Gernot Scharf, Global Quality Manager, Issue Management (PTQSA), began his career with Roche in 2001 in the Vitamins & Fine Chemicals department at Roche’s former plant in Sisseln. A dual citizen of Germany and Switzerland, he grew up in the southern Black Forest. Before embarking on a science degree in Freiburg im Breisgau, he spent a number of years in the German Navy and explored the world by sea. Gernot Scharf is married and has two children.
Mr Scharf, how did you find your way to the AVR?
I had already established contacts with what was then the Sisseln section of the AVR at the beginning of my career with Roche and become a member. After the Sisseln facility separated from Roche, I relocated to the Parenterals facility at Grenzacherstrasse in Basel in 2005, working in quality assurance. At an introductory event also attended by the AVR, I was approached by none other than Dr Michael Pantze, who asked me if I could imagine having an active role on the AVR Committee. The decision wasn’t hard for me.
What are your areas of responsibility within the AVR?
From the outset, I did a lot with the Roche Pension Funds, first as an alternate for the Supplementary Pension Scheme (SPS) and Employee Profit-Sharing Plan (MGB), later as a Trustee for the SPS and, since the spring of this year, as Vice Chairman of the SPS Board of Trustees. Over the last decade, I have represented the AVR on the Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection Committee (KGU). At AVR social events, I am in charge of organising the dinner in honour of long-serving employees, which traditionally takes place at the beginning of each year. I have been a member of the AVR Executive Committee since 2008.
As AVR Vice President you have taken over the responsibility for the employee advice service from your predecessor, Ursula Bingler, this year. What are the challenges you face in this area?
With the current process of change at the site, employees are feeling increasingly uncertain. The AVR gets requests for advice every day, with most of the concerns raised still focusing on performance, behaviour and trust. Unquestionably, we are seeing an increase in intercultural and global themes. We are working in a more globally networked way than before in so many areas today, as well as across functions. It would definitely be an advantage if we had more English-speaking members on the AVR Committee team.
The AVR collectively makes every effort to maintain good communication with the employees. Our active contact with the HR managers and HR Business Partners also plays a major role here. The processes for passing on information about incidents and restructuring exercises are well established and continuously being improved.
What is your motivation for your long-standing and tireless commitment to the AVR?
It is both a challenge and a fulfilling and enriching experience to find solutions for employees in conflict situations. And it doesn’t even have to be the trickiest cases. Sometimes people seeking advice are satisfied just to be listened to by an impartial person.
Something that makes my work for the AVR easier is the acceptance in my department and the support I receive from my line managers. Of course, another important factor is the trust invested in me within the circle of the AVR Committee. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you for that.
In addition, we are currently living through a very exciting time. We’re experiencing the transformation of the site at first hand and have the chance to help shape it. My wish would be for the company to negotiate the transformation well and return to calmer waters again soon (there speaks the sailor), which in turn would mean less pressure and more satisfaction for the employees.
Gernot Scharf asks anyone with a concern to contact him at an early stage; he is always ready to take confidential queries by email.