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Novartis, a Swiss Multinational Pharmaceutical company, was ranked 16 th

among the top 50 companies in Diversity Management in 2010. In the same year, a
lawsuit was filed against Novartis when the women employees realized that they
were discriminated in terms of wages, promotion etc. The jury decided that Novartis
was indeed involved in gender discrimination and hence asked the company to pay
$3.3 million to the women employees who suffered due to this discrimination.
This lawsuit proved to be the impetus for change in the system. In the next
three years, the companys diversity management rankings were 21, 13 and 6. In
2014, Novartis was ranked #1 in terms of Diversity Management by DiversityInc.
This transformation can be attributed to two main factors which are the deeply
committed leadership and hardwork. Thus, Novartis became the case study for the
rapid progress and significance of Diversity Management
Some of the initiatives of Novartis include Flexible working model wherein
different choices such as pert time work, work from home, job sharing etc. are
provided to employees. This helps the employees to maintain their work life
balance. Diversability is another initiative taken specifically for disabled members in
the organization. This interactive forum brings to light the concerns of the
associates about their disabilities, customers and patients. The motto is not to focus
on disability but to focus on abilities.
Now, Novartis uses diversity as a tool to understand the market and create a
network with the drug patients. Novartis has more than 15 employee resource
groups where more than 40% of the workforce is registered atleast in one of the
groups. The aim of these groups ultimately link to the business goals as they aid in
providing valuable market insights.
Novartis is a part of the steering committee in International Labour
Organization which advocates for the inclusion of disabled people into the regular
workforce. ILO is the strategic cooperation partner of Novartis for the people with
disabilities.
Novartis had developed a disciplined executive program emphasizing on
Human Capital results. The executive leadership teams annual performance
management goals included 20% weightage towards objectives that have specific
diversity initiatives. By 2014, through these initiatives, more than 50% of the senior
level management was held by women.
The top management clearly understood that Diversity is a given whereas
Inclusion is a choice. Hence the emphasis was equally given to inclusion as well.
The initiatives related to Diversity & Inclusion focused on four areas which are
cultural diversity, gender and generation diversity, individual abilities and working
styles.

Thus, Novartis was able to turn around the image in a span of less than four
years to become a leader in the field of Diversity Management thereby setting an
example for other organizations.
Questions
1. Why was diversity management essential for Novartis?
2. How did the various initiatives taken by Novartis help in enhancing diversity
management?
References
1. http://www.novartis.ch/cs/www.novartis.chv3/downloads/citizenship/Diversity-and-Inclusion/novartis-ch-d-and-i-englishpdf-v12.pdf
2. http://www.diversityinc.com/diversity-events/2014-top-company-diversitymanagement-progress-novartis-pharmaceuticals-corporation/