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TD Magazine Article

AI-Driven and Personalized Development

Novartis is a 2023 BEST Award Winner.


Thu Jun 15 2023

AI-Driven and Personalized Development

Novartis: 2023 BEST Award Winner, #10

COVID-19 presented enormous challenges to all industries, but the pharmaceutical field was affected most of all. It had to make all the same adjustments as every other industry and do so while trying to keep up with the global demand for medications. Meeting those challenges required bold and innovative approaches to talent development.


"We have dedicated training teams across all parts of our business to suit the different learning needs that we have at different stages of the drug development cycle," says Chief Learning Officer Simon Brown. "This includes supporting our scientists to develop the skills needed in the early-stage research, through to supporting the skills and knowledge needed for the clinical trials, and then the wide range of skills needed for the successful launch of a new medicine to make sure it reaches the patients who need it. Along the way, we also need to develop the right skills to enable the manufacturing of the medicines, which is increasingly more sophisticated."

The company developed data and digital skills for several years, offering its associates the opportunity to earn two master's degrees in data science through a partnership with an online course provider. The first graduates of that program are earning their degrees this year.

Among the company's recent innovative initiatives is the Talent Strategy and Skills Program. It uses external artificial intelligence platforms to craft internal brands called Talent Match (which enables employees to evaluate and develop their qualifications for future advanced roles with the company) and Match Learn (personalized learning content combining formal courses with social learning). Within months of the program's debut, tens of thousands of associates—about a quarter of the company's workforce—had created profiles and accessed the platforms. Novartis also encouraged staff to use the My Potential platform to assess their strengths and areas for personal and professional development.

Markus Graf, global head of talent management, explains: "Rather than diving straight into working with skills, we first started with developing our 'skills operating system,' which gave us a model for how skills needed to flow between different systems and across various use cases to bring the most value." The company identified a talent marketplace platform for Talent Match and a learning experience platform for Match Learn and integrated those platforms to each other as well as the existing learning management system.

"The systems were configured by Novartis to make the user experience flow smoothly between the different parts," Graf adds. "They have had a big impact already. As the systems utilize an AI engine for recommendations, they are making it easier for people to know what opportunities are available for their development."


View the entire list of 2023 BEST Award winners.

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