Q: How have workplaces and their cultures changed in the last two years in the wake of the pandemic?
A: Individuals within an organisation’s collective rules of behaviour define its culture. Culture usually doesn’t change fast; it adjusts and evolves gradually over a period of time. However, the pandemic pushed for rapid adjustment, sometimes within days.

The National Development Bank (NDB) faced its pandemic-related challenges through an agile workforce, which used its can-do attitude to adapt fast to the changing work needs. Well before the numerous and lengthy lockdowns were imposed, we realised that our employees need not be physically present in the office and that most tasks could be completed remotely.

While we adjusted to new ways of operating during the pandemic, the time has now come for leaders to choose which cultural shifts should continue to be implemented and those that could be put on hold. We saw how the accelerated adaptation of digital platforms and modern technologies enabled most professional jobs to be undertaken remotely.

However, it creates a misleading impression that a physical presence at the office is unnecessary. Even now, a face-to-face meet up matters because it builds rapport and trust. Building workplace relations is that much easier in person than through technology. The efforts taken by employees to turn up at the office demonstrate their commitment to the bank.

Remote working, on the other hand, requires managers to be more explicit in their messages rather than generic. Leaders will need to provide more context and support for completing tasks, which in turn creates trust. It gives people space to own and manage their jobs better without constant supervision, and this in turn leads to empowering workers.

Yet, remote working can cause social isolation and that’s a hidden cost to an organisation’s culture when remoteness results in low productivity and loss of focus. Businesses have to invest more in the psychological wellbeing of employees to counter these effects while communicating boundaries and the importance of discipline.

Although culture change can be challenging, it is rewarding if the changes are favourable for the organisation as a whole.

Q: Is the concept of employee engagement important for nurturing a great workplace culture?
A: Employee engagement is critical to any organisation. However, different companies may define engagement differently with some common themes.

These themes include employees’ satisfaction with their work and pride in their employer, the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do in their jobs, and the perception that their employer values what they bring to the table.

When employees truly engage with the enterprise it’s more likely that they will go the extra mile and deliver higher personal and organisational performance.

Engaged employees are also more likely to commit to staying longer with their employer. We are proud that the NDB was certified as a great place to work because of the high levels of engagement between our employees and the bank.

Therefore, formulating and implementing successful employee engagement strategies is critical to organisational success. Leaders must develop good listening skills, be fair, have and demonstrate respect, build trust and understand the concerns of their workers.

Employee engagement has emerged as one of the most significant challenges in today’s workplaces. With the complexities and stringent regulations that now operate in the banking sector, NDB is committed to demonstrating even more engagement with its workforce.

Lasantha Dasanayaka
Vice President
Group Human Resources

Q: In your opinion, what are the main components of a great workplace?
A: There are five aspects that are important for an organisation to be a great workplace.

First, employees should perceive the management as believable and trustworthy. Second, the leadership will earn the respect of the workforce when it is credible. Third, employees should believe that organisational procedures are equitable and unbiased. Fourth, workers need to feel proud of their jobs and their employer. Fifth, there needs to be camaraderie that’s achieved through intimacy, hospitality and a feeling of community within the workplace.

If these five components are rated high by employees then those organisations are considered great workplaces. The NDB has been certified as a great place to work for two consecutive years making it the only local bank to be conferred this honour.

Q: Is organisational agility a priority in your workplace – if so, what measures have been taken to ensure this?
A: As mentioned before, agility is one of the key reasons why the NDB is a great place to work. At the bank, we encourage and enable our people to work in cross functional jobs, seek their ideas and empower them to be a part of the decision-making process. Our corporate strategy is a journey that comprises agile concepts.

The management continuously invests in creating a high-performance culture because we believe that a dynamic workforce will boost the organisation’s overall agility.

– Compiled by Isanka Perera

Telephone 7448888  |  Email contact@ndbbank.com  |  Website www.ndbbank.com