The OCBC employee mobile app: HR's brainchild

The bank's heads of HR and technology spoke in-depth about the idea behind the mobile app, the design process and the role that HR played.

In June, OCBC Bank launched HR In Your Pocket, a mobile application powered with a chatbot function specifically to answer questions from employees. 

In September, HRM Magazine sat down with Jason Ho, Head of Group HR at the bank, and Praveen Raina, Senior Vice President, Group Operations & Technology, at the Smart Workforce Summit, where we spoke about the inspiration behind the tool, the design process, HR’s role, the challenges of introducing the app to older workers, and its impact so far.

Here’s what they said.

Inspiration for the app (00:14):

“For us when we look at using technology to create the best employee experience, one of the key components is how do we service and support our staff with an anytime, anywhere application,” says Ho.

“So it’s a vision I shared with Praveen (Raina) when I came onboard as the Group Head of HR, because it’s something I feel is very important for employees.”

Design process (00:56):

As the bank’s innovation lead, Raina says the design process behind the app was actually very simple.

“We wanted to help employees solve and answer their day-to-day questions. For that, we used about 10 staff – five from HR and five from my team – mostly millennials who can think out of the box and are not constrained by their environments,” says Raina.

HR’s role (01:30):

“We’re involved in every single stage, right from the beginning. This is a collaboration between two divisions. We use the agile methodology, whereby we empower the ten staff and they spent on average two days each week and work together to look at potential questions that employees will ask and also how to make the chatbot easy for everyone to use,” says Ho.

Challenges of introducing the app to non-digital natives (02:30):

“There has been a lot of communication. Age doesn’t matter. But there’s been a lot communication and training provided to everybody. The app is for everyone in the organisation irrespective of their age,” says Raina.

Early impact of the app (03:11):

“Employees love the app because they find it easy to use. They love it also because a lot of the tedious work that used to be done manually can now be done manually,” Ho shares.

“As a supervisor, now I do not approve leave in the office anymore. I can do this anytime and anywhere. Some of the questions the chatbot has been able to answer has also been very interesting. I’m excited to see how this app will evolve as we continue to improve it.”