Novartis Reviews

Updated 29 September 2014
Updated 29 September 2014
243 Reviews
3.4
243 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Novartis CEO Joseph (Joe) Jimenez Jr.
Joseph (Joe) Jimenez Jr.
115 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work life balance can be achieved if you prioritize it (in 16 reviews)

  • Very open work environment, respect for work hours (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • There are different cultural norms for work/life balance depending on site & business unit (in 14 reviews)

  • No work life balance, sometimes like high school all over again (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Good training ground to develop political skill

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Finance  in  Singapore (Singapore)
    Former Employee - Finance in Singapore (Singapore)

    I worked at Novartis full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    This is a top pharma co, that pays well with good staff benefit.
    Lots of talented people, which makes the intellectual challenge simulating.

    Cons

    An army of people is created at the wrong level, who does not add value but only burden the people (who are really working) with unnecessary demands. Energy gets wasted just to align any decision with group vs division vs region, and thus most apt for people who talk their way thru work. Corporate structure is hard and empowerment is only in theory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Staff appraisal is only top down, leaving employees no venue to give any upward feedback. Managers should get the job only if they can manage people, and not drive them away.

  2.  

    Excellent company... once you're in

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Novartis as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Great pay, even as an intern.
    Great work life balance.
    As an employee I feel the company and my managers invest in my professional developement.
    Campus provides the perfect working environment

    Cons

    Uncertain environment after big M&A deal, fear of layoffs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in a development program for young professionals to nurture internal young talent.
    As an intern concluding my internship I find it very tough to find a suitable position to remain with the company.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Huge and ever changing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Process Manager  in  Pratteln (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Process Manager in Pratteln (Switzerland)

    I have been working at Novartis full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Commitment of every worker at all levels.
    Possibilities of development are huge.

    Cons

    Huge company means priorities are hard to identify.
    Have a network is mandatory, relationships is the most important thing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve change management. There is a Change management champion now, I hope she will bring results in this ever changing company.
    Change is good and at the same time hard to implement.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Multiple areas of responsibility: Sales, Management, Brand, Managed Markets, Market Research, Managed Markets

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director  in  San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Director in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Novartis full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good work/life balance and benefits package, compliance and regulatory were very diligent factors

    Cons

    Political informal hierarchy that did not always take experience or results into account when filling roles, many roles where filled without posting or providing opportunity for people to express interest

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve succession planning and ensure that all interested candidates at least have a chance to post and interview for a role before filling

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Finance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Novartis full-time

    Pros

    Positive outlook
    Innovative industry
    Lots of opportunities of learning - but mainly on the job

    Cons

    Hard to keep work-life balance
    Sometimes too competitive environment
    Political
    Talent management unfortunately sometimes stays only on paper - not too much training and other development opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more in talent management

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Overall a bad experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Mexico, Distrito Federal (Mexico)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mexico, Distrito Federal (Mexico)

    I have been working at Novartis full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Opportunity for flex time arrangements, nice offices, gym and good HR initiatives

    Cons

    Nepotism / Only Manager or Director´s friends or even boyfriends/girlfriends have better opportunities. If you don´t have a friend in the management you have no opportunities to grow and you would be vulnerable because they are constantly downsizing without a real analysis to do so...Worst department to work here: Finance.
    A lot of people are hired as external (Outsourcing) in order to compensate layoffs, you will find trainees in charge of certain processes as well.
    They like to have a good image but they are not actually working on that, for instance all the surveys to Great Place to work institute were made a little time before a lot of layoffs and cost cuttings initiatives.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would say that the HQ team have to be more involved in the countries environment, culture... in Mexico it seems that the only thing that is from Switzerland are the signs, all in the company seems to be like a Mexican company with all the cons that this thing implies, Managers do what they want even against policies and guidelines.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good Company,but the HR department needs a significant improvement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Process Unit  in  Singapore (Singapore)
    Former Employee - Process Unit in Singapore (Singapore)

    I worked at Novartis as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Organised and allow employees to maximize their full potential by rotating them to the different departments

    Cons

    Although the company is good to its employees, the interns there are treated much differently.
    We are given very limited rights and often get accused for no valid reasons. For example, even taking a short tea break in the canteen can lead to a huge email blast to all supervisors in the company that the interns are skiving and do not have work to do.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    OK

    Current Employee - Senior Scientist  in  Basel (Switzerland)
    Current Employee - Senior Scientist in Basel (Switzerland)

    I have been working at Novartis full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Skilled people; some resources; free coffee

    Cons

    Not organized; high stress; insecurity; anxiety

  10.  

    Good Company to experience challenging job

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Novartis

    Pros

    Salary, Challenging Work, Business Trip

    Cons

    Unconvinient location, Huge overtime work

  11.  

    Vaccines division culture has declined over last few years

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Manager
    Former Employee - Manager

    I worked at Novartis full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    - good remuneration packages and benefits
    - lots of new initiatives to work on and plenty of projects however there is a downside to this
    - never gets boring however there is a downside to this

    Cons

    - The culture in the vaccines division is to overload / stretch employees forcing them to work extra hours/ from home/ weekends. If you resist this and try and keep a healthy balance it will show in your performance review as you'll never achieve more than an average rating. Employees who don't deliver get put onto a performance improvement plan and then if your performance doesn't improve to the level expected you're out. I have seen this route misused by managers and some good people have gone just because their bosses didn't like them.
    - Most events and initiatives are treated like a life threatening emergency because many of people who lead the division are fire fighter types who need the adrenalin rush and this gets cascaded downwards and impacts the stress levels of those of us who don't need panic and adrenalin to make us productive.
    - Work obsessed people who lack empathy and finesse tend to get the promotions these days as they bully their way to success at the expense of others. Results count more than how you get them at the end of the day and there are some hated people in some of the top jobs.
    - It comes down to luck if you get a good manager or not and if you have the bullying type you'd better make sure you play the game their way. If you get one of the few empathic and caring managers (and there are a few still about) Novartis can be a supportive and enjoyable place to work but these circumstances are becoming less frequent.
    - The vaccine division lacks real confidence and there is a culture of too many initiatives being implemented at once intended to help lead the company to world class status but this never seems to be achieved. Some of these initiatives are really good and have had a positive effect on the business however there are always too many of them and they tend to fall on the shoulders of the same people to deliver / take part in leading to the over work / extra hours situation mentioned in the first point.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It will be interesting to see what impact the GSK acquisition has on the business and what happens to the flu business when a buyer is found. I'm not sure if any of the vaccines senior management team would take much from this review due to the cons listed above.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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