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Sanofi Focussed on Working Parent’s Needs

By Elysha Stephens | 10 February 2013, mums@work

We love reporting on enterprising organisations who are taking the lead in a flexible workplace culture. Here in Australia, Sanofi Australia & New Zealand is among one of the foremost organisations making strides with flexibility in their workplace. Sanofi recognise that if you cultivate a receptive and responsive approach to working parents by empowering and supporting them, the results are better for everyone.

In 2010 Sanofi received a culture transformation award, which celebrated Sanofi’s transformation to a more constructive work culture. With 63% of their workforce made up of women, assisting their working parents to ease back into the workforce is important for retention of valuable talent. Working from home has now become part of a broader program offering flexible hours, flexible leave and flexible location (e.g. home).

“We have seen improvement in staff retention, it has assisted us with our recruitment, and we now have more women returning from parental leave,” says Sanofi’s Remuneration & Benefits Manager, Linda Matthews.

Here are a few things that Sanofi’s lucky parents have access to:

  • A Flexible Work Policy that allows staff to work part time, purchase additional leave, change their working hours and even work from home.

  • A school vacation care program that is run during the school holiday period at Head Office. The program provides a solution for parents in the shortfall between twelve weeks school holidays and the four weeks of staff annual leave.

  • An established parent’s room for staff to use on a temporary basis to allow them to attend to the specific needs of young children, such as breastfeeding or expressing, or in cases of emergency.

  • The latest initiative has been the introduction of a Working Parents Toolkit, designed to give new and expectant parents relevant and practical information about managing work and parenthood.

Matthews highlights the importance of internal leadership and development programs to enable their people to understand how their behaviour impacts those around them. “As an organisation we’ve really focussed our approach on ‘how’ we do things, not just ‘what’ we do. We continue to maintain an environment where our people can realise their potential and excel in their careers.”

On recognising everyday common challenges faced by working parents, Matthews comments on their Working Parents Toolkit:

“While we have a generous paid parental leave scheme, we wanted to do more to help make this transition smoother. The Working Parents Toolkit helps parents to consider different things throughout this stage of life, and managing the fine balance between career and work.

“It includes tips on organising workloads, the importance of communication between employees, teams and managers in the lead up to and while on parental leave. It also looks at how you can maintain skills to successfully managing the return to work,” Ms Matthews said.

The toolkit explores common work related questions and insights into the often ‘unspoken’ issues such as rebuilding self-esteem, maintaining social interaction and the experiences of life after baby from both parental perspectives.”

Emma Walsh, Director of mums@work, leading providers of working parents’ tools and resources understands the importance of tools like the Working Parents Toolkit to empower and support working parents. She says, “Nowadays, organisations are wise to implement support systems and programs into their culture for their working parents if they want to retain employees long-term. The battle for achieving work/life balance with children is increasingly hard. Workplaces with a flexible, supportive culture are more likely to have employees that will be loyal and work hard to achieve their work objectives.”

Sanofi’s parents are also entitled to:

Company paid leave

Primary Carers who have reached 12 months of service are entitled to a company funded three months paid parental leave. This paid leave may be paid as full pay over three months or as half pay over six months

Government paid leave

On top of the company paid leave, if employees are eligible they can also claim 18 weeks of paid leave from the government.

Childcare allowance

Sanofi has introduced a childcare allowance to assist with the costs associated with childcare. It is an allowance paid to employees for children up to four years of age in childcare.

In 2012 Sanofi was recognised for their sustained cultural performance.

“As an organisation we believe that we have a social responsibility to support our working parents and to set an example that others may want to follow. We see value for our employees and the organisation in this approach,” says Matthews.

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