Novartis AG is a biotechnology and pharmaceutical company based in Basel (Switzerland). Novartis was created in 1996 by the merger of two former pharmaceutical and chemical companies based in Basel – Ciba-Geigney AG and Sandoz. At the time, it was the biggest company merger in the world. Since 2012, Novartis is the largest pharmaceutical company worldwide.

Starting Point

Novartis’ professionals are either recruited abroad or work in different locations during their career. Novartis is convinced that successful integration occurs through the assimilation of local language and culture. The company therefore considers it important that language trainers originate from the target region and are able to impart every day cultural particularities. To make such high demands of local training concepts in traditional face-to-face training is extremely time consuming and binds resources.


  • Due to the high mobility of its employees, Novartis was looking for a flexible solution for relocation foreign language courses that should be available in all locations.
  • The foreign language solution should impart optimum knowledge of the destination and its culture to make it easier for the professionals and their families to start their new way of life.
  • Reports on training were required to be as transparent as possible and the price of training was required to be better than that of the existing providers.

The Learnship solution

  • Learnship carries out the majority of relocation foreign language training for Novartis Switzerland – as effective online Face-to-Face training with language teachers from the place of destination.
  • Employees can register themselves for training via their own webpage.
  • With the focus on teaching as effectively as possible, Learnship assesses language proficiency levels, as well as subject area, intercultural and relocation topics in order to tailor all training individually.
  • Training can commence before departure and be continued seamlessly in the country of destination.
  • Regular participant surveys confirm the successful progress and practicality of the training.
  • After Learnship’s successful introduction as foreign language provider for employees relocating to Switzerland, in 2014 the use of Learnship was also extended to Novartis business units.
  • Reports on Novartis’ training are made in real time via a Learnship online tool. There are also monthly reports in agreed formats.

Advantages of the Learnship solution 

  • Costs savings: Thanks to Learnship, Novartis reduced the cost of its relocation foreign language training by around 50 %. 
  • Flexibility: Learnship online Face-to-Face training provides more flexible training opportunities: training periods on 7 days of the week between 7 am and 10 pm, in the office or at home. 
  • Effectiveness: Participants learn exactly what they need for their new professional environment and everyday life in the place of destination.
  • Transparency: The central training report means that the HR department always has an overview of all measures.