6 September 2018, author: Employer Branding, photo: Helvetia
I'm Anja Zimmermann. I've been with Helvetia since September 2016. I currently work as Innovation Manager in corporate development in Business Innovation. When I started, the area was called Strategy and Innovation and I was still a college intern. I was given a permanent contract fairly quickly. I studied business administration, gaining my Bachelor's in International Business in Maastricht and then my Master's in Business Innovation in St Gallen.
Plenty of different things. Our main project at the moment is Helvetia Kickbox. It's about getting our employees more involved in innovation projects, and enabling them to implement their own innovation ideas. I lead the entire project, which involves communication and continuing development as well as coaching for the individual projects. I also provide support for various other projects in our sector.
I've had so many that it's hard to say which one was the best. I had my first very good experience even before I was appointed. I'd originally applied for the trainee programme, but then I concluded that I specifically wanted to work on something to do with innovation. I'd actually already written this ambition off at Helvetia, but then somebody from HR approached me to say there was another vacant position that might suit me. That was my first really positive surprise, and I noticed that despite its size, the atmosphere at Helvetia is very informal.
The whole Helvetia Kickbox programme is another positive experience. I was the one who brought it to Helvetia. Very young and very new, I had the opportunity to implement the project with a great deal of personal responsibility – and I also have to provide continued support and move the whole thing forward.
What &Go means for me is that every individual can make a contribution and make something happen: they just have to get cracking and try it out. That's also something that we're encouraging with the Kickbox programme, which is why I come across and deal with the subject every day.
I believe it has a lot to do with employee empowerment: we give them responsibility, and they accept it. Whether it relates to minor refinements or entirely new areas. We encourage our employees to use their brains, which enables us to utilize the potential within the company.
&Go pervades the entire philosophy with which we set about things. A lot of things move very fast here. We simply try things out, and learn from our initial experiences. I think Kickbox is an excellent example. We didn't discuss the idea with all sorts of bigwigs, we simply set up a pilot project to try it out. The worst that could have happened is that it would have gone wrong, and we'd have abandoned it. And if something doesn't work as it's supposed to, it's not long until we notice.
Very positively, very openly – in the innovation team we don't stay long in one place. I myself no longer have a fixed workstation. I often spend half the week in Basel and the other half in St Gallen. We can also reserve a workstation at both locations, as some are always vacant. And it's no problem for me to spend an occasional day working from home if I have no appointments. Ultimately the work simply has to get done.
In my experience I'm treated exactly the same as my male colleagues. That's something that I really appreciate.