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Jobs and career

From the trainee programme to the CEO’s office

As of this summer, two of our trainees are strategic assistants to our CEO Switzerland, Martin Jara, and our Chief Executive Officer, Philipp Gmür. We asked both the former trainees, Hannes Müller and Christof Reichmuth, and their new bosses what led to the permanent positions and what their first impressions are in the new job.

18 August 2020, text: Senada Kadic, photo: Helvetia

Christof Reichmuth and Philipp Gmür.
Via an Instagram story, Christof Reichmuth gave us a brief look at his first day on the job as strategic assistant to Philipp Gmür.

«It’s very demanding – which is exactly what I was looking for.»

Christof Reichmuth, strategic CEO assistant to Philipp Gmür in St.Gallen

After finishing my Master’s degree at the University of Zurich, I did not know exactly which company I wanted to work for over the longer term. So I decided on a trainee programme at Helvetia. My aim was to stay on afterwards if I liked it. At the same time, I knew that my good degree and previous experience meant that there were several doors open to me. When there were just a few months of my training left to go, I started looking through job adverts, mainly at Helvetia. When I discovered the post of CEO assistant to Philipp Gmür in St.Gallen, I immediately thought that it might be a great opportunity for me to get on board at Helvetia. After applying, I was invited to the interview. HR was quite open with me: they said that my profile was not quite an exact fit with the job, so in an extra round of interviews, I went into my previous experience in greater depth. By doing so, I was able to convince everyone involved that I would bring important expertise and motivation. And from round to round, we got to know one another better. I always try to assess my chances realistically. I knew that there were initially a lot of other applicants in contention and so I was all the more pleased when I won the contest. I now have the first few weeks in my new job behind me and I must say that it was indeed a jump in at the deep end. It is very demanding, which is what I was looking for. I have already met Philipp Gmür a few times – even though he is very busy – and I think it is great how he stays calm and always brings some humour to the job despite the hectic pace and the heavy workload.

«Wherever possible, we want to enable trainees to have a career at Helvetia.»

Philipp Gmür, CEO Group

As a leading insurer, we know that in order to remain successful, we need to continually invest in our employees. That is why we systematically nurture and develop our staff. Attractive trainee programmes allow us to attract highly qualified new employees. At various internal milestones, trainee programme graduates receive subject- and personality-oriented training. Our trainees’ performance does not go unnoticed by management, of course. We want to systematically nurture, and retain long term, young talent who drive projects forward by working hard, thereby helping Helvetia to be successful. I am glad that we were able to appoint Christof Reichmuth to the post of strategic assistant. On his trainee programme, he assisted management with Smile and Medicall, started to build important market experience and made his mark. I am very pleased to have Christof on the team.

Hannes Müller in his office.
Hannes Müller in his office as the new, strategic assistant to CEO Martin Jara.

«Hannes will make a career for himself at Helvetia.»

Martin Jara, CEO Switzerland

I think it is important to both involve employees in our company’s further development and provide them with targeted career support. I firmly believe that companies today only achieve the necessary progress when they enable their employees to build a broad range of experience and contribute their individual viewpoint and their strengths. Our trainee programmes offer an excellent basis for this. They give the graduates a broad spectrum of experience along the way and require them to work on myriad tasks. This is a perfect introduction for highly qualified and motivated individuals. Hannes Müller is an excellent example. He immediately demonstrated that, thanks to his sound training and broad range of interests, he is able to play a part in the company, create added value and develop himself. He is a truly valuable addition to our team and will make a career for himself at Helvetia.

«I am pleased to be able to support Martin Jara as a sounding board.»

Hannes Müller, strategic assistant to Martin Jara, CEO Switzerland, in Basel

To be honest, what I wanted first and foremost after my business administration course was to complete a trainee programme so that I could find out about different lines of business and take on responsibility at an early stage. The company was of secondary importance to me. I had always found insurance interesting, but it was only on the trainee programme that I noticed how much I liked it at Helvetia. At that time, after the interview for the trainee programme, I had a good feeling. The vocational trainer immediately offered me the informal ‘Du’ form in German and spoke to me as an equal. I found this relaxed style very likeable. I am very pleased that I now have the opportunity to move straight into a permanent position as strategic assistant to Martin Jara. When I heard about the job, I knew immediately that I had to apply. After the first few weeks in the new job, I can certainly say that I feel very comfortable on the team. I find Martin Jara to be a very good role model. He is extremely competent and I am impressed by the way he leads people. His feedback culture is very motivating. I am pleased to be able to support him as a sounding board on various corporate and strategic issues, and am very excited about the wealth of experience I can build here.

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