At this year’s Group Annual Dinner, Mr Hans Jebsen came up to me to ask after my family and told me some updates about his own. I was not surprised that our group Chairman approached me for a chat; he has done so every year for as long as I can remember. But in 2017, the Annual Dinner was extra special, for it was there that I received a Long Service Award for my 20 years of service to Jebsen.
In marriage, the 20th, or “China” anniversary honours a period long enough for a couple to witness the arrival of children, new homes, career changes, and other important milestones that enrich the family and bring it closer together. In the same way, since joining Jebsen as a Secretary in Beijing, my career has been filled with significant milestones: on a company level, new products and services, restructures, new management strategies; on a personal level, promotion to management, cross-department transfers, and many more. Today, as an Operations Manager, I look back fondly on these 20 years as a period that has indeed enriched my life and brought me closer to the company. What is it that fosters these long, fruitful relationships in work and in life? I found the answer in the one common denominator in my life at Jebsen and my life at home, and that is trust.
We trust our family members to care for us, believe in us, and help us in times of need. They trust us to do the same for them. As a Jebsen employee, I happen to also experience this at work. Jebsen has shown trust in letting me shine in different roles, from customer service to logistics management to operations. Along the way, I gained important communication and problem solving skills, and I happily dedicate these skills back to my job and the company.
Trust also manifests itself among working teams. When things get tough, we know we can rely on one another to find solutions. During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as the Beijing agent of Chr Hansen cryogenic cultures from Copenhagen, we ran into an issue when airlines banned dry ice from air cargo shipments. The cultures were a key ingredient in food items produced by our China clients Mengniu Dairy and Yili (whose yogurt happened to be one of the 2008 Beijing Olympics official products!), and they must be shipped with dry ice. To address this, we placed extra orders from the supplier ahead of the Games, worked with sales to ensure adequate stock on client side, and coordinated with the Customs department to facilitate smooth deliveries of the cultures before the ban. I cite this example because it perfectly showcases how we were able to avert a potentially damaging situation by working together, trusting one another to do their jobs and extending the support needed by fellow colleagues.
I echo other colleagues in saying that this trusting, supportive culture comes from the very top. Our management trusts and empowers us to work hard and to get results, in turn, we trust management to put our well-being as a priority. Whether it’s providing various channels for us to develop, grow, and express our views, or organising employee activities targeting our wellness, it is clear that the company cares about us and treats us as family. With a culture like this, I just might see myself celebrating a Ruby (40th) anniversary with Jebsen!