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New employee during a pandemic 

Lisbeth Bech started in Chr. Hansen as senior manager in the R&D department of Resource and Planning on April 1, 2020. Read about her first months in her new job and learn which positive surprises and learnings she takes with her from beginning a new job during a lockdown. 

Lisbeth Bech

 

The importance of good colleagues

Under normal circumstances, the Chr. Hansen headquarters in Hoersholm is a busy workplace with a healthy buzzing of some 700 people coming and going. On April 1, 2020 this was not the case, as headquarters was mostly in lockdown due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, Lisbeth had her first day in Chr. Hansen and had to begin her work with a distanced meeting with her new colleagues.

“It was of course strange that I could not meet anyone, however I felt very well received by my colleagues virtually. What strikes me the most when we were finally able to return to the workplace, was the almost family-like feeling I got, because everyone was so eager to welcome me.”

Lisbeth was surprised to find this family feeling in a large, global company: “I don’t think I have experienced that anywhere else. I think it is remarkable how these highly focused people find the time to be so open and caring towards new colleagues. There is generally a genuine interest in each other here, and I think that is wonderful. I’m also impressed with how ambitious this organization and its employees are. People work hard and goal-oriented, and it is very motivating to find this start-up mentality in an established company. It shows that we are able to act fast and make important changes when needed.”

Well-functioning leadership

When beginning a new job and getting used to both a new organization, people and surroundings, leaders can work as solid sparring partners. For Lisbeth, her leader Julie Mahler Kappelgaard was the perfect match: “Julie has played a very important role in my first time here in Chr. Hansen. She has been very welcoming and clear about which projects and tasks she would like me to be responsible for. We use each other for aligning our work and make sure we are on the same page. It is a nice professional – yet casual – work relationship.”

Bringing previous experiences into the new role

In her new role, Lisbeth is able to use much of her experience from her career including working within the entire value chain of R&D as well as business development and strategy.

“By having worked in the entire value chain of another biotech company, I have gained valuable insights as to how the different processes work and which impact changes would have. This will help me in my new role, where I work on optimization of different R&D processes in Chr. Hansen to support our overall strategy. I will be focusing on ‘new ways of working’ to ensure that we meet our goals and will continue to deliver the solutions that the industries demand. I’m very focused on continuously learning from each other so that we can consolidate these learnings across the organization. Only if we share and learn will we be able to improve and perfect our solutions.”

 

The Chr. Hansen Come Fly with Me program

To ensure a well functioning pre- and on-boarding of our employees, all managers are provided with material that can help them welcome a new employee. Buddy and mentor initiatives help create involvement where colleagues can contribute to supporting a smooth transition for new team members.

Through the pre-boarding program, employees get to know the Chr. Hansen business before their first day. In that way they become part of the Chr. Hansen family faster and get a clear understanding of the role they play to deliver on our ambitious goals.

Through the boarding program, everyone is guided safely to ensure a welcoming experience to the company, to the team and to the new role.

 

Freedom and responsibility

Lisbeth is happy to experience a lot of freedom in her new job: “Clearly, my previous experiences and the knowledge I bring with me are highly valued, and I get a lot of freedom to handle my responsibilities as I find best. It is very rewarding to be able to use one’s own toolbox in this new position to help solving the tasks at hand. And even if some things are alike across the biotech industry, the solutions we find are very different, and it makes the job highly interesting.”

Learnings from the COVID-19 lockdown

According to Lisbeth, there are some important learnings that she and others can take from the lockdown period: “Our ability to work virtually has really been a clear advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though I do prefer meeting my colleagues in person, everyone was good at making the best of the situation and making my on-boarding nice and welcoming.” Lisbeth also stresses that working online can actually result in higher efficiency: “I was amazed of how prepared and ready everyone was at our first introduction meeting. It was like everyone wanted to make the best of the time we had during the online meeting, and I got so many valuable inputs from everyone.”

And lastly she adds with a smile: “However, after returning to the office I’ve needed some help to actually recognize my colleagues in real life. That resulted in quite a few funny moments that we could luckily all laugh about.”

Lisbeth’s on-boarding is a nice example of the strengths of Chr. Hansen’s on-boarding program Come Fly with Me. 

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