Our people

We support our people to grow in their careers and reach their potential by achieving their ambitions. To realise this we work to provide diverse and inclusive employment practices and supported development opportunities which help to create sustainable skills for our business.

A diverse and inclusive culture

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2015 in partnership with Opportunity Now logoDiversity is a key priority. Everyone at Standard Life has talent - wherever they come from, whoever they are.

An inclusive culture among our people brings us a balance of skills, knowledge and experience - helping us to deepen our understanding of customers and perform to our full potential.

All of our people have a role to play in promoting diversity at work.

In addition to diversity and inclusion training, we also provide an online learning module on unconscious bias for all our people. We believe raising awareness of how involuntary biases can affect decisions and attitudes in the workplace helps us deliver high performing diverse teams.


Gender diversity of the talent Pipeline

42% of our talent pipeline is female.


Gender diversity in senior management KPI icon

25% of our leadership population is female

People networks

We have found people networks and groups are a great way to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion matters, support our people and provide development opportunities.

LGBT+ Network - this network is open to any of our employees interested in improving diversity and inclusivity at work. It provides a forum for our employees to raise awareness and share perspectives on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Awesome networkWomen's Development Network - this network promotes personal and professional development through events, networking and mentoring, and is open to any employee to join.

Young Persons Development Network - a network that helps young people come together and make contacts from across the company as they take the first steps in their careers.

Carer positive established employer in ScotlandCarers' Network - a network for working carers which has contributed to us becoming accredited as a ‘Carer Positive’ employer – an award for employers in Scotland who have a working environment where carers are valued and supported.

Armed Forces Network - a network offering guidance and employment advice for ex-service people and reservists in and outside of Standard Life. They have a focus on supporting and improving employment of ex-service people.

Supporting inclusionLGBT+ Allies group - a group for people who aren't lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender but who want to promote equality.

Mosaic Network - Mosaic aims to enhance our cultural awareness of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and support their development. It has three main focuses; cultural awareness, personal and professional development and external engagement.

Working families

To help support working families, we provide five days of paid leave for carers and enhanced maternity, adoption and parental leave policies in the UK. Our 16-week maternity and adoption pay, together with a paid phased return period, help ease the transition back to work. We align our shared parental leave to this extended pay period, so all new parents can benefit.

Using our influence

We partner with a number of organisations to help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion inside and outside of our business:

Business in the Community Gender Equality and Race campaigns - initiatives which actively help employers to build cultures where women and men can thrive and succeed equally, and which improve employment opportunities for ethnic minorities.

Working Families, the UK's leading work-life balance organisation which helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI), a member organisation aiming to achieve and promote best practice in equality and inclusion in the workplace.

We are members of the 30% Club, the 100% Club and the Two Percent Club - organisations working to improve gender equality - and we have joined The Diversity Project, a collaboration of investment organisations who are working to improve diversity and inclusion in the UK investment and savings industry.

We are a UK Living Wage employer

This covers all our UK employees, interns, temporary employees and on-site contract staff. We also promote the benefits of the Living Wage to our stakeholders. In 2015 we became the first private sector company to become a 'Living Wage Friendly Funder' in the UK too. This recognises our commitment to helping the charities we have funding relationships with to pay the UK Living Wage for any grant-funded posts.

Connecting with our people

We want to engage our people and support them both in and outside of work. Getting this right comes from having a good understanding of who they are and what they need. We can then offer support that's inclusive and gives everyone equal chances to achieve their goals.

Listening and improving

Engaging our people in the right way takes more than a single initiative. It's a continuous process.

We regularly run an employee engagement survey called InterAction. The responses give us a clear update on how our people feel about a range of topics, from our strategy to work-life balance to career prospects to well-being.

In November 2016, 80% of our employees completed our most recent InterAction survey. The responses gave us a clear update on how our people feel about a range of topics. Our vision, social responsibility, and risk culture were our top three scoring themes. Our overall employee engagement score increased, however, our enablement score – how well employee skills are utilised and working environments facilitate productivity - has decreased, so this is a focus in 2017.

InterAction scores KPI
Our 2016 InterAction scores were 65% for engagement and 62% for enablement, below the global financial services norm scores of 69%.

Throughout the year, our people can also discuss issues and concerns they have with their employee representatives. This offers them a continuous source of advice, support and consultation on the things that matter to them.

Health, safety and wellbeing

When people know they're working for a company that takes their well-being seriously, it can make a real difference to how engaged they feel in their roles.

Every quarter our health and safety committee meets, while each area of our business reports against our health and safety policy. This policy sets standards across our group, and in 2015 we achieved our target of no reportable accidents. In the UK and Ireland we have our progress audited externally. We also ask our people to complete online learning modules, to keep them aware of health and safety issues that affect them at work.

Our wellbeing strategy - Health Yourself - focuses on helping our employees stay fit and healthy, and happy and engaged with their work. Our approach to wellbeing is as much about providing the chance to live a healthy life outside of work. For some this means our policies to help people work flexibly around their family and personal commitments. For others it could be through employee benefits and discounts, or the advice and support services we offer.

We also promote awareness of health issues. For example in the UK, we have signed up to the 'employer pledge', run by the mental health awareness initiative Time to Change. As part of this we have provided mental health training to managers and organised a number of events.


We have a consistent and transparent approach to managing performance across our business. And when our people perform strongly, there are real opportunities for them to grow and progress.

Every year we ask our people to set themselves performance goals for the months ahead. They have regular and honest conversations with their managers throughout the year to track how they're performing against these goals. This also helps them to see a clear link between our business objectives, how they perform individually and how they're rewarded for this.

We also encourage our people to set their own development goals, based on their career progression and objectives that are personal to them.

Engaging our people in the right way takes more than a single initiative. It's a continuous process.

Diagram which shows how our objectives, our performance and our development feed into our salary and bonus. The graphic is made up of 10 circles connected with arrows. Three dark blue circles for objectives, three orange circles for development and three blue circles for performance rating these all connect to the bright blue circle for salary and bonus.

To help our people keep developing, it's important that we continue cultivating strong leadership. We run talent programmes as part of our approach to this – Graduate scheme, Emerging Leaders Development Support and Accelerated Development Support. By helping us gain a clear understanding of candidates' personal aspirations, these programmes allow us to identify, nurture and maintain a steady flow of future leaders across our group.

"Emerging Leaders Development Support helped me to understand who I am as a leader, what really drives me and what could be holding me back. It's really given me the confidence to take opportunities to develop and grow."

Pamela Dickson, Head of Business Plan Delivery

Recognising inspiring people

On Thursday 8th September 2016 we held our third annual Inspiration Awards. Our nominated finalists from across the globe attended a special celebration at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh to celebrate their fantastic achievements.

The awards recognise the contribution our people make in their local communities, as well as the achievements of individuals and teams in helping to make our business innovative and sustainable.

Inspiration award winners and runners up

Our 2016 Winners:

  • Sustainable Innovation in Business – Jonathan Pears & Solvency 2 Team
    Jonathan and a cross-project team led a successful launch of the Solvency 2 regime in our business. The Solvency 2 project is the largest since our 2006 demutualisation. It identified innovative solutions to benefit our business and our stakeholders.
  • Inspiring Leadership - Alexis Hay
    In September 2015 Alexis played a key role in setting up our carer's network. Although not a carer herself, Alexis is passionate about supporting working carers and giving them a voice in the business and wider community.
  • Inspiration in the Community Fundraising - Olivia Sexton
    For the past two years, Olivia has organised The Good Run – a fun run held at St. Anne's Park, Dublin. All proceeds are split equally between two charities that research and also care for those affected by motor neurone disease – a cause very close to Olivia's heart.
  • Inspiration in the Community Volunteering - Matthew Burrows
    In memory of his friend who was killed serving in Afghanistan, Matt was one of the founding members of the Lt. Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust. The Trust raises money for military personnel and their families affected by injuries or illness and in five years raised over £500,000, with £14,000 raised by Matt in 2010.
  • Personal Inspiration - Ross Cowie
    Having lost his father to cancer and undergone treatment himself, Ross was inspired to help others. He plays a key role in the Cancer Research UK's Relay For Life event at Dalgety Bay in Fife and was instrumental in getting the agreement for all proceeds from the run to be donated to the local Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Kenny Siu
    Kenny has devoted almost 30 years' service to the Chung Sing Benevolent Society in Hong Kong. The society was formed in 1915 to provide care for the elderly and education for children. Kenny started as a member, then director, vice chairman for 12 years and, just recently, ended his tenure as chairman after four years.

All winners were awarded £3,000 and runners up £1,000 for donation to a charity of their choice; a total of £23,000 was donated to a variety of worthwhile causes.

We are a Living Wage Employer          We are a Living Wage Friendly Funder