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How Novartis Fosters Female Talent?
The aim is to give better exposure to top female talent and at the same time to accelerate the careers of suitable female executives.
Novartis is empowering women in leadership to explore any relevant opportunities. In our business, women drive most of the healthcare decision-making and control $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion (estimate numbers) in global consumer spending.
Although they have above average representation of women in senior management positions, progress to increase this further is in motion. The aim is to give better exposure to top female talent and at the same time to accelerate the careers of suitable female executives.
Now, in order to deep dive into the concept and the conceptualisation process behind initiating this talent plan Niccolò Nitti, Global Head P&O, Novartis Corporate Centers gives a candid insight into the aim and planning to BW People journalist. Let's hear out what he has to say.
1. What specific programs does Novartis have in place to support the development of female talent within the company?
At Novartis, we’re striving to build an inclusive and equitable workplace that empowers all our associates to achieve their full potential. We have set up an award-winning Novartis Learning Institute that assists with personal goals, digital capability, and language programs, as well as talent acceleration and leadership programs. This offers employees virtual access to vocational training for all associates regardless of gender, role, level, or location across leading universities.
Furthermore, to empower female talent, Novartis offers various mentoring and leadership development programs. One such flagship program is the Accelerating Women Leadership Program (AWLP) - an initiative to groom potential women leaders of tomorrow and build an inclusive and diverse leadership pipeline. Using a combination of self-learning, instructor-facilitated discovery discussions, individual goals around self-awareness and growth, leader connects, and mentoring, AWLP is aligned with our commitment to DE&I.
Novartis has also been recognized for its efforts to promote gender equality and women's advancement. Novartis received the Stonewall Top Global Employer Silver Award in 2022, and we have been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for several years.
2. Can you provide examples of female employees at Novartis who have been promoted or given leadership opportunities as a result of the company's efforts to foster their talent?
Novartis is committed to fostering the talent of all its employees, especially women, and believes that a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential to driving innovation and achieving business success. As part of this commitment, the organization has implemented various programs and initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting the professional development of women within the organization. As a result of these efforts, numerous female employees at Novartis have been promoted or given leadership opportunities in India as well as outside the country, demonstrating the company's dedication to advancing gender equality in the workplace.
We know we have more work to do but we are making progress. Globally, women currently make up 51% of our overall workforce, with 47% women in management and 31% women on our Board of Directors.
3. How does Novartis ensure that women are fairly represented in all levels of the organization, including in senior leadership positions?
Success as a medicines company begins with providing the means for all employees to achieve their full potential and become their best selves. For the same, we have implemented several initiatives and policies to ensure that women are fairly represented at all levels of the organization, including in senior leadership positions. Some of these initiatives include:
· Setting Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) targets: Novartis has set specific targets for diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization, including gender balance in its top leadership positions by 2023.
· Building a diverse candidate pool: Novartis ensures that diverse candidates are considered for all job openings and leadership positions using balanced slates and interview panels in our recruitment practices.
· Providing leadership development programs: Novartis provides leadership development programs for high-potential associates, especially women as per their specific roles and challenges to prepare them for senior leadership positions. We also provide mentoring and sponsorship programs to support the career development of women and other underrepresented groups.
· Monitoring progress and tracking data: Novartis tracks and reports on the representation of women and other underrepresented groups in leadership positions and uses data to inform its talent management decisions.
· Employee resource groups (ERGs): Novartis has established employee resource groups (ERGs) to provide a platform for associates with shared backgrounds or experiences to connect and support each other. The Women's ERG aims to support the professional development and advancement of women within the company.
4. What steps does Novartis take to address any gender-based pay disparities or other inequalities that may exist within the company?
Pay equity is a fundamental principle of our employment policies and is reflected in our commitment to treating all employees fairly and respectfully, as outlined in our Code of Ethics. Our commitment to pay equity and transparency led us to join the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) in 2018. We have established a multi-year program to implement global principles and processes to further improve pay equity and transparency processes across all our countries of operation by 2023. Our key actions include the removal of historical salary data when making compensation offers, annual pay equity analysis and adjustments where appropriate, and transparent communication of individual pay positions compared to internal/ or external benchmarks. Additional steps we are taking to address any gender-based pay disparities include:
- Monitoring progress and tracking data: Novartis tracks and reports on gender-based pay disparities and other inequalities to ensure that progress is being made and acts as needed.
- Conducting pay equity analyses: Novartis conducts regular pay equity analyses to identify any gender-based pay disparities and takes action to address any disparities found.
- Providing equal opportunities for career development: Novartis provides equal opportunities for career development and advancement for all associates, regardless of gender.
- Offering comprehensive benefits: Novartis offers comprehensive benefits to all associates, including parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child to ensure that associates can balance work and family responsibilities.
5. How does Novartis work to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender, have equal access to training and development opportunities?
We want to ensure that everyone at Novartis has an equitable opportunity to grow and develop, which is why we’re evolving the way we attract, hire, and develop our amazing talent at Novartis to combat bias, build expertise and assign resources to support a diverse talent pipeline and workforce at all levels of the organization.
At Novartis, we foster a culture of curiosity and experimentation. We enable our associates to build upon their core capabilities in their areas of expertise and encourage them to expand their skill set through cross-functional collaboration as well as cross-functional career moves. We also encourage our associates to gain exposure to diverse functions and therapeutic areas so that they accumulate a breadth of experience and gain perspective toward understanding and delivering greater impact.
Under our learning and development initiatives, we have set up an award-winning Novartis Learning Institute that assists with personal goals, digital capability, and language programs, as well as talent acceleration and leadership programs. This offers employees virtual access to vocational training for all associates regardless of role, level, or location across leading universities. Our associates have free access to 3,500 courses via Coursera, through which associates can learn from 190 top universities worldwide. They also have access to LinkedIn Learning, providing 14,500 courses in seven languages in short format, bite-sized learning covering hot topics in business and IT/digital from leading experts. We aspire to provide minimum of 100 hours of learning to each of our associates.
6. What role do male leaders and colleagues play in supporting the growth and development of female talent at Novartis?
At Novartis, we are committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that treats all associates with dignity and respect. We recognize that senior champions play a crucial role in setting an example for diversity and inclusion. And, to further support our leaders in building inclusive teams, we have developed Novartis Listening Dialogues, which provide an opportunity for associates to share their experiences and perspectives in a safe environment, thereby promoting inclusion, understanding, and positive action.
Novartis employees are empowered through a shared spirit of inclusivity to reimagine medicine for all. An inclusive, psychologically safe environment inspires employees to speak out creatively, share diverse thinking, and be truly innovative. By encouraging employees to respect and value their colleagues’ contributions.
7. How can MNC companies work to promote work-life balance and offer benefits that are particularly beneficial to female employees?
Companies have recognized the need to address gender inequality in the workplace and have already made significant strides in promoting work-life balance and offering benefits that are particularly beneficial to female associates. At Novartis, we have implemented several programs that have proven to be successful and could benefit other companies including:
· Gender-neutral parental policy: We believe that becoming a parent is a significant event in an individual's life, and we want to ensure that everyone can fully embrace the experience. Our parental policy applies to both birthing and non-birthing parents, including those who adopt or use surrogacy. This policy promotes gender equality and supports employees in their personal and professional lives. The policy has significantly reduced the
· Equal Pay: At Novartis, we embrace equity through our pledge with the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) to achieve gender balance in management and ensure pay equity and transparency for all our employees globally.
· Mentoring programs: Our learning program is designed to support employees at all stages of their careers. The program provides guidance and support for personal and professional growth, improving decision-making skills, and developing important business traits. Our mentoring program is a valuable resource for our employees, helping them reach their full potential in their careers.
· Hybrid working arrangements: We are encouraging a hybrid way of working mindset aimed at increasing productivity, job satisfaction, and improved work-life balance.
8. How does Novartis work to create a culture of inclusivity and respect for diversity within the company?
We want to ensure that everyone at Novartis has an equitable opportunity to grow and develop, which is why we are evolving the way we attract, hire, and develop our pool of talent to combat bias, build expertise, and assign resources to support a diverse talent pipeline and workforce at all levels of the organization. We are focused on establishing a culture that fosters a sense of belonging and enables every associate to perform at their highest level. We pursue this objective not only on moral grounds, but also because it promotes innovative thinking, expands our access to a more diverse talent pool, and brings us closer to the diverse viewpoints of customers, patients, and other stakeholders.
We want everyone to be free to be their best and true selves at work without fear of discrimination. We continue to review and update global and local policies (e.g., Parental Leave, Travel SOS) to ensure equity and inclusion.
We also prepare an Inclusion Index (using data from our quarterly employee engagement survey) to help measure our progress toward creating an inclusive working environment that treats all associates with dignity and respect.