“The style of leadership has to be more agile and collaborative in order to create a culture of high performance”​

The blog features leadership insights from leading CEOs / CHROs on effective leadership and how their leadership styles helped to shape the organization culture and executive performance in mitigating the ever changing challenges in the business environment. This episode features Mr. Paduma Subasinghe – Director – Human Resources of Global Rubber Industries Pvt Ltd., in conversation with Riaz Hassen – CEO of Colombo Leadership Academy Paduma is an experienced HR practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in diversified industries. Skilled in strategic HR interventions, Employer branding, Business Planning, HR Consulting, Coaching, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Strong acumen in human resources with a post graduate studies (MBA) focused in Human Resources from University of Sri Jayewardenepura (PIM). He is passionate in setting up HR systems and operations, which include efficient structuring linking to strong business strategy dynamics.

GRI began operations almost two decades ago with the establishment of the first plant for solid tyres. Since then GRI has gained entry to the world market, established new customers and has grown its business to over 50 countries, joining the elite league of global industrial tyre producers

Riaz – What is the future of HR and where do you see the challenges and changes happening?

Paduma – The current environment is extremely volatile, having a healthy workforce has become the highest priority. With the pandemic and also on top of it the local economy is also hanging on a thin line. This has created enormous pressure on the mental health of employees, which is impacting productivity. Today HR will have to play a critical role to equip managers to create phycological safety amongst cross functional teams. This will be critical for the sustainability of the any organization and other areas of change would be as follows –

  1. Shift towards fulltime remote working. There also would be, in my opinion “part time” worker population increasing in the country. The challenge would be to have the laws and structures drawn up to manage these working models.
  2. Technology taking over most of the non value added activities and organization focusing on the core activities. With the Big Data era coming into play the companies having the biggest data capsules would have an competitive advantage. Therefore HR’s biggest challenge will be to increase the readiness and competency levels to manage this emerging trend.
  3. We as an organization will have to invest on proper mental health framework. Support working mothers, build “consciousness” and “mindfulness” as a core competency of all our managers. Work areas to be more environmental friendly and more engaging to the mind.

Riaz – What are the key learnings you have taken from the recent crisis in the area of talent management and employee engagement?

Paduma – The biggest learning has been that organization were not ready to manage a crisis of this magnitude. Business continuity planning in most organizations were not a part of their DNA. This has to now get dovetailed in the talent management strategy.

Employee engagement too will take a shift towards mental health, emotional and spiritual intelligence and this will be the driving force to create a positive work force.

Riaz – What style of leadership will help to create a high performance organization culture?

Paduma – The style of leadership has to be more agile and collaborative in order to create a culture of high performance. The pressure is on to redesign work to help organizations emerge stronger and more resilient than before, providing the flexibility to employees while avoiding potential pitfalls of distributed teams working asynchronously. Many organizations with rigid structures, workflows, role designs and networks that don’t meet today’s needs or flex with fast-changing conditions will fall behind the pace of acceleration. Employees suffer the effects in various forms of work ‘friction’ Even now we might have to redefine what high performance cultures would be like. The culture has to developed to have more connections and learning within. Leaders should build small pod based cross functional teams to drive collaboratiion and agility.

Riaz –  What defines a Great Manager and what are the key competencies required to be one?

Paduma – They need to be agile, Agility will drive success in the future. They need to have the competence to create self organizing teams, collaborate, learn from each other, get quick feedback from employees and focus on quality and continuous learning. He or she must not micro-manage the people nor create total freedom. This balance is extremely important.

Riaz – What are the best practices in your organization that defines your employer brand?

Paduma – GRI is a Company who is going global, we are a agile company, where people are given the opportunity to grow. The growth possibilities are tremendous. We as an organization even during the pandemic is looking at a 7X growth in the next 3 years. We stretch and harness the potential of people providing an opportunity for growth and transformation, this I think is our USP for employees.

About the interviewer – Riaz Hassen

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Riaz Hassen is the founder CEO and Managing Director of Colombo Leadership Academy and has served in board positions in diversified conglomerates and has over 30 years of experience in providing leadership and driving business growth. He is an experienced Executive & Leadership Development Coach, A Leadership Effectiveness & Culture Assessor certified by the Leadership Circle USA. Culture & Diversity Ambassador by Hofstede Insights. Riaz is equipped with vast experience in Executive, Leadership and Transformation Coaching domains. Riaz is also an advocate of crafting Employer Branding strategies developing Employer Value Propositions and Diversity & Inclusion ventures.