Interview with LMD: Mustafa Kassim, CEO of Roar Global, on Building a Positive Work Culture

Roar Global
September 8, 2023

Roar Global was recently ranked one of 50 Best Workplaces™ as well as one of 15 Best Workplaces™ for Millennials in Sri Lanka by Great Place to Work®. To mark this achievement, Mustafa Kassim, Founder and CEO of Roar Global, spoke with LMD for its September issue, highlighting the ways in which we continue to promote employee wellbeing and development across our offices, and tackle the ongoing economic challenges and brain drain in Sri Lanka.

Here are some excerpts from the interview.

On best practices to navigate the unprecedented challenges brought about by the economic crisis in Sri Lanka:

We had already embraced remote and hybrid work well before the pandemic and economic crisis. Last year was no exception – we made sure our employees had all the required equipment and facilities to continue to work from home if they wished.

A loan programme was extended to anyone who wanted to purchase a bicycle and travel to office during the times of fuel shortages. Our employees had access to the Roar Emergency Fund when they needed financial assistance.

Engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects was a huge priority for us last year. We were able to identify families and medical institutions that were experiencing a shortage of medicine and equipment, and we supported them. Moreover, we used our platforms to drive awareness and provide updates, inspiring others to reach out and help those in need.

On employee retention amidst Sri Lanka’s ongoing brain drain:

While we understand an employee’s decision to migrate, our hope is that as we diversify and expand internationally, we’re able to continue to provide exciting opportunities for everyone.

Through Roar AdX and 3P Media, we represent some of the world’s leading digital platforms such as Meta, LinkedIn and Google. This allows us to work closely with and learn from global industry leaders, and has enabled us to grow across emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Roar Media works with an international clientele comprising brands and development organisations, which has given us the opportunity to work on larger, more challenging projects such as feature length documentaries and social impact campaigns.

We are also opening offices across new countries, enabling our employees to travel and work with international clients and partners.

We see these initiatives as motivation for our employees, as well as those who wish to join us on this journey, to remain in Sri Lanka and contribute positively to the nation.

On the connection between employee wellbeing and business performance:

We take wellbeing very seriously here at Roar. If an employee is going through a challenging time, we support him or her by offering flexible work hours so that the person has the time and mental space he or she needs. In extreme cases, we also provide paid time off.

Most importantly, we’re committed to creating a safe work environment for everyone. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse, harassment or any form of exploitation. We’ve always made it a priority to treat everyone with respect regardless of their ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender or sexual orientation.

Additionally, we have taken steps to raise awareness among our teams about the unique challenges faced by employees from marginalised communities.

Whether we’re producing a documentary or helping SMEs master digital advertising on platforms, we are always working towards making a positive impact on people’s lives and inspiring others to do the same.

On ways to foster a positive work culture:

From the very beginning, we embraced an open, nonhierarchical work environment where everyone is able to take ownership of their work and make decisions. This approach is also conducive to ideas and collaboration, which is crucial for our work and ensures that all voices are heard.

As a company on an ever evolving journey, we embrace agility. Being agile keeps everyone on their toes, keeps them motivated and encourages growth. Regular feedback and check-ins are important at Roar, so that there are opportunities to hear thoughts and recommendations, and address issues.

Read the full interview here.

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