This post was authored by Lara Jones, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Sanofi US.
In my time at Sanofi, I’ve been lucky to work with an incredible group of passionate and goal-oriented colleagues, who take great pride in their daily work and accomplishments. I’ve been even more fortunate to work in an environment that promotes passion beyond the realm of established responsibilities – when people take initiative, big things can happen. I truly believe that Sanofi realizes that, and there is no better example than the implementation of Employee Resource Groups.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-managed teams comprised of employees who share an affinity, a common background or a similar set of experiences and their supporters. They are company-supported, championed by executive sponsors who understand the importance of such groups in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, but take a very grass-roots approach – primarily because they are created by employees, for employees.
Each ERG has a story about how it began; often a personal story, and always a story of the founders’ hard work and dedication, of putting in time above and beyond their “day jobs” because the group accomplishes something they truly are excited about. In return, those involved reap the benefits of personal development opportunities, innovative collaboration with a diverse group of employees and the unique chance to support our business by surfacing new patient or customer perspectives.
The ERG footprint has grown substantially over the past 12 months. WISE (Women Inspiring Sanofi Excellence) paved the way several years ago when a group of women took the initiative to form Sanofi’s first ERG. That group has successfully expanded and has become an important catalyst for women to reach their full potential, as well as a driver of corporate sustainable competitive advantage.
Then, in 2009, CancerConnect was launched. CancerConnect is near and dear to my heart, as it is a valuable resource to employees who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis – and was an idea that stemmed from my personal experience with cancer, after experiencing first-hand the great resources Sanofi can offer to help employees manage something so frightening and complex. A core group of employees who were equally passionate about harnessing Sanofi’s assets and directly contributing in a positive way to a colleague’s experience worked tirelessly to bring CancerConnect to life. I am forever grateful to them for their help in creating a lasting resource for current and future employees who find themselves in similarly difficult situations.
Today, Sanofi has a total of five ERGs: ADVANCE (Alliance for Diversification, Inclusion, and Enrichment), ParentsConnect, VETS, CancerConnect, and WISE. You can learn more about them in the video vignettes below, which feature some ERG leaders speaking about the groups they represent, and why they got involved.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what our ERGs do next – I know there are great things to come.