Submitted by

DBS Group

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DBS has garnered a slew of global accolades, underscoring our growing presence among banking leaders worldwide....

13/09/2023 Banking Innovation


Reshaping the operations workforce strategy: A programme engineered to build an employable, deployable, and just-in-time digital workforce that can handle the different operations functions at DBS.

Innovation presentation

Group Technology & Operations (T&O) is one of the largest units at DBS Bank with >15,000 employees. Within T&O, the Strategic Planning & Support (SPS) team is tasked with designing programmes that benefit T&O employees, be it for their mental and physical health, or equipping them to be future-ready.

Future Ready Workforce (FRW) is a programme designed for the Operations workforce, which carries out the day-to-day operations – including the processing of transactions and digitalisation of processes – of the Bank. Through FRW, SPS aims to equip Operations employees with the skills and capabilities to not only meet tomorrow’s challenges, but also overcome obstacles yet imagined. We’ve three initiatives under FRW: Structured Learning Roadmaps (SLRs), Future Operations Festival (FOF), and iGrow.

Learning Roadmaps (SLRs)

The SLRs were curated by a cross-functional team of subject matter experts and are deliberately designed to enable the Operations workforce to acquire new skills. The SLRs are shaped around the following areas – Digital & Data, Customer and User Experience, Risk & Governance, People, and Functional – with each SLR leading to a future role.

For Horizon 1, we’ve identified 7 future roles at DBS Bank. These 7 future roles aren’t roles that require one to start from scratch. Instead, they’re existing roles that require employees to upskill, grow, and keep pace with their changing environments.

Each SLR provides the employee with a structured curriculum (SLR2 image), with a set of courses he can sign up for (SLR1 image). Employees have two years to complete their SLRs.

The SLRs enable both upskilling and reskilling. In the former, employees pick up new skills or ways of working, allowing them to remain relevant when their current roles evolve into future roles, while the latter enables individuals who aren’t in the existing roles, but have aspirations to progress into new roles, and embrace internal mobility opportunities.

The seven existing roles and future roles are as such:

From Customer Service Officer to Omnichannel Agent

The Customer Service Officer specialises in serving customers who contact DBS via a particular medium. As more customers migrate to digital channels for routine transactions, and leverage self-service channels for general enquiries, the need for human intervention is greatly reduced. The omnichannel agent will be a ‘jack of all trades’ who can address more complex client and technical issues, while handling sales and product advisories. They will also be able to customers via a multitude of online platforms, including email and social medial, and be adept at inculcating a cross-buy mindset in the customer.

From Operations Specialist to Exception Specialist

The Operations Specialist is responsible for transaction management and end-to-end processing, validation, and settlement. When most of the manual processes are replaced via the four levers – channel and workflow migration, automation and STP, standardisation, and elimation of legacy processes – employees will become Exception Specialists who will manage exception cases and validation, provide oversight, drive technology implementation and process re-engineering.

From Operations Manager to Control Tower Manager

The Operations Manager is responsible for business process improvement and ensuring that the day-to-day BAU processing is up to speed, and oversee people development, building great managers and great teams. The Control Tower Manager will leverage digital and advanced analytics tools to replace routine manual tracking, allowing them to spend more time on people engagement, career coaching, design thinking and other decision-making agendas.

From Project Manager to Journey Manager

The Project Manager leads business stakeholders in discussions to define the customer journey, and design solutions that meet measurable business goals and requirements. This role continues to be critical in customer obsession, recognising that enhanced customer experiences will serve as a differentiator amongst competitors. As Journey Manager, this role will leverage data science to address ever-changing customer demands, expectations, and hyper-personalised preferences and interactions.

Business Analyst [Role retains its name]

This role doesn’t change, as it remains an essential role in the future. The Business Analyst bridges the gap between users and technology, and guides the business to improve processes, products, services, and application systems through data analysis and journeys. Diving deep into this role, they’ll learn to wear different hats, such as a Requirements Analyst, Data Translator, and Agile Business Analyst. They’ll also strengthen their domain knowledge, which remains the most important skill, and have a strong acumen in problem-solving, general technical fluency, strong project and process management skills, stakeholder management, communication skills, and data storytelling.

From Management Information Systems (MIS) Specialist to Data Analyst

The role primarily involves providing support to Management through administrative support in storage, custody, and control of relevant information, data, or documentation. Moving forward, the role will evolve into a Data Analyst who provides valuable data-driven insights and moves the business forward in achieving its strategic objectives.

From Risk Specialist to Advanced Risk Controller

The Risk Specialist is responsible for identifying, quantifying, and monitoring all aspects of risk from New Business to Audit, Reporting, Operations Risk Review, Events and establishing risk governance and frameworks in line with best practices and legal requirements. With augmentation of the job role to Advanced Risk Controller, traditionally administrative tasks will be carried out more efficiently with the help of Advanced Analytics and AI. The correlation of data will also help with proactive predictive risk management, and improved analysis and risk reporting.

We’ve identified 17 more roles in Horizon 2, including that of a data translator, experience designer, and AI modelling trainer. Roles in Horizon 3 are still underway.

Future Operations Festival (FOF)

To create awareness of and evangalise FRW to the Operations workforce, SPS organised a Future Operations Festival (FOF) in Singapore in 2022, and in Hong Kong this year. FOF showcases and highlight our Operations’ transformative journey through an exhibition of engaging and diverse live demonstrations and informative displays.

During Singapore’s FOF, SPS also leveraged on the metaverse to push the envelope of people engagement. The metaverse is one of the emerging technologies that DBS’ metaverse team has been experimenting with and designing use cases for. With it being one of the hottest topics in 2022, the team recreated FOF in the metaverse, in addition to its physical event. This signalled the team’s intent to be bold with its experimentations, and also encouraged employees to try new platforms, while learning about the latest tech trends (FOF 1-5 images).


SPS also partnered with the Learning & Development team to leverage the Bank’s internal iGrow platform (iGrow1 and iGrow2 images) to promote courses employees can take to upskill and reskill themselves. iGrow encourages employees to take ownership of their professional growth and development in many ways, including:

• Suggesting relevant training courses (iGrow3 image)

• Suggesting suitable exposure opportunities under DBS’s flagship exposure programme Be My Guest (BeMyGuest1 image), which has 3 pathways

o Xplore projects: Participating in cross-functional projects outside of own Business Unit

o Shadowing:

 Role / Workflow Shadowing: Experiencing a day in the life of a particular role or observe a workflow to gain insights

 Leadership Shadowing: Experience a day in the life of a leader, and finding out how strategic decisions are made

o Meeting Exposure: Attend townhalls, meetings or offsites to understand more about other units.

• Identifying roles for internal talent mobility

Uniqueness of the project

People remain at the heart of our business at DBS. On the employee front, this not only means providing them with a host of benefits or engagement opportunities, but also committing to growing them, and journey with them as they do so.

The banking and finance industry is changing at lightning speed, and operations – which forms the backbone of the business – needs to adapt just as quickly. Our people must grow and remain resilient in the face of change. But the onus shouldn’t fall squarely on them.

With FRW, we seek to arm our employees with the relevant skills needed to tackle challenges that lie ahead. The two-year SLR journey enables them to pick up new skills at their own pace, and slowly apply the skills learned in their current roles. The roles are what DBS seeks to fill in the future, and instead of looking externally, we’re providing our employees with the resources so that they can step up when the time comes. This eases the fears some may have about being made redundant in the workforce. This two-year timeline provides a gentle learning curve and encourages employees to step out of their comfort zones.

As the backbone of the business, operations employees tend to focus on their daily BAU to keep the gears moving. With FOF, we wanted to celebrate our employees’ achievements, and show them how their roles have enabled DBS to digitalise operations and grow its business. FOF also reminds employees that Operations is not a back office, but rather, an essential cog in the wheel.

iGrow is the first career platform in DBS that uses AI/ML to help employees identify future career aspirations. The platform doubles as a career coach, journeying with the employee throughout. Employees can explore the options available, or type in keywords about roles they’re interested in, or skills they currently have. iGrow then lists roles that the employee may be interested in, along with courses he can take, to better prepare himself for the role. Employees are encouraged to log into iGrow regularly to update their skillsets, so that the platform can suggest more accurate roles.

FRW, and each of these initiatives, show T&O’s commitment to growing its people, and enabling DBS to be the Best Bank for a Better World.

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