OCBC Bank unleashes $20m workforce digital programme
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has unleashed a $20 million three-year initiative, called the OCBC Future Smart Programme, to train its 29,000 employees for our digital age.
According to the bank, the programme makes it possible for a cheque processing executive to become a data scientist in three years.
OCBC explains that this is the “largest-scale and most ambitious digital transformation initiative by a Singapore bank”.
Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, says; “We want our employees to be proactive in looking at themselves and asking – will I still be relevant five, ten, 20 years down the road, and what can I do to stay ahead? Our hope is that employees will carry this mindset beyond the workplace too, because digital plays such an important role in our personal lives and we need to continuously learn how new technologies can help us.”
To ensure that the employees can achieve the “highest level of proficiency”, they will go through four qualification standards specialising in seven key digital domains.
The standards are: awareness – understand terminologies and trends; literacy – know case studies and real-life applications; practitioner-level – apply digital skills in day-to-day work; and mastery – become a subject-matter expert, coach and industry thought leader.
In terms of the seven digital domains, these comprise digital business models and ecosystems; technology and data; customer centricity; new risks; marketing and communications; the way we work; and leadership in the future world.
Another feature of the programme is the use of the “gig” approach. It’s called this because employees can take up consulting gigs with teams that are running digital projects on a freelance basis.
External gig professionals will also be engaged. For a start, the bank is bringing in industry experts in human-centred design and agile methodology to impart skills on design thinking to employees.
The programme will first be rolled out to employees of OCBC Bank in Singapore, Malaysia, China and its overseas branches, as well as its subsidiary Bank of Singapore, before being extended to other subsidiaries, Great Eastern Holdings and Lion Global Investors.
Last month, Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and London’s Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) joined forces to launch the AI in Finance (AIF) course – “to give financial professionals a good grasp of the emerging technologies that are shaping their industry’s future”.
OCBC and United Overseas Bank (UOB), have come on board as anchor sponsors for AIF.
Mandatory in Malaysia
Incidentally, also this month, Malaysia’s banking heavyweight, Maybank, launched its “FutureReady” digital upskilling programme and set aside MYR30 million ($7.6 million) to fund it.
The bank says the programme “aims to increase its employees’ digital literacy as well as equip them with capabilities that will ensure their relevance now and in the future”.
The training is mandatory for all employees and is anchored on six key areas of skills.