Working with people, supporting them and receiving in return direct feedback on your own work is a fine thing - and it makes you personally happy too. This doesn't just apply to your private life, but to your work life as well, which is much more fulfilling when you can see the point of it. This has long been recognized in research on happiness and psychology, and has been scientifically proven as well. And Kristin Blasum understood this correlation when she decided, having completed her Abitur (high-school diploma), to move from Germersheim in Rheinland-Pfalz to Heidelberg to study educational science at the university there.
She had recognized early on from her positive experiences of church youth work that she derived a lot of pleasure from interacting with other people. She therefore made the conscious decision to do an internship with the Caritas aid organization in the area of socio-educational family support work while still at university. However, the fact of being confronted day after day with the suffering and worries of other people started to wear her down. "I simply couldn't switch off properly, and I let things get to me," she recalls.
So the educational science student was faced with the question: "What do I do now?" By undertaking other internships in the area of HR, Kristin Blasum discovered a new and exciting direction for herself: personnel development. Recognizing people's potential and helping them to develop it to the full is the perfect occupation for Kristin Blasum. In the end she decided to work in the private sector and arrived, via the Daimler CAReer Program, at EvoBus. "Looking back on it now, I'm very pleased things turned out the way they did," explains the young woman from Germersheim with a smile.
Ballet played a big role in Kristin's life from an early age; at the tender age of four, she was already enthusiastically practicing her pirouettes, croisés and tendus. Nowadays the sport is the perfect counterbalance to her working life. Her enthusiasm is clear to see as she explains with a huge grin, "I just love ballet: I can simply forget about everything else going on around me in my life when I dance."
Another of her great passions is traveling – and it quickly becomes clear that this young woman prefers individualized to package holidays. She and her husband traveled from their home in Neu-Ulm to the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of Norway, for their summer holiday in 2015. Kristin has even traveled round distant Tasmania, the largest island of the Commonwealth of Australia, when she did an internship with the Goethe Institute in Melbourne in 2007 . In addition to the breathtaking landscape, she particularly liked the wombats - those burrowing herbivores which look a lot like bears and which belong to the marsupial family.
In fact, Kristin Blasum felt that she was nearly as much of an exotic creature as the wombat when she started working in HR for EvoBus GmbH. Everyone assumed she must be a Business Studies graduate who had majored in HR management – certainly not an educational scientist. But she very quickly found her feet in her job despite - or perhaps because of - her somewhat exotic course of studies. "I probably approach some things differently to my colleagues," she reflects. "After the initial reality shock, I managed to find my bearings quite quickly in the world of business."
Her descriptions sound pragmatic and Kristin Blasum gives the impression that she can cope with pretty well any situation. The young woman comes across as uncomplicated and approachable. She is not the sort of person who wants to impose her point of view without regard for other people's interests. She attaches great value to authenticity in interactions. "I like people who are authentic. If I meet someone and I am unsure if that person is being honest with me I don't quite know how to deal with the situation. I certainly always try to be honest and therefore tend to give people the benefit of the doubt at first," she comments.
Trust and the assumption of responsibility play a pivotal role in human resource management too, maintains Kristin. "To me, acting responsibly towards employees means above all not having a "hire-and-fire" culture; and offering certain benefits - such as a good pension plan." The certification from berufundfamilie GmbH for being a family-friendly company, which has been awarded to EvoBus since 2009, is particularly important to her. The certificate is an important building block in Evobus's sustainability strategy, demonstrating one aspect of the company's approach to employee care. Every three years, acting on the results of an audit and in consultation with external auditors, the company agrees new targets and an implementation strategy to ensure that the concept of reconciling one's career, family and private life remains anchored at EvoBus. As Project Manager, Kristin Blasum is majorly involved in this process.
Recognizing one's responsibilities and being conscious of sustainability issues are important to her in her private life, too: "Sustainability, for me as a private individual, means first and foremost thinking about the environment - e.g. not using plastic bags when shopping. It's true that I don't drive an electric car, but it's a very important theme for me. I would never drop litter when out hiking. And when I eat meat or fish, I play very close attention to what I'm eating."
Even though it is clear how important these issues are to her, I would not describe Kristin as a dogged idealist. Her thoughts come across as considered opinions but pragmatic ones, too – she is focused and has clear ideas of how she would like to shape and expand the area of employee care at EvoBus. Diversity and being able to reconcile the demands of family and career are key issues for her. She is satisfied with EvoBus's commitment to the principles and initiatives to support them - although she sees further scope for development: "We still don't have a policy on sabbaticals. Ideally we need a clear procedure, in order to be able to support the concept better."
Her job at EvoBus takes up a lot of her time, but the lady from Neu-Ulm appreciates her fascinating and demanding role and enjoys her work. She sees a clear point to her job: to support and grow the area of employee care, thereby creating added value for our employees. And if it all gets a bit too much, she can lose herself in her ballet or in her travels.
Text: Jens Arnold, Alessa Holling, Yves-André Mahler, Jonathan Wagner
Photography: Jens Arnold, Jonathan Wagner