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Iris Gisler

Human Resources Manager, Leister AG

Iris Gisler


Always in a hurry, always with a warm smile whenever we run into her, and always asks: «How are you?». This is how everyone here knows Iris Gisler. In an interview with Silke Landtwing, Corporate Communications Manager, Iris Gisler talks about where she gets her energy from and what she enjoys most about her job at Leister AG.



Iris, you joined Leister AG in December 2013 as the Human Resources Manager. What brought you to Leister?

It was a lucky coincidence. I took a trip around the world and when I came back was looking for a new job. Leister had just advertised the position of Human Resources Manager. And because I grew up and have roots in Obwalden, I knew Leister of course – also because my brother has worked at the company for more than 25 years now – and so I applied. I remember exactly what I said to Michael Sigrist, Chief Human Resources Officer, when he called to tell me that I got the job: «Mr. Sigrist, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me.»


I really wanted to work at Leister, because both the sector – machinery and industry – and the international setting appealed to me. It was something completely new for me, which was exactly what I was looking for.



What kind of training does it take to do a job like this?

I began with a business-related internship in an insurance company and then continued to work in the insurance industry. While working, I also completed my training as a Swiss-certified insurance specialist and then added training as a Swiss-certified marketing planner. However, I soon realized that not all facets of marketing appealed to me equally; neither market research (statistics) nor calculating market shares within distribution channels; they were just too dry for me.


I was lucky and got a job in the human resources department at AXA Winterthur. As the Human Resources Manager, I was suddenly responsible for around 70 trainees within a business unit and was also the contact person for staff working in the claims department. I was pretty much thrown into the deep end of the pool at the time, but I soon learned. I completed my training as a Swiss-certified HR specialist during my employment there. I was also lucky to have the support of trainers with many years of practical experience, not only at the beginning, but down the line as well.



How long did you work at AXA?

I was with AXA for 16 years, in various positions. I started in an agency as an «internal sales representative»; later, to fill in for my supervisor who became ill, I also did some work in external sales. This means that I visited and advised insurance customers at home. After spending some time in England to learn English, I was offered two temporary positions, first as an administrator in the key account and brokerage business and then in the claims department. I then transferred to the training center and trained prospective external sales representatives. On January 1, 2005, I joined the Human Resources department, where I stayed until leaving to travel around the world.



Education is one thing – personality and experience are another. If you had to describe yourself with three adjectives, what would they be?

You're asking me questions that I usually ask the candidates I interview (laughs).

I think I'm quite positive. I am solution-oriented and usually in a good mood.



Yes, that's exactly how I see you. You always seem cheerful and full of energy. What’s your secret?

Some of it is just my personality. I think life is easier with a positive attitude. When you’re grumpy all the time, it comes back to you. Besides, I enjoy my job a lot.


I draw peace and energy from nature. For instance, I like to go jogging or walking. And I enjoy peace and quiet after work, just having some time for myself. I read a lot and on weekends I like to cook something special.



What’s a normal day like in your job?

I'm at the office early in the morning because I need a bit of time to get «warmed up». From 7:00 to 8:00 a.m., I take my time answering e-mails. I usually schedule interviews with applicants from 8:30 a.m. onwards. After the interviews, I follow up with candidates or get ready for other appointments. I structure my day in blocks because structured work and being well prepared for a meeting are very important to me.


I have more appointments in the afternoon. Basically, my day consists of meetings with supervisors, employees and applicants, including meeting preparation and follow-up.



Are there also things you would like to change or improve?

We have the potential to make our company even better known, especially among students. This is why we intend to continue to cooperate with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), such as through periodic specialized lectures. And of course, we would also welcome a closer cooperation with other universities.


The team in charge at the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg visited us here in Kägiswil. We had the opportunity to thoroughly present our company as well as hot air and laser welding.


The Rapperswil University of Applied Sciences (HSR) and the Northwestern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (FHNW) in Brugg-Windisch will be part of the program starting in 2020. At these universities of applied sciences we focus primarily on events that deal with the professional future of students.


Of course we will be back next year for the contact meeting at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) and at the Polymesse at the ETH Zurich. We meet a lot of interesting people at these student job fairs and, of course, potential employees. We talked to a lot of students at the HSLU’s 2018 contact meeting, for example, and three of them decided to take a job at Leister that same year.


From left to right. Jürg Bühler Head of R&D Platforms and Rafael Fanger, Design Engineer Technical Textiles, both Leister Technologies, and Iris Gisler, Human Resources Manager, Leister AG, at HSLU contact meeting 2019 in Lucerne



And, I have a personal goal. The entire employment application market is in a state of flux. People actively submit applications less frequently. Instead we have to find and recruit them through various channels – such as social media platforms. Digitization is changing the way we work and how we work together. That is why I am pursuing training in this area and completing the CAS Work 4.0: Digital Collaboration & New Work 2019. I am now 46 years old, so I still have 20 years of work ahead of me with the challenges of an emerging digital transformation. It’s important to me to respond to changes appropriately and at the right time.



How has Leister changed since you started working there in 2013?

Leister has grown bigger and bigger. Before constructing our new production facilities, which were ready for occupancy in July 2019, we were nearly out of room for new employees. When I joined Leister in December 2013, we had 600 employees worldwide; as of August 2019, it is now around 900.



What are the special highlights of your job or what do you like most about it?

What I enjoy the most is the contact I have with people: internal or external. I also enjoy the versatility of my job. Working just with numbers wouldn't be for me. And I really value working with my colleagues at Leister, because our relationships are based on trust.


Leister is an exciting company. While we are at home in one of the smallest cantons in Switzerland, successfully operate worldwide. I like the down-to-earth atmosphere and, at the same time, our company’s innovative strength.



What's next on your schedule?

An interview with a candidate, of course I am not allowed to tell you the person’s name.



If I'm looking for a job at Leister, how and where is the best place to apply?

The best way is online in response to an advertised position or simply spontaneously, because I also like to review unsolicited applications.



Thank you for the interesting interview and the insight into your professional development. And of course, I wish you the best of luck with your continuing education and loads of energy for your high-power job.



Lars Gehrke

Application Engineer, Leister Technologies AG, Laser Plastic Welding

Lars Gehrke

"Two left hands and all thumbs? I don't need that in my job. What I need is craftsmanship and a feeling for our customers and their individual needs."


Engineer Lars Gehrke from Leverkusen, Germany, has profound knowledge of laser welding, including theoretical and practical. In a three-year research project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), he was involved in laser-assisted housing production for e-vehicle batteries. In his part-time master's program, he was able to perfectly expand his professional activities - laser welding, laser marking and process monitoring.


Why did you apply to Leister as an application engineer in the field of laser welding?
Leister offers a wide variety of laser plastic welding processes. I am particularly interested in pyrometry for the determination of heat radiation. This is a widely used method of process monitoring.


Which tasks are your most important?
The development and construction of laser welding processes for our worldwide customers is, among many others, my main task. The reason this task is so important stems from our customers needing different solutions due to different product requirements. For example, the selection of the laser, the optical components and the process variant.


What is your most exciting part of your work?
Craftsmanship and the challenges of direct customer contact. It gives me pleasure to work out a solution together with the customer, that's tailored to their needs.


How would you describe your team of colleagues?
Hands on mentality, solution-oriented, team player. My boss always says, "Who has two left hands and all thumbs..."


What characterizes your team?
There are four of us on the team and we're all very similar in some aspects. We all have manual skills and we are not afraid to get involved. Our cooperation is also characterized by a willingness to help.


Would you recommend your friends to work at Leister? If so, why?
Yes, for professional reasons. Since most of my friends live in Germany, a job at Leister Technologies AG in Switzerland would involve them moving abroad. You have to be ready for that.


If someone was interested in a job at Leister, what would you recommend or tell him/her about Leister?
In my experience at Leister, working with new people every day brings a lot of pleasure to my job. Many of our customers come directly to us in the laser laboratory and we're able to work together to develop the right solutions for their products.


Since we spend a lot of time working with customers, it's important to be a great communicator so you can understand their needs.


Of course, you should have a good knowledge of the laser welding process, both practically and theoretically.


If you would like more detailed information, please send me an email to lars.gehrke@leister.com


Do you have the opportunity to develop yourself professionally at Leister? What are you aiming for?
My current goal is to make the best use of my knowledge from my time as a research assistant at the LaborLaserTechnik (LLT) of the Rheinische Fachhochschule in Cologne, Germany, in the industrial environment.


At Leister I am currently being trained to handle the robot, but this will certainly not be the last of my professional training.


Did Leister promote you professionally, recommend further training courses or support you financially, for example?
Yes, I have already attended various internal training courses. For example, courses to improve my knowledge about the Leister product portfolio.


By the way, the photo shows a robot with a Leister globo optic next to me. The "Globo head" was developed by Leister and is used for contour welding of big components. For example, the Globo head is used to weld the rear lights of cars.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love the mountains so I like to go hiking, jogging and enjoying the view of the wonderful lakes. As a former city person, I enjoy this relaxing contrast. One of my favorite things here are the beautiful Swiss cows.


Thank you for the interesting interview. We are glad that you have decided to work for Leister. We wish you much success in your exciting tasks and look forward to continuing to work with you.

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