Sanofi is a global life sciences leader that operates in 170 countries around the world, employing more than 100,000 people. Its pharmaceutical products make true differences in the everyday lives of patients, enabling them to live healthier and happier. In 2018, Sanofi partnered with Cielo to build the standardized RPO team to cover nine countries across South East Asia and Hong Kong/Taiwan. This change would help Sanofi recruit roles across a range of specialties, including marketing, finance, medical sales, shared services, and chemical technicians.

The challenge: Standardize Sanofi’s recruitment process and deliver quality hires

At the first stage of launching the new recruitment process globally, Sanofi wanted to transform its sprawling decentralized recruitment model that had forced the company to rely on multiple recruitment solution providers and staffing agencies. This dynamic had put pressure on human resources to meet the talent needs of a growing business in a highly competitive market. But transforming the model and achieving consistency across nine countries that are quite diverse in culture and language as well as all being at different maturity stages in their talent acquisition function would prove to be challenging. Adding to the complexity was a short 12-week window for Cielo and Sanofi to implement the new strategy.

The solution: Building excitement for tech-enabled, high-touch TA experience

To make sure the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnership would be open, collaborative, and effective, Cielo invested time in understanding the details of each country’s current talent acquisition function. This included conducting interviews with key business leaders and hiring managers to understand their expectations from TA. Our Implementation & Experience Design team facilitated the deployment of various initiatives championed by the Sanofi TA team, including Workday optimization, applications management, campaign management, candidate sourcing, interview scheduling, offer documentation and administration, onboarding support and reporting. Cielo and Sanofi worked closely to build awareness and excitement about the new processes with key stakeholders.

Cielo established a consultative team of life sciences talent acquisition partners in all nine countries, consisting of Cielo recruiters, some new hires, and Sanofi TA team members. We also deployed a shared delivery support team of talent sourcers, administrators, and reporting analysts to enable an efficient and scalable, high-tech, and high-touch delivery experience to hiring managers and candidates. The entire team underwent the intensive “Certified to Serve” training, delivered jointly by Cielo and Sanofi, which focuses on immersing the recruiters in the culture, business, processes, success drivers, and possible roadblocks to change that existed within Sanofi. This ensures that the team can represent the organization in the market effectively. It also helped to establish trust among key regional stakeholders that the Cielo team can act like a true extension of Sanofi.

Other steps we took included:

  • Deployed Cielo TalentCloud, our exclusive Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) platform, to enhance engagement and candidate experience
  • Introduced market maps and competitive intelligence to the hiring departments for critical roles, aiming for a more targeted approach and setting clearer expectations around talent availability
  • Established the foundation for a strong governance and reporting cadence to steer the process effectively and track key metrics
  • Partnered with Sanofi HR teams on the recruitment drive for interns at various business schools
  • Aligned the TA teams to the regional and functional clusters within Sanofi with strong cluster leads, driving engagement with the business leveraging strong local market knowledge and experience

The results: Reduced agency use, time to fill, increased hiring manager satisfaction

Our Sanofi partners were critical in supporting us throughout the program to operationalize the talent acquisition solution in nine countries in a standardized, centralized, and scalable manner. Over the first year, the program has delivered some great results:

  • Reduced agency hiring from 10% to less than 2%, resulting in considerable cost avoidance for Sanofi
  • Increased referrals as a source of hiring from less than 20% to more than 30%
  • Improved candidate satisfaction rate to 80% quarter over quarter regionally
  • Reduced time to fill by an average of 5%
  • Raised hiring manager satisfaction from 65% to 94%
  • Bolstered the sales teams with more than 130 hires in 2018
  • Delivered multiple senior appointments directly, without the support of an external recruitment agency
  • Executed the project to build a team of Digital Transformation professionals for Sanofi’s sales function in Malaysia
  • Supported the shared services business in Malaysia to ramp up and transition critical processes from China, Japan, and Korea. This required finding talent with the right language capabilities in a tight time frame.

A recruiting partnership built on a shared vision for change can transform your talent acquisition and improve results. Connect with us to discuss how to get started.


APAC remained Cielo’s fastest growing region in 2019. This year, Cielo welcomed new clients and earned recognition as leader of the RPO industry in APAC for their technology enabled talent acquisition solutions.

View Blog