Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has implemented the purpose-designed HR plans at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, BOC Senior Deputy General Manager K.E.D Sumanasiri disclosed.
The bank has managed to ensure a safe and dynamic environment for the successful mobilization of staff plus continuous provision of services, despite ongoing restrictions and safety concerns, he added.
In managing the early part of the pandemic, BOC’s HR function proactively engaged all employees, drawing on a novel method of delegation, seeing that it would be the most effective and efficient way forward in handling an unprecedented situation posing similarly unseen challenges.
This draws from BOC’s culture of smart delegation, a core component of its HRM and operational philosophy.
To mobilize a team exceeding 8,000 staff members in the initial months of the global pandemic, required the bank’s HR department to give trust and confidence, to all employees across the organization, in their capabilities and decision-making power.
The system of delegation adopted was driven by this empowering of staff, where managers and employees at every level were instructed to take decisions in their respective positions, using their discretion to act and delegate as necessary.
BOC adopted a two-tiered strategy, where the primary objective included the protection of all employees, and secondly ensuring business would go on as normal even with the restrictions.
Therein, employee adherence to all Health Department enforced regulations and orders remained a key HR goal, complemented by its own initiatives to drive employee safety and continuity of operations.
The bank continues to bear all costs for quarantine procedures and PCR tests to be performed by employees. Apart from essentials such as providing PPE for all employees, BOC also adopted a roster system and offered free transport, to ensure its 8,000 strong staff have been able to progressively resume work.
Accounting for the many impacts of COVID-19 on the bank’s HRM function, BOC has adopted numerous changes in its delivery of HR services including digitalization.
It has adopted unique methods of showing appreciation to employees in overcoming challenges to meeting in person, remote hiring and recruitment with video platform-based interviews to save time and ensure safety.
Towards this end, BOC has afforded much focus to ensuring a strong work-life balance for employees, in line with the increased need for work-from-home and flexible work arrangements organization-wide.