Kara Hayft, vice president of human resources, Uponor North America

Kara Hayft, the new vice president of human resources at Uponor North America, is working to keep a "small company feel" as the Apple Valley-based maker of plumbing and indoor climate systems continues to grow.

Maintaining a company culture with a "strong sense of pride, a strong sense of engagement" that she sensed among employees upon joining Uponor is a top priority, Hayft said. She also is focusing on ways Uponor can attract job candidates in a tight labor market.

"We're in a war for talent," Hayft said. "Our ability to continue to be the best workplace and have the best people here will be important. Every employer is grappling with this."

At Uponor, Hayft oversees the human resources team and serves as a strategic partner in developing company plans and programs, focusing on how they affect the organization and employees.

Hayft has 20 years of human resources experience, most recently at Thomson Reuters, where she was the human resources vice president of small law firms and consumers, among other human resources leadership positions.

"Early in my career I knew that this was the area that was the right fit for me because I've always been a people person," Hayft said. "I enjoy understanding what makes people tick and what makes organizations tick and how you can come in and figure out what's going to make a difference."

Hayft has a business administration degree from Concordia College and a master's of arts degree in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Q: What do you like about working at a smaller company?

A: At Uponor North America I'm able to lead the entire suite of human resources initiatives and activities, anything from how we focus on talent acquisition to compensation and benefits. I like being able to look at everything holistically.

Q: How will your experience at larger companies benefit you at Uponor?

A: I'm hoping I can bring a lot of things I've learned around workforce planning: how to look at as we're growing what are the skills that we'll need. How we continue to develop our current population to be ready for future needs and make sure that our approach continues to be very integrated and highly collaborative.

Q: Why should job candidates consider Uponor?

A: Uponor wants people to be part of a great culture. We have a really strong culture, one that people can come in to and feel like they can make an immediate impact because we want to make sure people in every role feel empowered.