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Putting the ‘person’ in personnel Shalini Shukla 18 Oct 2012 With a history of more than 80 years in Singapore, OCBC is a bank centred on people. The Bank has come a long way from its first days of helping rice merchants continue to trade times of war. This is evident in its sterling performance in recent years. In May this year, Bloomberg Markets magazine announced OCBC as the world’s strongest bank. Also, one in two businesses currently operating in Singapore has an account with the Bank. The success of the bank is built on the back of sound business policies and active talent management and development.
For instance, within the first three days of a company being incorporated, OCBC will contact them about opening a corporate account with the bank. “The Bank practises the same proactivity when it comes to managing and developing its people,” says Eric Ong, Head of Emerging Business, Global Enterprise Banking, OCBC Bank. Career framework OCBC takes training and development seriously as human capital is the Bank’s key differentiator. Investment in this area helps to build the capabilities of employees to deliver superior performance. Learning is part of the Bank’s ongoing business strategy and helps to create a win-win situation for us and our staff,” says Ong. “By aligning employees’ learning objectives with business goals, we help employees succeed in building a career and not just a job with OCBC. ” OCBC encourages its employees to take charge of their own careers through the Bank’s ‘Career Best’ programme, launched in 2002. This programme involves helping employees evaluate their strengths and career orientation, and finding the best fit between their talents and OCBC’s needs.
The Bank also introduced the ‘OCBC Learning-3’ programme in 2007. A structured three-year development programme for employees, OCBC Learning-3 clearly delineates learning roadmaps for individual employees during their first three years of service with the Bank. “Underscoring our commitment to training, we have created the OCBC Learning Academy and also dedicated an entire floor at the OCBC Centre, called The Learning Space @ OCBC, for the sole purpose of learning and development,” says Ong.

In addition to the typical classroom training, the Bank has also tapped on learning technologies like eLearning and virtual classrooms. Through the use of Web 2. 0 and video conferencing technology the training programmes are now able to reach out to employees in different geographies. Employees are given the first opportunity to learn of and apply for job-openings within the OCBC group through the Internal Job-Application Programme, in which after 18 to 24 months, an employee has the open to move into another role. We want to encourage employees to continually acquire new experiences, knowledge, skills and competencies, and allow individuals to fulfil their career aspirations at different stages of their careers,” Ong explains. This is especially so for Gen Y staff who constantly seek change and want progression – something to look forward to. They need to feel challenged and recognised for the work they do. If they are ‘stuck in a rut’, performance dips. “In banking, employees need foundation,” says Ong. “I was once a bank teller. I then moved on to typing bank drafts and the like. Leaders walk the talk too. “In my business review, one part is financial numbers and business initiatives, while a large part (50%-60%) is based on the human resources,” says Ong. Hi-po attention A mentor to even people who’ve left the business, Ong believes in developing his people’s potential to the fullest. “I meet with business heads and see if there are vacancies in which we can slot the high potential candidate in,” he says. “This makes sure these people are given opportunities within the bank before they start looking elsewhere for them. It’s a proactive measure of staff retention. Senior management constantly works to push high-potential talent out of their current roles or comfort zones. This exists at all levels, be it ground sales people to middle and senior management level staff. “We don’t want staff to be ‘too comfortable’ in their roles. They are not stretching their potential,” says Ong. “We assign them to other departments for three to six months. My sales folks, for instance, might be posted to risk management or operations. ” While there is risk of losing talent to another department due to this job rotation, the advantages outweigh those risks. After coming back from their short job rotation stint, they come back with fresh insights and they can come up with new business ideas leading to increased productivity and business success,” says Ong. Ong cited an example of an employee who moved to the operations unit two years ago. When he came back to the Emerging Business department, he gave a new idea which was piloted and resulted in business growth of five times. Hi-potential staff are also given opportunities to travel and explore new markets. Young staff are accompanied by their senior leaders on these trips. ————————————————- There has to be a little risk-taking, be it with the business or with our people,” says Ong. “Being senior in management, we can give that gentle push, allowing our staff to soar. ” ————————————————- You are required to : 1. Find out the strengths of OCBC Bank. Marks:- 2. 5 2. ————————————————- What do you learn from this case? Marks:-2. 5 ————————————————- Mail me back to abdullah. [email protected] com By 4:00pm of 17. 04. 13 Write “Case study – HRM” on the subject line of your mail. All the best

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