Sun Life ASCI accelerates D&I agenda with women-centric initiatives

The global in-house centre (GIC) of Sun Life Financial has 35% women in its workforce and 30% in its leadership

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Sun Life Asia Service Centre India (ASCI), which is the global in-house centre (GIC) of Sun Life Financial, has a 1900-strong workforce, of which 35 per cent are women. It also has 30 per cent women in its leadership. Now, ASCI is working towards pushing its D&I agenda with its many programmes aimed at developing women leaders, upskilling women and building a high-trust work environment for women.

The Company’s campaign called Sun Women and Leaders Speak, encourages its women leaders to share their thought leadership perspective on the Company’s internal as well as social-media platforms.

The Women Leadership Development Programme focusses on developing leadership competencies that will make women leaders at Sun Life ready for the future. Under this initiative, 12 women leaders leaders were given an opportunity to take on a 10-month learning journey which was a mix of classroom sessions on networking, knowing the self, negotiation, webinars and mentoring.

This thought-provoking programme taught participants to engage and be involved in a thoughtful manner, to “be fearless about tapping into mentors, to build fellowships and never underestimate the power of networking,” according to Juhi Roy, manager, operations, Sun Life ASCI. She admits to learning to “accept criticism positively” by participating in the programme.

The Education Assistance programme allows women employees to add to their professional skills. Under this initiative, employees who wish to continue with higher education can enroll for a long-term certification. For this, Sun Life ASCI has tied up with IMT Ghaziabad, to offer a two-year postgraduate programme and a one-year executive MBA programme.

Many women employees, including Sharanpreet Sandhu, senior specialist – development, Sun Life ASCI, have obtained their SAS certifications and grown professionally because of this programme.

As Rajeev Bhardwaj, CHRO, Sun Life ASC reiterates that D&I will always remain “key to our growth in the future” and that Sun Life is “committed to a 60:40 diversity ratio and to nurturing more women leaders.” The Company will push its D&I agenda through “mentorship and sponsorship programmes, intentional hiring across diverse roles, pay parity and socially responsible policies.”

The Company has hired “41 per cent women this year despite the lockdown” and will continue to increase women in its workforce in the future.