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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2021, Click to Enter The 2022 StevieĀ® Awards for Great Employers

Name of Organization/Company: F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, Switzerland
Category: Compliance & Safety Professional of the Year

Entry Title: Jessica Bensch, Engagement Partner & Culture Coalition Lead


Roche is a 125-year old pharmaceutical organization based in Basel, Switzerland. During its long history, Roche has taken bold moves to re-invent itself to ensure survival and growth. In 2016, Roche embarked on an ’Agile Transformation Journey’ responding to changing needs in global healthcare.

The Roche culture is founded on 3 core values: passion, integrity and courage. As part of the organization’s transformation, management recognized the need to be more courageous, pragmatic and outcomes-driven.

Seeing an opportunity, Jessica Bensch championed these topics through a grassroot-movement, Culture Coalition.

Jessica leads Culture Coalition, an ongoing movement to create intentional, substantial and sustainable change for the good of Roche employees and patients.

Jessica’s work so far includes:

1) Orchestrating every aspect of the 6 global events. Messaging used is plain-talk vs jargon and animations vs corporate words. Attracting an average of 1500-1800 live participants and many more watching the recording later - from 100+ locations worldwide.
2) Facilitating hundreds of hours of focus group sessions in every continent.
3) Moderating one of the largest Google Currents Community (3000+ members). Members provide regular feedback to ensure that value is delivered to staff.
4) Creating and disseminating a 2021 survey on psychological safety that attracted 570 responses.
5) Leading various departmental meetings; Leaders are listening and encouraging their staff to attend Culture Coalition events.
6) Producing a series of five videos called ‘The Making of Culture Coalition’ to help spread the message further.
7) Speaking engagements with other organizations to help them develop their own wellbeing and safety strategies.
8) Regular weekly blogs and polls on the Currents Community.
9) Monitoring global parallel programmes and aligning messaging with similar employee groups to further build out the coalition.

Jessica embodies the Roche core values in everything she does. The sheer act of building a colleague-led team across the organization is an example of courage, passion and integrity in action.

Jessica has been very influential because of her authentic leadership and her deep belief that the cause is a moral imperative. This message has resonated greatly with colleagues.

The big challenge is that cultural change does not come overnight; this is a long-term effort, and it takes conviction and determination to keep going, especially when key colleagues do not fully see or understand the root challenges yet. Culture Coalition formed with the core belief that everyone creates, builds and evolves the working culture at Roche. It is a top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side movement. Jessica and her team understand the importance of the role of leadership (role modelling with accountability) and they work diligently to speak with leaders across many locations.. Her personal learnings include the perserverance and resilience needed for the journey.