Diversity & Inclusivity in a big pharmaceutical company of Basel – by Leonie Hormes


A well-known pharmaceutical company situated in Basel supplies work to more than 100 000 people (!) from over 140 nationalities (!!) according to their own sources. This definitely makes it an international company and thus, they necessarily require a branch on cultural diversity and inclusion. All websites that I can read provide us with an explanation on these topics. However, they look very different. In this post, I will compare their Global (English) website to the Swiss (German) website.

The first aspect that stands out is finding their Diversity & Inclusivity section. On the Global website, there is the option to access their Diversity & Inclusivity section via the About section and the Environmental, Social and Governance section while on the Swiss website, Diversity & Inclusivity can only be reached via Unser Unternehmen. The ease of finding the Diversity & Inclusion section is therefore higher when browsing the Global website.

The Swiss website starts with a generic statement. Subsequently, there are three subsections, one on their strategy in equality, inclusivity and social responsibility, the second on their employees in Switzerland and the last on their local initiatives in Switzerland. For every section, an English PDF version can be downloaded. In the subsection Unsere Strategie: Gleichstellung, Inklusivität, soziale Verantwortung, the three aspects are considered separately. Gleichstellung(equity) talks about creating a pleasant working environment for everyone which they achieve by creating a balanced gender ratio in the management level, pay equity and transparency. Inklusivität (inclusivity) as second aspect focuses strongly on building a positive work environment by including the perspective of every employee and thus inspiring them. The last aspect of soziale Verantwortung (social responsibility) focuses on making a positive impact on underserved communities around the world. Leaving this subsection, we come back to the page with the claim and continue on employees in Switzerland. Here, the Swiss part of the company is described in numbers. There is the ratio of men and women, the number of different nationalities, the percentage of women in management, among others. Back to the last section which is about local initiatives the company pursue. There are a few initiatives, all about how to handle the compatibility of professional and private life, flexible working models such as jobsharing and topsharing, supporting internal interest groups, creating inclusive work environments and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Additionally, The company supports different partnerships such as re-entry of women into the workforce and the mentoring of doctoral and post-doctoral students at the University of Basel.

The Global website also starts with a small introductory statement. Following this, there is a request to visit the code of ethics to learn more about their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Just like the Swiss website, there are the subsections of equity, inclusivity and societal impact, the latter two even sport the same pictures as on the Swiss website. Here, it is possible to click on each of the three subpages and there is a lot more information on each of the topics. Equity shows a video of the personal experience of an employee. This is followed by sections on pay equity and transparency, gender balance in management (with numbers regarding the Global company), LGBTQI equity and disability equity. Here, on the Global website, not only the gender aspect is included into equity but also other aspects such as LGBTQI and disability are addressed. Moving on, inclusivity opens another page in which addresses Inclusive leadership with a link to leadership development at the company, communities of belonging with a video and a section named Talent. This last section describes how the company supports everyone in their talent and emphasizes on how unconscious bias training is especially important to recognize talent in this multinational company. On the last subpage, diseases in underserved communities are addressed. This is equipped with a link leading to a section with a lot of information on the global involvement of the company and clinical trial diversity where the importance of understanding the impact of trials in very diverse communities is covered. The main page continues with Diversity & Inclusion Related Themes including their code of Ethics as well as environmental, society and governance and their annual report. This is followed by Our People & Perspectives which includes Standing for Racial Equity and Justice as One and Parental Leave and, concluding the page, Latest News (in Diversity and Inclusion).

            The similarities I could find are the three aspects of equity, inclusivity and societal impact, which are mentioned on both pages. However, the Global subpages are much more elaborate which I will mention again below. Something that surprised me was the continuous supply of English PDFs for the topics on the Swiss webpage. This shows how the company is really invested in trying to engage and integrate everyone. Something I found tragically funny was the special section on parental leave in the Global section, which obviously does not warrant a special section on the Swiss website, as this is state regulated. Other topics, such as local institutions that are supported are obviously only needed in the smaller country websites. The most striking difference that can be observed throughout is the difference in length. The sections on the Global websites are longer as more aspects are included, at the same time this made the global website harder to navigate than the Swiss website.


By Leonie Hormes

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