From the first day to the last
As HR Manager at Balluff Automation in Shanghai, Melody Han keeps an eye on the entire career path of her colleagues.
Melody Han has been working at Balluff Automation, Balluff’s Chinese sales subsidiary in Shanghai, for 14 years. She began her career there in 2007 – fresh from Shanghai University, where she had completed a bachelor’s degree with a focus on human resources management. She remembers exactly how she felt on that first day in her first job: a little nervous, but above all happy that she had found a position where she could use her human resource management skills. That initial nervousness quickly subsided thanks to the friendly smiles of her colleagues.
The first day
The first day has remained in her memory. That’s because first impressions also play a big role in her work. As HR manager, Melody Han conducts many job interviews. Sometimes it becomes clear in the first few minutes whether the person is a good fit for Balluff. First impressions count. When asked what a potential Balluff employee should bring to the job, she has a clear answer: He or she should be proactive, ambitious and have drive, want to develop personally and, of course, have sufficient specialist knowledge. For the 35-year-old, contact with people was the decisive factor in her choice of studies and later job. Although she describes herself as an introvert, she is interested in finding out what motivates and drives people. External motivation via salary or benefits is not enough to convince potential employees to take a job, she is sure of that. After all, people develop their full potential when they are intrinsically motivated and the right tasks match their own skills and underlying motivations. Empathy is therefore very important for her job in order to understand the other person, to put herself in the person’s shoes and to develop a career path together at Balluff.
After just one year, Melody Han was taken on permanently. She also grew personally along with the sales location. At the beginning, there were around 70 people working there, today there are more than 170. Together with her HR team of six, she looks after the entire workforce at the location and has repeatedly taken on new tasks and responsibilities over the years. The sales office is located east of the Huangpu River in the Pudong district, which is considered a business and high-tech district of Shanghai. In the 1990s, the area was sparsely populated. Today, numerous well-known companies from the biotechnology, IT and microelectronics sectors are located throughout the district and it is considered a symbol of growth in China.
An entire career in view
It is important to Melody not only to find the right people for Balluff, but also to accompany them throughout their entire career. This starts with a fair application process and the selection of applicants, continues with onboarding, support and coaching during their work, and ends with the last day of work. In 2019, for the first time, a colleague at the site left to start their well-deserved retirement. There was a big cake, farewell gifts and a warm hug from the boss.
Sector of the future
Melody Han was born and raised in Shanghai. Her parents still live there. Family is important to her, which is why she visits her parents regularly. She is grateful that in Balluff she has an employer who gives her room for professional development – and in an industry that excites her: Although the automation industry is an industry with a long history, it is not backward-looking, but a sector of the future.
Since 2021, Melody Han has also been responsible for HR activities in the Asia Pacific region. Here, the focus is on training and the performance of the teams. She is very happy about the trust Balluff has placed in her with this new task – allowing her to grow into this new responsibility – and the opportunity to learn and try out new things. She would actually like to visit the other locations in the region, but this is not possible at the moment due to travel restrictions. Together with her Chinese HR team and the HR managers in the Asia Pacific region, she would like to learn about the respective cultural characteristics and not only be an HR expert for the Chinese location, but also better support her colleagues from the other countries in the future. Again, she thinks the issue through from start to finish.