SriLankan Airlines demonstrated its high level of professionalism in human resource management and development when it won a Silver award in the Government-Owned Business category at the recently concluded National HRM Awards 2012, organised by the Organisation of HR Professionals Sri Lanka in partnership with AON Hewitt – the world’s largest HR consulting group.
SriLankan wins this award after a lull of five years, having last won such an accolade in the year 2007.
Nishantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, received the award on behalf of the airline at a glittering ceremony at Cinnamon Grand recently. The Silver award was the highest accolade won in this category, as the Gold was not awarded.
SriLankan Airlines enjoyed this recognition in the company of organisations such as HSBC, Hatton National Bank and MAS Active who were some of the other leading Silver award-winners from the private sector.
Pradeepa Kekulawala, Head of Human Resources at the national carrier said, “Over the past year we have implemented a wide array of modern human resources practices, together with innovative business partnering strategies, to optimise productivity and efficiency throughout the airline’s nearly 6,000-strong worldwide workforce in 20 countries.”
“Over the years, the organisers have raised the bar by several notches in the qualifying criteria for awards in terms of international best practices. Therefore, this award is a tribute to the excellent work and professionalism of the entire human resources team of SriLankan. We have received the relentless support of the senior management team, strengthened by the guidance of the Chairman and CEO who have demonstrated explicit faith in the HR team,” said Kekulawala.
“This award is further proof of our unqualified level of success in positioning SriLankan Airlines as an employer of choice among corporate institutions in Sri Lanka. We have strived to transform the HR function in the company to a people-friendly, productivity oriented, proactive business partnering engagement to support the corporate objectives.
I humbly believe that many of these initiatives have been able to make a positive difference,” said Kekulawala.
These innovations over the past year have included handling a massive talent search to feed the leadership pipeline of the company through a highly sought after future leaders management trainee programme, filling key operational vacancies, enhancing staff productivity throughout the company, providing a long-term succession plan through ‘star’ identification and nurturing, carrying out on site meetings with staff and ‘listening campaigns’, boosting morale by enhancing staff welfare facilities, providing rapid communication with employees through a mix of modern and traditional methods and positioning dedicated HR business partnering managers in every major department for the most efficient handling of day-to-day issues.
Programmes such as the setting up of Joint Development and Productivity Committees (JDPCs) in major departments have also sharply increased employee participation in generating ideas to increase revenue, reduce costs and eliminate wastage by giving members of the staff a sense of ownership of the company.
The revival of sports at the airline in 2011 increased competitiveness, enhanced camaraderie and is providing a competitive mindset among the staff.
SriLankan’s HR team has also worked closely with a diverse range of employees of many nationalities who are stationed in the airline’s offices across dozens of countries in many continents.
The airline’s training arm - International Aviation Academy (IAA) - which is under the purview of the Human Resources Division, was recently honoured by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by being named a ‘Top Ten’ Training Partner in South Asia among 60 institutions.