Embedding D&I in our DNA


For Novartis to reimagine medicine, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) must be part of our DNA. It needs to reach into every corner of our organization, stretching beyond words into actions. Establishing a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment is fundamental to our culture and our purpose. It is only by being our true selves that we can fully realize our own talent and energy at work. Different perspectives and inclusive behaviors help us generate new ideas, drive innovation, understand our stakeholders, and be closer to our patients.

D&I should be embedded in culture

D&I and our Inspired, Curious, and Unbossed culture at Novartis are truly interconnected - you cannot have one without the other. The focus of ourD&I communications strategy is therefore to ensure that D&I shows up in who we are, in everything we do, and every day. We are moving away from standalone D&I communications and calendar events toward embedding D&I across all of our communications and events at Novartis – it’s who we are and essential to what we do. We are equipping our communicators and leaders to embed D&I by developing toolkits that support our strategic areas of focus and are mapped to our culture aspirations. Novartis has developed dedicated toolkits on Race, Culture & Ethnicity and Disability Equity for communicators across the organization to guide and inform their use of language and imagery and ensure inclusive representation of our diverse communities across all of our communications.

Building trust with associates and stakeholders

To build trust across our stakeholder ecosystem, we are driving organization-wide ownership of D&I – making it personally relevant and business aligned.  When we live and breathe D&I in our workplace and see our leaders role modeling inclusive behaviors, we are more likely to take ownership for it and apply it in our area of work, which ultimately translates into how we reimagine medicine for more patients around the world. We see this being realized through the work we are doing to ensure Diversity in Clinical Trials. The Communications & Engagement function works closely with the D&I team and other partners in the enterprise to provide tools that embed D&I in our ways of working and equip our leaders and associates to apply it in their everyday work and interactions. One example of this is our Listening Dialogues Guide,, which we encourage our leaders to use in their flow of work, e.g. when reviewing our employee engagement survey quarterly results with their teams or in their Leader Impact AlignmentConversations as part of our new approach to performance management.

Empowering authenticity

We seek to drive authenticity by empowering our associates to tell their own stories in their own words. This includes sharing stories that are not always positive and providing the space for open dialogue – by doing so we also role model psychological safety. This approach was recently realized in June 2021 through a Psychological Safety campaign and event series, including our PrideWebcast featuring external speakers and associates who shared both positive and negative experiences. Following the event, associates were provided with learning resources and opportunities to learn more about Psychological Safety and apply it in their day-to-day work.

Novartis Communications & Engagement enables D&I through two primary functions:

Create Connections:

  • Help to drive organization-wide ownership of D&I – make it personally relevant and business aligned
  • Connect emotionally as well as giving the facts
  • Ensure D&I shows up in who we are and what we do every day in an organic way
  • Drive authenticity by empowering our associates to tell their own stories in their own words
  • Be culturally agile – apply a local lens

and Educate & Equip:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of our global D&I strategy and commitments
  • Promote a shared narrative and language that feels true to Novartis and is aligned to our business strategy and culture aspiration
  • Facilitate a regular pulse check on D&I topics to ensure consistent and proactive communications
  • Equip and educate our leaders to talk about and take ownership of D&I in their respective areas


“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice, when we make a mindful choice to include and respect the needs, perspectives and stories of our associates, we choose a great team, where people feel enabled to be their best selves” –Angela Moore, Head Manufacturing Standards, Systems & Risk Management, LM DS Basel (BDSS)