Making staff the number one priority

Dr. Irene Mörtl, Deputy Head of Human Resources, Fresenius Vamed, Vienna

I am the deputy head of HR at the VAMED Group. Overall, the HR department is responsible for nearly 13,000 people. Of course they’re not all directly working for Fresenius Vamed, but for the many hospitals and health facilities managed around the world by VAMED. But we do all have one thing in common: People are the number one priority in our work, along with the thing that is most important to them – their health.

Fresenius Vamed is a very international company; we recruit staff worldwide. I recently got back from Gabon where we were interviewing people. We were looking for a technical project manager for our hospitals. A couple of weeks before that, I was in Shanghai to recruit a managing director for our Chinese subsidiary.

This internationalism is what makes VAMED so fascinating for me.

With all the different languages and of course the cultural idiosyncrasies in different countries – whether it’s China, Gabon or Malaysia. Finding staff for each of the regions we operate in is really exciting. Apart from having the technical skills, people have to speak the language and be a good fit in terms of their general attitude and cultural understanding.

Staff come from a variety of backgrounds, from manual workers on the construction site to managers heading up the finished hospital and doctors working directly with patients. Our work is always about the people and their health.

I have a daughter who’s at school, but even as a manager, I can take advantage of opportunities that allow me to work part-time. I have to say, Fresenius Vamed is really good in that respect and it gives me a relatively large degree of latitude. It takes a certain amount of mutual trust.

And this is still palpable, despite the tremendous expansion we’ve undergone in recent years. You never have the feeling here that you’re “just a face among thousands”. Despite our size and international nature, there’s a real “VAMED spirit” shaped by trust, staff collegiality and commitment.