With a new brand identity that exemplifies its core values – Ethical and Honest, Collaborative, Respectful, Performance-Driven and Transparent – the Janashakthi Group is unlocking exciting opportunities, expansion and exponential growth for its businesses, people, stakeholders, communities, and the nation.
Since its founding in 1994 by Chandra Schaffter, Janashakthi has always focused on empowering people and communities by growing successful, high-impact businesses around insurance, financial services and housing. Today, as the company marks another important milestone, Ramesh Schaffter, the incumbent group chief executive officer, shares insights into the significance of the JXG rebranding and explains the next evolutionary – and revolutionary – phase of the Janashakthi Group: exponential, inclusive, and sustainable growth.
What does JXG signify?
The launch of JXG marks a new beginning for the Janashakthi Group as we embark on consolidating our identity and purpose as a conglomerate. We wanted to identify the group in a completely novel way that best reflected our identity, aspirations and values, rather than opting for the traditional abbreviated forms like many others have done.
We could have gone for JG, but the X gives it an edge and lends expression to everything we stand for and envision for ourselves: exciting opportunities, expansion and exponential growth. There are so many symbolic representations of the symbol X, but bringing it into the middle is to say that we are not just the Janashakthi Group, it also says that we are a part of something exciting and impactful. As part of that ethos, we want to pursue growth by pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity in the hope that bringing it into the very culture of our employees will make them feel empowered to be creative and innovative.
The Janashakthi Group comprises successful listed companies with formidable reputations. Why was it necessary to create synergies between these companies under the JXG brand?
Our new brand identity is just one step on our journey and I firmly believe that the adoption of a dynamic and modern brand identity will ring in the dawn of an ambitious new era for the Janashakthi Group.
While the group has existed since 1994, the parent company has always remained in the background, allowing each business segment to operate and flourish independently. After intensive discussions and evaluations, we established a shared services unit for functions like Marketing, Legal, IT, HR and Admin so that the individual companies can benefit from the high-level input available within our group.
Another exciting outcome of rebranding as JXG will be our ability to attract the best talent because they will know they are joining JXG, a group built on core values that are seen and practised, driven by a culture of innovation and creativity. With the coming together of Janashakthi Life, First Capital, Orient Finance and Kelsey Homes, leading players in their respective segments, we are strengthening synergies to increase efficiencies and building solid foundations for exponential growth.
Janashakthi Group is driven by its ethos – empowering the nation and driving exponential growth. How does this translate to your relationships with customers and other stakeholders?
Driving exponential growth, both organic and inorganic, is part of our DNA, which we want to pursue and exhibit. We are a group known for aggressive acquisitions in the past, but we have also successfully driven and built up businesses organically. At the same time, our ethos is not about just making money for shareholders, no doubt a core function, but we are also mindful of the needs of the nation and the community.
We recently launched the Janashakthi Foundation, which has identified three areas we would like to work in: the community, education, and sports. We believe that education is the foundation for people to flourish, and sports help people learn to interact with each other, take victory with humility and accept defeat gracefully. We believe fostering a sports culture translates into a more unified and resilient community that learns to work together towards a common objective. When it comes to the community, we want to strengthen those relationships so that they know Janashakthi is journeying with them, not just doing business.
During these difficult times, we have engaged in feeding families from disadvantaged communities and distributed dry rations to over 10,000 families, and we are committed to extending our reach. We are developing a model where each of the operating businesses will contribute a portion of their profits to the Janashakthi Foundation so that we can give back to the nation and the community.
In terms of customers, our strength is the solid values we have held dear since we began our journey. Those values reflect the ethos of JXG and every action and decision across JXG must measure up to these values. They act as checks and balances against everything we do and how we treat our people, customers, and other stakeholders. We believe that if we take care of customers, the profits will look after themselves because you build the brand and what the brand stands for.
What is your growth philosophy for JXG?
We plan to list JXG and become one of the top ten conglomerates in Sri Lanka. However, our aspirations reach above and beyond that and encompass people, communities, and the nation.
Our strategy for exponential growth looks at driving organic growth and acquisitions within the boundaries of our core values. We are challenging the way we do things. How do we benchmark against peers? Are we leaders in each industry, at least in creativity, innovation, and new product development, and is that driving growth? So, organic growth is one of the yardsticks for our existing businesses. With the shared services concept, we are looking at acquisitions to help grow the group and other benefits from their shared inputs. Potential M&A candidates can benefit from the high-level technology inputs, shared call centre, brand marketing inputs, outdoor activity and a range of other synergies that will come in.
We are also looking at the national context in our M&A strategy. We are exploring opportunities in export-oriented companies that could grow with our help, which would mean more dollars coming into Sri Lanka. The present crisis is partly due to the neglect of those areas. We have never been in the export segment, but we see the need now and we are exploring opportunities in the value-added agriculture segment.
JXG is committed to ensuring equality and diversity in its workforce. How is this culture fostered in the organization?
I think the value that would best represent this is Respect. If you respect individuals for who they are, irrespective of colour, language, caste and all those other structures that divide us, then the world becomes a much better place. I hope that JXG reflects that respect, giving people from all walks of life an opportunity. We work towards empowering all. We have had people joining at entry level and graduating to branch managers because we supported their education because it is not that they lacked talent but most lacked the opportunity.
Janashakthi is a dynamic group heading into an exciting future as JXG today because my father, Chandra Schaffter, the founder of the Janashakthi Group, was given those opportunities as an orphaned child and we recognize our role in doing the same.