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EFC’s HR/IR Forum moots creating high performance culture through operational excellence

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The first edition of the EFC’s HR/IR Forum for 2019, powered by Unilever Sri Lanka and Glaxosmithkline Sri Lanka was unfolded before a full-house last week. The HR/IR Forum held under the banner of ‘Creating a High Performance Culture through Operational Excellence’, was steered by De La Rue Lanka Director and Plant Manager Andrew Hydes. The event was patronised by a large number of representatives from EFC member companies. 

Priding in its 200-year heritage, De La Rue is world’s largest commercial banknote printer today, with a customer base in 140 markets across three continents. The De La Rue Lanka plant in Biyagama prints more than a billion banknotes a year and supports the currency needs of over 30 countries worldwide, including Sri Lanka. The site employs over 300 locals and is one of De La Rue’s three key Centres of Excellence for global banknote production. The Plant which originally produced banknotes for the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, today produces over 80% banknotes for the export market.

Navigating through the operational success story of De La Rue, Andrew Hydes noted, “Basic human behaviour can break barriers” and thereby enable the path to a high performance culture. “Be genuinely interested in your people and a simple question as ‘how was your day?’ can do wonders.” Hydes went on to note that the cardinal principle of ‘being consistent in approach and over communication to all stakeholders’ cannot be underpinned. “Once is not enough,” he elaborated. 

Elucidating on the four-pronged strategy of ‘Leadership’, ‘Results Orientation’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Technical adaptability’ for operational excellence within an organisation, the senior De La Rue officer called for a working environment conducive to a ‘growth mindset’. In such a context, delegation of tasks is imperative, noted Hydes, adding that providing the employees with tools, information and guidance replete with a safe working environment is paramount. 

Built on the cornerstones of engaging and empowering people, high performing teams, operational excellence, lean processes and exceeding customer expectations, De La Rue prides in doing the ‘correct thing’ averred Hydes, adding that, a risk-taking working climate adds to the list. “A traditional HR administration could undermine people’s growth,” observed the De La Rue representative who called for a productive working environment that champions transparency and consistency. 

Developing the existing workforce as opposed to consistently bringing in new employees, was also mooted by Hydes who cited the common mistake of allowing skilled and capable employees to languish behind desks. “Very often we see gifted employees spending most of their time responding to e-mails which is a loss when they can be developing their capabilities and empowering others.”

Forging a culture of ‘managing for today- leading for tomorrow’ was also cited by Hydes in the journey towards a high-performing culture. In the transition journey, ‘rewarding different behaviours’, ‘focusing on what is important’ and ‘building capability’ are also high priority areas, he noted.

The presentation was followed by an interactive session with the audience which was moderated by the Senior Consultant to the EFC, Dr. K.L. Chandratilleke. 


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