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NHRC 2024: CIPM’s Landmark Event in Human Resource Management Successfully Concludes

On June 5th and 6th, 2024, the National HR Conference (NHRC), organized by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) Sri Lanka, was held at the Monarch Imperial, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte under the theme, Navigating the HR Horizon.

The inauguration of the Conference featured a Keynote Address by Mr. Nick Jonsson, Co-founder and Managing Director of Executives’ Global Network (EGN) and an esteemed Executive Coach, who dwelled on the topic “Leading with Purpose and Authenticity”.

The Chief Guest at the Conference, His Excellency Santosh Jha, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka emphasized the importance of the HR sector discipline and its future.
Notable sessions on day two commenced by the session on the conference theme by Dr. Tanvi Gautam, Senior faculty and program Director at Singapore Management University (Executive Development). Mr. Priyantha Ranasinghe, Vice President CIPM, Chief People Officer, Siam City Cement Lanka Ltd, moderated the session, “Do without being told – Sustainability is a Mindset”, Panel discussion highlighted the practical strategies for embedding sustainability into everyday operations moderated by Mr. Ken Vijayakumar, President CIPM, Senior General Manager -HR, Administration, Purchasing and Sustainability at A. Baur & Company (Pvt) Ltd and the panellists were Prof. Sarath Kotagama, Professor Emeritus at University of Colombo, Dr. Rohan Fernando, Executive Director – Plantations and Business Development at Aitken Spence PLC, and Ms. Amanthi Perera, Head of the Social Sustainability, General Manager Sustainable Business at MAS Holdings.

“AI-enabled HR for Greater Productivity” was a key topic which provided thought provoking concepts. This session was moderated by Mr. Dhammika Fernando, Past President CIPM, Director of Tropical Findings (Pvt) Ltd and the panellists were Mr. Jehan Perinpanayagam, CEO at Infomate (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Damitha Jayasinghe, Chief People Officer at 99x and Ms. Lydia Mascarenhas, Chief Human Resources Officer at PickMe.

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in the local context, is it a myth?” panel explored whether DEI initiatives are genuinely embraced and implemented. This topic was moderated by Ms. Davina Kern- Council Member of CIPM, Head of Group HR at David Pieris Holdings. Ms. Rosanna Flamer Caldera, Founder and Executive Director of Equal Ground, Mr. Isuru Gunasekera, Executive Vice President/ Chief People Officer & Head of Sustainability, ERM & Group Initiatives at John Keells Holdings and Ms. Bani Chandrasena, President of Diversity Collective Lanka (DCLK) were the other panellists.

“Leading to the Unknown” session gave insights on how organizations and HR Leaders should adapt themselves to unknown conditions. Mr. Hiran Cooray, Chairman at Jetwing Symphony PLC/, Dr. Samitha Perera, Past President CIPM, Director/CEO at Ceylon Biscuits Limited (Foods), and Ms. Zahara Ansary, Country Manager at AICPA & CIMA for Sri Lanka and Maldives provided much needed insights on this. Mr. Janaka Kumarasinghe – Past President CIPM, Senior Independent Director, Vallibel Finance PLC, moderated the session.

Dr. Sweta Adatia, Neurologist and author spoke on Distress and Eustress. She explained that Distress is stress that negatively affects people while Eustress is a stress that has positive effects on you.

The National HR Exhibition brought together HR professionals, thought leaders and industry experts to showcase the latest trends, tools, and best practices in HR, and networking opportunities.

The grand finale of the Great HR Debate highlighted the evolving perspectives within the HR community, showcasing the value of both technological and human-centered approaches. After a thought-provoking exchange, IFS R & D International (Pvt) Ltd was crowned the winner, emphasizing the importance of human-centric methods in HR, while Nestlé Lanka Limited, advocated for an HR tech-driven approach, securing the runner-up position.

The success of the Conference was this collective effort which provided a platform for sharing insights, learning from experts, and engaging in meaningful discussions, collectively shaping the future of HR with a focus on humanity, resilience, and collaboration.

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