Brazilian by birth, Gabrielle Berbigier she considers herself a citizen of the world, fervently convinced that personal talent is a company’s most valuable resource. And she has defended it like this for three years through the Novartis Human Resources department in Europe, although her professional relationship with the Swiss pharmaceutical company dates back to 2009.
How would you define the Novartis human resources culture in Spain?
We have a philosophy based on four pillars: inspiring, curious, without hierarchies and integrity. All this from the particularity of each country, which is highly respected. We are committed to a transformation that has allowed us to evolve a lot in terms of team empowerment, defending concepts such as the culture of psychological safety where each one brings the best of himself, not only his most professional figure, but in which he fits all her personality as an enhancer of talent.
In Spain alone there are more than 2,100 professionals of 50 nationalities… How do you make this mechanism work?
These figures reflect that Spain has become a very attractive country for employment, which helps to promote this diversity, and I think it speaks volumes about the great competence of the professionals who are here. This diversity is very enriching when we base ourselves on fewer hierarchical levels and seek to encourage creativity, flexibility and efficiency in teams.
What sign of identity do you think sets Spanish workers apart?
Maybe the dynamics and creativity. In addition, I would highlight the positive energy and the quality of personal relationships.
What is special about human resources in the pharmaceutical sector?
Something that makes it unique is the purpose, because we work in an industry that can change people’s lives. Receiving that gratification is very special and the motivation to try to bring an innovative treatment is very powerful. It is not a corseted sector, but rather it is open, close and informal, with an environment in which professionals feel very comfortable.
Will professionals with greater personal and job satisfaction make better pharmaceutical innovation possible?
Completely. When you are in an environment where you feel you can leave a legacy and strongly believe in those values, dedication is much more motivating. Here everyone tries to give their best version. We invest heavily in tools to find out how professionals feel and share their emotions. A job can harm health and all this has long-term repercussions on patients.
Innovation is part of Novartis. How does that translate into the workplace?
Flexibility was always in our genes, looking for family and work balance. Another big change is betting on open physical environments, which encourage interpersonal relationships, as well as the “unboss” team policy, which involves empowering professionals and learning from their mistakes, with leaders who let things go.
54% of the Novartis workforce is female. What impact does that have?
We are above the average number of women in the pharmaceutical industry in Spain and in our management committee here there are 67% of women. We are committed to diversity in general and the combination of profiles.
What has the pandemic changed?
It has accelerated the hybrid model between face-to-face and teleworking, but it has taught us the importance of human contact and how that makes a difference in teams. The balance between the two is essential, but the key to success is flexibility. This will not go back.