During the Randstad Award 2016 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, we caught up with Jason Ho, Head, Group Human Resources, who shared more about OCBC Bank's employer brand.

what makes OCBC Bank’s employer brand stand out?

I think care and support for employees – that is part of the DNA and culture of OCBC. When we were reviewing our employee value proposition, we tested with the external party and internal employees. The feedback came back exactly very strong that this value that we represent in terms of support and care for the staff is very genuine and very authentic, and this is what they identified OCBC with. We take the part very seriously because every year when we look at the way we measure the improvement that we make in terms of employer branding, what does it mean to the staff, we have an annual survey for employee engagement score. One we think we focused a lot when we kick off is the importance we place in terms of what we want the employees to give us as feedback. The group CEO will actually kick off the exercise, the survey, with a personal message that actually explains and details what are the action plans and what are the improvements we have taken from last year’s feedback before we actually start the survey. So every feedback is taken seriously and that feedback is given to the taskforce in every respective business division for them to actually work on to see how we can actually improve this process, and because of this feedback we actually increased quite a lot of programmes that are now part of OCBC’s programmes in terms of what we actually create as value propositions for our employees.

how has OCBC Bank and its employees benefited from its employer brand?

I think they play a very key role in shaping what is our employer branding because first I think when you look at OCBC, OCBC has been a bank that has grown quite well in the last 10 to 12 years – first from a very strong Singapore bank to be a bank with a very strong regional presence in the key market that we wanted to build. At the same time, when we look at the market we wanted to build, we also look at the fact that we needed a lot of talent. We put in place a talent management programme that is not just focusing on Singapore, but focusing on the region itself – how to attract talent from Singapore, from the region, in order to make sure that we have enough talent inventory in order to support the business we want to grow. So we have in place programmes like Young Bankers Programme, where we attract young graduates coming in to the organisation, where we give them a chance to be rotated to different businesses so that they experience what is like to be a banker not only just from the specialisation that they will embark on, but at the same time other activities within the bank, whether it’s control, whether it’s risk, whether it’s audit. At the same time as they progress in their career, we have Career Best Programme where we actually try to encourage staff to have career conversations with their supervisors whereby we can actually do intervention if there is a need or a gap in terms of learning, training, that we actually will assist staff to go on their journey if they want to become even more successful. Our aim when we look at a staff is that they have to be successful not only in the professional life but in the personal life, so when we look at this, a programme that we roll out, it must encompass all these important ingredients and vital parts of the journey for the staff.

what is one initiative that has helped OCBC’s employer brand and increased employee retention?

I think one of the programmes that we are particularly proud of, it actually came from a feedback from staff, is that when staff look at a career within OCBC they don’t see what their current job as the career that they end their career in OCBC. They always look for an opportunity to go foreign opportunity, for a career that is beyond their current division, so we have what we call internal mobility within the organisation and this programme called Internal Job Posting. We started the programme a number of years back and the staff is allowed to actually apply for a job outside the division even without the permission of their supervisor because we wanted to encourage them to be able to freely explore opportunities beyond the division. We actually set ourselves a benchmark whereby at least 20% of every open position in the organisation is filled internally and then at the same time we look at the way we actually build our internal talent pool. From the senior management that currently is within the organisation, more than 50% comes from internal pipeline, so I think this is a testament that we believe and walk the talk that if you want to have a career and you want to aspire to do something different and progress in the career, we are willing to invest the time and the effort to make sure that you are equipped with the right skills and to move along with the journey with OCBC.

about Randstad Award Singapore

Celebrating its 5th anniversary this year in Singapore and its 16th edition globally, the Randstad Employer Brand Research is presented each year to the most attractive employer in 25 markets across the globe. It is based on the outcome of one of the world’s largest independent survey into employer branding, covering over 200,000 global respondents and 75% of the global economy. For more information about the Randstad Employer Brand Research and how it can impact your organisation's employer brand, take a look at this list of frequently asked questions.

you might also want to take a look at OCBC's employer brand.