Sun Life Financial Indonesia won three big silver awards at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Indonesia, for the categories, 'Employer of the Year', 'Excellence in Corporate Wellness', and 'Excellence in HR Communication Strategy'.
In this interview, we speak to Dyah Aisyah Ambarwati, Country Head of Human Resources, Sun Life Financial Indonesia on employee engagement activities such as virtual employee townhalls, campaigns on healthy habits, and a psychologist advisory programme that keep employees united, safe, and motivated.
Q Tell us a little bit about your journey reaching here – how did you get here and what was most important to you during this process?
Culture does play a determining role to induce employees to strive for their best; and in instilling the perpetual focus on, amongst others, a winning attitude and the highest accountability, which will eventually boost the company's performance. Sun Life put a high consideration on that and then scrutinised the characteristics that all the employees need to live by.
To ensure that the employees were (and continue to be) at the heart of all culture initiatives, Sun Life put high attention on employee feedback. Therefore, the agile way of working was rolled out to deliver some employee activities. By doing that, the team could get feedback faster from stakeholders.
In an agile team, there is no difference in level or rank. Therefore, the team members learned from each other faster, worked with no silo, and communicated better.
Having champions from various internal teams (non-HR) also had its advantage. It gave the team more perspectives in planning and implementing the initiatives so that the team could work more effectively and embraced more participation along the way.
Q What would you list as your company’s most meaningful contribution to employees in the last 12-18 months?
Sun Life Indonesia is determined to be responsive to equipping employees with their needs during the challenging times by proactively providing vitamins for them and distributing healthy food on a weekly basis. Strategic information was also communicated to empower and remind them that they have all the access possible to healthcare, telemedicine, assistance programme, insurance programmes, and other health and security facilities to support them and their dependents.
Besides, Sun Life also prepares for the needs of employees in the future, amongst others encompassing the fortification of leadership skills. Sun Life identifies potential leaders to attend development programmes through experience, exposure, and education, which are monitored by HR. They are involved in projects, as mentors for junior employees, as well as learn from the senior management team.
Sun Life has also been successful at transforming the culture through a series of engaging activities, which reflects in the 100% participation rate of employees.
Q What are some challenges you've had to overcome, both as a CHRO and as a people leader, and how did you get past them? What was your biggest learning?
Sun Life Indonesia not only cares about our employees in terms of performance at work but also in terms of their wellness. During the challenging pandemic that physically separated us from our former way of operation, Sun Life kept bolstering employee engagement activities such as virtual employee townhalls, campaigns on healthy habits, and a psychologist advisory programme.
The management consistently conveyed the message that the company will always be at the nearest reach to them in terms of their wellbeing, as well as encouraged them to develop their knowledge and skills. They regularly championed non-HR employees in those activities and invited external experts, whereby the importance of mental as well as physical agility was perpetually emphasised.
All of that resulted in the high and unbothered figure of employee engagement survey amidst the challenging conditions. Reflecting on that, agility did rise as the most pivotal learning that Sun Life continues to develop and flourish with.
Q Onwards and upwards! Can you share some highlights of your year ahead in 2022, and what your workforce can look forward to?
Sun Life Indonesia has released the full-year calendar of learning and engagement activities that have been strategically curated for the employees according to their levels and needs, which is then translated into mandatory and voluntary participation. This is one of the efforts to continue building a bolder culture with a strong foundation of high-performance behaviours that have been built in since almost 10 years.
Offering transparency and ease-of-doing for people activities for employees through creative advertising and technology platforms, the aspiration is that employees can flexibly adjust their schedules, register for classes of their liking, and acquire reward points upon joining. The points will be duly accumulated and we will also reward the most active employees with prizes.
As this exciting year goes forward, an active employee journey with more robust activities which strongly support business strategy to promotes strategic development, comprehensive inclusivity, and digital transformation, become imperatives to be brought to life.
Q Bring out your crystal ball - 10 years down the line, where do you see the future of HR?
A more dynamic environment that proceeds to strengthen the brand, bolsters the commitment to sustainability in delivering values to the clients, and offers the employees brighter engagement and culture inside their workspace should be fostered more.
The future must considerably accommodate the growing capability of recognising the proficient behaviours, qualities, and unique identities of our workforce.
Furthermore, working environments that are effective, encapsulate technological innovation, and the proper sorts of spaces have to be formulated in a way to deliver better productivity, which will further help better respond to change and uncertainty.
In light of that journey, HR will play a business strategy driving role, instead of business-supporting, as it inherits innovation into its DNA. HR will focus on how to leverage employee capability based on research data on human behaviour and neurology, putting forth a more creative approach on how to improve employee wellbeing.
Image / Provided
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!