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Sanofi ‘s HR head Ivy Chan reveals the pharmaceutical giant’s secret to catering to the needs of employees from different generations.
“For me, the Sanofi Circle is magical. It’s a link that connects employees across all functions and a spirit that ignites my personal growth,” said Billy Jan, a 26-year-old senior product specialist who is also the chairperson of Sanofi Circle – a unique staff-led employee engagement programme created by Sanofi.
Being one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi Hong Kong takes pride in its 130-strong team in Hong Kong and Macau, serving thousands of patients suffering from cardiovascular, diabetes, oncology, rare diseases and infectious diseases.
By having more Millennials joining the workforce, the company needs to create a workplace that can meet their expectations.
Since we opened our doors in 1986, we have seen the growth and transformation of our employee portfolio.
Currently, the loyal Gen X represents about 40% of our headcount, while the rest is mixed with young talent from Gen Y or Gen Z.
By having more Millennials joining the workforce, the company needs to create a workplace that can meet their expectations, while at the same time allowing employees from different generations to integrate into one team.
It didn’t take long for our general manager to realise the best way was to flip the traditional top-down model into an employee-led approach which empowered employees of different levels and functions to take the lead in driving all staff activities. This was the birth story of Sanofi Circle in 2014.
Sanofi Circle now consists of five small circles: family, innovation, wellness, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and health, safety and environment, representing the core values of the company.
All circle members are volunteered to serve during their non-work hours and each circle is led by a leader elected by others.
Under the principles of Sanofi Circle, the company will fund all activities proposed by the circle, while circle members will be responsible for devising the overarching strategy, planning for the year-long activities, budgeting, event promotion and logistics co-ordination.
Over the years, we have seen a range of innovative and fun-filled activities led by Sanofi Circle, including sports week where employees dressed up in sportswear for work and conducted various types of sports during that week; CSR day which allowed colleagues to spend half a work day doing volunteer work for the needy; family day which turned the office into a transitory carnival to entertain kids and families of employees; and the Sanofi private kitchen where senior managers were given the opportunity to show their cooking talent and prepare homemade dishes for all.
The success of Sanofi Circle owes a great deal of gratitude to the trust and openness of the senior management team. We also thank our employees for their hours of work behind each activity and their creativity in coming up with all these ideas.
When Billy was asked about any regrets for becoming the chairperson, he said: “Through Sanofi Circle, I acquire new skills in project management, meeting everyone’s needs and problem solving.
The success of Sanofi Circle owes a great deal of gratitude to the trust and openness of the senior management team.
“I also feel the importance of influence in order to be a good leader. The hands-on experience prompted me to grow and earned me many invaluable experience and friendship.”