Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



October/November 2013

Diversity/Careers October/November 2013

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Diversity In Action

Diversity is integral to the culture at Novo Nordisk

“As a global organization, we embrace different perspectives. For us, cultural fit is just as important as technical capabilities,” says the D&I; head

Novo Nordisk, headquartered in Denmark, is an international healthcare company with offices in more than seventy-five countries. It focuses on diabetes care, hemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone therapy. About 5,000 of its 34,000 employees are in North America. North American operations include clinical development, production, sales and marketing, and administration. Novo Nordisk routinely recruits IT professionals.

“Currently, we have several openings in project management and systems analyst roles,” says Jennifer Bennett, the senior director of talent acquisition. “Key competencies and experience needed are project management, analytics, business and market understanding, compliance system understanding and mobile application development.”

Seeking experienced professionals
Attrition at Novo Nordisk is low, Bennett says. “But with healthy growth of the commercial functions, we expect to fill at least a dozen positions within the next year. They will likely be in the areas of project management, business analysis and applications development/systems analysis,” she says.

Novo Nordisk rarely recruits junior-level employees or new college graduates. “Given our fast-paced environment and growth, we tend to need IT professionals with five-plus years of experience so they can hit the ground running,” Bennett explains. “We have a robust sourcing model that leverages networks and social media, including a tailored landing page for IT. We train our hiring managers to become experts in LinkedIn to connect with prospective candidates.” In addition, Novo Nordisk finds eligible candidates through referrals, job boards, niche sites, and technical and general business professional groups, including several, like the National Black MBA Association, that focus on diversity.

“Understanding the diversity that exists in our environment is critically important to managing our business,” says Jeff Frazier, corporate vice president of human resources. “We work with healthcare professionals and employees who support patients in more than 180 countries around the world. Our company supports a diverse and inclusive work environment through programs designed to serve people where they are.”

Providing services that meet client needs enhances the overall experience, Frazier says. “We need to be aware of the cultural nuances when partnering and serving our constituents. This leads to an inclusive environment where everyone is working toward the same goal.”

“We embed diversity into almost everything we do,” says Evelin Potts, head of diversity and inclusion (D&I;). “During orientation of new hires, I speak to new employees about D&I.; We also have a training program for new managers, as well as diversity information on the company website. D&I; is not a one-time training event; it’s incorporated into the entire employee lifecycle.”

Facets of diversity and inclusion
Novo Nordisk has a D&I; council made up of about twenty people representing the various business groups and departments across the organization. “We try to emphasize the ‘inclusion’ aspect of D&I; as a significant part of what we do,” Potts says. “In addition to designing and implementing the diversity strategy, council members communicate the diversity initiatives to their colleagues. The company also has an executive team made up of senior leaders that sets the tone for how diversity and inclusion is viewed across the organization.”

The company’s two active employee resource groups are African Americans in Novo Nordisk (AAINN) and women in Novo Nordisk (WINN). In keeping with the focus on inclusion, all employees are invited to join either group. “We have to work with people other than ourselves, so it makes sense for the groups to be open to input from many different perspectives,” Potts says. Other employee resource groups are in development, she adds.

“AAINN’s mission is mentoring, and its work is very much tied to the company’s overall mentoring program,” says Potts. WINN’s mission is the development and advancement of women in the organization.

“As a global organization, we embrace different perspectives and ways of thinking to help us best serve our patients,” says Potts. “For us, cultural fit is just as important as technical capabilities when it comes to hiring. That means focusing on the patient, working with simplicity and efficiency, and above all, treating peers, customers and everyone with whom we interact with respect, and in a manner consistent with our ethics and values. It also means understanding and valuing the tangible benefits that diversity and inclusion bring to our company.”


Novo Nordisk

Headquarters: Plainsboro, NJ
Employees: 33,900 worldwide
Revenues: $11 billion (2012)
Business: Global healthcare, diabetes care

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