People of 20 different nationalities work at Helvetas' Swiss headquarters. They usually work closely with colleagues in our 30 or so project countries. Meetings and conversations in the cafeteria take place in German, English or French, depending on who is present. We make sure that everyone is understood and understands. ...although the challenge here is of course not always just the (other) language. 😊
We are all on a first-name basis and value collegial, cooperative and constructive collaboration. The working atmosphere at Helvetas is highly appreciated by (the vast majority of) our employees and is also expressed in our annual employee survey. As an employee, you will also be asked for your opinion and included in discussions at team, department or organizational level, where you can contribute your opinion. Personal responsibility and independent work, including in teams, is important to us. At the same time, there are also the classic hierarchical decisions, which is relieving for most, even if you don't agree on the matter every time. In daily contact, however, the hierarchy does not play a role: even the apprentices address our managing director by his first name.
Our employees put their heart and soul into Helvetas and sometimes go the extra mile. We are happy about that! But everyone should enjoy 5 weeks of vacation a year, and after 40 hours of work a week, that's it (with a 100% workload and flexible annual working hours). Accordingly, we also appreciate it when employees come back to work on Monday morning fit from the sports program, inspired by the cultural event or happy and grateful for the «quality time» with the family. Of course, we also have stressful phases and overlong to-do lists, but we also have understanding and support when people want to change things.
It is more important to us that our employees (can) do their work well than that they are in the office from «nine to five» every day. We therefore offer flexible annual working hours, part-time positions, as well as (not only during pandemics) the opportunity to work from home in agreement with the line manager. Flexibility at Helvetas is a give and take: sometimes you take it for yourself as an employee, sometimes you show your willingness to work flexibly when it is necessary for operational reasons (as the saying goes!).
We have 16 weeks of paid maternity leave with the option to extend it to 7 months with unpaid leave. In addition, we have 2 weeks of paid paternity leave.
The further development of our employees is important to us, and we offer both «on the job» and «off the job» development opportunities.
Money is not everything - but fairness is! Equal pay between women and men (according to the Logib self-testing tool of the Swiss Federal Office for Equality) is self-evident for us. In addition, the popular initiative at the time to limit wage differences in Switzerland (1:12) would not have been necessary for us, because the difference between the highest and lowest wage is only about 1:4.
Coffee and tea in the cafeteria at head office during breaks are free at Helvetas. They are often accompanied by cake - thanks to colleagues who like to bake.
We offer «in house» yoga lessons in Zurich, and there are always employees who go jogging together over lunch or swim in the river - as a counterbalance to the cake, so to speak!
We have additional offices in Geneva as well as in our project countries worldwide. In Zurich, our largest location, we have also switched to flexible workplaces in modern open-plan offices.