Steven Baert believes growth for Novartis starts with individual and team growth. As Chief People & Organization Officer, he is driving the cultural transformation and organizational reskilling to support the company’s long-term priorities and purpose.
His passion is to ensure that the more than 100,000 employees at Novartis feel inspired by their work, have ample opportunities to be curious and learn, and are empowered by “unbossed” leaders to achieve their full potential. The aim is to ensure that culture and leadership at Novartis deliver innovation and impact for the business while providing greater engagement and well-being for associates.
For a long time I thought great people plus great products equaled great performance. The reality is more complex. It’s not just the sum of the people, it’s how they work together, challenge and build on each other’s ideas. But it doesn’t happen by coincidence – it’s the product of an organization’s culture and leadership.
Steven has launched multiple initiatives to advance this transformation, all supported by rigorous data analytics These include reskilling over 5,000 people managers to be self-aware leaders of the future, reimagining performance management, and overseeing a significantly increased investment in learning. With his team, he is accelerating the company’s move to a new working model whereby associates have greater choice in how, where and when they work.
Another priority for Steven is the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where every associate can fully apply their talents and energies. Novartis signed the United Nations (UN) Equal Pay International Coalition pledge to achieve gender balance in management and further improve pay equity and transparency processes by 2023. It was the first major pharmaceutical company to support the UN LGBTI Standards of Conduct, which seek to end workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and it is also the first to introduce a minimum of 14 weeks of equal parental leave globally.
The company’s progress has been recognized by third-party environmental, social and governance (ESG) agencies. In 2020, Novartis was rated an industry leader in human capital by MSCI and ranked in the 100th percentile in the same category in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.
Outside of Novartis, Steven is a board member of WeSeeHope, a charity that works to create personal growth for children affected by poverty in Africa.