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Employees play a key role in our success. For this reason, we endeavour to promote employee motivation and development, encourage diversity and equal opportunities, ensure workplace safety and health and retain qualified employees.

Employees and their specialised knowledge play a key role in the distribution and sale of pharmaceuticals. A sign of a successful company is its continuing development in line with the market while also setting trends. The adaptability of the Galenica Group is founded on the commitment and team spirit of its entire workforce. In order to maintain this, Galenica constantly promotes the development of its employees. Galenica has 7,205 employees to satisfy its numerous customers with professional services. People from 81 nations and in all age groups work for the Galenica Group. Three-quarters of employees are women. Further information about human resources can be found in the annual report 2020 (from page 40).

Our approach to this matter

The five key values of the Galenica Group form the basis for the actions and decisions of all employees:

Health and safety precautions for employees

Galenica puts in place measures to protect employee health and maintain safety in the workplace in line with the directives of the Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (FCOS). Furthermore, all Business sectors have their own occupational health management (OHM) systems in place. Galenica also uses preventive case management to identify potential risks to employees’ health at an early stage and initiate appropriate measures. This tool is deployed within the first 30 days of absence.

Given the risk of accidents in the former Services Business sector (warehousing and logistics) in particular, health and safety in the workplace play a central role. For this reason, Alloga and Galexis additionally have systematic absence management, which forms part of the OHM. Discussions are held with employees in the event of prolonged or frequent absences, and contact is maintained in the case of a return to work after a long absence. In addition, Alloga and Galexis organise accident-prevention training in conjunction with Suva. As well as this, external health and safety advisors conduct regular audits.

The former Services and Retail Business sectors appoint health and safety officers. In addition, all Galenica Group locations have fire protection officers in charge of fire protection and evacuation, as well as a first aid team.

Promoting knowledge-sharing among employees

Galenica has a Group-wide staff development programme called MOVE in place to promote knowledge-sharing among employees and members of the Corporate Executive Committee and management. The programme encompasses continuous staff development and includes onboarding modules for new employees, professional development, personality and leadership training and personal development. In addition, the Group-wide talent mentoring programme aims to develop high-performing employees in their current role or move them up to a more senior role, thereby strengthening internal succession planning in the medium to long term.

The “Opinio” employee survey is a permanent fixture at Galenica. Since 2020, it has been performed annually. In this way, Galenica is able to respond more quickly and more specifically to any changes in employee satisfaction and motivation.

Twice a year, an exchange also takes place between the works committee, the Group-wide employee representatives, a representative from the Corporate Executive Committee and HR management. The works committee is made up of the chairs of all local staff committees.

Work/family balance

Galenica offers flexible working hours in the interest of a better work/family balance. According to the Home Office Guidelines, all employees have the possibility of working from home, depending on their activity. Part-time work is also common, particularly in the former Retail Business sector. In addition, female employees have the option of extending their maternity leave with unpaid vacation and male employees are entitled to ten days of paternity leave. In this case, they continue to receive their salaries contrary to the statutory requirements. The Galenica Group uses benchmarks to review salaries and ensure pay parity between men and women.

Retaining qualified employees

In Switzerland, retaining qualified employees in the healthcare and IT sectors poses a major challenge. In addition to the shortage of trained staff, the requirements with respect to training and skills are rising all the time. Galenica attaches particular importance to retaining qualified employees as pharmacies are dependent on good and well-trained specialists. With the ongoing digital transformation of the Swiss healthcare sector, Galenica will be increasingly dependent on IT and e-commerce specialists in the future.

Galenica continuously reviews its recruiting practices and adjusts them in the light of the constantly changing conditions in the employment market. Under its recruiting strategy, it is attaching greater importance to arousing the interest of pharmacy undergraduates at Swiss universities.

Facts and figures

Ongoing investment in employee development

176 people took part in the MOVE seminars in 2020. Ten people joined the Talent Management Programme in 2020. In total, Galenica invested some CHF 3.3 million in employee training in the year under review. Galenica also supports external training for employees financially and/or via a time allowance, as long as the training is related to the employee’s current role and offers added value to both the company and the individual. For example, the former Retail Business sector offers the CAS course “Company Management for Pharmacists” and covers the costs of the “Specialist Pharmacist in Retail Pharmacy” (FPH in Retail Pharmacy) further training for pharmacists.

Investment in training in CHF million 2016–2020

Does not include data from the Bichsel Group.

Galenica continuing to grow

Galenica continued to grow in 2020. At the end of 2020, the Galenica Group had 7,205 employees, equivalent to an increase of 2% over the previous year. Among other things, this reflected the strong expansion of the pharmacy network. The proportion of women is 74% and has remained relatively constant over the past five years. Around 40% of employees work part time, i.e. with a workload below 90%. This figure is also more or less unchanged since 2015.

Number of Galenica Group employees 2016–2020

More than half of managers are women

The ratio of managers to total staff has remained unchanged since 2015 at 9%. From 2016 to 2020, the proportion of female managers rose from 49% to 52%.

Number of Galenica Group managers 2016–2020

Decline in employee turnover

Employee turnover at Galenica was 10.6% in 2020, 7% down on the previous year.

Employee turnover 2016–2020

Year-on-year decline in industrial accidents

The number of industrial accidents dropped by 10% and the number of non-industrial accidents by 18% compared to the previous year. This decline is due in part to the awareness-raising campaigns of the past few years. In 2020, Galenica reported a total of 172 industrial and 621 non-industrial accidents. These figures also include minor accidents which did not result in an absence of more than three working days. The proportion of all industrial and non-industrial accidents that were minor in 2020 was 57%. Over the last five years, industrial and non-industrial accidents have increased by 2%. Given that the number of employees has increased by 18% over the same period, the frequency of accidents in relation to employee numbers has thus fallen substantially.

Number of industrial and non-industrial accidents 2016–2020

Does not include data from the Bichsel Group.

Decline in cases of illness since 2016

Galenica recorded 471 cases of illness at the end of the year under review. This includes all long-term absences of more than 30 days giving rise to entitlement to sick pay. However, the number for the year under review is not final as some cases may only be reported at a later date in the following year. Cases of illness dropped by 34% between 2016 and 2019.

Galenica recorded the absences of all employees in 2020 for the first time. At the end of 2020, the Galenica Group registered a total of 519,883 hours of absence on the part of 7,205 employees. Roughly 16% of the absences were due to coronavirus-related illnesses. Compared to the target hours, this translates into a rate of around 4.1% for absences not related to the coronavirus and around 4.9% for coronavirus-related absences.

In 2020, Galenica Case Management provided assistance to 104 employees at risk of illness or who had already fallen ill, thus helping to prevent or reduce absences where possible. Of the 44 cases closed in 2020, 23 employees were able to return to work thanks to Case Management, corresponding to a proportion of around 52%.

Number of cases of illness 2016–2020

Promoting young talents’ self-initiative at pharmacies

Under the Junior Talent Management programme in the former Retail Business sector, pharmacy assistants are able to develop their own projects during a one-year period. To this end, they are assisted by mentors and receive project management training. The six participants who embarked on the programme in 2019 will probably not be able to complete it until 2021 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. A further ten pharmacy assistants commenced the programme in 2020. Work currently focuses on leadership training, intensified digitalisation activities and improved service quality for customers.

Preserving jobs thanks to absence management

Long-term absences at Alloga and Galexis have been reduced thanks to the introduction of an absence management system. Based on this experience, the former Retail Business sector developed a draft concept in 2019. Preliminary reintegration talks were held over the phone due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Galenica has been recording employee absences since 2020.

New online personnel management programme launched

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot events under the new personnel management programme were scaled back. The seminars were modified in such a way that it was possible for them to be held online. The first virtual seminars were held at the end of 2020. While the previous offer was geared primarily towards new managers, the new personnel management programme entails broad-based continuous professional development to a broader audience.


Promotion of equal opportunities

The Galenica Group’s Home Office Guidelines were harmonised in 2019 and introduced on 1 January 2020 with the aim of further promoting flexible working hours for employees. In addition, 42% of employees take advantage of the option of working part time. Three-quarters of Galenica Group employees are women. While the proportion of women in management is 52%, women are still poorly represented on the executive committees. With the introduction of the new organisational and management structure effective 1 January 2021, a woman - Virginie Pache Jeschka - has joined the Galenica Group’s Corporate Executive Committee. The proportion of women on the new extended Corporate Executive Committee now stands at 36%.

Recruiting strategy for hiring qualified employees developed

In response to the growing importance of retaining qualified employees, Galenica expanded its recruiting team in 2020, adjusting its processes and developing a recruiting strategy. This entails employer branding measures, positioning and university marketing for pharmacy undergraduates. Galenica wants to reach out to undergraduates during their studies and interest them in a career at the Galenica Group. It was necessary to postpone the implementation of these measures until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Employee motivation is satisfactory

As of 2020, the “Opinio” employee survey is no longer conducted once every three years but annually and with a reduced set of questions. Going forward the survey will also only be conducted digitally. The online survey focuses on employee motivation. A total of 4,379 employees took part in the survey. This corresponds to a response rate of 63%, virtually unchanged from the previous survey in 2017. Employee motivation is good, with a group-wide score of 72 out of a possible 100 points. Particularly high scores were awarded for satisfaction with work (76 out of 100 points), confidence in line management (78 out of 100 points) and interest in the company’s future (80 out of 100 points). Employees were critical of matters such as execution, commitment and appreciation. In an ensuing step, the Corporate Executive Committee will be discussing these less favourably rated areas in depth and taking measures to further boost employee satisfaction and motivation for the Group as a whole.

Outlook for 2021

As part of the strategic transformation of the organisational and management structure, a particular focus will be placed in 2021 on entrenching the Galenica values. On the basis of the results of the Opinio surveys, the Corporate Executive Committee will be defining specific measures for improving employee satisfaction and motivation across the entire Group. In addition, the Junior Talent Management programme in the Retail Business sector is to be extended to include the entire Group. In 2021, Galenica additionally performes the statutory salary equality analysis for the first time.

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