Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Pradeepa Kekulawala, Head of Human Resources of SriLankan Airlines noted: “This initiative is based on the principles of industrial and business psychology, where employee wellbeing and productivity are often correlated. The wellbeing of the employees is of paramount importance to us as it ensures that employees stay in a positive frame of mind in order to give their best to the company. As an organization, we encourage our employees to raise their performance levels. We believe that an initiative of this scale would enable them to focus better and improve themselves as professionals as well as individuals.” The EAC would provide its expertise to any employee free of charge with the aim of facilitating peace of mind and quality of life. Dr. Dharshan Perera, Chairman of CIRP, said, “We are pleased to partner with SriLankan Airlines in pioneering a project of this scale. An initiative of this nature would enable us to counter the cultural stigma that you often associate with counselling. Counselling offers a tool which helps each individual to develop a performing mechanism that is needed to tackle life’s challenges. Not only would this produce a motivated employee, it would also help each individual to be a positive minded person.”The Airline already has a number of initiatives targeted at boosting staff motivation. An employee recognition programme titled ‘Varna’ is in place to commend and honour the efforts of employees who go beyond the call of duty to add value to the organization. An ‘HR Open Day’ is also in place where employees are given a platform to raise their concerns and resolve issues by reaching out to the management. A Staff Feedback System gives due prominence to the thoughts of employees to improve the operational functions of the Airline. An Art and Culture Club was also launched recently to create a platform where employees can relieve the strains of their office routine and explore their creative talents.Under the guidance of the Airline’s Chairman, Ranjit Fernando, a series of “Meet the Chairman” interaction programmes is also planned as part of the transformational process of change. The national carrier has obtained the expertise of the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology (CIRP). CIRP is considered the pioneering and leading higher education institute in the field of psychology in Sri Lanka since 2010. It is the most popular private university for psychology education in South Asia, partnered by Coventry University of the UK. Branded as ‘CIRP Life Centre for Psychological Well-being’, it is staffed by the best psychologists and counsellors in the country including Sri Lankans and expatriates.The EAC will grant employees advisory and counselling services on areas such as work life balance, positive parenting and child-minding, coping with stress and emotional challenges in professional and personal life, peaking performance and staying on top, and developing the spiritual quotient within them. Controversy ridden SriLankan airlines has offered counselling for its employees.The airline which has been suffering financially and is surrounded by controversy over decisions taken by the former management, said that it has become the first organization in the country to launch an Employee Assistance Centre (EAC), which offers professional guidance and counselling for employees to overcome challenges in their work or personal life.