Employees make up the vital human capital of the Bank, and are the backbone of BoC’s operations. As the largest employer in the banking sector, Bank of Ceylon is committed to empowering and equipping its team to succeed; whilst contributing to developing the capacity and professionalism of the Banking Sector in Sri Lanka.


Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award 2022 –
World HRD congress

Global HR Excellence Award 2022 –
World HRD congress

female representation

of new recruitments for essential new roles in IT

LKR 73.9 million
invested in Training and Development

16 man-hours
of training per year, per employee

On the back of disruptions and changes to the world of work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and resultant socio-political disruption presented unique challenges to the Bank’s Human Resource (HR) function in 2022. Shortages of fuel and essential items and the civilian protests that followed impacted the ability of staff to access the Bank's branches, especially the Head Office; even as routine country-wide power cuts hampered business operations. Given the state of the economy and the Government’s fiscal crisis, the Bank’s scheduled and routine recruitments continued to be postponed. Increase of out-migration and resulting brain-drain also posed a challenge for the sector and the Bank. Additionally, the rising cost of living brought on by accelerating inflationary pressures served as a major point of concern for the Bank’s employees.

In this climate, the Bank prioritised business continuity and the wellbeing of employees while continuing to invest and empower the workforce to achieve their potential.

Operating context

  • Work disruptions coupled with fuel shortages limiting access to branches
  • Talent retention was challenged coupled with migration and resultant brain drain
  • Inflationary pressures and rising cost of living

The Bank’s response

  • Work from home (WFH)/Remote-working piloted.
  • Supported staff with transport facilities to ensure business continuity.
  • Prioritised recruitment in key growth areas.
  • Created entry-points for professionals and high-skilled staff and leveraged contract-based engagement.
  • Reviewed promotion policies, benefits, and allowances to be on par with market requirements.
2022 2021
Region Permanent Outsourced Contract Permanent Outsourced Contract
Sri Lanka
Western Province 3,601 368 3 3,620 351 13
Central Province 708 162 0 723 160 1
Eastern Province 456 131 0 469 131 0
Northern Province 511 130 0 521 120 1
North Central Province 564 126 0 580 127 4
North Western Province 665 130 0 676 131 5
Sabaragamuwa Province 530 120 0 552 121 1
Southern Province 723 150 0 740 153 0
Uva Province 451 118 0 456 118 0
Total 8,209 1,435 3 8,337 1,412 25

Islandwide presence and international reach

Balance of youth and experience

employees under the age of 35

employees between 35 and 55

years average service length of permanent employees

Senior Management hired from local communities

Diversity and Inclusion

Bank of Ceylon’s employees are diverse and dynamic; a reflection of the customers and stakeholders served by the Bank. The Bank's Human Resources Policy coupled with the Disciplinary Code, amongst other policies, ensures equal opportunities and a work environment free from sexual harassment. Additionally, the Bank has a separate policy in place to address employee grievances, further demonstrating BoC’s commitment to creating a fair and inclusive work environment.

Additionally, the Bank has provisions in policy for hiring of differently-abled persons, with a 16 number of differently-abled staff enriching the Bank’s services and culture during 2022.

In 2022, the Bank drafted a new Exit Interview Policy after extensive consultation with stakeholders. Amidst the rapid uptake of Social Media and its associated risks, the Bank carried awareness programmes to improve employee awareness on professional handling of personal Social Media.

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The Bank of Ceylon retains one of the highest female representation rates in the sector; with 59% female representation in 2022. Governing bodies are also representative of this diversity, with the Bank’s Executive Management showing 94% of female representation.

Equal Pay

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As dictated by the Collective Agreement entered into for 2021-2023, and the Bank’s policies in place, Bank of Ceylon ensures that equal pay (1:1 ratio) is maintained between men and women.

Inclusive Culture and Work Environment

The Bank has a Disciplinary Code in place, with directives, processes, and protocols, which take a proactive approach to dealing with potential sexual harassment in the workplace. The Bank’s Grievance Handling Policy further stipulates and systematises handling of grievances from query to resolution.

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These policies, together with the Bank’s commitment to maintaining fair working practices, creating a conducive work-environment for women. An important component of the Bank’s efforts to attract and retain key female talent is the provision of parental leave. The Bank has seen continually high return-to-work rates from employees taking parental leave, and has successfully retained 100% of employees taking parental leave.

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2022 2021
Employees entitled to parental leave as at
1st day of the year
4,869 4,970
Employees who availed parental leave during the year 445 505
Employees returned to work during the year,
after completing parental leave
414* 427
Employees due to return to work during the year after completing the parental leave 445 505
Employees retained 12 months after returning to work** 505 505
Return to work rate of employees taking parental leave 100% 100%
Retention rate of employees taking parental leave 100% 100%

*46 employees returned to work in 2022 from parental leave taken during 2021.

**Refers to employees retained, who availed parental leave during 2021.


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All recruitments of the Bank is carried out as per a Board approved man-power plan. Public advertising of any recruitment opportunity is ensured, and stringent standards and vetting protocol maintained for selection of new recruits, inclusive of performance against written exams.

The Bank continued postponement of scheduled recruitments in light of the challenging operating environment faced by the Country and sector. However, in order to support the Bank’s digitalisation efforts, recruitments were carried out to fill 37 positions in the Information Technology (IT) department. Maintaining minimal replacement levels, a total of 57 new recruits were welcomed to the Bank during the year.

new recruits

female representation in recruitment

hiring for essential growth areas in IT

Recruitment across

New recruits 2022 2021
Male 22 3
Female 35 2

Recruitment by Region

Province Male Female
Central Province
Eastern Province
Northern Province
North Central Province 2
North Western Province 1
Sabaragamuwa Province 2
Southern Province 1
Uva Province
Western Province (including H/O) 22 29
Total 22 35


Employee Turnover

Despite pressures on employee turnover, recruitment, and retention caused by the Country’s protracted economic crisis; the Bank was able to adapt and work closely with teams across operations to ensure business continuity and achievement of targets.

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Considering the tumultuous and volatile business environment, staff turnover showed a slight uptick in 2022. A total of 224 employees exited the Bank during the year, through voluntary resignation and retirement. Responding to the state of the labour market, the Bank reviewed KPIs to leverage efficiencies and synergies and revisited the Promotion Policy to improve BoC’s attractiveness to prospective employees. Further, the Bank is in the process of drafting a new Employee Retention Policy in response to out-migration pressures.

total turnover in 2022

of turnover from retirement

of turnover from resignation

2022 2021
Resignation and deceased
Male 35 15
Female 105 30
Male 34 0
Female 50 0
Total turnover 224 42

Building a High-performing Team

Bank of Ceylon’s dedicated employees are key to the Bank’s strategic ambitions and goals. They are the beating heart of the Bank and the primary interface by which the Bank serves its customers. As such, strengthening and equipping the Bank’s employees to function at their optimum is a key focus area.

Value Proposition to Employees

The Bank creates value for its employees through a variety of ways that go beyond remuneration and rewards.

Competitive remuneration and merit-based rewards

Consistent engagement and employee motivation

Inclusive, equitable, and merit-based workplace culture

Work-life balance with focus on health and wellbeing of staff

Safe and dynamic work environment

Concessionary and complementary benefits

Continuous investment in training, development, and career progression

Post employment benefits (pension)

The following sections outline how the Bank has delivered on its value proposition to employees during the year 2022.

The BoC Culture

Bank of Ceylon is home to a diverse, inclusive, professional, and merit-based workplace culture. This culture is fundamental to the success of the Bank’s dynamic, motivated, and high-performing workforce.

Consistent engagement; continuous investment in training, development, and career progression; fair remuneration; and facilitating a safe and excellence-focused work environment are key elements of the Bank’s strategy and culture. These ensure BoC is a preferred employer in the industry able to attract and retain the best talent in the Country.

BoC’s culture and workforce are also a major factor contributing to achieving the Bank’s strategic pillar of digital excellence; customer-centricity, rewarding credit culture and healthy credit portfolio and stability, governance and sustainable growth.

Remuneration, Rewards, and Benefits

In line with the Collective Agreement signed for the period 2021 to 2023, the Bank’s employees receive a range of benefits and incentives in line with market rates. Employees also receive discretionary bonuses and incentives, paid leave, medical reimbursements, and concessionary loan facilities as part of the Bank’s commitment and investment in its Human Capital.

During the year, the Bank conducted a comprehensive review of its employee remuneration and benefits programme to ensure competitiveness and fairness in light of the Country’s economic crisis and rising rates of inflation. Salary revisions were also undertaken for overseas branches in line with market rates.

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The Bank also supports its ex-employees who completed their tenures of dedicated service at the Bank of Ceylon, in the form of superannuation, and support for medical requirements. This support is also made available to widows and orphans, in line with the Bank’s policies. Pension values were revised during the year on par with government-mandated recommendations.

  • 7,326 pensioners supported by the Bank’s Superannuation programme
  • W/W and OP beneficiaries 2,001
  • Combined benefits circular reviewed to provide for inflationary pressures

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All salary and non-salary benefits for employees are defined by the Collective Agreement entered into by the Bank. The agreement dictates that fair and equitable remuneration and benefits are extended to all employees of the Bank as appropriate.

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2022 LKR billion
Investment in compensation and benefits 27.5
Superannuation support to pensioners 1.5

Staff Payments

2022 %
Female 60
Male 40

Fair Working Practices

As an equal opportunity employer, the Bank has implemented a number of policies, procedures, and guidelines to ensure equal treatment and opportunities for all employees, regardless of race, gender, religion, or other factors. BoC’s strict policies, procedures, and guidelines create a non-discriminatory work environment and comply with all local regulations and international best practices.

The HR Policy Committee, chaired by the General Manager; together with the HR and Remuneration subcommittees; oversees all matters with regard to the Bank’s overarching HR strategy, including policy-level direction and support. The HR Department carries out the role of operationalising the Bank’s HR management function. A Transfer Board oversees all employee transfers.

The Bank also maintains an open-door policy to ensure transparency and accountability across operations and hierarchical reporting lines.

During 2022, the Bank introduced a new Exit Interview Policy designed to help the HR function fine-tune its efforts for employee engagement and retention.

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The Bank provides for Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining with 100% employees obtaining membership from amongst six Trade Unions. All negotiations with Trade Unions are conducted through elected representatives and utmost transparency is ensured. The Collective Agreement signed in 2021 for the period 2021 to 2023 continued to be in force during 2022.

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All permanent employees are covered by collective agreements that outline the notice period and provisions for consultation and negotiation, with a notice period of six months provided prior to significant operational changes.

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The Bank conducts bi-annual performance evaluations for all employees, based on pre-determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The Bank’s Promotion and Career Advancement Policy outlines the criteria required for promotions, and promotions are granted based on a combination of interview performance and pre-interview marks, with a significant portion of the pre-interview marks coming from the Performance Management System and make available before the promotion interviews.

Merit-based promotions 2022 2021
Male 301 303
Female 287 426

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No incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken were reported during the year.

Safe and Dynamic Working Environment

Bank of Ceylon places great importance on the health, safety, and wellbeing of its employees. The Bank has instituted comprehensive guidelines to cover key areas of Health and Safety (H&S) in the workplace. Further, employee entitlements under the Bank’s medical assistance schemes are clearly outlined in collective agreements that promote participation and consultation in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) matters.

Response to the Fuel Crisis and COVID-19 Pandemic

  • LKR 47.6 million invested in staff safety and facilitation of access (transport) in response to COVID-19 and the fuel crisis.
  • Work from Home (WFH) piloted to select functions and expansion plans are in place
  • 887 man-days of WFH provided
  • Infrastructure for remote-work expanded
  • Over 3,000 employees availed use of the Bank-provided transport facilities during the crisis
  • Temporary transfers, flexi-hours, rotations, roasters, and relaxed dress codes instituted on a need-basis
  • Medical reimbursements continued for COVID-19 affected employees and family members

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56 lost-days were recorded during the year as a result of absenteeism or work-related injury and/or work-related ill health. This reflects the Bank’s continued efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure a safe work environment for all employees.

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Lost days or absenteeism due to work related injury and/or occupational disease 56
Lost days due to COVID-19 infections 51
Special leave granted for COVID-19 related quarantine 331

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As part of the Bank’s commitment to uphold the health and safety of employees, formal Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committees are in place, and include representation from employees. Routine fire drills and regular health awareness programmes were conducted during the year to make employees aware and promulgate a culture of Health and Safety. In addition, a high-level Special Safety Task Force, made up of senior management, continues to assess and manage Health and Safety risks for all employees.

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To support the health of employees, the Bank has made available an in-house doctor and a pharmacy at the Head Office and offers a comprehensive medical assistance scheme to all permanent employees, covering Outpatient (OPD) treatment, hospitalisation, and includes treatment for COVID-19, amongst others.

Training and Development

Investing in employee training remains a priority for the Bank of Ceylon, with significant resources dedicated to this effort. The Bank’s HR function endeavours to enable employees to become better leaders, effective decision-makers, and motivated and satisfied individuals. These values are at the center of the Bank’s efforts toward building a resilient workforce and ensuring sustainable value creation and growth.

In particular, the Bank's training framework is designed to equip its workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing, volatile, and complex environment. The framework also outlines systems and processes for needs assessment, goal-setting, programme design and delineation of learning outcomes, selection of training methods, and measures to ascertain effectiveness of training.

During 2022, the Bank allocated LKR 73.9 million towards training and development of employees. With regard to leadership development and career progression, the Bank initiated data-driven, technology-aided efforts to roll out succession planning for managerial positions and above; identifying particular roles and grooming suitable candidates to take up more responsibility and senior positions. These efforts were supported by concerted Leadership Development programmes, arranged for all managerial level positions, utilising external resource persons and institutions.

Despite challenges posed by the tail-end of the pandemic and the onset of the economic crisis, the Bank continued its training efforts by scaling up utilisation of virtual platforms and leveraging systems and channels for training such as MSTeams, Zoom, and tvBoC. Trainers adapted training programmes to suit online and digital platforms with a variety of interactive and engaging resources.

The Bank also carries out physical training at a dedicated training center in Maharagama, and facilitates other training with qualified and expert resource persons in Sri Lanka and overseas.

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The Bank provided training amounting to 129,493 man-hours during the year, at an average of 16 man-hours of training per employee for the year.

2022 LKR million 2021 LKR million
Investment in training 73.9 64.1

As part of adapting to a rapidly changing business environment, the Bank’s training and development initiatives in 2022 focused on re-skilling employees for the new era of banking and digitalised financial services, while furthering BoC’s long-term plan to mainstream customer-centricity, improve efficiency, and skill-up employees to unlock their potentials.

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Key Training Programmes during the Year Focused on the following Areas, amongst Others:

  • Lending
  • Information technology
  • Compliance
  • Collection and recovery
  • General banking and banking operations
  • Internal control and audit
  • Treasury operations
  • Human resource
  • Skills development
  • Sales and marketing
  • Finance and planning
  • Risk management
  • Legal
  • Security
  • Personal grooming and etiquette
  • Work life balance and stress management

tvBoC constitutes an integral channel through which the Bank delivers dynamic and engaging training programmes to employees. Coupled with other e-learning and digital platforms, the Bank ensured delivery of crucial training to employees in a timely manner.

Key Training Programmes Telecast through tvBoC:

  • Discussion programme on pawning, foreign currency, and remittances.
  • CRIB report generation and data decoding.
  • Series on leasing, development lending and refinancing.

Employee Engagement

Transparent, consistent, and systematised employee engagement has been a key success factor determining the strength of the Bank’s relationship with its employees, its historically low levels of staff turnover, and the excellent performance of the Bank’s employees. The Bank’s commitment to engaging with employees has contributed to maintaining high levels of motivation, even in the face of remote work and disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank fosters open communication, employs an open-door policy and utilises a number of channels to ensure staff are informed, connected, and engaged.

The Bank’s Channels of Employee Engagement

Multi-level staff meetings

Open-door culture

Grievance handling mechanism

Live and scheduled programming through tvBoC

Ceybank newsletter with employee submissions

Engagement through trade unions

Two dedicated channels through PEO TV

Email and sectoral news and awareness via BoC Library

Performance appraisals

Year-round activity calendar

Talent shows, singing competitions, sports meet

In 2022, a mix of channels including the Bank’s in-house television channel "tvBoC"; new digital channels such as e-Learning platforms, MSTeams; traditional digital channels such as email and email newsletters; Social Media applications such as WhatsApp; and traditional physical channels such as events and competitions; proved to be the most effective in garnering employee engagement.

An employee engagement survey was initiated in 2022, and results of the survey are expected to be finalised during the coming months.

Performance-based awards such as the BoC Spirit Awards and Best Branch Competition were major highlights of the Bank’s employee engagement, which allowed high-performing and hard-working employees to be rewarded and recognised.

Further, cross-functional teams were introduced in 2022 to facilitate open sharing, ideation, and innovation across business units, operations, and segments. Standout ideas are rewarded and recognised, and channeled through the Business Process Reengineering Project (BPRP) steering committee to assess viability of implementation in the Bank.

  • 100 hours of training telecasting through tvBoC
  • Range of facilities for employee wellbeing and welfare
  • Campaigns and initiatives targeting employee psychosocial health
  • Holiday bungalows and resorts
  • Multiple events and promotional campaigns
  • Branch-level engagement initiatives

With 100 hours of programming telecast through tvBoC in 2022, the channel has grown to become part of the Bank’s fabric, and a key source of employee engagement that covers the breadth of the Bank’s operations.

Programmes Telecast through tvBoC in 2022, included:

  • Relaunched WhatsApp Show targeting employee engagement and awareness
  • Cultural and religious programmes
  • Monthly News Bulletins
  • Programmes promoting health awareness and wellbeing of employees
  • Special programmes on counselling and psychosocial wellbeing
  • Educational programmes supporting families and children of employees
  • Live coverage of the Bank’s official events
  • Promotional campaigns

Further, as part of efforts to encourage employees to engage in activities beyond daily banking operations, the Bank initiated the Shashrika Gewaththa – Home Gardening programme. The programme also aligns with the National priority of improving food security of communities across the Island. The programme saw impressive adoption with 328 branches and 148 employees taking on the programme. Branch management utilised social media for a multiplier effect, sharing best practices, recognising success, and appreciating the efforts of branches and staff.

Staff Wellbeing and Welfare Facilities

The Bank’s range of facilities for staff wellbeing and welfare also prove to be effective in motivating and engaging employees. Facilities include a gymnasium, library, and a number of resorts and bungalows across the Island.

During 2022, the Bank enhanced library facilities and relocated the library to the Head Office; introduced in psychosocial counselling made available to all staff.

Way Forward

The Bank’s employees hold great potential in the future direction and sustainability of the Bank. They are the nexus of the Bank’s customer-facing operations, and will be representatives and ambassadors of BoC’s customer-centric culture.

BoC’s Human Capital is also a key element in unlocking the Bank’s digital transformation. As such, the Bank focuses on building a team that is technologically advanced and results-oriented.

Agility and dynamism are ever-more crucial requirements in a rapidly changing business environment, and the Bank’s long-term focus on sustainable value creation hinges on the ideation, innovation, and transformative capacity of its workforce.

Looking forward, the Bank is committed to exploring new work arrangements and ways of working that would attract and cater to youth while promoting a healthy work-life balance for employees.

Continual investment is also expected to continue upskilling, development leadership, and planning the career path of employees alongside the Bank’s future trajectory.