Head of Finance and Administration, Habasit France 
Sylvie Ott is delighted to talk about her years with Habasit and the opportunities it has given her: “I joined Habasit France in 1988 as a receptionist and switchboard operator, and today I’m Head of Finance and Administration.”  

From tourism to finance 
She has had an unusual career path. After college she started her career in a restaurant. But when she saw an advert for a receptionist / switchboard operator at Habasit, Sylvie applied. “It was very different at first,” she recalls. “I came from a busy restaurant with lots of young people. Habasit France was very small then, and I was alone on reception. But then the director offered me a job with more responsibility in the accounting department, where I would have more company – I took the opportunity and I never looked back.”  

Learning on the job 
Learning on the job, Sylvie’s accounting tasks became increasingly complex, and in 2001, she decided to get a degree in accounting. “I was 37 years old, with two kids, and I wanted to feel I was in the right place. For two years I spent two days a week at Habasit, two days at college, and one day with the kids. I loved it, and I passed my exams first time. After qualifying as an accountant I felt I was well equipped to fulfil my duties as I had both work experience and a formal education.”  

Habasit encourages and supports professional development 
Then, in 2014, encouraged by her boss, she became Head of Finance and Administration. Sylvie has been leading the accounting team of four ever since.  

 “I’m very grateful to Habasit. They gave me the chance to learn several jobs, and trusted me to take on ever-increasing responsibilities. It’s how Habasit encourages and supports professional development.“ 

 When asked what she likes best about her job, Sylvie says: “I like feeling that I know what I’m doing, and that I can help my team and create a good atmosphere. And I enjoy using my foreign languages: German and English.”  

Our employees feel very attached to the company 
Sylvie tells us: “Our employees feel very attached to the company because we have great products and we know we are selling something good.” 

When it comes to Habasit’s six core values, Sylvie picks out “Continuous Improvement” and “Quality you can trust” as those she sees most. “We are implementing a Lean system in fabrication, which is focused on eliminating waste and organizing processes to be more efficient and more productive.”  

Management helps in times of difficulties 
Sylvie elaborates further: “Habasit trusts people, and lets you be yourself and improve your qualifications. Management also helps in times of difficulties. For example, an employee who worked in maintenance for 20 years had problems doing heavy work after getting Covid. He is a very methodical person, so we offered him a job in accounting and the team is training him.” 

Family business with strong teamwork  
Looking back, Sylvie remembers with pride that she met Habasit’s founders, Fernand and Alice Habegger, back in 1988, when she joined the firm. “It’s nice to know I met them, and good to know there’s a family behind us.” 

Looking ahead, Sylvie is realistic about the challenges, and deeply optimistic that Habasit France will perform even better in future.