also shares how she gets inspired by Steve Jobs every day.
Sabrina, you’re involved in many different areas in the Business Growth team. What does a normal workday look like for you?
Exactly, in addition to HR, I handle the accounting and support the management. So it’s important that I organize my weeks around any upcoming deadlines. When HR projects and appointments are implemented, when I plan the next team event and when I have to close the books for the month. For example, today I started with accounting and will end with the processing of applications. But the phone and doorbell have been surprisingly quiet today, which means I’m making good progress – that’s a considerable factor in my daily work (laughs).
What do you enjoy most about your work?
What I enjoy most is the daily interaction with people. And my role as a special kind of interface – a variety of structures and processes converge with me. It’s my job to find a good balance between the management and the employees. I always have to ask myself: What’s good for the company, what’s good for each individual employee? It’s a constant challenge that’s both demanding and something I really appreciate. And I especially enjoy the variety of my tasks. No two days are the same. There’s always something new.
How do you achieve this balance between the management and the employees?
I think the most important thing is a good mixture of openness, an always polite, respectful manner and empathy. Business management thinking, putting people first and strong organizational skills are also part of it. And finally, a healthy dose of confidence that everything will get done when it needs to get done can’t hurt either.
You’ve been part of the blackbee team for more than two years now. What were you doing before you started here?
At the age of 18, I opted for an apprenticeship as a hotel manager and attended university afterwards. In retrospect, my apprenticeship was a really great, exciting time, because the hotel business is an interesting industry. I worked in the hotel business for three years and then started studying business administration. After my studies, I worked for a large e-commerce provider and gained a lot of valuable experience in the areas of assistance, creditor management, accounting and HR. After another position in a small IT company, where I was responsible for assistance and HR, I switched to blackbee.
Your colleagues jokingly give you the job title of “Feel Good Manager” – but seriously: What defines an optimal working atmosphere?
(Laughs) For one thing, I think they call me that because my friendly demeanor is actually my true nature. This is me. Because it’s very important to me to go through life as positively as possible. Steve Jobs once said:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
And that’s become my motto in life, what I radiate and live, I think. On the other hand: An optimal working atmosphere can be supported with many different tools such as company values, benefits, freedom, good leadership and trust. However, the primary motivation should be to enjoy coming to work. You should have employees in the company who are passionate about their work and love what they do – that’s what defines an optimal working atmosphere for me.
How do you involve every employee in the processes of the company?
That’s indeed difficult and always a challenge. Perhaps it’s idealistic, but you should work to make every employee feel involved. But there are also employees who don’t always want to be involved in the company’s processes. I still think it’s important to give each employee a voice and to signal: Whatever’s on your mind, you can always approach us. We’re open, we’re here, we communicate with each other and we take everyone seriously.
In addition to your job, you’re also a mother to twins. How do you manage to juggle these important roles, professional and private?
First and foremost, you need a flexible employer who stands behind you and supports you – blackbee is such an employer. And of course a husband who can contribute a lot of flexibility due to his position at work. We unburden each other. But I also have to emphasize that every day is a new challenge. Personally, I find it very important to take both work and private life seriously and to draw a clear line. You have to keep it separate: When I’m in the office, I’m only in the office and give my best here. In the same way, I’m completely at home when I’m with my family.
You’re one of the first people applicants get to know at blackbee. What do you value particularly in potential new employees?
I really enjoy when I start looking through applications and you can see at first glance that the candidate took the time to learn about blackbee. In general, it’s very enriching when we welcome new colleagues because they bring momentum, fresh spirit and experience to the company. That’s why I particularly value an open and curious attitude in potential new employees.
What are your main reasons for working at blackbee?
An important factor for me is the freedom and trust to plan and implement my everyday work and projects independently. Our management is always open to new ideas. We also maintain an open corporate culture, have short communication channels and make quick decisions. On a personal level, we at blackbee value a familiar atmosphere and respectful discourse. And finally: Work-life balance is very much supported here, which is a key point for me.
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