Sampath Bank was recently bestowed with the “National HR Excellence Gold Award” at the National HR Conference 2016 Awards Ceremony held at the BMICH, Colombo. Organized by the Institute of Personnel Management, Sri Lanka, this award ceremony was conducted in line with the largest HR Conference in South Asia which gathers and represents the HR Fraternity alongside professionals from other disciplines, business leaders and local and foreign delegates, speakers and special invitees.
“Winning this award has brought a great deal of pride to Sampath Bank as it is a testament to our efforts in initiating, implementing and valuing the best HR Practices within the institution we operate in. While we place a great deal of focus on our main line of business, this award is a recognition for all our stakeholders ranging from Sampath team, to customers, business partners, Employees’ Association and more. We at Sampath Bank strongly believe that HR plays a role within the corporate system that balances all stakeholder interests whilst adding value to all”, said Aruna Jayasekara, Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Sampath Bank PLC.
With that being said, Jayasekara underlined the many highlights and initiatives the bank has accomplished and undertaken over the years in order to achieve the current state of excellence in HR and to bring success to the organization.
Starting off with employees, Jayasekara further explained the various platforms of training offered to their team members that facilitate a continuous learning experience. As an example, the e-learning platform created for employees with latest technology that enable employees to access e-learning even via their mobile phones. This is a significant initiative which appeals especially to ‘Y’ generation. “In Business Forum” is an another initiative which can be considered as an extension to Employee Suggestion Scheme where self nominated employees of any level can meet the Managing Director with their new business proposals and suggestions.
Sampath Bank is driven towards creating endless opportunities for their team members within the bank, providing equal opportunities for people to grow and develop.
The bank greatly encourages professional and personal development as well as team work through a range of programs which include focussed Training and Development, Executive Talent Development Programs and Mentoring and Counselling. Additionally, the Bank has set up a Leadership Academy – a unique initiative with a view to develop leaders at all levels. This initiative supports leadership and professional skills development of team members whilst contributing to the bottom line of the Bank.
Further emphasising on aligning with the bank’s HR philosophy, Jayasekara highlighted a new and unique development initiative adopted by the bank: ‘The Branch Bench Strength’. “The Branch Bench Strength measures the job rotations of the team members of the branch network. The average number of jobs a frontline team member is trained to be deployed at any given time is assessed and monitored for business exigencies. With this initiative, team members are exposed to different areas of operations within the branch, thus mastering the art and skills of a wide range of areas. This will further strengthen customer service and provide team members with an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills to develop themselves individually and professionally”. Adding on, Jayasekara emphasized on team members being multi-skilled as a tool for preparation as the banking industry rapidly moves in to the digital age.
Shifting focus to the next important aspect of the bank, Jayasekara spoke of the various ways the bank and its team members meet customers’ needs. “At Sampath Bank we are always driven towards passing our values to customers through high customer service standards. With the ‘Yes Maximisation’ project being implemented, the front liners ensure that customers are satisfied with the services offered to them along with the unlikely chances of being turned down or disappointed at not receiving a solution. In the event of the unlikely, the cross management team at Sampath Bank comes together to realign our strategies which will subsequently offer customers efficient solutions. Through this project, a cross functional team comes together to analyse operational guidelines to ensure our team members can always assist customers with the appropriate solutions to any queries, issues or needs they may have. Knowledge Sharing is another area where we focus on to discuss the near misses and best practices”.
Sampath Bank continues to create ample opportunities for its team members to interact with each other via Quiz competitions, Talent Shows, Athletic Meets, Award Nights and other various clubs and societies established by the Bank.
“We provide opportunities for our team members to engage in CSR activities conducted by the Bank, since we believe that it will fulfil their desire to work for the society they live in as responsive and responsible professionals. Special leave is granted for team members for CSR activities” said Jayasekara.
Sampath Bank’s commitment towards implementing the best HR practices is further noted in their efforts to provide children of their team members with benefits which include rewarding the children of Sampath Bank members who have excelled in the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination, A/Level Examination and National level achievements in sports etc. The bank provides these children with financial rewards, providing them with a great opportunity to move forward in their educational journey that ventures into a bright and prosperous future. Sampath “Daru Daskam” is also another event organized by the Bank to provide a platform to showcase the talents of children of team Sampath, recognize and reward them. Competitions are organized under various categories and age groups. Low employee turnover ratio compared to the industry, high level of employee engagement and healthy industry relations indicate our commitment to develop and nurture our team members.
Lastly, Jayasekara emphasized on the bank’s culture that sets Sampath Bank apart from other institutions – “Within Sampath Bank, we hold a unique culture known as the ‘Sampath Culture’. It is a culture where we have instilled values such as team work, open to feedback, professionalism and encouraging the value of creating a learning culture that promotes innovation, individual development as well as organizational development. It is this culture that has driven the bank to envelope the best HR practices, which in turn results in customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and overall pride for Sampath Bank”.
“Coming from a service industry, our daily activities are all about the people. HR plays a cross functional leadership role that ensures development at all levels. Considering the future of HR in Sri Lanka, I hope to see more HR professionals move to become business leaders, Jayasekara concluded.