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NOVEMBER 2020: PEOPLE OF HICO – STEPHANIE PFEIFER, HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES

Publication date: 23 November 2020

Human resources isn’t a thing we do, it’s the thing that runs our business. To discuss the state of HR during the pandemic (and most recently, lockdown), we sat down with Stephanie Pfeifer, our Head of Human Resources at HICO-Group.

Working in HR while there is a pandemic going on in the world is an interesting current state of events, to say the least. When asked about her current day-to-day, Steffi brings up a discussion-worthy point about the new reality for her industry. She dubs it “humanless human resources”.

“I think it is very strange to be working in HR with almost zero human contacts (face-to-face). That’s what it feels like at the moment. I am so used to working in person with my wonderful colleagues or meeting and chatting with applicants on a daily basis that the ‘new normal’ simply doesn’t feel normal,” says Steffi.

Home office is another new change in Steffi’s daily life. As an expectant mother, she now has the luxury of spending entire days in the company of her daughter as well as avoiding all the commute to work during pregnancy. “My daughter and I picked up a new hobby during the lockdown – gardening. Whenever I’m not working, we spend all of our days outside and enjoy the sun as much as we can.”

When Steffi is working though, she is focused on making the best out of the current situation in her field. “There is a certain new trend I’m noticing in HR, most definitely caused by the pandemic and the fact that lots of people are losing their jobs. Uncertainty. Candidates are feeling much more insecure in all measures of life – from career to health. I believe that as HR specialists, it is our duty to flesh out this uncertainty as much as possible and provide a positive outlook on job searches and applications for any potential applicant. Business (and life) should be all about the people first, and I think this year has really shed a bright light on that.”

Steffi goes on to share a great piece of advice to all businesses and partners out there during these times. “Whether your team is in the office or at their homes, make sure to still invest your time to take care of them. It is now much more difficult to stay connected but it is also more important than ever to take care of the people in your corner. The digital tools and possibilities we have nowadays allow us to do so quickly and easily. A short call or email is all that it takes, whether to your employees, clients or private network,” Steffi explains. “To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.”

Beautifully said! To conclude our interview, we asked Steffi a series of some of our most popular #RapidFire questions. Here’s what she had to say…

If you could use only one word to describe 2020, what word would it be?

Challenging.

In one word, please describe “life at HICO” in 2020?

Challenging.

Work or sleep – which do you do more nowadays?

Being that I’m pregnant, I’d say sleep. Sleep, for sure! 

Name a movie or TV show you recently enjoyed?

My movie picks would be The Equalizer 1 and 2. The TV shows my husband and I have enjoyed the most recently are The Blacklist and Justified.

Could you give us a list of your 2020 highlights so far?

I’d start with my pregnancy, of course. Looking forward to seeing my “team” expand soon! The fact that I don’t have to travel to work has been a big highlight of my year, as well. And I think just being outside more and being able to reflect and cherish my closest relationships has been a big positive this year – it’s also a great way of keeping myself from going crazy at times.

Last question… You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

I’d give it to my daughter and if it’s still there in one month, we can start talking about the cat she’s been wishing for. Ha! My new, beautiful garden also helps now, as they’d all have a place to play during the day.


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