Bringing out the best in people at Sanofi

September 20, 2021 | 09:00
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Driven by people-centric business administration, Sanofi is bringing out the best in its people and helping improve people’s accessibility to vaccines worldwide.
David Tick has worked in various roles at the company
David Tick has worked in various roles at the company

As one of the youngest senior leaders at Sanofi, David Tick is leading the company’s business unit vaccine and playing an ever-important role. The vaccine business performed well in the first half of 2021 and greatly contributed to the company’s growth. Sanofi’s business momentum accelerated as a whole in the period, delivering strong financial results driven by its core growth drivers.

“Indeed, the growth trajectory in 2019, 2020 and also beyond has been quite steep for the vaccines environment in Vietnam. Luckily, this comes automatically as a result of both a strong culture and a people-centric approach,” David told VIR.

The entire team is strongly committed to its vision where “no-one suffers or dies from a vaccine-preventable disease”, David explained. “Hence playing to win, our cultural motto, is naturally reflected by our daily work to ensure the people of Vietnam obtain the vaccines they need. We can only achieve this challenge as a well-functioning team. Thus, it is at the centre of my attention that the team comes to work motivated and happy every day,” he added.

Bringing out the best in people at Sanofi
Great businesses succeed by treating their people well

For David, this principle is among the most important ones when it comes to business administration. And in his role, he wants to contribute his part together with his teams in helping Vietnam and Cambodia better access vaccines.

Before taking on the role of general manager of Sanofi Pasteur, Vietnam, and Cambodia, David was a project manager in Austria as well as head of sales and marketing of the diabetes and cardiovascular business unit in the same country. His career path since then and the performance of the vaccines business reflects the company’s corporate culture and people-centric business administration, which is enabling the company to bring out the best in its people.

At Sanofi, the company strongly focuses on development and diversification of its workforce. The company attaches extreme importance to building a safe environment where people can have open exchanges and are respectful, and where all ideas from staff or managers are considered.

This is clearly shown in the vaccine business unit where David has been trying to develop a team with a diversification of gender, skills, educational background, nationality, and more.

“We develop people by moving them around different functions and business units. We always encourage people to take different roles if there are opportunities. In addition, when recruiting talents, requirements like skills and a good attitude are most important. He or she has to show respect for diversity and inclusion towards all members in the company,” he said.

Indeed, people management is key but not an easy task for any leader. David has also faced challenges which in retrospect he says probably could have been approached differently. In hindsight, one often has more information available than at the time when needed to make tough decisions.

David remembered a situation where he had the most challenging of all tasks – to manage the very low performance of a team member in a previous role in Austria. “I invested significant time and effort into providing honest but appreciative feedback, drafting a clear development plan, following up and successfully bringing him back on track after months of coaching – only to receive his resignation a few weeks later for a less meaningful job that was slightly better paid. That’s the risk of people management.”

On the other hand, David has plenty more positive than negative examples where tough decisions paid off very well afterwards. “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. In the end, I truly believe that committed, authentic leadership and people development is the most rewarding part of my job besides meaningfully contributing to a healthier society,” he added.

Sanofi’s motto of bringing out the best in its people has helped leaders like David gain major success in their development journeys. While in Austria, the success of large projects depended on the implementation of this motto, having a positive impact on the commercialisation of anti-diabetic solutions, for example.

Now, with the growing responsibility of ever-larger teams, the motto is ever-more important and impactful. “In my current role and particularly in these high-growth environments of Vietnam and Cambodia, the ability to match vaccine demand with supply is dependent on my strong team’s motivation and resilience, particularly during current restrictions and lockdowns. This can only be achieved if leaders authentically strive to bring out the best in their associates,” David noted.

By Bich Thuy

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