Jane Sun shares how empowering staff has driven Ctrip's success for over 20 years.
At the 2019 Goldman Sachs Women's Forum in Shanghai, Ctrip CEO Jane Sun shared her management philosophy and vision for the empowerment of her employees. Having risen from CFO to become one of a small number of female CEOs in the Chinese Internet industry, Sun knows well the challenges that employees, and particularly women, face in the workplace.
According to the Catalyst Women in S&P 500 Companies report, women remain underrepresented at the higher management levels, accounting for 26.5% of senior-level managers, 21.2% of board members, and only 5% of CEOs.
Sun leads a company that defies this trend. Under her leadership, In the typically male-dominated technology industry, Ctrip has achieved an overall female representative of over 50%, compared to an average of just 20% among Silicon Valley technology companies. Of that, women make up 29% of Ctrip's technical staff, 41% of its middle management, and 33% of upper management.
Having first joined Ctrip in 2005 as CFO before taking on the CEO role in 2016, Sun explained that the key to her own success is empowering her staff to succeed with her. "It is so important to give your employees the space and support to learn and grow with the business," she said. Individuals bring their own unique set of skills to the table, and Sun believes that a successful leader will always support their staff in helping them to reach their greatest potential. "Regardless of gender, we should always encourage employees to go above and beyond their nominal job title," she said.
At the heart of Sun's business philosophy is a passion for innovation. Doing away with traditional top-to-bottom management, Sun implemented The Baby Tiger Program at Ctrip, which has given each business unit the autonomy to make its own recruitment, resource allocation and other decisions. "Leaders should drive results through inspiring and empowering others," she said.
A female business leader herself, Sun understands that empowering her staff means both giving them the space to succeed, as well as giving them the support they need to excel. "At present, women are faced with difficult choices when it comes to their careers. As a leader, it is my role to help my staff achieve their greatest potential, without having to sacrifice their family," she said.
Under Sun, Ctrip has implemented a range of policies to help women reach their potential and achieve a better balance between their career and starting a family. The company offers various subsidies and benefits for pregnant employees and new mothers, including transport and birth subsidies, generous paid leave, the flexibility to work at home, facilities such as rest areas at the office, and subsidized oocyte cryopreservation for women who would like to focus on their career before starting a family.
Fortune Magazine recently named Ctrip CEO Jane Sun as one of the top 50 businesswomen in the world in its "Most Powerful Women International" list. After becoming CEO in 2016, Ms. Sun has received the award every year for the last three years, in recognition of her role in making Ctrip Asia's largest online travel agency and expanding the company's operations overseas.
Additionally, Fortune recognized Sun's work in advocacy for women's rights, and the policies she has put in place to help women excel in their careers at Ctrip. "This year's Fortune list is an indicator of what's to come, more and more women at the helms of important businesses," she said, "I congratulate this year's honorees on their achievements and look forward to being joined by more of my peers in the years to come."
As the CEO of a major Internet company, an industry in which women have been typically underrepresented, Jane Sun understands the challenges faced by the modern businesswoman. This year, over a third of honorees were new to the list, and overwhelmingly drawn from industries that have scarcely seen female leadership. As a veteran recipient of the honor, Sun said it was encouraging to see wider representation of women in business, and particularly, in typically male-led industries. "It is a great honor to continue to be among such brilliant peers on the Fortune Most Powerful Women list," said Sun. "It is even more significant that, this year, we are joined by so many new members from industries in which they can make meaningful change."
According to Fortune, today only 14 of the world's 500 largest companies are run by women. Sun is confident, though, that businesses like hers are making headway in supporting their female workers to reach their full potential. Over one-third of high-level executives at Ctrip are female, and women make up over half of the company's workforce. "Irrespective of gender, we should celebrate the unique skills and achievements of our staff," she said.
Under Sun's leadership, Ctrip has implemented a host of policies to support women in achieving their highest potential in their careers, without having to make the choice between a family and a career. Expectant mothers enjoy a taxi allowance and birth subsidy, while young families benefit from the company's generous leave and remote working policies. Ctrip also supports workers that choose to put off starting a family with its oocyte cryopreservation subsidy.
About Ctrip.com International, Ltd.
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China. It is the largest online consolidator of accommodations and transportation tickets in China in terms of transaction volume. Ctrip enables business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings by aggregating comprehensive travel related information and offering its services through an advanced transaction and service platform consisting of its mobile apps, Internet websites and centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center. Ctrip also helps customers book vacation packages and guided tours. In addition, through its corporate travel management services, Ctrip helps corporate clients effectively manage their travel requirements. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.