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AHRP and SHRM launch HR Think Tank Sri Lanka

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AHRP President Ishan Dantanarayana & CEO of SHRM for APAC & Middle East,  Achal Khanna, signing of MOU

 Creating an impact that matters; a roundtable discussion 

with Deloitte


By Chanaka Palliyaguru

Filling a much-needed gap in the HR industry in Sri Lanka, the Association of Human Resource Professionals (AHRP) launched the historic HR Think Tank Sri Lanka initiative,in collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), on 28 February, at a special event held at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo, in the presence of HR leaders of the country.

President AHRP, Ishan Dantanarayana addressing inaugural HR Think Tank
Vice President AHRP, Dinusha Jayamanne sharing the HRTT Plan for 2019
How Digitally Agile are you? – an interactive session with Headstart, Asanga Vitharana
Vote of thanks, Harini Indiketiya – Project Chair, Inaugural HR Think Tank
Building World Class Teams & Leaders – Insight from Sri Lankan Corporates - Angelo De Silva, Sandbox


What is HR Think Tank Sri Lanka?

Launched for the first time in the country, the ground-breaking initiative envisions elevating HR practice in the country to the next level. The core objective of the HR Think Tank is to facilitate meaningful discussions among HR experts in the country, to find solutions for the challenges faced by the HR industry,and to uplift the standards and skills of the HR fraternity. The Think Tank will be driven by senior HR professionals, representing diverse backgrounds and industry verticals in thetop tier of the nation’s corporates.

The Think Tank will meet quarterly to brainstorm different topics, focusing on feasible solutions and action items. The output of these brainstorming sessions is to oversee the implementation of solutions through planning, coordination and execution: first through AHRP, and then through a national policy-enabling body,affecting the HR practice of the entire nation. 



“From personnel administration to being a critical business decision maker, HR has evolved phenomenally,”said AHRP President Ishan Dantanarayana,summing up the rationale behind the Think Tank.“HR in Sri Lanka has evolved immensely; however, we need to adopt global best practices and bring in the latest knowledge and insights into HR, by opening learning opportunities.”

SHRM CEO (APAC and Middle East)Achal Khanna said: “Due to the dynamic nature of the business world, constant up-skilling will be a necessity in the new-age HR. But, there is one thing that technology cannot do: giving the human touch! The ‘human’ in human resources will never become obsolete.” Achal was also hopeful about organising a tech conference in Sri Lankain partnership with AHRP, like the SHRM tech conference recently held in Dubai.


Way forward

Following the official launch, AHRP Vice President Dinusha Jayamanne outlined what the Think Tank has in store for the next three quarters.

Havingidentified the cost benefit of investing in a holistic employee wellness program in organisations’ drive towards becoming more productive and efficient, the HRTT aims to identify means by which Sri Lankan corporates can implement and benefit from a holistic approach to employee wellness. The growing interest in mindfulness, especially among digital natives, coupled with years of scientific research, have pushed organisations to adopt this concept to rewire their established mind-sets, cultivating the open-mindedness and clarity required to navigate through unpredictable environments.

Volatile markets, challenging consumer demands, and the technological disruptions resulting from digitisation and Industry 4.0 are producing unprecedented rates of change in the way we work and the future of work. The key focus for the HR Think Tank would be how do organisations link strategy and work, profile the impact on businesses, and identify the benefits of a contingent workforce.This topic aims to find ways in which organisations can action and embrace the changes relating to dynamics of the future workforce.

There is a visible dearth in talent in today’s talent landscape even among the educated youth.The HR Think Tank aims to initiate a dialogue between the academia of key universities and the private sector to up-skill graduates, as a first step for influencing curricular development. This dialogue seeks to escalate to the private sector involvement in the skills upliftment of undergraduates at an early stage in their education, thereby improving their employability in the private sector. 


AHRP and SHRM will work together

AHRP Vice President Oshana Dias facilitated the inking of the MoU between AHRP and SHRM (APAC and Middle East), where premieres agreed to collaborate on lifting the skills and competencies of HR professionals in the country. This includes widening the availability of training programs and globally-recognised certifications such as SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) offered by SHRM, which helps HRprofessionals face real-world challenges with a sense of practicality. In addition to these, the two organisations have also collaborated in the past to host the HR Awards in Sri Lanka. 


Roundtable discussion 

The spotlight of the launch event was grabbed by the roundtable discussion facilitated by Deloitte, the main sponsor for the event.The roundtable engaged in a lively conversation around the topic‘Future of HR and its implications on HR as a function’, which surfacedinteresting thoughts about creating a high-impact HR operating model, and transforming HR by combining the best of what machines and humans can do.

Sandbox, the training partner for the HR Think Tank, presented their thoughts on building world-class teams through an insights-based approach, and Headstart, the technology partner, conducted an interactive session on measuring the digital agility of individuals.The launch event was well put togetherby the event partner Nisal Cee.

Project Chair Harini Indiketiya concluded the launch by delivering the voteof thanks and inviting the gathering for an evening of cocktails, canapés, andnetworking. 

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