Young woman in business dress smiles into the camera in front of blurred glass front
© Fraunhofer IAF
Lena Breuer is head of the human resources department at Fraunhofer IAF.

»We are always there for our employees to offer advice and support.«

Our interviews provide exciting insight behind the scenes at Fraunhofer IAF in Freiburg. In this interview, Lena Breuer talks about her work in Human Resources.

In conversation with Lena Breuer

How did you come to work at Fraunhofer IAF in Freiburg?

After I finished high school, I completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk. Afterwards, I was certain that I wanted to work in Human Resources. At that time, Fraunhofer IAF had a vacant position for career starters, which immediately caught my attention. Fortunately, it worked out and I have been part of our great HR team since then. Alongside my work, I completed a training as a business economist on a part-time basis. Since June 2020 I have been head of the HR group.


What does your work routine look like?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been any routine during the past months. We had quite a turbulent time, even though we got through the crisis very well. We are working in close collaboration with our crisis management team and are always there for our employees to offer advice and support with childcare, sick leave or other administrative challenges like the organization of home office.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

The great range of tasks makes my work very exciting. I am looking forward to the challenges that come with my new leadership role and hope to continue to grow together with my team.

In job interviews, I am particularly happy when an applicant really fits in well with our institute. If we can win such a person for us, it is a real jackpot. After successful recruitment, we continue supporting our employees during their time at IAF and enjoy celebrating good news with them: We are happy about all professional accomplishments or anniversaries, but also about personal events such as pregnancies or weddings, they all make our work special.

Young woman in business clothes talking to a person outside the picture.
© Fraunhofer IAF

You are responsible for a variety of different professional groups with individual needs. How do you manage to accommodate all of them?

In fact, everyone is on fire here for their respective fields and sometimes we have to remind them of the unpleasant paperwork. A lot of empathy is needed to do justice to everyone and to support every individual employee in the best possible way.


Do you have any tips for a successful application at Fraunhofer IAF?

It might sound simple, but a complete and convincing application is paramount. The application gives us a first impression of a potential new employee and no matter how good possible references are; this is what counts. To be on the safe side, it is best to double-check the application and make sure that no small “e” sneaked into our name turning the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft into “Frauenhofer” by mistake. We read that very often. It is also important that the qualification matches the job profile and that we do not get the feeling that we have received a “standard application” that has been sent to others as well.


Although you have lived in Canada for some time, it has drawn you back to Freiburg. Can you tell us your favorite place in the city?

I am not a city kid and so I am always drawn out into nature. The ruins of Hochburg near Emmendingen are beautiful. I often go there by mountain bike or for a walk with our two dogs. The view is simply amazing and absolutely worth a visit.


How would you describe Fraunhofer IAF with only three words?

Fraunhofer IAF is extremely diverse. We cover an enormous range of research areas and have experts in various scientific fields. Therefore, I immediately think of the terms: "diversity, know-how and research competence".

The trained industrial clerk and business economist Lena Breuer has been supporting the Human Resources at Fraunhofer IAF since 2013 and took over as group leader in summer 2020.

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