Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana


Human resources management skills lever fundamentals in any organisation

Role of human resources (HR) professionals today
HR needs to be aligned with the ‘Fifth Industrial Revolution’ of personalisa­tion and human resources professionals must be strategic partners in the business.

To put people at the centre – and ensure that our workplaces are fairer, better and more humane for all employees.

Importance of HR in the business arena
Today, HR has a seat at the business strategy table – unlike in the past.

What this means
It enables optimising business deliverables through the effective use of people skills and capabilities.

How to ensure that a business has the right workforce to meet its strategic goals
By identifying the right skill sets, gaps and training needs; strategic benchmarking; and safeguarding wellness.

Must-have strengths of HR professionals
Critical thinking, agility, leadership, empathy, communication skills and business acumen.

Must-haves on a hiring checklist
Fire in the belly, proper values, the right attitude and learning agility.

Role of effective communication
Effective communication enables growth and the maximisation of human capital – it helps businesses to navigate adversity and diverse challenges.

And all of this…
Is while driving organisations towards a common goal.

Communications today
Needs to be supplemented with a large dose of empathy like never before and should always be people centric for success.

We are in an era where change is rapid and advanced technology disrupts business at an extremely rapid pace.

How organisations can unleash their employees’ full potential
By giving them the right of choice over what they do and fostering a culture of lifelong learning in the context of the declining demand for certain skills.

This is in addition to
The emergence of new skills, and the requirement for talent to continuously learn, unlearn and relearn.

Role of training and professional development
A key factor in improving employee performance is providing reskilling and upskilling opportunities, thereby boosting morale and reducing attrition.

Main impact of COVID-19
The pandemic and unforeseen changes have resulted in all of us having to reimagine and redesign the constructs of work, worker and workplace.

Impact of the pandemic on employees
With most of our colleagues working from home for nearly two years, we are seeing an abrupt shift.

In terms of
The employee experience, connectedness, the construct of doing business and our overall culture; and all of this is leading us to new ways of working.

Greatest change human resources had to bring about as a result
Flexibility – our people could use more choices in the way they work and are considering important aspects.

Such as
Family time, the work-life balance, working hours and even options to reduce commuting time. Physical and mental wellness have also become priorities.

Areas of improvement for local HR professionals
Having a growth oriented and futuristic mindset, and challenging the status quo.

Is productivity affecting industrial and economic growth?
Yes, productivity is a key enabler of economic growth and competitiveness.

And its importance
Boosting the productivity of industrial goods exponentially increases services and human resource consumption.

This leads to
Greater economic development.

The HR profession in five years’ time
We will see an entirely new suite of HR positions requiring a variety of fresh skills in overcoming a host of challenges.

Such as
Employee biases, data interpretation, wellness, remote culture development and coaching.

Creative new titles will come up.

Such as
For example, ‘head of human machine integrations’; ‘chatbot facilitator’; ‘virtual reality trainer’; ‘people data manager’; ‘head of gig economy management.’

All of these will have a common denominator – and that’s the new way of working.

Your mantra for success
Define success for yourself; take risks even if you fear failure; and have confidence in yourself.

– Compiled by Isanka Perera
Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana is the Head of Human Resources of Standard Chartered Sri Lanka