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The events of the past year have proved that caring for the health and wellbeing of employees is fundamental to the success of any modern organisation. Those businesses operating within the field of healthcare will know even more than most how highly corporate wellbeing is ranking on the boardroom agenda.

Who Are Sanofi?

Sanofi are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. With more than 100,000 employees across the world, the Sanofi UK workforce were quickly faced with the challenges of remote working following the outbreak of COVID-19. In addition to their existing wellbeing initiatives, the company wanted to stay close to their employees, as well as providing them with access to the support they needed, during these unprecedented times.

By becoming the first pharmaceutical company to gain the National Workplace Wellbeing Charter Award due to their outstanding dedication to employee wellbeing, Sanofi have been able to gain valuable feedback and insight on further improving the health of their UK based employees. In their completion of the Charter, Sanofi are able to demonstrate that taking a proactive approach to employee health and wellbeing results in a more productive workforce.

The Accreditation Process

The process involves three key stages: Self-Assessment and Evidence Review, Feedback and a Post-Assessment Report provided by Health@Work consultants. Sanofi started the assessment during the pandemic so in this time they were focused on employee all-round health, especially while working from home. The company was quick to realise that everyone faced their own challenges and as such, a complex, accessible wellbeing programme was required to meet each employee’s unique needs.

Declan Doyle, Workplace Wellbeing Consultant at Health@Work, who conducted the Sanofi assessment noted:

“During the digital accreditation process Sanofi provided multiple examples that demonstrated its ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of employees, such as their Take Care & Bwel! programme and a confidential counselling service which has been well utilised by staff. We are delighted to award Sanofi with the Workplace Wellbeing Charter and hope that industry peers will be inspired to achieve a shared goal of improving all aspects of health – mental, physical, and social.”

Sanofi notably demonstrated a proactive approach to employee health and wellbeing prior to the Workplace Wellbeing Charter accreditation, which led to their excellent results. With wellbeing built into their framework of their employee policies, with a wide variety of communication channels to support and inform both colleagues on management, many individual employees noted the wellbeing opportunities offered to them and the high regard placed on these by Sanofi.

This is achieved largely through Sanofi’s company-wide health and wellness initiative, Take Care & Bwel!, launched all the way back in 2012, marking Sanofi as market leaders in employee wellbeing. Focused on promoting health through balanced diet, physical exercise, sleep and stress management, and illness prevention, the Take Care & Bwel! initiative allows all employees to become more involved in with their personal health and wellbeing. In addition, Sanofi employees also benefit from the company’s own digital walking tool, Walk Well, to encourage more physical activity.

Results and Action Points

Sanofi was assessed against the charter’s pillars: Absence Management, Health and Safety, Mental Health Provision, Smoking, Physical Activity Standards, Healthy Eating, and Alcohol. The assessment was completed digitally due to the national lockdown and included a mix of self-assessment and evidence reviews, team meetings, in-depth interviews, and staff surveys.

After reviewing Sanofi’s current practices and aims for the future, the suggestions for improvement to build on Sanofi’s current wellbeing initiatives, put forward by Health@Work’s consultants:

  • Providing specialised wellbeing training and stress risk assessments for individual staff members’ mental wellbeing.
  • Nominating an employee representative from different departments to provide employee insight on ongoing health & safety procedures.
  • Facilitating ongoing refresher training for management and leadership teams on complex support needs such as mental health, musculoskeletal disorders, and menopause to reduce absence and provide further support for employees.

Benefits of Adapting

The assessment noted both those areas where Sanofi excel at ensuring excellent employee health and wellbeing, while also outlining specific areas where Sanofi can enhance the quality of this current wellbeing programme. This included suggestions such as conducting proactive stress risk assessments on individual job roles and conducting more research on absence trends across the organisation.

After the feedback from Health@Work, Sanofi are aiming to move from a model of ‘add-on interventions’ to the integration of wellbeing into the design of all working practices.

Gordon Tillett, HR Director, Sanofi UK and Ireland, commented:

“We are delighted by this accreditation and believe it reflects our ongoing efforts to support the health and wellbeing of our employees, as well as the wider community through our work in the area of prevention. This award belongs to all the Sanofi colleagues who have promoted and supported good health and wellbeing at work.” 

“The accreditation provides us with a framework and tangible goals we can continue to work on, especially as we strive to support colleagues through these challenging times. Employee wellbeing will continue to be fundamental to our success as an organisation and we plan to continue to enhance our work in this area through this pandemic and beyond.”

Looking To The Future

The journey to create a positive health environment for those working in the pharmaceutical industry continues, and Sanofi remain open to collaborating internally and with industry peers on health and wellbeing initiatives. Moving forward, Sanofi are eager to place employee wellbeing at the heart of company culture. As we transition into unchartered post-COVID territories, those companies who have completed the Charter can ensure their employees are continuously supported.

To find out more about the Workplace Wellbeing Charter Accreditation click here.

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