We had a chit-chat with our human resources manager Sara Demiri about her job and the people she meets on a daily basis. She also told us a lot about the values she believes in, her hobbies, passions and other interests.
Hi Sara, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What is your role in the company and what has working in the language industry taught you so far?
I joined the language industry as a human resources manager after working in telecommunications and the IT industry for 12 years. This was a big challenge for me since I knew nearly nothing about this industry. I have really learned a lot since. Terms such as glossary, TM, fuzzy match and grid are a part of my everyday vocabulary now. I also learned how important it is for a good product to be accompanied by a good translation. Translation can be compared to a product’s identity card, or in the HR language: a good CV!
My responsibilities include recruitment, employment, onboarding, career and talent development, KPI, EPC, vendor management, L&D, collaboration with universities and academic institutions, improvement of partner relations, organizing a summer school program, internships and other business activities.
What motivates you to get out of the bed in the morning and do a great job, besides the need to pay the bills?
I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies and this is the reason why I am truly passionate about human resources development and delighted with the progress of every single team member and every little step forward in our organization. Every little thing leads to a better tomorrow for all of us. I am motivated by the differences between people, their growth and development. Since I am a very open and extroverted person, working with people is something that truly fulfills me.
We heard that you have recently became a proud owner of a diploma that is a pretty big deal in the HR world. How did that happen?
After attending many interesting lectures, networking with colleagues from the HR world and defending my thesis on the topic of Recruitment and Selection, I have recently become a proud owner of a degree in Human Resources Management from the Institute for Management in Zagreb. Seeing as my formal education is from the field of Public Relations and Media, I have always wanted to receive education in the field of Human Resources and Ciklopea made this possible by granting me a scholarship in 2016. I am very grateful for the opportunity to obtain a theoretical basis for my professional practical knowledge.
Lately, people have been referring to HR Managers as Happiness Managers. Can you explain to us the meaning of this term? What is the idea behind it?
They are increasingly being called Happiness Managers and/or Culture Managers. This is a soft component of organizational success, an intangible component that is very important, but can’t be prescribed by any process or procedure. The HR Manager is a Culture Manager – he is a living example of the organization’s values (walks the talk), which are then transferred onto other team members.
It is no secret that HR managers are modern psychologists, so it is no surprise that they are seen as an ally, someone people often turn to for advice and conversation. The HR Manager is a consultant of the management board and an advocate for employees. In a way, this makes him responsible for the feeling of happiness and satisfaction of both parties.
What are the upsides and downsides of being the Happiness Manager?
We at Ciklopea believe that people are the most valuable asset that needs to be carefully cultivated. Our organizational processes are designed by people and for people, so that every team member can discover and make full use of their potential, as well as find personal fulfillment in their job. However, seeing as organizations are living organisms, and our profession is not completely predictable, responding to all industry demands can often be challenging. This motivates all of us individually to reach our SMART goals and make tomorrow at least a little bit better than today.
What is the most satisfying thing about working with people?
The best thing about working with people is witnessing their personal growth and satisfaction. The most valuable moments are definitely those when I realize that the student has surpassed the teacher. Or as one of my colleagues likes to say: Sara, we have created little monsters! These monsters of ours are progressing each day, fueled by their ambition and the desire to learn and prove themselves. I can’t imagine anything better than that.
Hire for attitude,
train for skill.
Can you tell us the secret of how to spot a good candidate? What are some people’s traits that can indicate they will be good and hardworking employees?
My first manager taught me something wise that I try to pass on to younger HR generations selflessly: hire for attitude, train for skill. A person’s attitude is the most important thing – how they approach their work, colleagues and life in general. If they have a positive, open and well-meaning outlook, any knowledge gaps can be filled.
Of course, competencies, experience and education are important, but I never consider them crucial during the selection process. I have a very high appreciation for people who have established a work ethic early in life because this speaks volumes about them. The concrete position that a candidate held doesn’t matter; what counts is their desire, will and commitment. Most people spend their youth living with their parents, thinking about little more than studying and partying, so it is always commendable when individuals express a wish early on to prove themselves and start earning their own money.
Responding to stress well and being a team player also counts for much.
We are all witnesses to the age of digitalization, which is extremely useful and desirable, but unfortunately too often results in people becoming alienated and isolated, so characteristics such as empathy, collegiality and openness are all the more valuable.
If you had to describe Ciklopea in one sentence, what would it be?
People are our most precious asset.
How do you stay happy outside the office space? What are your hobbies, passions and interests?
I love spending time with my family and friends. I have many friends and try to spend time with them so that it counts, which entails a lot of laughter, fun, talking, going out, traveling, good food… I also like to read and occasionally watch a good film. I have a deep appreciation for Nolan’s masterpieces. I have two brothers and we have a very strong connection, so I share every moment with them. One lives in Italy and the other in Germany, but we have never allowed distance to become an obstacle in our relationship.
I am also enthusiastic about working out and eating healthy, so there are good chances that my after-work hours will be spent either in the gym or in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal! 😉
Name the three things that you would take to a desert island.
- Lip balm. This is the only material possession I can’t do without. I could never imagine my life without lip balm 🙂
- I would take my friends and family because everything’s better in good company (also, to be realistic, they would help me build shelter and catch fish).
- A toothbrush. The teeth are the mirror of the soul.
What is your secret superpower?
A sixth sense. I am a very empathetic person who is able to read people easily. This helps me both in my personal and professional life, particularly in the sense of communicating successfully, seeing as people are my job.
If it were up to you, how would you make the world a better place?
I would launch a super cool global movement to encourage people all over the world to get off the couch and move! Did you know that our body releases endorphins for hours after exercising? You are welcome.