30th January 2024

People at ALPLA - Interview with Henrietta Sarai

In this edition of People at ALPLA, we are delighted to introduce Henrietta Sarai (37), a dynamic and accomplished leader. Henrietta is the Country HR Manager for ALPLA in Hungary, where she manages three plants and has been working for the company for seven years. With a love for working with people and a keen interest in organisational and leadership development, Henrietta is a key contributor to ALPLA’s success in Hungary. Let’s find out more about her challenges and achievements, and also discover something about Henrietta’s life outside work.

Henrietta Sarai

Henrietta Sarai - Country Manager HR in Hungary.

Can you tell us what you are doing at ALPLA and provide a brief insight into your career at ALPLA?

I’ve been working at ALPLA for seven years. Currently, I’m Country HR Manager. I’m responsible for three plants in Hungary. I’m located in Tatabánya. I love working with people. My current focus is organisational and leadership development.

Jobs in the industry are still predominantly male-dominated, but as I’ve heard, you also place a strong emphasis on involving women. What are the challenges here?

Women, particularly in leadership positions, change the character of the organisation, and for the better. The challenge is to overcome the ‘boys’ club’ attitudes and focus on the abilities of people and not specific genders, gaining acceptance for women as equals. 

You yourself are an example of a female career at ALPLA. How do you assess the overall situation?

Over the last decade, more women have been in leadership positions, and it is a positive development. Women bring value to leadership positions, particularly in communication, which is an essential component of successful business practices. Women tend to focus on empathy, compassion and building strong personal relationships, which ultimately leads to better decision-making. Emotional intelligence is a key skill for leaders.

Can you also give us an insight into the HR challenges in Hungary?

Over the past few years, we’ve struggled with an overwhelming shortage of skilled labour. This situation is slowly improving but is far from being in balance yet. I’m proud to have been able to represent ALPLA Hungary on the local workshop in 2023, which was organised by the Federation of Industrialists. The aim of the programme and the workshop was to help shape the thinking of decision-makers about the labour market, to adapt to the market changes that lie ahead and better prepare for them. The program also aims to map out the regional differences in the Hungarian labour market trends, from local professionals’ perspectives. The future of young people entering the labour market (if not the whole nation) is determined by the quality of education. We need skilled workers. Harmonising our needs and the workforce is the key to success. We are building the future together.

What makes working at ALPLA special for you? Why, in your opinion, should people aspire to a career with us?

Being a family-owned company, we strive to create a family atmosphere. We have a broad spectrum of responsibilities and lots of opportunity for personal and professional growth. 

What are the most important tools for your work?

Positive attitude: understanding, acceptance and the commitment to improve the situation. Communicating clearly and effectively, which connects to our Global Strategy. 

What is your biggest achievement so far – personally or professionally?

Built the HR team to reach beyond being a service organisation and become a strategic resource. Recruited high-calibre people for key positions. I’ve continued my personal development throughout the years, and I’m currently enrolled in continuing education. 

A bit more about you. What do you enjoy doing most in your free time?

I’m a long-distance runner. I participate in marathons. I’m also interested in personal development. 

Name three things on your bucket list?

The first thing I want to do is publish my first book. The second is to finish the Spartathlon ultra marathon non-competitively, and the third is to find a partner who is as committed as I am and will go with me, whether on horseback, on two wheels, in running shoes, flying or sitting in a car.

Please describe ALPLA in your own three words:

Family-oriented, teamwork, dynamic.

If you had an extra hour every day, what would you use it for?

I would volunteer to help disadvantaged families.

What else should we have asked you?

What would I like to be when I grow up? (laughs)

So what did you want to be when you grow up?

I strive to be a trustworthy, open and honest person who values friendships, celebrates the success of others and encourages people to reach their greatest and best versions of themselves.

Thanks for the interview! 

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