NTUC Income: Becoming ‘cool’ through digitalisation

NTUC Income's digitalisation journey hasn't been easy, but it has been a transformative one which has enabled them to attract more talents.
By: | February 6, 2020

NTUC Income’s commitment to digital transformation has earned Singapore’s largest and oldest insurer the top spot in the Applied Innovation Institute Singapore Insurance Innovation and Digital Benchmark in 2018. In Part 1 of this series, we speak to Juliana Ang, its Chief Human Resources Officer to find out more about how digitalisation transformed the company’s HR.

Read Final Part: “HR is a partner, not a policeman”

A few years ago, Juliana Ang, NTUC Income’s Chief Human Resources Officer, was handed a challenge – how does HR overcome a traditional insurance company’s staid perceptions and attract ‘cool’ employees, in line with its digital transformation?

Ang knew she and her team had to evolve the way they approach talent acquisition.

But they were not entirely sure about the type of talent they needed. “So, we brought in people of diverse backgrounds, with different skillsets such as having knowledge of UI or UX, and even those who are entrepreneurs. We taught them about insurance and they taught us new things that we didn’t know,” she said.

“After three years, we got a good idea of what works and what doesn’t,” Ang told HRM Asia in an exclusive interview.

“Our whole approach to talent acquisition has evolved from just bringing in people based on the hard skills, to those with other soft skills as well,” she added.

For a company turning 50 this year, NTUC Income has come a long way from being a traditional insurer to a digitally-savvy one – and it has proved to be rewarding.

Its commitment to digital transformation has now earned the company – Singapore’s largest and oldest insurer – the top spot in the Applied Innovation Institute Singapore Insurance Innovation and Digital Benchmark, which ranks the innovation and digitisation efforts of 25 insurers in Singapore in 2018.

Future X

NTUC Income’s digitalisation journey does not only begin at the job recruitment stage, as it is also broadening the way they engage talent and grow creative ideas.

Future X is an example of a novel approach they are taking, where participants from undergraduate programs are invited to an all-expense-paid three-day staycation to come up with ideas and solutions to industry-related challenges.

Its debut in 2018 saw over 2,000 applicants, narrowed to nine teams, who were invited to the “Staycase Challenge”. The top three teams with the best ideas won SGD$4,000, SGD$2,000 and SGD$1,000 respectively and were offered an opportunity to put their ideas into reality.

Ang believes such unique approaches are needed to identify talent in this digital age, as insurance solutions must be customer-focused and HR must play a role that builds on this.

“It was a very good way to gauge what the new generation is thinking, as well as give varied ideas of where the insurance opportunity is needed and how people would want to buy insurance,” she said.