In addition to the 11 previous Board members, four new members were appointed during the site representative elections at the end of November 2018. But how are the newcomers prepared for their varied and in some cases sensitive tasks on the AVR? Gernot Scharf, Vice President of the AVR, tells us more.
Is there an induction meeting for the new site representatives?
Gernot Scharf: The preparation work for the new members actually begins before the elections. There is an information event for all candidates, where we explain how the AVR works, how it is structured in terms of personnel, and how it is linked within Roche – for instance with the HR department, Site Security and the Executive Committee.
And after the elections?
Then the induction takes the form of training on the job. The new Board members learn from the experienced ones. We take them on the journey with us and provide them with information on an ongoing basis. Otherwise it would be too much to take in all at once.
What tasks are there within the AVR?
At the first Board meeting, we introduce the working groups, foundations and committees that the AVR is involved with. There are also a number of sub-departments within the AVR such as employee support, various health-related services and event organisation.
Who decides which role is assigned to which person?
People take the initiative themselves by putting their names down on lists. We do not assign any roles. After all, the site representatives have to reconcile their work on the AVR with their job at Roche.
I’ve heard that every new Board member is given a mentor…
That’s true. It happens automatically in the context of the working groups. Every new Board member has a contact there.
The AVR also offers employee counselling. Are the new members now set loose without any preparation on employees seeking help?
No. At first the new members accompany an experienced Board member who provides the counselling – provided that the employee seeking advice consents, of course. We also run an on-boarding workshop for the new members. We introduce them to the topic and explain what they need to pay attention to and which interfaces we deal with. In addition, there is a discussion session every three weeks at which Board members already involved in employee counselling talk about their experiences. It goes without saying that the identities of the employees involved remain anonymous during these discussions. All information is treated in confidence and the Board members have a duty of confidentiality. The new members can listen and ask questions. Last but not least, there is a training session at the AVR’s annual Off-site Meeting. This year it will focus on employment law.
No one can know everything. How should the site representatives proceed if they are unsure what to do next during a counselling session?
We can’t answer all questions. For that reason, it is important to know which points of contact you can get information from.
How much time do site representatives actually spend on AVR work per month, on average?
Depending on which areas they are involved with, it is about ten percent or more of their working time.
So they are allowed to do AVR work during their normal working hours?
Yes, Roche explicitly supports this concept. It would like to have a strong employee organisation that finds good solutions for the company and the employees.
Which role do the site representatives play in this?
We are the ambassadors who communicate the AVR’s activities externally.