Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
Winning Secrets: UBS AG Singapore's robust people strategy emphasises fairness, sustainability, and opportunities

Winning Secrets: UBS AG Singapore's robust people strategy emphasises fairness, sustainability, and opportunities

Daniel Brandenberger, Head of HR Singapore and Senior HR Business Partner WM APAC, shares how UBS AG Singapore provides employees with a more personalised, seamless, and enriching experience.

UBS AG Singapore's prioritises its employee experience by investing in the right tools and platforms, to connect the right resources and talents. Its robust people strategy emphasises fairness, sustainability, and opportunities for all to thrive. As a whole, its company culture is built on diversity, equity & inclusion, revolving around four pillars. 

These pillars empower its workforce and has contributed to its success; the team went home with a silver win for 'Employer of the Year' at the HR Excellence Awards, Singapore (2023). 

Daniel Brandenberger, Head of HR Singapore and Senior HR Business Partner WM APAC
, shares how UBS AG Singapore provides employees with a more personalised, seamless, and enriching experience.

Q Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?

At UBS, we align our purpose with our HR strategy. We reimagine the power of investing and connect people for a better world – our robust people strategy creates a better world for all of us emphasising fairness, sustainability, and opportunities for everyone to thrive. Every day, our global HR team connects people, shares ideas and opportunities that genuinely make a difference. As an employer of choice, we prioritise providing the best-in-class employee experience where we invest in our employees, connecting the right resources and talents.

Diversity, equity & inclusion are integral parts of our company culture, and we actively promote these values. Our focus revolves around four key pillars:

  • Building a robust talent and future leader pipeline.
  • Being a recognised leader for an agile, diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Providing simplified HR processes and services for UBS employees.
  • Creating a place for everyone to learn new skills and capabilities, aligning with HR priorities and creating impact for our clients.

Together, these pillars empower our workforce and contribute to our success. We want all our employees to be proud to work for UBS.

Q
Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?


Continuous learning has been one of the fundamental drivers of talent growth and we continuously encourage the ongoing development of all our employees. Our goal is to make learning relevant, easy, and enjoyable for our staff, so they can deliver greater business and client value.

A few standout initiatives:

Global Learning Week (GLC), which builds on the concept of peer-to-peer learning where employees present their knowledge and passion across different themes.

Singapore #UBSYouDay – a deliberate emphasis on employee development where a dedicated half day per quarter is set aside for employees to carve out time and drive their own learning.

Learning Experience Platform (LXP) personalises internal and external training recommendations based on individual needs and interests, resulting in engagement and views that exceeded expectations by more than double.

The positive outcomes from the above initiatives have fuelled our commitment to building on this momentum. We aim to continue promoting and growing our learning content to reach an even broader audience amongst our employees in the coming years.

Q
What were some significant obstacles you faced in your HR journey, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?


Workforce mobility is one of UBS's strategic initiatives to empower our employees to take charge of their own careers and development. To help employees achieve this, we put in place Career Navigator, a one-stop shop which hosts open job, rotation, mentorship as well as learning opportunities. 

One significant obstacle we faced in global workforce mobility, especially post COVID, was creating interest and passion for staff to leaving Singapore for an oversees posting. Further, the costs to move an employee across borders increased significantly with economies recovering and is fuelled mainly by increases in housing, air travel, and shipment costs. The other obstacle faced was a higher demand for development assignments for junior employees. 

Both these challenges put heavy pressure on the HR team to deliver assignments that are cost effective, available to less senior staff and are safe. In collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), we relaunched and rolled-out the iPOST programme to our Singapore Branch. iPOST is a talent development programme that aims to increase international exposure for junior to mid-level Singaporean employees.

The programme and the partnership with MAS and IBF have helped us immensely in managing the challenges and we have increased the number of short-term outbound assignments of Singapore Citizens from around two assignments per year to 12 assignments during 2022/2023. Given the success of the programme, we are setting ambitions for 2024 and beyond. 

Q
How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?


As we constantly strive to make UBS a better place to work, our employee experience survey is a crucial source of ideas, opinions, and feedback. Through this survey, we actively listen to our employees’ needs, allowing us to tailor solutions that address their concerns, the survey results guide the formulation of initiatives, to complete with specific goals and targets.

Our employee wellbeing survey is another survey which checks in on aspects of the overall wellbeing of our employees. The survey captures various sentiments like overall wellbeing, workload, recognition, support, direction, and confidence. It is sent quarterly to a sample of employees.

These surveys serve as a vision for our HR initiatives, giving ourselves a benchmark for statistical comparisons or analysis.

This structured approach enables us to quantify the success achieved, and assess the impact of our initiatives, ensuring continuous improvement in making UBS an even better place to work.

This structured approach enables us to quantify the success achieved, and assess the impact of our initiatives, ensuring continuous improvement in making UBS an even better place to work.

Q In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?

HR digitalisation continues to be a key trend and interesting topic in the industry. At UBS, we maintain our commitment to staying at the forefront of providing the best services for our clients and our employees. We actively invest in the right resources, tools and platforms to ensure we deliver the best employee experience. Significant investments in HR technology have simplified our processes, providing employees with a more personalised, seamless and enriching experience. This approach aligns with our commitment to delivering on the UBS client promise: personalised, relevant, on-time, and seamless.

As we embrace digital advancements, we anticipate continued evolution in enhancing the HR/people function to meet the dynamic needs of the future.


Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!


Lead image / Human Resources Online

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