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DBS to invest 20 million to transform employees into digital workforce

Following Prime Minister Lee's National Day Rally speech about building a Smart Nation on Sunday, DBS Bank announced today that it is investing S$20 million over five years in a broad-based programme to skill its 10,000 Singapore-based employees in digital banking and emerging technologies, enabling them to thrive in the digital economy and adapt to the future of work.

The DBS’ programme supports the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s vision to create a Smart Financial Centre where technology is used pervasively in the financial industry – an integral part of Singapore’s ambition to be a Smart Nation – to increase efficiency, create opportunities, better manage risks, and improve lives.

The DBS programme is designed to encourage large-scale participation and digital adoption by all bank employees, and comprises several aspects:

  • Artificial intelligence-powered e-learning, which can be accessed 24/7
  • Experiential learning, such as intrapreneur programmes and hackathons
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Innovative learning spaces

Lee Yan Hong, Group Head of Human Resources, DBS Bank said: “As the financial sector evolves, the profile of jobs will change and we are committed to helping our people adapt and embrace digital transformation through innovative and immersive continuous learning programmes. An agile and innovative workforce will also make Singapore’s Smart Nation ambition a reality and along with this, we are making significant investments to groom a generation of digital bankers, strengthening Singapore’s talent pool.”

Artificial intelligence-powered e-learning

DBS has launched a new cloud-based learning management system called DBS Horizon, which is powered by Saba, a leading cloud-based learning management solution used by leading organisations worldwide.

DBS Horizon uses artificial intelligence to make personalised course recommendations, and help employees collaborate, create communities of interest, and engage in mobile education anytime, anywhere across the bank. The user-intuitive interface enables DBS staff to easily search for courses to support their career aspirations and passions.

To prepare employees for the future, a new digital curriculum was specially designed and curated to help them learn about digital disruption and transformation via blended learning solutions, a combination of bite-sized e-learning modules and classroom sessions. Topics covered include understanding the digital business model, adopting agile methodologies, journey thinking and how to use technology as business enablers.

Experiential learning

DBS employees are given the opportunity to go on paid sabbaticals to work on prototypes and start their own businesses. The bank also runs accelerator programmes which provide mentorship and funding to help these intrapreneurs grow their concepts into prototypes.

It hopes that by giving employees the opportunity to try their hands on building a business from scratch, DBS people will learn to think like digital natives. Since 2015, more than 2,000 DBS staff have participated in human centred design workshops and hackathons, and conducted more than 1,000 experiments.

Grants and scholarships

To support the government's SkillsFuture initiative, the DBS SkillsFlex programme was launched in 2016 to offer staff (up to Senior Associate level) an additional S$500 in DBS SkillsFlex credits to learn new skills in line with their aspirations, interests or passions.

DBS staff can apply the credits to customised courses offered by DBS, or choose from over 16,000 courses in the government’s SkillsFuture Credit Course Directory. In 2017, more than 1,300 DBS employees used their DBS SkillsFlex Credit to upskill themselves.

The bank also offers scholarships to employees to further their skills in emerging technologies such as data & analytics, design thinking, and automation. They are then encouraged to share their learnings with their peers, creating a culture of peer-to-peer learning. To date, 130 scholars have shared their knowledge with more than 1,000 of their peers.

Innovative learning spaces

DBS has also invested in innovative learning spaces for its employees including the DBS Academy and DBS Asia X, its latest innovation hub – a purpose built innovation facility for DBS employees to come together, design and develop iconic customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader FinTech community.

Spanning 40,000 square feet, over 10,000 training sessions are conducted at the DBS Academy each year and employees have access to a wide selection of courses, such as scenario-based leadership development programmes and digital master classes.