What Happened at disruptHR Colombo – March Edition?

On 7th March (last Thursday) disruptHR Colombo March Edition kicked off with the participation of recruiters and HR managers. Here is quick recap on what was discussed,

If you want to know a recap of our December Edition Click HERE.

What is disruptHR?

Main goal of the event is to inform and empower HR specialists.

The global HR sector is exploding. Dramatic changes, driven by cutting edge technology and innovation are transforming the way HR works and recruitment happens.

The Sri Lankan recruitment and people management market is also changing and there is a lot to learn from international experiences. disruptHR featured speakers to share their experiences and answer questions, and provide an opportunity to network and build a sophisticated community of HR professionals in Sri Lanka.

What was the topic for this month?

This month’s edition was on Hiring & Retaining Millennials.

Hiring millennials seems to be a top-of-mind topic for employers. This young group of workers can bring new talent, fresh perspective and renewed commitment to your business. But what is the trick to keeping them long enough to make a powerful impact on your company?

Who were the speakers?

Suresh Muttiah

General Manager Human Resources

Union Assurance

Suresh joined Union Assurance in May 2016 from John Keells Group, where he served as, Vice President – Human Resources of Retail Sector for a period of 5 years. Prior to that he worked at Dialog Axiata PLC for 4 years as Manager Performance Management & HR Strategy Operations and 7 years within Carsons Cumberbatch Group in HR leadership positions within the Group HR function, Lion Brewery PLC and Hotel Sector. He will share his take on working with different generations and why millennials are different from the rest.


Yusra Aziz Eliyas


PODI JOBS/Second Team

PODI JOBS is the first freelance platform in Sri Lanka and bridges the gap between PODI JOB Employers & Seekers. Proceeds raised by PODI JOBS are used to Empower Single Income Families and Deserving Stay- at- Mums (SAHM). She will discuss how she managed millennials who were looking for that side hustle.


So, how did the event go & what was discussed?

The event kicked off with registrations and friendly chats on Thursday night.



The event was moderated by Imthiyaaz, CEO of SIXER VIDEO who stressed that HR managers and recruiters need to communicate and share knowledge to strengthen the HR eco-system. With that note, speakers were introduced and panel discussions started. First off,



The panel questions were divided in to two parts as Hiring & Retaining, the first set of questions were based on Hiring Millennials. The first question was for Suresh from Union Assurance.



Are Millennials Aliens, Predators or both?

Suresh said before attending the event he asked this question from one of his young team members said that their generation are predators. Working with different generations in the workplace thought him an important lesson every generation is different. But Millennials who primary tool being tech they are different and any generation before them didn’t predict they would exist.

Therefore they are little bit of both Alien and Predator. They are impatient and competitive like predators and are new and confused like Aliens.

The number one problem faced with Millennials? Is it communication, commitment or both?

Yusra runs Sri Lanka’s one and only freelancer network. Primarily she has worked with Millennials signing up as freelancers. She said many at the start of the PODI JOBS program many individuals randomly started signing up. And she used to call each individual and explain the process and what she understood was they are quick to judge by reading a few words.

Communication was an issue but language on how you would communicate is also important and their commitment, a few would commit for a project but despair for the next and some would find hard to commit for projects. It’s bit of both but what she believes is if communication is strong commitments can be strong as well.

What is the one thing that companies should adopt as a strategy when hiring millennials?

Suresh provided a few examples on how Union Assurance has changed the way in recruitment and pointed out that updating your workplace culture should be a strategy. Recently Union Assurance underwent interior design change to suit the current culture of employees and customers. There HR department has bar like design when you enter the office and the office space open with less closed places.

After providing a few global examples, Suresh said it’s the key that you should update not only physically but mentally on how you should operate and update or adjust according to the right time or the company will start losing both customers and employees.

How important is timing when hiring millennials? Do they have short span in attention or are they impatient?

Again its communication said Yusra, we need to communicate with them on the right time and employees should not make the process boring and time consuming for them. Because many millennials are impatient many want quick solutions.

Where does technology play the important role in hiring millennials?

Suresh said it’s important to embrace new technology or the simplest services like PODI JOBS to impress millennials and catch their short span attention.

Yusra pointed out that technology is important but at the same time it should be made simple for all.



After concluding the hiring part. The panel moved on to the retaining questions,

When it comes to retaining millennials, does ideas outshine experience?

Working with millennials and putting them in with the older generation is tough. But a good leader or company should bring these two factors into one group and solve issues.

What is the challenge when retaining them for projects, are they less focused or seduced by the hustle culture?

Yusra said they are confused which makes them less focused. But if they see these cultures don’t work for them. They just drop it and move on to what makes them happier or passionate.

Final views on hiring & retaining millennials

They are passionate and technological driven workforce loss in the process but companies should embrace their failures and help them and in return bring fresh perspectives to companies said Suresh.

We should as an ecosystem help them to understand the risks involved and help them solve financial issues if they part of a startup and help them improve life skills said Yusra.

At the Q&A session attendees stressed on the fact of many millennials opting out for startups rather than companies and also mentioned many startups fail in the process. Both speakers pointed out companies should under the skill set when recruiting making it mandatory for some roles to have should have been part of a startup to encourage millennials.

After keynote SIXER VIDEO and LIKUID the event concluded. Followed by networking session among speakers and attendees.



Third edition of disruptHR Colombo will be take place in May/June 2019.

1 thought on “What Happened at disruptHR Colombo – March Edition?

  1. Dear Team,

    Thank you for the opportunity and organizing the same. It was an interesting and valuable discussion. Looking forward to joining for the next session in May/June.

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