We are delighted to announce that Prime Group has been awarded as one of the 50 Great Work Places to work in Sri Lanka - 2022 for the 6th year.
Our appreciation goes out to our Management, for its efforts to make our employees happy and ultimately, make our valuable customers happy.
The July 2022 edition of LMD magazine featured a Q&A article after an interview with Mrs. Sandamini Perera, the Co-Chairperson of Prime Group.
Q: How has your workplace changed in the wake of the pandemic?
A: COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise, as it pushed companies to change ourselves to keep going forward.
Our aim during the pandemic was to ensure our staff was safe and taken care off. Hence we continuously checked on their wellbeing to ensure that we maintained a healthy balance. During this time we also conducted motivational programmes online to keep them geared up during the pandemic. Post-pandemic, we successfully achieved our targets that were unachievable during the lockdowns. We are thankful to our staff who supported each other and the business by being cooperative, flexible and committed during this difficult period.
In turn, we looked after them well, by providing vaccination initiatives, in-house COVID-19 testing facilities and quarantine facilities in hotels free of charge. Sick employees were provided with essentials, and constant contact over the phone to ensure that they didn't feel isolated.
Prime Group didn't curtail salary or benefits of employees, rather, we powered through the pandemic using simple yet effective initiatives. For instance, we created all-staff WhatsApp groups which are very lively, responsive and have brought us closer.
Q: What are the lessons learned from participating in the Great Place to Work® Sri Lanka (GPTW) survey?
A: We have been participating in the survey since 2015, and this time, we learned how to shape our HR practices to the new norm according to the framework of GPTW. The survey gave us input on all our internal practices, governance frameworks, policies and procedures from employees' perspectives. We used these insights and adapted ourselves to the GPTW framework while driving a people-oriented culture.
Q: How does Prime Group instill a culture of innovation?
A: We encourage our people to think differently. Our top management always request our employees to meet and talk to directly share their ideas and opinions about product and process development.
We also have an Executive Committee comprising up and coming senior managers who lead operational teams. This group frequently connects to brainstorm and also meets with junior teams and sales teams to get their inputs regarding respective areas.
Prime Group is keen on developing business processes. Our ICT team is continuously researching on new technology to be implemented. Our most recent innovation was digital visiting cards which is a sustainable solution to curb printing costs and share rich details with business associates and customers, including social media profiles and digital contact details.
Q: How can organisations practise the philosophy of creating a 'great workplace for all'?
A: The philosophy behind a great work culture is made of unique practices, values and learnt lessons. At Prime Group, our culture, stemming from the founders' thoughts and values, has evolved to become a rich and sustaining culture throughout a considerable period.
Companies cannot borrow practices from other companies and hope that they work the same way. Every company is different – its people, values, beliefs and even how they consume their meals. For example, we don't have separate lunch rooms or car parks for directors and employees yet this might be different in another company. When onboarding new employees, ensuring a cultural fit is essential – you can't force people to fit in. So we recruit people who share similar patterns of thinking and values.
Another aspect of creating a great workplace is giving employees a sense of pride. At Prime Group, we strive to ensure that our business performs in such a manner that employees are proud to be a part of us. Prime Lands Residencies – the condominium property arm of Prime Group – successfully conducted its initial public offering and became a public quoted company in 2021, and we also became Sri Lanka’s first and highest credit-rated real estate group to achieve [SL] A (Stable) rating from ICRA Lanka. In addition, we were recognised by Brand Finance as the Most Valuable Real Estate brand, the Most Respected Real Estate brand and the Most Awarded Real Estate brand this year. These recent milestones, which have enabled Prime Group to reach commendable heights in the corporate world, attest to this sense of pride.
Q: What initiatives have been taken to support your workforce to overcome today's economic challenges?
A: We have put in place several initiatives, some company-driven and some driven purely by employees.
On top of our annual salary increases to all employees, we also introduced a special travelling allowance and several food programmes to support our staff combat the fuel and gas shortages. Stemming from our family-oriented culture, we also arrange weekly team breakfasts, to support employees with difficulties without discriminating against anyone. Although our janitorial and security services are outsourced, we provide free meals to them as well. Even the crops from our lands are distributed to our employees at concessionary rates.
The charitable philosophy of Prime Group has also cascaded to our employees, and we are happy to see them collecting funds to help out needy people outside the company.