The next of our senior leadership team spotlight series features Mihiri Ranasinghe, Soben’s HR Director for Asia.
Here Mihiri gives an insight into her senior HR role in a fast-growing organisation and shares her predictions and aspirations for the future of the business.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day is very much split and diversified between various locations with various people-related matters. Each day is different, with new challenges that allow me to contribute to the people I work for in many ways. I usually start my days by checking emails, other messages, my to-do/priority list, and my calendar to ensure I get my day organised.
Wearing different hats as the HR Director is expected in this role, including managing a significant portion of office infrastructure operation. Therefore, I always put effort into planning my day very well. I am keen to manage my day’s expectations and other unplanned priorities popping up during the day. I get self-motivated when I manage my priorities without falling behind on tasks.
I always ensure to connect and spend time with teams at various levels. Employee engagement, I consider, is critical in this role. Celebrating people’s success, supporting them, and monitoring their pulse when facing challenges are particularly important to be the right HR support to the team. I consider this to be the best part of my job.
What first attracted you to the construction industry?
After leaving my previous job as the Regional HR Head for South Asia, I decided to go out on my own as an independent HR Consultant to focus more on my growing sons’ education. Soben Founder and CEO Scott Smyth approached me seeking HR consultation assistance for Soben’s Sri Lanka operation, where I ended up being the country head of the Soben Sri Lanka office within a brief period of my engagement with Soben.
Later I was entrusted with the HR Director for Asia role, which I enjoy to date. After joining Soben, I learned what the quantity surveying industry involves and the opportunities young talent could gain by joining a company like Soben.
What are your predictions for the construction industry over the next 12-18 months?
Like any other knowledge industry, many opportunities are available for young graduates and experienced people in the construction industry. To successfully support the business, HR and business vision should be further aligned to attract the right talent to the company.
It is also vital to reinforce team bonding and engagement, which motivates people to report to work in the morning without hesitation, as we rightly do at Soben. Increased employee engagement, trust, and motivation are the key to improving productivity and employee retention to accomplish corporate success. Happy workforce, happy client!
What are your goals for Soben in that time?
We, as HR professionals, always enjoy witnessing a team’s success. This will only take place if we manage the various HR functions successfully, even though it is not an easy task to do. As a fast-growing company, I understand there is a considerable challenge ahead of my team and me.
I believe having healthy and clear communication is vital to promoting trust and a fantastic culture. This includes defining and communicating clear goals and expectations, having open communication for ongoing performance management, etc.
Recognising people through formal and informal employee engagement programs, introducing a defined performance management system, keeping people appreciated and recognised for their excellent work, and supporting their career development.
Also, having a structured and transparent compensation and benefits scheme and taking care of employee wellbeing is very important to strengthen the company’s workforce. We all strive to deliver high-quality services to exceed our client’s expectations.
I believe defining clear and transparent policies, and procedures is essential. It is equally important to stay current on applicable regulations, laws, and best practices to support people effectively.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
- Be current and be up to date in your knowledge. Ongoing learning matters a lot
- Stay focused and committed to what you do
- Maintain self-discipline and get well organised in your professional life as well as personal life
- Engage with people – take advice, provide advice. I always believe working with intelligent people will make you smarter
- Being honest to yourself and living your values is especially important
- Never give up
To find out more about careers at Soben, contact [email protected].