Learning & Development Asia 2024
Banking on wellbeing, and a holistic culture
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Banking on wellbeing, and a holistic culture


This article was brought to you by DBS.

DBS Bank took home five awards at HRO’s HR Distinction Awards 2021, including gold for Excellence in Workplace Culture. HRO sits down exclusively with Sharon Cheng, Head of Human Resources, DBS Hong Kong, to find out why employee wellbeing is at the core of building a holistic office culture at the bank.

Q Why is employee wellbeing so important to DBS as a company?

People are our greatest assets and their wellbeing is always our top priority. We are committed to providing our employees with comprehensive wellbeing support to forge strong employee relationships with a nurturing and caring culture that engages employees, their families, and the community.

We adopt a holistic view to look after employees’ wellbeing – ‘live well, eat well, stay well and save well’; as we aim to empower our employees to stay healthy – physically, emotionally, financially, and to sustain healthy lifestyles.

We understand the needs of our employees may vary from each other and may also evolve during different stages of their life cycles. As such, at DBS we offer hyper-personalised benefits and wellness for our people to support their different needs.

For example, the iFlex@DBS programme combines a flexible medical plan with a flexible spending account. This allows employees to tailor their own benefits packages where they can select from a variety of medical benefits, and spend on items related to wellness – from gym memberships to massages, and even work-from-home gadgets.

We also understand that the mental wellbeing of our people is equally important. Our iHealth Well App was launched in January 2021 to support their mental wellbeing. The app maximises healthy behavioural change through a personalised health coach, engaging activities, gamification, social interactions, and rewards.

Q What are some of the challenges you have faced over the past year and how did you overcome them?

In view of the massive changes brought about by COVID-19, DBS introduced a comprehensive range of transformation initiatives under our ‘Future of Work’ strategic agenda that started in November 2020. 

We have implemented a permanent hybrid work model where all DBS employees can allocate 40% of their time to work remotely. Besides that, flexible work arrangements initiatives such as job sharing will be introduced to help our employees fulfil both personal needs and the demands of work.

Q You won gold for Excellence in Workplace Culture. How does DBS foster a holistic office culture, and what are some of the lessons that you have learnt?

As a purpose-driven organisation, DBS reimagines steering human capital strategies in hiring, and developing the people who can drive this transformation and support the bank’s growth. Building a future-ready workforce starts with hiring the best talents. We are committed to providing a joyful candidate experience from start to finish.

To ‘create culture by design’ is the responsibility of DBS HR, and we have played a key role in ensuring our values and culture are embedded into the fabric of the bank, and every individual. We embrace a mindset of continuous growth and development to thrive in the new ‘normal’ world.

Q What are some trends with regard to employee wellness and talent management you foresee in the future?

We believe the working world will continue to change in the post-pandemic future. Employees in almost every role and industry will need to acquire new skills. To cope with rapid and continuous changes, the need to reskill and upskill our entire workforce is one of the most significant challenges we face today, and in the foreseeable future.

For employee wellness, we believe the trend of hybrid work serves as an opportunity for optimal work-life balance – the demand is not only from job seekers from the younger generation, but the resilient workforces across generations that enable productivity in the new normal.

Q What does the future of work look like at DBS?

We will accelerate transitioning into operating models of project-specific data-driven squads for an end-to-end journey with employees from cross-functional teams so we can work in an agile manner.

To facilitate co-creation as well as supercharge ideation and cross-team discussions, our workplace will be reconfigured and transformed into ‘Joyspace’ to enable greater collaboration and ideation.

In Hong Kong, we started this journey in 2019 to redesign our office for the technology and operations team in Kwun Tong into an agile collaboration workplace. We will further reconfigure our workspaces in other premises to enable greater collaboration and ideation, aiming to blend the best physical and virtual mode for working under our ‘Future of Work’ vision.

ALSO READ: Case Study: Why and how DBS is embracing the ‘horizontal organisation’

Photo / DBS

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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