(from left): JETRO Colombo Immediate Past Resident Representative Kazuhiko Obama, JETRO Director, Standards and Regulations Division, Intellectual Property and Innovation Department Kei Kawano, COYLE Chairman Dinuk Hettiarachchi, Tama University (Hitachi, Ltd) Visiting Professor Dr. Yoshi Ichikawa, COYLE Senior Vice Chairman Aminda Rodrigo and JETRO Colombo Resident Representative Masatomo Itonaga
By Ruwandi Gamage
The Chamber Of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) is joining hands with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to improve health and wellbeing of employees by launching a new internationally accredited awards scheme to promote productivity and happiness at the workplace.
The very first ‘Sri Lanka Corporate Health and Productivity Awards’ organised by COYLE in collaboration with JETRO announced plans to the media last week.
The awards to be held in February 2019, will open applications on 1 September and close on 15 November 2018. The panel of judges will be headed by Tama University visiting professor Dr. Yoshi Ichikawa, also including members from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Japan-Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association (JASTECA) and Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). The evaluation of the companies will be under four categories, Extra Large, Large, Medium and Small, based on the number of employees, under 21 criteria. Public institutions were also encouraged to apply by the organisers.
The Sri Lankan awards have been structured on the PAS 3002 standards developed by the national standards body of the United Kingdom, British Standards Institution (BSI), which also integrates the Japanese law on the health and wellbeing of employees. These standards applicable to any country will be used as selecting criteria of winners in the competition.
Dr. Ichikawa explained how the criteria for the evaluation has been used for several years in Japan for their Health and Productivity Awards and that it is in par with the health laws of Japan and also based on scientific research data. He further described how these criteria focusses on both physical and mental health of employees.
“Health and wellbeing means both physical and mental aspects of health. While health can be evaluated easily, assessing of mental wellbeing is complex. Research suggests that happy people are three times more creative and 50% more productive than unhappy people. Happiness can be used to assess the mental wellbeing of employees under these aspects,” Dr. Ichikawa explained.
The goal of this competition is to raise public recognition of enterprises engaging in health and productivity management and to thereby further promote such management programs with aims to encourage the selected enterprises as an attractive investment option for investors who prioritise the improvement of corporate value from a long-term perspective.
COYLE Chairman Dinuk Hettiarachchi informed the media about the introduction of the competition to corporates in the form of a workshop that was held, headed by Dr. Ichikawa.
“We concluded the workshop with 70 corporates representing a cross-section of business sectors in Sri Lanka, conducted by Dr. Ichikawa from Hitachi Corporation in Japan who has extensive experience in the health and productivity programs carried out in Japan. It not only focused on helping organisations who are currently engaged in health and productivity management programs within their organisations, but also those who are planning to commence these sort of programs,” Hettiarachchi said.
JETRO standards and Regulations Division, Intellectual Property and Innovation Department Director Kei Kawano briefly stated that the awards bring recognition to the Japanese systems that have proven success and their goal through this competition is to shift focus and place importance on Japanese systems rather than Japanese products.
“It’s a holistic approach to improve the productivity while promoting employees health,” Kawano said.
Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe