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The EFC HR/IR Forum underscores Workplace Compliance PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 December 2017 00:00

The fourth edition of the EFC HR/IR Forum powered by Unilever Sri Lanka on the theme of ‘Workplace Compliance’ was held last week at the EFC premises. 

The forum, which began with a presentation on the theme by MAS Kreeda Sustainable Enterprises Director Eranthi Premaratne, also featured a panel discussion featuring Lasantha Senaratne - Group Compliance Officer, Sampath Bank Plc; Trinesh Fernando - Group General Council and Senior General Manager, Dialog Axiata Plc and Premaratne. The discussion was moderated by Browns and Company Plc Group Human Resources Senior Vice President Paduma Subasinghe.

The theme of the forum, as Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe stated in his opening remarks, is an extension of an “ongoing conversation” on the same. 

“Compliance is no longer an HR-intense concept, but it is valid to each and every sector of the business world.” 

Workplace Compliance is also about integrity, noted the EFC Chief, who further asserted that with the cost it entailed, there came many opportunities as well. 

“It is all about doing the right thing by the world of work, by the environment as well as civil society.” 

Citing COMPLIANCE +, which is a Sri Lankan Employer Brand for which EFC is credited, Weerasinghe further stated that SMEs were very much a priority of compliance. “Our informal sector is decisive to the national economy by contributing 65% of the GDP. It is in recognition of this contribution that the EFC has now expanded its reach through Regional Chambers of Commerce.”

Reiterating that cost was never a reason not to comply, in her presentation, Premaratne pointed out that while compliance lays the foundation for sustainable business practices, the cost of non-compliance takes a toll on the organisation, employees as well as the world at large. “With the Triple Bottom Line principle of Profit, People and Planet coming into play, compliance embraces safety, sustainability, transparency and reporting,” she said.

In order to make compliance a part of the organisational DNA, a top-down approach accompanied by proper systems and procedures should be in place, added Premaratne. Throwing light on the good practices adopted by MAS Kreeda in terms of the use of automation and assuring a harassment-free working environment, the senior professional noted: “We have introduced an alarm mechanism on the payroll system and data gathering on waste, health and safety and given the female-intense nature of the company, there is a Code of Conduct and a zero-tolerance policy over harassment.” 

She also stressed that compliance in the long run was the “easier route”.

Embracing a “compliance culture” which adds more value and enhances the business as well as profits is the way forward, remarked Sampath Bank’s Senaratne. 

“Today compliance cannot be in isolation but is very much an integral part of the business culture,” said Senaratne, who pointed out that in the finance sector, managers play the multiple roles of a HR manager and a compliance officer. Given the huge obligation towards depositors, compliance is the norm in the finance sector, said the senior banker, adding that data governance and confidentiality maintenance were core to the industry. 

In terms of the best practices, internal systems and processes, system audits and other regulatory requirements are in place to assure compliance within the sector, he said. 

“The fall of the banking system impacts the entire economy and the cost of non-compliance could run into colossal amounts,” reflected Senaratne, who outlined the concept of compliance as “common sense”. “It’s about good vs. bad and right vs. wrong.”

Dialog Axiata Plc Group General Council and Senior General Manager Trinesh Fernando, who urged that compliance “should be embraced with both hands”, acclaimed that in the event of non-compliance, the stakes are high. 

“In terms of Dialog, which is the fourth player to enter the local mobile communication industry, our investments are so high and we simply cannot detach from the law.”  

With the expansion of the organisation into the finance sector, this becomes even more valid, he noted. Rendering muscle to compliance at Dialog Axiata Plc are the stringent external communication process and deterrent mechanism of gate keeping, pointed out Fernando.  

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 December 2017 08:57