IPM Sri Lanka, the Nation’s leader in human resource management held its Annual National Human Resource Conference 2018 on 6th and 7th of June 2018 at the BMICH, Colombo which explored the opportunities and challenges for organizations, its people, human resource management and human resource professionals in an increasingly digital world. “The Transformation of HR in the Digital World” is the theme of this year’s Conference which is a much looked forward to annual event by the HR and business fraternity in Sri Lanka. The IPM NHRC 2018 is considered to be the largest HR conclave in South Asia.
IPM Sri Lanka NHRC 2018 organizing committee headed by Priyankara Seneviratne-Chairman together with his team put together a compelling agenda over the 2 days to keep the more than 1000 local and foreign participants engaged with keynotes, knowledge sharing sessions, sharing of best practices and entertainment. The Conference was inaugurated on the 6th of June with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest Navin Dissanayake-Hon. Minister of Plantation Industries. Keynote Speaker Mark. G. Prothero-Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Sri Lanka & Maldives, IPM Sri Lanka President-Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri, IPM Sri Lanka CEO-P. G. Tennakoon, Chairman Organizing Committee IPM NHRC 2018-Priyankara Seneviratne and others.
Welcoming the guests and participants to the Conference, Prof. Dharmasiri said “We thank our chief guest the Hon. Minister for gracing the occasion. It gives me immense pleasure to be with this gathering of like minded people who are all interested in the most precious, vibrant and the only ‘alive’ resource in the entire organization – human resources”.
“I have a personal perspective in this year’s conference theme. Digitization is the current fad, currency and focal point. In my view this is only another phase that we are going through, a phase of change and disruption. In such a world, one solid rock is the power of human capacity, potential of human resources. This is what we are going to be celebrating this evening, and rally around and network with each other, reflecting, reinforcing and relating with regard to the most precious resource” he added.
The IPM NHRC 2018 gave the HR fraternity an opportunity to impress upon the Hon. Minister the importance of digitalization as a strategic and competitive tool in the field of human resource management to garner support for fresh underlying initiatives along the lines of the Conference theme.
In his address to the Conference, the Hon. Minister said “HR leaders, managers and policy makers have a huge challenge ahead of them when formulating national HR goals into the macro picture. I as a policy maker find it rather frustrating that we as a country do not have an HR roadmap of what human resource management, how it can be formulated, how it should be done and could be done. But unfortunately, those policy objectives of understanding what our country wants in terms of a 10, 15 or 20 year road map of what kind of leaders, educated people, task enforcers would be needed in the country is a vital and important question that all politicians should ask”.
During the event on 7th June which was the 2nd day of the conference, the IPM NHRC Technical Committee led by its Chairman U. A. C. Obeysekere had organized 4 technical sessions as well as 2 panel discussions which were conducted by eminent speakers and panelists adding much value to the proceedings of the conference. At the technical sessions, Dr. Kazuo Yano (Corporate Office/Corporate Chief Scientist at Hitachi Ltd, Japan) spoke on “Workplace Happiness through Digitalization”, Dr. Danushka Bollegala’s (Associate Professor in AI, University of Liverpool, UK) topic was on “Changing HR Landscape in the Digital Age”, Dr. D. Prasanth Nair’s (Managing Partner and Country Head, Inhelm Leadership Solutions) topic was “Leveraging AI in HR” while Ms. Claudia Cadena (Founder and Principal Consultant, Thread Advisory) spoke on “Aligning and Energizing People in a Digital Workplace”.
The 1st panel discussion was unique in that for the first time in history, all the Presidents/heads of country level HR societies of different countries were in one panel discussing the topic of “Future of HR in the World of Digitalization”. The panelists for this were Somesh Gupta (National President, NIPM India), Kanwer A. Saeed (VP-Pakistan Society of HRM), Md. Musharrof Hossain (Founder President, Federation of Bangladesh HR Organizations, President-Bangladesh Society for HRM, Immediate Past President-APFHRM), J. Aresandiran (President-Malaysian Institute of HRM) and Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri (President-IPM Sri Lanka). This panel discussion was moderated by Jayanta Jayaratna-Management Consultant. The topic for the 2nd panel discussion was “Transition of Industrial/Employee Relations in the Digitalized World” with Diththa De Alwis (Senior Asst. Director General and Head of Litigation-The Employees Federation of Ceylon), A. Sarveswaran (Senior Lecturer and Director Legal Research Unit-Faculty of Law, University of Colombo) and Milanga Weerakkody (Deputy Commissioner of Labor-Enforcement) as panelists with Dhammika Fernando (Executive General Manager-Tropical Findings (Pvt) Ltd) as the moderator.
In addition to the technical sessions and panel discussions, several interesting events took place during the 2 day conference. Amongst these, the grand final of the IPM Great HR Debate, which is Sri Lanka’s only corporate debating competition dedicated to HRM was held in the afternoon of June 6th soon after the inauguration of the Conference. The winner of the IPM Great HR Debate was Toyota Lanka while MAS Capital emerged as runners up. Furthermore, the Hayleys Plantation Sector was selected as the organization with the most unique HR initiative in providing a strategic advantage to the organization in the IPM Great HR Practices competition. They were given an opportunity to share their thoughts and expertise in the unique initiative for the benefits of the participants. The IPM National HR Exhibition was also held alongside the Conference on both days which give the conference participants an opportunity to assess and experience the various HR related solutions including those with digital disruption capabilities. The IPM Great HR Awards ceremony which recognizes and honors unique and passionate individuals who have excelled in the field of HR and contributed to the betterment of the HR fraternity was also held on the inaugural day of the Conference.