A multi-dimensional journey

Esther Gilbert describes her rotation in China as an ‘amazing experience’

During her rotation at Roche offices in China, Esther Gilbert has had the opportunity to stretch herself mentally, professionally, culturally – and physically.

Esther rotated to Shanghai from Mannheim as project manager for a Roche HR system rollout in China. The project’s scope means that Esther interacts with a variety of teams, gathering input and putting together HR best practices.  These interactions and support from employees at the Shanghai affiliate are helping her learn about the local culture.

Tai chi in Shanghai


“Don’t worry about coming in as a beginner,” says Elisa Wang, course organizer. “Everyone who looks confident doing tai chi was a beginner at one time.”For example, Esther is interested in the affiliate’s tai chi courses that began in early September and are being taught by a tai chi master instructor. Colleagues are encouraged to join in, even if they are completely new to these stretching and bending exercises.

The classes are just one of the programs the affiliate supports to improve the work-life balance and make Roche a great place to work in China.

“Roche is a family-friendly employer in general and that’s very true here in China as well,” Esther says. In fact, when she was offered the opportunity for the rotation, Roche also found an opportunity for her husband Michael Gilbert to undertake an assignment at the affiliate. Michael is completing his rotation as SAP Project Stream lead for China’s Instrument Lifecycle Management implementation and will return to Mannheim in November; Esther will head back to Germany in April 2015.

“My experience here has been amazing. I have been learning so much and I am feeling that I am adding value and moving things for Roche and the patients,” Esther says. “I’m so glad I was able to do this rotation and I encourage employees to work in a different country or culture if they have the opportunity.”

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