STRIVE: The Portal to a better Corporate World

Dec 13, 2021 | Professional Development | 0 comments

In our much teenage years, when adults around us started calling us to be somewhat mature and asked the most popular question “What’s your purpose of being educated?”, the only answer we used to say is “To get a degree and to have a good job”. According to almost -18 teenage point of view, there wasn’t anything to say bad about the reply, but one term used, which is “Good job” might not be the best choice of words. Rather, using the term “Good career” is undoubtedly the most suitable word for an ‘ outside the box ‘ thinker. This is one of the most needed changes in youngsters’ attitudes toward their dream role in the corporate world, that the Professional Development Avenue of the Rotaract Club of University of Sri Jayewardenepura has been trying to achieve by demystifying and addressing the corporate world related topics.

 As a good continuity to this long running action, in this 2021-22 Rotaract year the Professional Development Avenue of RACUSJ came up with a novel initiative “STRIVE”, to cross the borders of traditional perspectives as well as to address contemporary issues, ethics and most importantly the workplace harassment for which is a topic spoken so rarely. Having all these as utmost quests, the focus was to define professionalism under the whole new dimension and spread out its vibes to a new height across our society that consists of many undergraduates who expect to be future employees, interns, currently employees, and employers as well. 

If we are intended to have a good career, we all need to understand that our knowledge and skills alone won’t be enough for our career role to remain steady in the workplace. First, we need to adjust to the environment we are surrounded by and the culture we are exposed to. For such inspiration, we made our audience to witness the very first webinar titled “Strengthening the Employer-Employee Relationship” that was held on 1st of October 2021, via zoom platform and was magnificently illuminated by Ms. Keshavi Puswewala, HR Business Partner – Corporate Function, R&D Employer Brand Lead in Unilever Sri Lanka. With her wisdom, she shared knowledge on how a newbie should ensure his or her competency, along with many HR functions such as Employee Induction, Conflicts and Grievance Handling, the session became so informative. Not only that, as a leading Rotaract Club of the Rotaract Movement in Sri Lanka we have encouraged our participants to have a glimpse of their future employment with the employers’ perspective in addition to theirs and hence proving what we perceive about ourselves in the workplace should be more like a fair coin

After marking the end of the first step, the second step of STRIVE was to enlighten our corporate workforce under the topic “Labor Laws and Rights”. This wasn’t yet another plain webinar to catch the audience, rather it was ultimately informative to our targeted workforce as the previous session. Thus, this amazing event took place on the 2nd of October 2021 starting off with a 20 minutes quiz competition to get and give the audience a chance to question their knowledge level on the laws and rights of employees and employers in Sri Lanka, and following the discussion by the experienced Attorney at Law, Registered Company Secretary and Commissioner for Oaths, Notary Public Mr. Thamira Rodrigo who has joined with us to make such enlightenment regarding the enacted legislations and regulations in the context of Sri Lankan employment. He succeeded in sharing and delivering the content to our participants with his much-simplified terms avoiding technical jargon without any doubt.

From this 2nd initiative of the project, STRIVE intended to convey the message that like employers, employees do have laws they should obey, rights they should know about, and their employment is indeed protected.

After STRIVE went successfully having, over 100 participants for both amazing webinars, the next and final milestone was to shape up the corporate world to overcome “Workplace Harassment”. As we all know harassment is something that shouldn’t exist in the humane world. Its counterpart in the corporate world, so-called “Workplace Harassment” is the darkest chapter written in many corporations which is one of obstacles that prevent building the reconciliation, yet to put full stop for. Upon its post effects such as mental stress, depression, decrease in performance and even making more tedious environment to work in, so many ambitious goals and stories end up being ill-fated under their career. In order to stop and, for a massive emphasis on the troublesome issue, RACUSJ influenced its fellow Rotaractors for a panel discussion making online stage as good approach on behalf of our young blood who is rightful to the future employment in Sri Lanka. So, 17th of October was marked as the first step against workplace harassment, the injustice that pollutes corporate sector dramatically. 

Since the formation of such revolution should start within the corporate world, the below well-known, experienced panelists have dedicated one and half hours from their immensely valuable time to lay the cornerstone for the discussion. 

  • Mr. Akhila Wijetunga – District Rotaract Representative 2021 – 2022 of Rotary International District 3220 Sri Lanka Maldives, Founder & CEO of Artslab Creatives
  • Mrs. Uwasara Arambewale – Clinical Psychologist, M.Phil in Clinical Psychology(SL), Grad Diploma in Psychology(AUS), B.S in Psychology(USA)
  • Ms. Kanchana Pelawaththa – Attorney at Law, Notary Public Commissioner for Oaths, Registered Company Secretary 
  • Ms. Tharindi Wickramasurendra – Executive HR, Communications & Community Outreach, Jetwing Hotels

From the beginning to end, throughout the discussion, they shared plenty of unknown facts and information about workplace harassment with more than 130 participants. Further, they emphasized the vast importance of implementing the enacted policies within a particular corporation and moreover explained changes to be made to the organizational structure of companies, how process of inquiry should be carried out to a great degree, as their insightful answers for the questions raised from the audience.

The fellow Rotaractors didn’t hesitate to promote for this pure endeavor even after the panel discussion. So, two voice cuts from witnesses of this injustice have been posted and shared, protecting their privacy through social media platforms to convince the society about what they’ve been through and how troublesome it was to handle when experiencing such incidents. 

When it comes to adjust the online platform into an effective stage to address workplace harassment, this duty is not only up to RACUSJ’s shoulders. The young generation across the country are openly invited to dare to ignite the flames of justice together as a unity. Whether your aim is to accomplish your career goals in the private sector or government sector, carefully keep in your minds to STRIVE your best to fit in, keep your performance to good measurement and most importantly to hesitate for any means of corruptive & fraudulent injustice because you are inevitable to embrace the glimpse of a “Good career” in your own terms without any worse

The STRIVE team hopes that the project gave insights on 3 equally important aspects that are crucial in one’s professional life and the participants gained knowledge on these uncommon topics and will add these points to make a better corporate world by being exemplary employees as well as employers in the future.

Written by Rtr. Sachith Gomes

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