Our culture at Novartis: Inspired, curious, unbossed

Our employees are critical to fulfilling our purpose of reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. We depend on the skills and creativity of our people to develop and produce new medicines, and deliver them to patients. Our aspiration is for every employee to feel inspired by our purpose, be curious about new ideas, and work in an unbossed environment that encourages teamwork, initiative and innovation.

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Health and safety

At Novartis, our purpose to reimagine medicine goes hand in hand with maintaining a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly workplace for our associates, contractors, vendors and visitors. HSE is a fundamental component of the Novartis long-term business strategy and supports achieving our objectives by unleashing the power of our people and building trust with society.

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Other information

  • Health & safety performance tracking
     
      2021 2020 2019 2018
    Lost time injury and illness rate (per 200 000 hours worked) 
    Employees  0.14 0.12 0.18 0.15
    Third-Party Personnel & Contractors  0.13 0.16 0.30 0.34
    Fatalities 
    Employees  0 0 1 0
    Third-Party Personnel & Contractors  0 1 0 0
     
    • Internal or external health and safety audits conducted at set frequency based on Risk profile of each entity.
      • Novartis HSE maintains a robust audit program comprising of assessments of compliance with external legal standards and company internal HSE standards. The audit program also conducts themed reviews comprised of specific topics (e.g. process safety, industrial hygiene, contractor safety, P.I.E.) based on the periodic need of the business or emerging risk trends. 
      • All Novartis sites are risk assessed to determine the audit frequency. The frequency varies between 3-5 years based on the risk profile, prior audit results, emerging regulations and overall operational changes. In general, all manufacturing and laboratory sites are audited approximately every 3- 4 years for regulatory compliance and internal conformance.
  • Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) Programs
    • Our OHS management system is integrated into the overall Health Safety & Environment management system of Novartis. The Health, Safety and Environment Policy  is the foundation of the management system.  Our company culture considers protecting the health and safety of associates, neighbors, others and the environment affected by our business activities an integral part of our values that enables reaching our business objectives. Our OHS management system covers the following elements:
      • OHS risk and hazard assessments to identify what could cause harm in the workplace
        • We promote and support the implementation of programs to maintain and improve the physical and mental health and well-being of our associates and contractors. 
        • We provide our associates with safe working conditions and strive to protect them from potential health hazards and injuries. 
        • Risk assessments are carried out before conducting any potentially hazardous work. Appropriate protective measures must be taken as needed to ensure the work can be completed safely.
      • Prioritization and integration of action plans with quantified targets to address those risks
        • Management endorses annual HSE objectives and targets, regularly measures performance against them, and associates are expected to take early action if deviations occur. Associates are committed to honest reporting of HSE key performance indicators. 
        • We draw lessons learned from incidents and events, and implement actions to prevent a recurrence, including for incidents and events from outside Novartis where appropriate.
      • Integration of actions to prepare for and respond to emergency situations
        • Novartis’ HSE Management System Manual provides an overview of the Novartis HSE Management System, documenting minimum expectations for the management of HSE aspects and hazards, risks and opportunities, and compliance obligations. 
        • The management system includes the requirement to establish, implement and maintain plans and capabilities to effectively respond to emergency situations.  
        • To prepare for emergency situations we proactively engage with and seek feedback from internal and external stakeholders, including local communities, and listen to their concerns about HSE matters
      • Evaluation of progress in reducing/preventing health issues/risks against targets
        • Management endorses annual HSE objectives and targets, regularly measures performance against them, and associates are expected to take early action if deviations occur. Associates are committed to honest reporting of HSE key performance indicators. 
        • We draw lessons learned from incidents and events, and implement actions to prevent a recurrence, including for incidents and events from outside Novartis where appropriate.
        • We proactively engage with and seek feedback from internal and external stakeholders, including local communities, and listen to their concerns about HSE matters. This includes consultation with regard to the Novartis HSE Policy and management system, as well as other relevant strategic and operational matters.
      • Internal inspections
        • Management establishes a Novartis HSEMS and supporting GOPs and regularly conducts audits, reviews and self-inspections to ensure conformance with them, as well as compliance with applicable local laws and regulations. 
        • Novartis’ internal Global Operating Procedure (GOP) describes Novartis’ approach for the three layers of defense (first layer – inspections and self-assessments at site level, second layer –conformance reviews and legal compliance audits executed or coordinated by Global HSE, and third layer – audits by Internal Audit) assuring the effectiveness and performance of HSE programs and practices.  
        • The minimum requirements outlined in this GOP cover the execution of those assurance activity on site and global level as well as expectations for following up on observed findings and opportunities for improvement -- including corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), trend analysis and sharing of good practices and lessons learned. 
        • We openly communicate HSE results both through internal and external communications.
        • We report our HSE performance consistently with international public reporting standards. 
  • Contractor health and safety legal documents (policy, operating guidelines & contractual agreement)
    • Policy commitment to protect the safety of contractors:
      • We are committed to protecting and promoting the health and safety of our associates, contractors, visitors, patients and the communities in which we operate. We ensure a rigorous process to identify and mitigate health and safety risks, and promote leading health and safety best practices.
    • Operating guidelines on contractor safety management:
      • Novartis maintains an internal guideline on contractor safety management that governs the selection, management and monitoring of contractors and their sub-contractors, ensuring they have the culture, resources, systems and plans in place to adhere to Novartis and regulatory safety requirements.
  • Scope and extent of contractor safety training
    • The management of HSE risks associated with the use of Contractors and Third parties is a key requirement established into the HSE Management Manual: Contractors and Third Party Personnel are in scope of our Serious Injury and Fatality prevention program, we have an operating guideline on contractor safety management which is included in contracts, contractors are selected and evaluated on their HSE Management system performance. Novartis has the target is to fully embed contractor safety management standards across the Novartis group by implementation of our internal written procedures which we maintain for internal use and are not publicly available.
  • External certifications of own sites (e.g. OHSAS 18001)
    • Up-to-date information of % of group sites that have received external certification for their occupational health and safety management systems. In 2021:
      • 40% of our workers at manufacturing sites (excluding R&D) were covered by an externally certified Health and Safety management system (OSHA 18001 or ISO 45001 certifications)1
      • 48% were operating on sites with a certified environmental management system (ISO 14001 or Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) certification)2
      • 12% were operating on sites with a certified energy management system (ISO 50001)
  • Procedures to investigate work-related injuries, ill health, diseases and incidents. 
    • Management of HSE Events (Incidents and Near Misses) in Novartis is detailed in an internal Global Operating Procedure (GOP) which includes:  
      • Anticipating the potential for HSE incidents  
      • Having effective response plans and capabilities  
      • Maintaining thorough incident reporting and investigation processes.
    • We investigate all events after the risks of the situation have been brought under control. The actual or potential impact of the event determines the scale and depth of the investigation.  
    • We draw lessons learned from incidents and events, and implement actions to prevent a recurrence, including for incidents and events from outside Novartis where appropriate.
  • OHS training provided to employees and/or other relevant parties to raise awareness and reduce operational health & safety incidents.  
    • Our HSE policy states that HSE competence is ensured through appropriate recruitment, training and development.  
    • Novartis has an internal Competency and Training Management GOP with the purpose of establishing minimum requirements for defining HSE competencies, planning, delivering and evaluating HSE-related trainings, and taking other actions as needed to ensure the HSE-related competency of Novartis associates across functions at the site and above-site levels.  
  • OHS criteria introduced in procurement and contractual requirements. 
    • Third-Party suppliers are expected to meet the HSE expectations outlined in the Novartis Third Party Code and in our Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) Guideline. 
    • We promote good HSE management practices with our supply chain partners, working with them where appropriate.  
    • Procurement encourages environmentally responsible suppliers, goods and services including engaging with suppliers that also act beyond legal compliance and actively minimize the environmental impact of their activities. Priority should be given to suppliers that drive environmental impact reduction and sustainability should be considered in the supplier selection criteria.  
    • We conduct audits of suppliers on a risk basis to ensure conformance with TPRM and good industry practice  
    • In cases where Operational Control is assigned to a Third Party / External Service Provider, the Third Party must minimally demonstrate an equivalent program based on the requirements in this GOP.  In addition to legal compliance, conformance with the requirements of this GOP shall be demonstrated by third parties through the completion of a documented gap assessment.” (Source: ESP GOP) 

Learning and development

We continue our journey to build a culture that stimulates curiosity, for example by providing more learning opportunities and increasing skills in key areas such as data and digital.

All Novartis Group company associates are required to complete ethics, risk and compliance training. Our global e-training curriculum provides relevant information to enable associates to make the right choices in the course of their work and to perform with integrity. It addresses identified and relevant company risks and helps to communicate new and upgraded policies and guidelines across the organization.

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Other information

  • Scope and extent of performance reviews
    • All permanent associates have regular performance check-ins with their managers to discuss progress against objectives as well as career and personal development. Evolve, our new approach to performance management, encompasses objective setting and frequent feedback from managers and team members in addition to the regular performance check-ins. 
    • Although performance ratings were removed as of January 2021 with the launch of Evolve, all permanent associates are assessed annually and rewarded for their impact based on performance against their objectives, team collaboration and role-modeling of Novartis Values & Behaviors.
  • Employee training and development metrics
    • Reporting on human capital development metrics:
      • Novartis is committed to our associates' learning and development. In addition to encouraging each associate to spend 100 hrs of learning per year, there have been significant investments since 2019 in learning. In 2021, the average training spend per FTE was 2,506 USD compared to 2,479 USD in 2020).

People-related practices and policies

Novartis recognizes and commits to respect every associate’s right to freedom of opinion, expression and speech, consistent with our policies and standards of respectful behaviour. We value an open and fair workplace and are committed to cultivating an environment where everyone feels comfortable to express opinions and contribute ideas. We communicate with transparency and our associates can make appropriate use of suitable systems for direct communication, including social media. Our Global People & Organization (P&O) Principles outline how the Novartis P&O function supports the strategic goals of the Novartis Group, its commitment to fair and respectful treatment of associates and their development and growth through processes, services and tools. 

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Other information

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements
    • At Novartis, as per 2021, 47 % of total non-management employees are represented by an employee representative body or covered by a collective bargaining agreement 
    • All employees are protected by written employment or similar contracts
    • In 2021, Novartis maintained intensity of social dialogue opportunities between senior (top) management and the Novartis European Works Council (NEF) – held 15  virtual and hybrid meetings in 2021.
    • As per our Global Guideline on P&O Principles and Labor Rights Practices, Novartis upholds and fully respects the right of associates to freedom of association. In countries where local law requires independent trade unions, works councils or any kind of employee representation 74% of employees at non-management level were informed of their right to associate with trade unions or employee representatives.
    • We engage in constructive dialogue with employees and employees’ representatives. In general, minimum notice periods regarding operational changes are defined by law, by collective bargaining agreements or by individual labor contracts in all countries. Where relevant, local legislation and collective bargaining agreement specifications on notice periods vary, ranging from 30 to 180 days and more. In general, Novartis Group company associates and their representatives are informed at the earliest possible time (usually between 30 and 180 days). In addition to regulations in collective bargaining agreements, social plans and balance of interests negotiated with employee representatives may allow longer pre-notice and notice periods, as well as severance pay, redeployment to other Novartis companies, outplacement services or transition assistance in compliance with the regulatory or bargaining agreement requirements.
    • In 2021, 83% of Novartis Group company associates had access to an employee assistance program, i.e. Job Center support, which can include coaching, application training and social counselling. We also offer outplacement support to assist associates in their transition post-exit – the support we offer that went beyond the legally required minimum was for 43% of our workforce in 2021.
  • Breast-feeding/lactation facilities or benefits
    • Nursing care / lactation rooms services are offered to all regular associates globally. Latest annual corporate citizenship from 2021 survey showed that currently ca. 59% of Novartis associates have access to this service.
  • Wellbeing
    • Wellbeing is integrated into the Employee Life Cycle locally and regularly communicated to all regular associates globally. This was confirmed by the latest annual corporate citizenship survey from 2021 which showed that ca. 91% associates have access to this information / offers. 

Diversity and inclusion

We seek to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that provides equal opportunities for all employees and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We do this not only because it is right, but also because it helps to generate new ideas and brings us closer to the diverse perspectives of patients and other stakeholders. We’ve committed to achieving gender balance in management by 2023 and ensuring pay equity and transparency for all of our associates globally. 

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Other information

  • Managerial or board level responsibility for diversity initiatives
    • Executive Committee members have diversity aspirations as part of their individual strategic objectives. Diverse candidate slates and interview panels are required for senior positions and monitored as part of the monthly talent reviews at the executive level.
  • Promoting diversity learning within the workforce
    • Training and guidance regarding diversity:
      • Annual mandatory unconscious bias e-training for recruiters has been assigned to all recruiters in 2020.
      • Annual, Novartis-wide mandatory Diversity & Inclusion e-Training was developed throughout 2020 and launched in Q1 2021.
      • We have established a global D&I learning playlist that is being curated and updated, to meet the changing needs in D&I skill building for all associates.
      • We have developed the Listening Dialogues approach throughout 2020 that we rolled out in 2021, to enable all associates and teams have open conversations, foster psychological safety and hone their empathetic listening skills.
    • Workforce breakdown by age
      • Novartis tracks employee age data to understand its age distribution by region and country. In 2021 we had 16.2% under the age of 30, 65.4% between 30 and 50, and 18.4% over 50.
    • Workforce breakdown by ethnicity/race and nationality
      • We track the nationalities of our employees outside of the US. The top five nationalities of our workforce are: Indian (10.4%), German (9.2%), Chinese (7.8%), Slovenian (4.9%), and French (4.6%). The percentage of these nationalities in management is 9.1%, 9.4%, 3.2%, 2.9%, 5.3% respectively. These data do not include our US workforce because passport nationality is not tracked within the company for US-based employees.
    • US Ethnic groups data
       

       

      2021
      Management Positions (Share in management positions)  Non-Management Positions  All Employees 
      (Share in total workforce) 
      Ethnic Groups  Employees % Employees % Employees %
      Asian 1223 22.4 1874 19.87 3097 20.8
      Black or African American 239 4.38 834 8.84 1073 7.21
      Hispanic or Latino 346 6.34 850 9.01 1196 8.03
      Indigenous or Native  9 0.16 18 0.19 27 0.18
      Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 11 0.2 24 0.25 35 0.24
      Two or More Races  53 0.97 138 1.46 191 1.28
      Ethnically Diverse Total  1881 34.46 3738 39.64 5619 37.74
      White Total  3578 65.54 5693 60.36 9271 62.26

      Note:  
      Novartis also publicly discloses consolidated U.S. diversity information in its annual Novartis in Society US report on its company website.  That data is derived from the Company’s annual EEO-1 submission to the US federal government.  In its government reporting, the Company adopts the definitions of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in categorizing certain jobs as management roles.  This definition may differ from the meaning that is applied to management within our actual operational business structure. Variations in the definition of management may explain what may appear to be inconsistencies, if any, between internal workforce data and information that is prepared for government and other reporting purposes.  
      At Novartis, management is defined as those roles that either manage people or functions of the organization. Management roles may include those with oversight responsibility from a junior level (entry level) through mid-level and up to those assigned to the most senior official of the company. 
       
    • % of women in STEM-related positions
      • In 2021, 46.1% (45.5% in 2020) of STEM related positions were filled by women. At Novartis, all STEM related job families are categorized within Research and Development, Technical Operations, and IT job families. (Definition of STEM has been revised in 2021 to be more inclusive of STEM roles)
    • Females in management positions in revenue-generating functions
      • In 2021, the percentage of females in management positions in revenue-generating functions was 44.6%.
    • Total number of hires
      • Novartis creates many job opportunities per year. In 2021, Novartis filled 15,564 positions (the total number of hires), including interns, and Novartis Temporary Contracts.
    • BBBEE South Africa certification
      • Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is a South African policy designed to advance economic transformation and increase economic participation of black people in the South African economy. Novartis in South Africa is B-BBEE compliant with a Level 7 rating for 2021 (Certificate number: ELC10338RGENBB).
  1. Percentage of FTEs working at our manufacturing sites
  2. Decrease YoY due to divestment of 2 certified sites