talent management

Diversity and Talent Development

Insights into Novartis' Talent Management program, and the role of diversity in creativity and innovation

Who would have thought that a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, would have the bestdiversity SpecialAwards Diversity Talent Development program, according to DiversityInc.’s 2012 Awards? Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise. This multinational, with over 120,000 employees, has been open to a variety of ways of thinking (the true goal of all diversity programs) since Joseph Jimenez became CEO in 2002.

Joseph Jimenez was promoted to CEO because of his experience with rapidly changing. Through much of his career, he was responsible for consumer brands whose success depended upon speaking diverse consumer segments (from ketchup and peanut butter to organic baby food and tuna). Now, he is at the helm of a company confronting exploding costs, tougher FDA safety regulations, patent expirations and ObamaCare. Novartis and other large pharmaceuticals are probably experiencing more tumult than any other industry.

Which is why we were delighted to see Novartis win to DiversityInc.’s Award for Talent Development. In challenging times, out of the box solutions are more likely to be found through the expanded perspectives that comes from having a diverse talent pool.

Novartis joseph jimenezIn a recent interview with Diversity Journal, Jimenez put it this way. Diversity “drives innovation, attracts top talent and enriches a company’s culture. At Novartis, our affiliates operate in more than 140 countries, so our customer base and the patient populations we serve are quite diverse. Our workforces need to reflect this diversity so that we can effectively develop solutions that fulfill their needs.” He went on to highlight Novartis’ Entrepreneurial Leadership Program as a key Talent Development Program.

“Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (ELP) sends top talent to emerging markets to participate in a cross-cultural, experience-based learning program. The ELP exposes associates to health challenges within local markets and broadens their awareness of issues facing our patients and customers. Throughout the program, the teams bring together their diverse viewpoints to generate valuable solutions for our business.”

Pharmaceutical companies live and die (slowly, but surely) on their ability to capitalized on the intellectual capital, creativity and effectiveness of their knowledge workers. Innovation comes from people with significant education and training – and is captured by patent lawyers, regulatory experts, statisticians, specialists in marketing to doctors, etc. These knowledge workers have critical skills that may or may not mesh with great management skills. Talent Development help these employees develop their people skills along with their technical skills. This explains why Talent Development professionals in pharmaceutical companies are among most aggressive users of mentoring programs.

Human Resource professionals responsible for Talent Development know that the long-term viability of their company is at the mercy of hiring, retaining and working with highly-skilled workers. If these highly skilled workers can also come from diverse-backgrounds, there is an increased catalyst for innovation and creativity. If you can retain diverse and highly educated employees, and combine diverse viewpoints with their intellectual capital, they will create valuable solutions to your business.

If you are reponsible for Talent Development, Diversity or encouraging innovation and creativity in your organization, you can click through to read about mentoring as a powerful tool to help your company reach its goals. With clear goals and effective matching, mentoring becomes driver for improving employee retention, developing people skills, improving technical skills and increasing employee engagement.  Alterntively, join us in an upcoming Webinar or call us to discuss the specifics of your situation.  With over 20 years of experience, Mentor Resources has the best tools in the market for creating or expanding mentoring programs in organizational settings. 

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