Insulate your business from the next calamity | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Insulate your business from the next calamity

17 October, 2021

Businesses around the world were caught off guard by the pandemic. We are over one and a half years from the start of the outbreak and are still trying to grasp the long-term effects. It’s essential to learn from what happened and adapt to the conditions that are becoming the new normal.

Secure your employees, operations, and help plan for any potential crisis in the future. The world is making a quick leap towards the digital age and you might want to hop on board.

We need to compete to survive and compete more aggressively and strategically. The moment you hear the word competitiveness what comes to your mind is marketing. Contrary to this popular belief, the overall competitiveness of a business cannot be built by one department or function.

The incremental challenges posed are for people to respond to and that’s the human capital of an organisation. It’s the human Talent that can ensure its competitiveness. Based on such a premise, an HR head should be the main supporter and promoter of world-class initiatives in Employer Branding to attract, motivate, engage and retain the best professional talent that an organisation requires to be competitive.

Change needed

How best HR managers use the recent and current experience to insulate the organisation from any future potential will determine the readiness of an organisation for the next calamity.

Based on my experience, I do see the need to change the vision, scope and focus of most Sri Lankan HR professionals.

A capable and competent Human Resources Manager must have a strategic mindset to actively support the leadership vision and related strategies, co-owning the business plan not limiting the scope to budgeting and expense management around people related business activities.

Instead of aligning the HR strategy in terms of effect on the bottom line, HR managers explain things in touchy-feely terms.

If HR wants to be seen as a real value creator, the focus should be on the business plan and as to how HR activities can ultimately impact the bottom-line performance.


A good HR professional should be someone who has fully understood and can clearly communicate the organisation goals, strategy and objectives to the employees independently and be the custodian of policy and procedure in conjunction with statutory and state legal requirements.

HR managers should have the ability to successfully make up the value proposition of the employer to the existing and potential employees bringing all key elements together and articulating in a persuasive manner targeting internal and external stakeholders. Positioning statements as an employer should be a collective decision by the leadership of the organisation spearheaded by the HR manager. Having the right ‘product in place as an employer’ is not sufficient.

The HR manager has a task of augmenting the employer as a brand with addition of value and clearly communicating the benefits to the employees regularly to keep the wheels of the organisation moving fast enough in the right direction. Good selling skills are a must for successful HR professionals in today’s context.

Take the lead

Employer statements typically claim “employees are our most valuable asset”. This would lead one to believe that HR, the department charged with managing people’s assets, is powerful. So HR has to take the lead to make this happen with the support of the leadership.

The Human Resources Manager is accountable for coordinating and implementing the human talent policies of an organisation to ensure operational excellence with proper strategic alignment and nurturing a great workplace environment.

Compensation and benefits and culture that encourage the right balance between life and work, and exciting career development and succession plans that are systematically designed and executed to provide employee satisfaction help building a healthy and sustainable asset base.

In summary, competitiveness of a business is driven by the competitiveness of its employees. To build a competitive outfit, HR managers must understand the operating environment, industry dynamics and business, and see themselves as part of the frontline commander in the battlefield. It is leading and not limiting HR to a mere supportive role.