*Image Caption: From left to right - Aruna Uthpala, Unilever Factory Manager – Horana; Nayani Peiris, Unilever Head of Employee Relations & Senior HR Business Partner – Supply Chain; Ananya Sabharwal, Unilever HR Director; Rumal Fernando, Unilever Head of Customer Service and Logistics; Neluka Wikramanayake, Unilever Corporate Communications Manager; Bathiya Dayaratne, Unilever Customer Development Director; Anusha Kotalawala, Unilever Factory Manager – Agarapathana; and Ridma Pathirana, Unilever Senior Corporate Communications Executive.
Unilever Sri Lanka took home the category award for Best Performance in fostering Employee Relations at the recent Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2022. The award was conferred on Unilever by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the company’s best-in-class Employee Agenda and People Practices in employee engagement, training & career development, wellbeing, youth empowerment and diversity & inclusion, which in turn has created a corporate culture of resilient and productive employees across the company.
The Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards are widely considered Sri Lanka’s highest corporate honour, recognizing the best contributors to the local economy, community, and the environment.
Ananya Sabharwal, HR Director – Unilever Sri Lanka said, “We are humbled to receive this recognition which testifies our efforts to foster a workplace that truly makes a difference in the lives of our people through timely and progressive policies. Unilever was a source of strength to our vast eco-system of employees, work force and business partners throughout the economic crisis.”
“Some of our notable people interventions include robust financial support schemes and non-monetary support schemes such as the facilitation of discounted product offers and training 100% of our factory workforce and 90% of our office employees as Mental Health Champions to support our people and their families during this difficult period for everyone.”
Ananya further added, “The humanitarian approach taken by Unilever when it was most needed for our people and probably most difficult for corporates, helped build a stronger sense of purpose within our people which in turn helped the company and the country in this hour of need. I strongly believe that the role of Human Resources is to create an enabling environment to unleash the true potential, innate resilience, and purpose of our people.”
Said Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson and Managing Director - Unilever Sri Lanka, “We are honoured to be recognised once again as a good corporate citizen and thank the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for providing a platform to showcase our efforts in business sustainability. Driven by our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace, we owe all our efforts and achievements to our greatest asset - Our people.”
Hajar added, “In line with our commitment to contribute to a fairer and more socially inclusive world, we will continue to focus on building the tools and resources to meet the real needs of our people to better enable and empower our Unilever family to thrive at what they do.”
Over the past 2 years, the company has introduced three industry first policies in Sri Lanka including its Fertility Support Policy, Domestic Violence Support Policy and Menstrual Leave Policy. Unilever also offers extended Maternity and Paternity Leave, as well as Career Breaks which enables its people to pursue their personal goals while in employment.
Unilever also leads in women representation. With a high percentage of females employed throughout the company – 55% in the Management Committee, 35% overall and 50% among interns and contractual employees, the company encourages greater participation of females across the board. Recently, it crossed the 40% mark in gender balance for the first time among its management employees and is in pursuit of reaching 50-50 gender balance by 2025.
In 2022, Unilever was recognised as 'One of Asia's Top 50 Employer Brands’ by the World HRD Congress, ‘The Organisation with the Highest Youth Contribution’ by Women in Management and the National Youth Services Council as well as ‘The Organisation with the Most Women-Friendly Company Policies in Sri Lanka’ by SATYN Magazine and CIMA.