A former 6’4 inch police officer, he joined the police just a week after his 18th birthday and traveled from his native Zimbabwe to South Africa.
I was still a boy, and it was a wild environment, “Recalls Hermann Trepes. “I was interested in police and law, but I didn’t want to die.”
Aspiring to continue his service, but with his personal safety in mind, Trepesh moved to England, rejoined the police and became a member of the British Association of Black Police Officers.
“In the UK, less than three officers have been identified as a minority. There was a lot of structural and institutional racism. I needed to be part of the solution, so I decided to go there. I’ve continued to take leadership, “says Trepesh.
For 20 years in the police, Hermann actively engaged in the development and guidance of cultural training and mentorship programs. Today, he is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director of Sanofi, a multinational healthcare company based in Paris, with more than 95,000 employees in dozens of countries around the world.
He is from Zimbabwe and says he helped connect purpose with work.
“I’m from a country with no national health services or national insurance system. If you fall down the street and you don’t have money in your pocket, they leave you there,” he said. Says.
“Companies like us have the foundation to provide medicines to the poorest people for free and are connected to my purpose. All of us are responsible for taking care of each other on this planet. “
I was attracted to Hermann’s direct and energetic way of speaking. That is reflected in his proactive approach to problem-solving in the organizations he serves.
Don’t make it complicated
“The key to surviving a day in a police environment is simplicity,” he says. So he spent time looking for the seemingly minimal problem and solving it easily in the role of the company.
“Our travel policy was a nightmare. They had to be signed by 10 people. Why? If we trust our people, remove all restrictions and tell them,” You it. Justify why you want to do it, “and trust them to just do it.
“There are thousands of sales people around the world booking hotel rooms outside the policy. Have you ever tried to book a hotel room on the coast of any country during the summer? The rooms aren’t. They fit within the policy, but those salespeople have to go out and do business. “
Trepesh persuaded the company to simplify their lives – as he explains, “these are the people who generate the income that keeps the lights on.”
He applied the same simplification approach to reconstruct Sanofi’s policy on family vacation.
“If your family vacation policy is complex or doesn’t exist in 60% of your country, create one for everyone. And if the policy doesn’t fit on two pages, it’s too much. “I will.” He declared.
According to Trepesh, current policies are unified. For everyone. wherever.
“Anyone welcoming a new child will take 14 weeks to pay the full amount. In a country where they already had it and it was longer and okay. You keep it. Nothing. In the country, adopt this rule and apply it now, “he explains.
“It’s about demonstrable leadership so far. It’s gender-neutral. Do you have a newborn baby? 14 weeks. Passed? 14 weeks. Surrogacy? 14 weeks. Go with your family. Let’s get started now. And people are saying, “That’s great. Thank you.'”
He summarizes it all. “The less time we focus on bureaucracy, the longer we spend on science miracles, and that is our purpose.”
It’s an approach that any company can do. If it’s too complicated, simplify it.
Give others a chance
Trepesh’s direct approach to solving problems is the basis of his diversity, equity and inclusive approach to employment.
For example, when someone takes a family vacation, he encourages the leader to consider people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.
“Can you change your entire career in 14 weeks?” He asks. “Yes, I can.
“We give them coaching to make it a positive process. It can break concerns about how you believe in yourself if you care through it. On top of. “
Interestingly, Trepesh’s claim to diversity extends to hiring whites to backfill their role.
“For example, if there’s a gap in HR that’s mostly female-led, what prevents us from thinking is,” What this team needs is a man who’s been there for a while to give the team a different mindset. Is that what they lack? “
“Why can’t whites backfill the role of teams that are underestimated in white demographics?
“I did that, and I was able to show that diversity, equity, and inclusion do not benefit a particular demographic. I have to represent everyone.”
Don’t rely on human resources or marketing to convey company-wide diversity metrics.
“Be kind. Practice love-based leadership,” Trepesh concludes.
A huge heart lives in the big former policeman.