AHRP’s 6th HR Think Tank shares vital findings on industry-transforming HR capabilities

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May 01, 2024: The Association of Human Resource Professionals (AHRP), in partnership with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), recently concluded its 6TH Human Resource Think Tank (HRTT) for the fifth consecutive year. The event provided a platform for industry leaders to discuss and discover new capabilities that will transform the future of Sri Lanka’s HR industry amidst ongoing economic, social and political challenges. This also stood as a testament to AHRP’s objective to uplift the skills and standards of the HR profession in Sri Lanka.

Held under the theme of ‘‘HR Capabilities for Business Excellence,’’ the forum attracted over 200 HR and business professionals. Furthermore, this year’s event was open to the public for the first time, making it the largest HRTT AHRP organised.

During the event, AHRP unveiled a special report titled ‘‘HR Capability Study’’, a result of an initiative led by AHRP to identify the critical capabilities needed by HR professionals in Sri Lanka. With inputs and insights from 20 CEOs of Sri Lanka’s top organisations, this study focuses on core HR capabilities, which serve as the foundation for more specialised skills. The event also hosted an informative and insightful panel discussion where four esteemed corporate leaders of the country delved into what capabilities HR practitioners must develop to be recognised as value-adding leaders in Sri Lanka’s business landscape.

Presenting the key outcomes of the ‘‘HR Capability Study’’, AHRP Executive Vice President and Sri Lanka Telecom Chief People Officer Chandana Wijayanama discussed why AHRP needed to take a fresh look at people processes and capabilities while the country is grappling with unprecedented economic and social challenges while global trends such as disruptive technology and shifts in employee preferences have started to influence the local workforce. To address the diverse requirements of organisations in such a context, the study presented three outputs—an HR Capability Model, an HR Competency Model and an HR Leadership Model. According to AHRP, these models will serve as a roadmap to cultivate future-proof local HR practitioners who can effectively address the diverse needs of organisations, ensuring their sustainability and success in an ever-changing environment.

During the panel discussion, the esteemed panel consisting of Jonathan Alles (Managing Director/CEO of Hatton National Bank), Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson (Chief Operating Officer of 5-Hour International Corporation / Non-Executive Director of Hemas Holdings), Dr. Parakrama Dissanayaka (Deputy Chairman/Managing Director of Aitken Spence) and Ashroff Omar (Group Chief Executive Officer of Brandix) shared invaluable insights on the capabilities that HR practitioners must cultivate to emerge as recognised value-adding leaders within Sri Lanka’s dynamic business landscape.

Jonathan Alles emphasised the importance of strategic thinking and business acumen, stressing that HR professionals need to align their initiatives with organisational goals to drive sustainable growth amidst a severe brain drain. Kasturi highlighted the significance of innovation and adaptability, urging HR practitioners to embrace change and leverage technology to enhance employee experiences and organisational effectiveness. In the meantime, Dr. Parakrama Dissanayaka emphasised the need for HR leaders to possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, enabling them to effectively engage with diverse stakeholders and foster a culture of collaboration. Ashroff Omar underscored the crucial role of empathy and emotional intelligence in HR leadership, advocating for a people-centric approach that prioritises employee well-being and engagement. The panel was moderated by AHRP Vice President and Acting Head of Group and Chief People Officer of Hemas Holdings Ravi Jayasekera.

During the event, SHRM’s Nishith Upadhyaya, Executive Director- Advisory for India, APAC & MENA, alongside Neha Pant, Director of Knowledge and Advisory at SHRM India, introduced the concept of AI + HR = ROI. During this session, they emphasised that HR leaders must proactively and intentionally embrace the integration of AI (Artificial Intelligence) into their practices rather than passively allowing HR to evolve without deliberate guidance. They also opined that by taking an active role in shaping the implementation of AI technologies, HR leaders can ensure that these tools align with their organisation’s values, culture, and strategic objectives.

In the meantime, a leading provider of HR, benefits, retirement and investment solutions for global clients, Mercer, and Sri Lanka’s reputed performance consulting firm Sandbox, came on board as event partners for the 6th HR Think Tank. Shradhanjali Patnaik, Rewards Consulting Leader – Sri Lanka Market at Mercer, and Angelo De Silva, Managing Director and the Principal Consultant of Sandbox, conducted two sessions on rewards and organisational experience and development.

HRTT is a joint venture between AHRP and SHRM, the world’s largest not-for-profit HR Association. It is a member-driven catalyst for creating better workplaces where people and businesses thrive. As the trusted authority on all things work, SHRM is the foremost expert, researcher, advocate, and thought leader on issues and innovations impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With nearly 340,000 members in 180 countries, SHRM touches the lives of more than 362 million workers and their families globally.

As a milestone event in the HR calendar, AHRP’s HR Think Tank was supported by several local and global sponsors, including Gold Corporate Partners Hemas Holdings PLC, Hayleys PLC, Honor by Singer, Amoda Rathnayake Associates, MAS Holdings and Aitken Spence, Gifting Partner Thyaga, Life Insurance Partner Union Assurance and Coaching Partner Coach Masters Academy.

 

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