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CIPM Webinar on Managing Employee Wellbeing for High Performance Attracts Over 200 Participants



From left to right: Davina Kern, Dr Thivanka Munasinghe, Ken Vijayakumar and Dr Heather Fernando

CIPM Sri Lanka – the Nation’s leader in human resource management recently organized a bilingual webinar to share expert insights on “Managing Employee Wellbeing for High Performance in the Workplace”. The evening webinar attracted over 200 enthusiastic participants. Moderated by Ken Vijayakumar-Vice President CIPM Sri Lanka and Director HR, Waters Edge the expert speaker panel comprised of Mrs. Davina Kern-Head of Group HR, David Pieris Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Dr Thivanka Munasinghe-Family Physician and Dr Heather Fernando-AGM HR, Metropolitan Technologies (Pvt) Ltd.

“In the context of the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, there is no doubt that employee wellbeing was affected. HR practitioners should take the lead to ensure that the enabling environment for employee high performance and engagement is maintained with innovative, out of the box thinking to care for their employees’ wellbeing thereby overcoming the challenges in the new normal,” said Ken Vijayakumar.

At the outset, the panelists presented their views on many interesting and important areas including the definition of employee wellbeing in the context of HRM, importance of employee wellbeing for HR practitioners and professionals, best practices for employee wellbeing adopted by organizations during the pandemic, how employee wellbeing adds value to organizational performance and future strategies that can be adopted for employee wellbeing.

Explaining that employee wellbeing is the way employees’ work, with their expectations, with workplace affects on their overall health and happiness, Dr. Thivanka Munasinghe said that the state of being comfortable with good health was dependent on the employees emotional, career, social, financial, and physical status which are known as the 5 pillars of wellbeing. “By understanding & listening to our employees we can improve their happiness and the sense of wellbeing. Eventually, they will give an improved and increased productivity for the organization” he added.

Sharing her views, Dr Heather Fernando said that employee wellbeing is a state of psychological element that is shaped by engagement, their work expectations, and how their overall health and happiness is managed by the employer. “HR professionals should strategically leverage on-site resources to generate a healthier and happier workforce that contributes with high productivity for high profitability. Human capital is the heart of a successful organization specially in tough economic times. Therefore, having a happy and healthy workforce could bring high economic values to the bottom line” adding that during these unfamiliar times there is no doubt that employee wellbeing is a growing concern.

Davina Kern said “everyone feared the deadly Covid-19. All employees needed an understanding setting to perform. Bosses, colleagues who are accommodative, who are there in need. Covid-19 took a toll on mental wellbeing of everyone. HR needs to be able to decide which task to be assigned to whom based on competencies. Companies who understood what really mattered to them focused on priorities and won people, customers and revenue” and emphasized that post pandemic it was important for HR to take a leadership role to help employees reconnect in an environment of coming back to office and supporting them to work remotely in terms of improving competencies required.

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Manudam Mehewara Initiative by Dialog, MAS, Hemas & CBL reach 10,000 families, invites all corporates to Join its countrywide emergency relief mission



Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts

In a mission to provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable communities across the country amidst the ongoing economic crisis, the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative reached its first milestone of aiding over 10,000 families in-need.

 Joining hands with like-minded partners including its execution partner Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and independent auditor PwC Sri Lanka, Manudam Mehewara was initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, and CBL Group with the end goal of providing emergency support to over 200,000 vulnerable families and communities across the country that do not have access to essential supplies and basic necessities. ITN, Siyatha, Swarnawahini, TV Derana and Vasantham are also supporting the initiative as media partners.

Emergency relief is currently being distributed across all 25 districts, and the Manudam Mehewara programme will conduct its relief efforts until a sustainable benefit transfer system is established through an effective recovery plan. Manudam Mehewara invites all corporates to join our shared mission to support over 200,000 vulnerable families across Sri Lanka.

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Ninewells Hospital raises awareness on thyroid disease in newborns to commemorate World Thyroid Day 2022



Ninewells Hospital, Sri Lanka’s leading woman and childcare hospital in the private sector, commemorates World Thyroid Day on 25th May by emphasising the significance of early detection and treatment of Congenital Hypothyroidism among newborns in Sri Lanka.

Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) is a condition affecting infants from birth, and refers to an absent thyroid gland or a thyroid gland that is present but is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormones. On average, 1 in 4,000 babies are born with a severe form of CHT in Sri Lanka, while milder forms can be seen more commonly. If left untreated, the condition can affect brain development as well as normal growth in children and adolescents. Conversely, if detected and treated early, the damaging effects of CHT can be reversed and prevented completely.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading private sector childcare health service provider, we want to draw attention to the serious implications of Congenital Hypothyroidism on World Thyroid Day this year. Congenital Hypothyroidism is a condition which has a detrimental impact on postnatal development. For this reason, early detection and treatment is vital and should ideally begin within the first two weeks after birth,” said Dr. Vibash Wijeratne, Chief Operations Officer and Director, Ninewells Hospital.

In 2021 Ninewells Hospital unveiled a Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) testing facility to support Sri Lanka’s national program for screening newborns for CHT and the country’s vision for a healthier population. Since then, the hospital has carried out over 8,000 tests in 2021 and over 2,000 tests between January and May of 2022.

With the unveiling, Ninewells Hospital became the first in the private sector to introduce a TSH screening machine and became one of the only two hospitals in the country to offer this screening service.

“The screening for CHT is a simple process that is performed using a heel prick test. At Ninewells, the test report following the screening is issued within a short span of three days which is unprecedented in the country. This allows healthcare providers to begin immediate treatment to avoid development impediments in newborns and infants,” Dr. Wijeratne also said.

Ninewells Hospital is Sri Lanka’s premier women’s and children’s hospital in the private sector, providing a variety of specialty services such as Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, and Fertility. The hospital, which is backed by the Access Group of Companies’ visionary leadership, continues to push boundaries and raise the bar for women’s and children’s healthcare in Sri Lanka.

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SL plunges into worst economic contraction in the wake of dramatic currency collapse – CBSL Governor



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka will witness the worst economic contraction in its history, as it reels from a currency collapse of the rupee from 200 to 370 to the US dollar and interest rates contracted above 20 per cent, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

“Sri Lanka is going through severe fuel shortages and power cuts after the credibility of a soft-peg was broken by mis-targeted interest rates in the course of targeting an output gap (printing money to boost growth) under the Keynesian ideology, Weerasinghe said while addressing the Press Club of the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The event was held at the Colombo Hilton on Monday.

Weerasinghe added: “At this juncture we cannot make normal imports for the next three to six months. Industries are saying there is no raw material. Only essential imports can be made on a priority basis in order to maintain day- to- day activities.

‘Sri Lanka’s economy contracted 3.6 per cent in 2020 amid the Coronavirus crisis and it also contracted 1.5 per cent in 2001, after a soft-peg crisis amid a civil war.

‘The latest failure of the unstable peg with the US dollar came after the Central Bank printed over two trillion rupees over two years to mis-target interest rates, leading to a steep collapse of the currency and a correction of the interest rates back to around 20 to 25 per cent.

‘The economic crisis has also spilled over into a political crisis and social unrest.

‘The rupee’s 2022 fall to 380 to the US dollar from 200 to the dollar is the worst currency crisis created by the soft-pegged Central Bank in its 72- year- old history.

‘The money printing Central Bank created its first economic crisis and output shock in 1953, bringing down growth to 0.7 per cent after triggering a now famous “hartal”.

‘An Exchange Control Act was also enacted in 1952 as the printed money from the newly set up Central Bank scrambled to go out, in a phenomenon that was repeated multiple times over the next 70 years and dragged the country into 16 IMF programs.

‘The unstable Central Bank was set up by a US money doctor in 1950 in the style of Argentina’s BCRA, abolishing a Currency Board that had kept the country stable through two World Wars and the Great Depression, where money printing above the external anchor was outlawed.

‘The worst recorded crises in the country include the 1948 uprising against the then colonial administration which took place after the British railway bubble burst, commodity prices fell and the then colonial government upped taxes. However, there is no information on the economic contraction that year.

‘Sri Lanka’s citizens burnt the houses and property of the elected ruling class on May 9, after the unstable peg collapsed in a botched float where interest rates were not allowed to go up before the float and a surrender rule pushed the rupee down.

‘Interest rates were allowed to go up after my appointment as CBSL Governor and the economy is now slowing and the headlong crash of the rupee peg has slowed.’

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