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Sanofi launches Leaders' Day in Bangkok for talent development

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Sanofi organised a new initiative on 9 October this year, with the first edition of Leaders' Day: an event designed to bring the best out of the organisation's leaders, be it self-leaders, function leaders, team leaders, project leaders, business leaders, or thought leaders.

Led by Sanofi's Asia and JPAC Talent Management Center of Excellence, the event mobilised teams from across business units, functions, therapeutic areas and countries to co-build a comprehensive programme.

The event also saw the launch of the Talent Champion Awards, an employee-to-manager recognition programme for people managers who excel at developing employees.

Human Resources spoke exclusively to Lynette Ng, head of talent management Asia, China and JPAC at Sanofi behind the scenes for more details.

Q. How is the Leaders' Day different from a typical talent development programme at Sanofi?

Talent Management CoE (TM CoE) is pleased to introduce the Leaders’ Day, an epic two-day talent forum designed to empower our key talent by integrating experience, exposure and education, to accelerate our talented workforce’s succession readiness.

Leaders’ Day aims to power up talent's careers by: enhancing professional expertise and effectiveness; broadening horizons on achieving a meaningful career in Sanofi; and increasing visibility and interaction opportunities with leaders across geographies and businesses.


Q. Tell us more about the newly-launched Talent Champion Award.

TM CoE also leveraged on the Leaders’ Day to launch the Talent Champion Award. Originated from Sanofi North America, we are delighted to introduce it to our region to recognise Sanofi managers who are active people developers.

Not only will this promote further people development activities that help us to meet the current and future needs of our organisation, but also support the movement of talent across teams and business units, and create a culture where managers who develop people are recognised.

Prior to the  Leaders’ Day, we invited our employees to submit names of people managers who have touched their lives in Sanofi – these are the Talent Champions those who have helped them to grow, develop professionally, as well as those whom they have observed to be relentlessly committed to developing people.

Q. How many leaders are taking part in this inaugural programme?

For the inaugural programme, we have a total of 180 delegates and more than 65 regional leaders and guests from 23 countries.

Q. How were these leaders selected for the two-day forum? 

From a ring-fenced pool of the high potentials (HIPOs) across Asia, China and JPAC, the nomination prioritised those who are on succession plans, on key positions and thus 166 delegates enterprise-wide were nominated. We shortlisted nominees against the outcomes of the 2017 Talent Review based on the following nomination criteria: high or medium potential; and successor to key roles.

The nominations were also proposed and sponsored by our local business unit heads and endorsement from the country chairs as well.

The intention is to keep the bar high and numbers low, to drive an amplified return on your time and energy investment on a targeted pool, to create high-touch interactions with leaders. The aim is to animate the talent reviews and enable ventilation and visibility of the talents transversally.

Q. What kind of projects and business challenges have been undertaken by the selected leaders since Leaders' Day?

It is important to highlight that as part of the programme design, TM CoE set aside four hours for an action learning exercise ‘Powering The Business’ where delegates were grouped to work on solving business cases and presenting solutions.

The aim is to hone the participant’s ability to solution for a Sanofi business challenge. Each challenge reflects a need to solve or implement a solution. This case study exercise provides an opportunity for participants to observe these HIPOs in action, to fully bring to life discussions and dialogues they have participated in at talent reviews.

The action learning segment where business and functional leaders have close interaction with key talents, observing and coaching them helps them flex their newly built muscles in the strategic thinking, executive presence and thriving in a matrix environment to solve real world business challenges.

Also a ‘talent review’ brought to life where leaders observe HIPOs in action rather than just talent cards and commentaries.


Q. How will you measure their results and learning from this summit?

Our delegates and regional leaders, business unit heads and HR heads who participated will play an active role in providing us their feedback. We will be collecting the results and learning by asking audience to poll using the Pigeonhole tool online.

Q. In terms of tracking ROI, how will you assess that for Leaders' Day?

The follow ups from this event to track are success and ROI are the following:
  • Key talent visibility leading to opportunities for transversal projects to solve business issues
  • Mentee/mentoring opportunities to accelerate growth and succession readiness
  • Talent brokerage – enabling meaningful career moves cross-borders and transversal moves

Q. Did you face any challenges in bringing this programme to fruition? 

With thanks to many internal regional and global business unit heads, who joined forces with us as speakers and panelists, as well as a panel of external pro-bono speakers, we are able to keep the production costs very modest and yet put up an exciting agenda for our key talent with hands-on coaching and impactful action learning activities.

TM CoE has produced the content and materials internally and these initiatives are at no-programme-costs to the delegates. Attendees will only need to bear travel, accommodation and some incidental expenses.

In the spirit of leadership in-action, TM CoE has garnered the support from our regional guests, country chairs and heads of HR, their involvement as coach/mentors to provide reflections, feedback, leading by example in sharing their learning experiences and developmental growth.

The Leaders' Day is intended in an intensive process to ring-fence our talent pool for accelerated development. We are grateful that our key business unit heads and heads of HR spent their valuable time to join us to facilitate the learning outcomes for the delegates.

Q. What other initiatives do you have for those who are not selected for this one?

Against the backdrop of the recently concluded Talent Reviews, TM CoE Asia, China and JPAC has created and rolled out a series of talent acceleration programmes, known as Talent Management Boosters, targeted at talent currently in key positions or have been identified on a succession plan in the 2017 Talent Review.

We have curated a list of exciting programme initiatives where our talented workforce can be nominated into, these include:

  • Evolve 2.0 – Updated Sanofi flagship leadership self-awareness programme
  • Emerge – 18/24 month early talent/Millennials career acceleration programme
  • Expedite – 10-month talent acceleration programme targeted at mid-career key talent identified on succession plans
  • Explore -  Talent brokerage managed by TM CoE to proactively harvest and leverage on open positions to accelerate careers and succession readiness for identified HIPOs
  • Empower – Leaders’ Day, as listed previously


People developers are the anchor of Sanofi’s talent culture. They are the guardians of our workforce and have spent time and effort to coach and support peers and colleagues around them, enabling professional development and career aspirations while creating business successes.

At Sanofi, we are counting on every one of them to be with us in building together an environment for the talented to thrive!

Photos / Provided

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