A premiere of epic proportions at OCBC Bank

While many organisations are still getting to grips with the SkillsFuture movement, OCBC Bank has already rolled out a three-pronged approach to develop the skillsets of its massive workforce. HRM Asia delves deeper into one component which included a “premiere” event.

Lim Jit Rui, an assistant manager with OCBC Bank’s Business Banking Commercial Service Centre, was looking for some external development opportunities pertinent to his work.

What he eventually registered for was not a run-of-the-mill or one-off training programme.

Rather, it entailed bite-sized sessions of up to just 90 minutes each on the topic of Analysing Service Quality, all conducted by a variety of different training providers.

This initiative was part of a roadshow recently organised by OCBC Bank, entitled OCBC FutureReady Premiere.

More than 220 employees registered for the event which spanned two full days on May 23 and 24 this year.

The OCBC FutureReady Premiere enabled employees to partake in small sessions from up to nine different programmes, giving them a unique chance to sample the course before fully committing.

The bigger picture

The OCBC FutureReady Premiere was part of a three-pronged strategy under the OCBC FutureReady programme.

With nearly S$500,000 invested, this is a key strategic talent advancement scheme by OCBC Bank to galvanise its staff in their learning and development journeys. It aims to help each member of the workforce achieve their full potential.

Alongside the OCBC FutureReady Premiere, the programme consists of a credit component (S$500 cash top-up that can be used for SkillsFuture courses) and the OCBC FutureReady catalogue comprising of 120 courses selected from the thousands available under SkillsFuture.

OCBC Bank staff will be afforded time off from work if they attend modules from the OCBC Catalogue during working hours.

“This need to constantly upskill and reskill employees is the reason the bank has invested S$60 million in our OCBC Campus, a wholly-owned 10-storey building in the central business district dedicated as a learning and development hub for employees, and a range of learning and development initiatives that meet the different needs of our employees,” says Yap Aye Wee, Head of Learning and Development, Group HR, OCBC Bank.

She says her organisation’s ambition is fully aligned with that of the national SkillsFuture initiative.

A rich learning culture

According to Yap, these three components were also crafted in alignment with the bank’s belief in people development.

“We believe that learning must enrich our employees in not just their professional capacities, but also in their personal lives,” she explains.

Hence, many of the 120 programmes OCBC Bank chose for the OCBC Catalogue entail not only professional, but also personal development.

“This twin focus on both professional and personal aspects helps to drive the return on investment of learning over the long-term,” says Yap.

“Not only are employees more motivated to sign up for learning programmes when they see a personal benefit, we see value flowing back to the organisation and our customers through the contribution of more engaged, motivated and happy staff.”

In order to reiterate its commitment towards employee development, Yap says staff can partake in programmes on company time.

The bank believes empowering staff to take their learning needs into their own hands helps to foster “a sustainable culture of life-long learning”.

“Employees are free to choose from the many programmes in the OCBC Catalogue and the S$500 cash top-up for each permanent non-executive employee makes it possible for them to sign up for even more programmes,” Yap elaborates.

“The OCBC Catalogue eases the decision-making process and also gives staff the assurance that these courses will complement and not duplicate the more than 900 programmes we already offer within the bank.”

The courses in the OCBC Catalogue were selected to ensure a mix of online and classroom training, and to ensure the full suite of offerings caters to the needs of everyone across all ranks and business lines.

Supporting SkillsFuture

Yap says the nine programmes from the OCBC FutureReady Premiere ranged from modules on service quality and customer satisfaction, to emotional intelligence and leadership. Each was in line with the bank’s focus on people and customers.

“The feedback from employees on the Premiere has been very positive,” she says. “In fact, many told us they enjoyed this format as it fitted nicely into their work schedules and was a refreshing learning break from their work demands.”

In addition, Yap says the Premiere also complemented the SkillsFuture initiative by generating additional publicity among its employees.

“Our experience and research show that a strong focus on learning and development is a huge draw to talent as well as a key driver of retention. Based on feedback, we are already reviewing the possibility of another Premiere and adding new programmes to our OCBC Catalogue,” she says.

“One thing is for sure - we will continue to find new ways to inspire learning in our organisation. This is good for our employees and that can only be good for our customers and our business.”

Making the most of opportunities


Lim Jit Rui

Assistant Manager, Business Banking Commercial Service Centre, OCBC Bank

“I have always been keen on customer service analytics, so when the opportunity to attend a preview of the course on Analysing Service Quality came, I went for it. Although this session was just an introduction, it helped me get a sense of what the full course entailed and if it would fulfil what I was looking for, before I signed up and committed to it. In addition, I have also picked up useful tips that I can already apply at work.”


Junie Ong

Associate, Technology Solutions for Consumer Banking, Group Operations and Technology, OCBC Bank

“The topics presented during the roadshow were very interesting and relevant to most of us, so much so that I actually signed up and attended four out of the nine sessions available. To my surprise, I really liked the format and the way the sessions were conducted. Being bite-sized sessions, they were easy to understand and still informative and comprehensive enough to enable participants to decide if it was the right course for them.”


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