Article: The DBS approach to creating an engaged, future-proof workforce

Employee Engagement

The DBS approach to creating an engaged, future-proof workforce

From utilising artificial intelligence and machine learning to developing in-house programs to help fill most leadership roles internally, here are all the things DBS is doing to create a resilient, motivated, future-ready workforce.
The DBS approach to creating an engaged, future-proof workforce

The workforce of today is different and needs to be dealt with differently. To perform its best, it needs support from the management, not only with flexible work arrangements but also with the access to great upskilling programs. It also needs to feel a sense of belonging at work. 

To better understand how HR leaders need to transform their approach towards talent management and talent acquisition, People Matters spoke with Susan Cheong, Talent Acquisition Group Head for DBS Bank. Excerpts from the interview: 

What do you think the talent acquisition strategy of the future will look like?

Our talent acquisition strategy leverages our digital, data, and human decision science capabilities, coupled with empathy to build stronger connections with our applicants and a deeper appreciation of their unique experiences, purpose, values, and interests.

We already use AI actively in HR and have a model for hiring and recruitment. We believe this is the way to go for any high-volume recruitment activities. We found our cycle time for hiring and the quality of the people we hire have both improved dramatically. Our attrition rates from hiring through AI are lower because we make better selections.

We are also committed to building career resilience of our employees and providing them with ways to learn and grow. DBS adopts a “Triple E” approach to help employees future-proof their careers, with a focus on providing the right education, exposure, and experience opportunities. We tapped on AI/ML to develop an in-house platform to help employees identify their future career aspirations, map the skills needed to reach those goals, and even recommend personalised development options. Today, over one-third of all job vacancies in the bank are filled by internal candidates.

What are the top three things in a prospective employee of most value to an organization? How does your strategy aim to identify these in the hiring stage?  

As a bank born and bred in Asia, we embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe the bank’s continued success is made possible by our employees. Hence, we look for talent who can identify with our culture and values.

We want talent who not only identify with our PRIDE! values – purpose-driven; relationship-led; innovative; decisive; everything fun! – but are already living these values in their lives. We find that talent whose personal values are aligned with our values tends to thrive in the bank, and performance typically follows quite naturally after. We would of course be on the lookout for relevancy in skills and experiences, and we have a wide range of assessments tailored to the requirements of each role.

The employees of today are very different, with work-life balance and mental health being key priorities for them. What are some things that you think organizations can learn from the employees of today?

Employees are your greatest sounding board. The most important thing any organisation can do to engage its talent is to listen well. During Covid-19, we ramped up the frequency of employee surveys to keep a close pulse on how our people were coping with the pandemic. In fact, our polls revealed the top concern for our employees to be flexible work arrangements. That informed DBS’ decision to adopt a permanent hybrid work model in February 2021, with all employees given the flexibility to work remotely up to 40% of the time.

Has DBS had to change its talent acquisition strategy to more easily incorporate new-age employees?

To attract the best possible talent, we need to be creative and proactive in engaging our talent where they are. We were one of the first banks in the region to run hackathons to identify suitable talent for our tech and engineering teams. Our content channels are also a unique way of telling potential hires about what life at DBS is like. Our Sparks mini-series is based on true stories as told by our colleagues and customers, and has helped us reach a new generation of talent that consumes content very differently than before. 

We are in the middle of a rampant technology overhaul across industries. Digital transformation remains a strategic imperative for us. We continue to find opportunities to bring in top talent for critical roles in technology fields such as data/AI/ML, blockchain, and cloud.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, HR Technology, #Interview

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