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OCBC's new programme to develop digital skills of 29,000 staff globally

OCBC Bank has launched the OCBC Future Smart Programme, entailing an investment of S$20 million, to train and develop the digital skills of its 29,000 staff globally.

One of the largest-scale and most ambitious digital transformation initiatives by a Singapore bank, the programme was officially launched yesterday (7 May 2018) by Samuel Tsien, group CEO of OCBC Bank, Jason Ho, head of group human resources, and Yap Aye Wee, head of learning and development, group human resources, at the OCBC Campus.

On the reason behind the programme's implementation, Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, said: "The speed at which technology is changing can make us vulnerable – jobs that are here today may be gone tomorrow. Businesses must therefore take steps to ensure that employees have the digital competencies needed to thrive."

To ensure employees achieve the highest level of proficiency, they will go through four qualification standards specialising in seven key digital domains.

The four qualification standards are:

1. Awareness: understand terminologies and trends.2. Literacy: know case studies and real-life applications.3. Practitioner-level: apply digital skills in day-to-day work.4. Mastery: become a subject-matter expert, coach and industry thought leader.

OCBC Bank has also identified seven digital domains critical to attaining digital competency in a well-rounded manner.

Called the 7 Future Smart pillars, they are:

1. Digital business models and ecosystemsUnderstanding how new digital ecosystems function, the threats they pose and how to leverage on them and create value to differentiate OCBC from the competition.

2. Technology and dataApplying new technologies and data to better understand customer needs and make better business decisions.

3. Customer centricityInnovating new approaches to customer value creation.

4. New risksUnderstanding new risks and their professional and personal impact.

5. Marketing and communicationsUnderstanding and leveraging new digital tools and platforms.

6. The way we workBuilding an open and collaborative mindset to compete in the digital economy

7. Leadership in the future worldLearning to adapt leadership styles to build a digital culture

Within each pillar, a specially curated curriculum has been designed which comprises a total of 10,000 learning programmes over 50 categories.
These include a suite of 6,000 online programmes as well as speaker sessions, workshops, and classroom learning.

By the end of the programme's first year, all employees are expected to attain the 'awareness' level across the 7 Future Smart pillars. This will be measured using a digital online assessment.

Employees can choose to deepen their knowledge in one or more of the seven digital domains by participating in the courses available in the next level of qualification standards. Upon completion of the modules for that level, the employee will be certified to have attained that qualification standard.

Learning and teaching gigs

Another unique feature of the OCBC Future Smart programme is the use of the gig approach where employees can take up consulting gigs with teams that are running digital projects on a freelance basis.

External gig professionals will also be engaged to be part of the gig approach by conducting courses in their areas of expertise at the OCBC Campus. 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.

Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, said:

It is more than just skills building. New technologies will continue to emerge so it is critical that we create a strong learning culture that encourages a mindset receptive to learning, unlearning and relearning.
"We want our employees to be proactive in looking at themselves and asking - will I still be relevant 5,10,20 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. This is the motivation behind the OCBC Future Smart programme, and is in line with Singapore’s drive toward becoming a Smart Financial Centre and Smart Nation."

The OCBC Future Smart 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.

In line with the programme launch, a two-day event (7-8 May 2018) was organised for OCBC's employees. The event featured talks by thought leaders and experienced practitioners on all things digital, as well as innovation pods that showcased the bank's latest innovations.

Photo / OCBC Bank

Photo caption: (L-R) Yap Aye Wee, head of learning and development, group human resources, OCBC Bank, Samuel Tsien, group CEO of OCBC Bank, Jason Ho, head of group human resources, OCBC Bank, at the launch of the OCBC Future Smart Programme on 7 May 2018.

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