Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Sanofi Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Montreal's Top Employers (2016):
- Sanofi Canada recently moved into a new LEED certified head office, which was built with significant employee feedback -- the new office features an employee lounge, a number of collaborative workspaces, "innovation" rooms to inspire employees and stimulate creativity and a quiet library space
- Sanofi Canada cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and offers a variety of financial benefits including signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all and referral bonuses of up to $2,000)
- Sanofi Canada supports employees who are new mothers or fathers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for 18 weeks) and offers alternative work arrangements to help them transition to their new roles as parents
Sanofi has a prescription for happy employees
For Caroline Guerru, working at Sanofi Canada has never been like the proverbial treadmill - unless she's using one of the three treadmill desks that were installed in the company's bright, spacious head office in Laval, Que. in April 2015.
As part of a global pharmaceutical firm, Sanofi Canada not only cares about the health of its patients, but the well-being of its employees, too. "They say sitting is the new smoking," says Guerru, who joined the company 10 years ago and currently serves as an Advisor in HR and Total Compensation. "So we want to counter that."
In early 2015, Guerru joined a team of four other employees from across the company to revamp the company's wellness program and improve employee health and well-being. The new offering included the opportunity to join the 2015 Global Corporate Challenge, an annual, 100-day competition that pushes employees, organized in teams of seven, to individually complete 10,000 steps a day.
Teams also pursue other goals meant to boost their physical, nutritional and psychological health. "Just by participating you're winning," says Guerru. "It's about getting involved and acknowledging your own activity level."
Sanofi Canada's emphasis on employee engagement comes from the very top. "Our job as leaders is to provide an engaging environment where people are empowered and inspired to meet our industry's high standards," says President and CEO Niven Al-Khoury. "I can say from experience that we have a unique culture - one that values collaboration, openness and a positive mindset. It is a culture that is well suited to bring hope, value and innovative solutions to patients."
The company's Laval head office seems to symbolize that spirit. Designed to conform to cutting-edge environmental standards, the new LEED-certified office was built with significant employee feedback and includes employee lounges, a library, collaborative workspaces, and "innovation rooms" to inspire employees and stimulate creativity. "It's an amazing place to work," says Guerru. "Employees feel proud to say that they work in a green building."
The company also supports a flexible, family-friendly environment, aided in part by technology. All employees work with a laptop and, depending on their role, are allowed some flexibility in their daily schedule and the ability to work sometimes from home.
Sanofi Canada provides top-up payments to new mothers or fathers, allowing them to receive 100 per cent of their salaries for up to 18 weeks, and offers alternative work arrangements that can help new parents transition to their new roles. The onsite nurse can also provide support to expectant moms as required.
At Sanofi Canada, engagement also means giving employees competitive compensation and a stake in the company's success through a company-wide share-purchase plan. Other financial rewards include performance-based yearend bonuses and new-hire referral bonuses of up to $2,000.
Perhaps most importantly, though, employees at Sanofi Canada have the opportunity to grow in their careers. When Guerru returned from her mat leave two years ago, for example, she was given the chance to specialize in the benefits and pension area. "There are a lot of opportunities to learn if you're willing to be flexible and put in a little extra effort," she says. "We're working for a greater cause - for patients - so people want to do an excellent job and go the extra mile."
"Developing people is important to us," adds Al-Khoury. "We're global and diversified enough to offer a range of opportunities that align with employees' abilities and ambitions - everything from key skills training to stretch assignments to international opportunities. I myself was with Sanofi in Egypt for six years, moving from public affairs to general manager, so I'm living proof of what's possible within Sanofi."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top 100 Employers winners, published November 9, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.