Enabling Real Business Outcomes Through Employee Engagement

Challenge:

When Leah Goodman first assumed the role of General Manager of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei in 2011, she quickly discovered certain issues within the leadership team that suggested a lack of engagement. She saw a group of leaders that was struggling to come together as a team. What defined their success was the performance of their individual business units rather than a commitment to organisational goals.

While some leaders made business decisions that focused on their own needs instead of the interests of the people, others did their job without really understanding why they were doing it. From an engagement perspective, these types of behaviours were detrimental to the business as it meant that the leaders were not reaching their maximum effectiveness in directing their constituents strategically.

The lack of employee engagement also affected the  the collaboration between the Business Units. Sanofi’s marketing and brand plans were created by marketers who had no interaction whatsoever with the other teams. Such dysfunctional practices were unsustainable for the organisation's success in the long run.

Solution:

PACE was engaged as an external consultant to conduct in-depth diagnosis to pinpoint the reasons for the weak engagement. More than 300 employees were asked for their honest feedback about the leadership team and the organisation through 20 employee insight sessions.

Following skilful diagnosis, PACE conducted a 2-step management team programme to strengthen the leadership team as a driving force for the change efforts. The first step was with the Management Team itself to ensure accountability of the feedback by each Director for their business area. This was followed immediately by an Organisation Development solution with the top 40 leaders of the overall business.

PACE also assisted Sanofi's leaders in crafting development plans to improve their leadership behaviours after they had been assessed via the The Life Styles Inventory™.

Results:

The transformational journey that Sanofi began in partnership with PACE has resulted in fruitful returns in the following areas:

Leadership

  • Higher levels of engagement and trust between the leadership team and the employees
  • Increased effectiveness of the leadership team

Clarity

  • Greater clarity and empowerment of employees

Collaboration

  • Better communication across teams and functions

Customers

  • Strategic focus on long-term organisational success through stakeholder management

In addition, Leah has noted a stark difference in the behaviours of employees. Instead of having a high power distance with superiors, employees felt at ease voicing out their opposing views respectfully because levels of trust had been reinforced.

There has also been greater collaboration across teams and functions. For example, strategic reviews now involve teams such as management, regulatory, and branding. This has enabled the leveraging of expertise and knowledge from each team, in the development of strategic plans that benefit Sanofi as a whole.

By engaging in stakeholder management, Sanofi has been able to stay in touch with its external environment, and thus their customers. More specifically, it makes way for strategic decision-making that will continue to benefit Sanofi in the long term.

"The Sanofi-PACE relationship truly felt like a partnership."
– Leah Goodman, General Manager for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Sanofi