​Building workforce resilience by empowering our people with skills and creating opportunities for them to thrive

People are one of the most important assets in the OCBC Group. By investing in our people and equipping them with the right competencies and mindset, we empower them to be resilient. OCBC takes a long-term view and is committed to building a strong local core, prepared for the ever-changing economy.

Our leaders have long been advocates of developing our employees and maintaining a learning culture that develops our employees to their full potential, both professionally and personally.

Fostering a strong Learning Organisation in OCBC 

A learning organisation is the foundation for sustained people development and business growth. The OCBC Group Learning Blueprint is the first ever artefact of our learning culture, reflecting the state of learning and the collective aspirations of our people, and codifying the principles of learning to further perpetuate our strong learning culture by design. A key design principle of our Learning Blueprint is “Anchored Through Leadership” which spotlights positive role-modelling of leaders like our IBF Distinguished Fellows and IBF Fellows.

Building a resilient Future Workforce

During Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s visit to OCBC Centre in October 2020, our employee, Ms Kunjammai Sockalingam, 40, shared how her role has evolved from processing transactions to managing projects in Investment operations. She is one of the 1,300 employees the Bank has committed to place under the Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) to equip them with necessary knowledge, competencies and skills so that they can take on new or enhanced roles within the Bank by 2022.

In 2018, we embarked on a bank-wide workforce transformation review of 150 roles, covering 8,000 employees, across OCBC Bank and Bank of Singapore. About one-third of these roles were found to have high transformation potential, meaning that they are likely to change quite dramatically in the next few years. After identifying the transformation potential of critical roles, key future competencies, and key workforce transformation pathways, role-based learning roadmaps were created to support this transformation.

The predominant pathways identified were reskilling, upskilling and augmentation through technology. We are on track to place more than 1,300 employees on the Career Conversion Programme (CCP), through our partnership with IBF. We have also introduced more programmes and roadmaps to complement the CCPs. These cover a spectrum of roles from operations and technology, retail banking, to legal and regulatory compliance.

Strengthening our workforce through OCBC Future Smart 

OCBC Future Smart upskills and reskills all 30,000 employees globally for work of the future. First launched in 2018, we have to date committed $50 million in programmes to future-proof our people.

The learning programmes in the seven Future Smart domains across 4 proficiency levels – Awareness Literacy, Practitioner, and Mastery – are designed to leave no employee behind.
To date, more than 2,700 programmes have been developed with more than 228,000 completions.

Deepening skillsets and increasing learning opportunities


(left to right): Mr Clarence Ti, former Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Mr Jason Ho, Head of Group Human Resources, OCBC Bank launched the Data Certification Pathway during the Future Smart Learning Festival at OCBC Campus in July 2019. Dr. Michael Fung, Deputy Chief Executive (Industry), Chief Human Resource Officer & Chief Data Officer, SkillsFuture Singapore was also present to witness the launch.

The OCBC Future Smart framework is constantly updated to reflect persistent global trends. These include increasing global connectedness emphasising the need for more collaboration, agility, and diversity; the emergence of new ecosystems leading to new business models and strategy; harnessing technology that is dominating the way we work and communicate; redefinition of customer experience as a result of demographic changes; stiffer competition for talents with new skills; as well as sustainability, one of the biggest challenges facing global economies.

Empowering our people as lifelong learners

Even though Ms Liu Na, 45 has been doing business analysis in the Bank’s Global Commercial Banking division for more than 10 years, she enrolled in the Data Certification Pathway to upskill herself. In April 2021, she finally completed the Data Certification Pathway (Data Analyst track - IBF Qualified Level 1 in Digital and Data Analytics).

She had acquired not only new skills and knowledge, but confidence in working with various stakeholders, including those younger than her. She was able to speak in the same language as them which made collaboration more effective and fun. Using the data analytics and visualisation skills that she learnt, she now automates manual and repetitive processes, enhances the visual presentation of her work, and improves work efficiency.

At home, she has also applied her newly acquired skills in coding to develop a ‘food order queue system’ with her son as part of his school assignment.

She said: “Acquiring new knowledge is not just about getting another certification. It is also about the confidence and positivity felt when I am able to complete and conquer something new.”

Creating highly customised certification pathways to develop our talent pool

Ten Certification Pathways, designed in response to business demands and in line with industry standards, aim to prepare our employees for new or enhanced roles. Together with the Bank’s subject matter experts, Institutes of Higher Learning, and practitioners in the field, these highly contextualised programmes incorporate world-class practice and coaching from industry practitioners. This unique methodology allows any employee, regardless of background or starting point, to partake in the programme and attain an industry-recognised certification at the end of programme. The Certification Pathways cover domains of high demand, such as data analytics, product and experience design, process improvement, risk and more. More than 1,500 employees across the Group have taken these certification programmes.

In 2020, our Data Certification Pathway became the first programme in the field of data analytics and digital to be accredited by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), the national accreditation body for financial industry in Singapore. OCBC Bank employees who successfully complete the programme will be recognised as qualified data analysts. This accreditation – IBF Qualified (Level 1) in Digital and Data Analytics – is notable as it is an industry-endorsed mark of quality indicating the attainment of relevant core competencies by data practitioners. Launched in July 2019, the pathway created in collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic, aims to raise the overall data literacy of our employees and double the number of data scientists and analysts we have by 2022. As of November 2021, more than 220 OCBC employees have embarked on the pathway.

Empowering our employees with increased autonomy

Central to building a strong Learning Organisation is the Bank’s support of autonomy in learning through the proliferation of learning opportunities for all, creation of content from the ground-up, and renewing policies and processes to promote a strong learning organisation.

Over the last three years, the learning infrastructure, policies and processes at the OCBC Group have been updated to strengthen the foundation for a strong learning culture.

​Our employees are empowered to take ownership of their professional and personal development. Programmes on our learning platform on both desktop and mobile have been enhanced to make learning accessible to all employees.

To date, more than 2,900 user-generated creations have been offered on our learning platform.