ASPIRE: a new initiative to support and inspire professional women at IBS Software
By Lakshmi Chandra S, Manager, Learning & Development, IBS Software
Diversity is critical to business performance
The importance of workforce diversity can't be overstated. Women bring unique perspectives and approaches to critical thinking to the table, and research has found diverse workforces are also higher performing. At IBS Software, we have an almost 50/50 ratio of men to women and we thrive on this level of diversity.
For women in professional roles - as well as those entering the workforce - it's imperative they receive support and guidance to further their careers. We need to work together to empower them to thrive and grow, and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
Launching ASPIRE, a powerful new support network for professional women
In recognition of this, IBS Software has developed a new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative called ASPIRE, designed to provide a comprehensive support and cross-mentoring network to colleagues.
ASPIRE's key objectives are to create a safe, confidential and focussed virtual forum where female employees can address the professional and personal issues facing working women today, to upskill and support female leaders and encourage more women to enter (or re-enter) the workplace.
ASPIRE, which originated from internal discussions with my HR colleagues, is described by Jayan Nair, Head of Global HR for IBS Software, as:
"a platform for women to share experiences, learn from each other, think bigger, engage more, and get inputs to be more successful personally and professionally."
We launched a pilot program at the beginning of the year to colleagues in India, built on a framework of three learning programs to support women crossing distinct phases of their personal and professional lives:
- Level 1: Adapt – A transformative learning capsule designed for new professionals and young mothers juggling between new sets of responsibilities at work and in life. It covers effective communication, financial management, marriage and motherhood guidance, to help them adapt to the varied roles.
- Level 2:Adept – An empowering program for mid-level professionals navigating multiple areas of responsibility such as work/life balance, addressing imposter syndrome and communicating as leaders. This level focuses on helping women become more adept at taking on and managing varied responsibilities in life.
- Level 3: Adopt - An individual coaching framework aimed at senior leaders. This program focuses on achieving leadership ambitions, career trajectory, real-life challenges and opportunities; sessions are facilitated by independently certified coaches and GPTW empanelled DEI experts.
Also involved in the program is Bindu Pillai, Senior Manager, HR at IBS Software, who adds her perspective on the importance of the ASPIRE initiative for women today:
"We recognise the challenges many women must overcome in their career paths. ASPIRE allows women to identify barriers to their career growth at different phases and help towards overcoming them. It was designed with much forethought on changing work scenarios, the need for financial and emotional independence for women and resolves to provide equity in the professional space."
Feedback from participants
While it is still early days, the launch of the ASPIRE pilot program to our India-based colleagues, has struck a chord with over 100 women already signed up and an attendance rate of more than 90%. Feedback from colleagues who have taken part has been overwhelmingly positive.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the valuable and effective sessions offered through the ASPIRE training. It has had a profound impact on us, shaping us for the better. It has also allowed us to recognise and embrace the inherent value within each individual and taught us how to effectively utilise our strengths to achieve optimal resultsAnu Joy, Program Manager
I enthusiastically participated in the life changing ASPIRE session on women leadership and diversity and inclusion. Overcoming imposter syndrome and the supermom syndrome, I discovered the power of embracing happiness and nurturing our inner child. I realised that happiness radiates from within.Sunitha Sivadasan, Senior Manager
We look forward to building on this highly encouraging foundation, rolling out ASPIRE to more geographies at IBS Software in the near future.