UOB’s values guide us as we attract, develop and retain the best people to advise and to act in the best interests of our customers. We nurture our people through our development and welfare programmes. We are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace where our people can realise their full professional potential in a meaningful and rewarding manner.

We are committed to developing our people’s sense of belonging at UOB.

Our Employee Commitments

Our values give us a shared sense of identity and belonging, and our four employee commitments encourage us to keep raising the standards of our behaviour and performance in service of our customers.


Do What is Right

We do what is right for all of our stakeholders and make decisions that are in the best interests of our organisation, our people and our customers.


Build Meaningful Careers

We encourage enterprise and ambition at all levels. We believe in bringing out the best in everyone through professional development and empowering people to take ownership of their career paths.


Make a Real Difference

Our unwavering commitment to upholding the UOB values is reflected in how our people serve customers and our communities with passion. We are here to make a real difference to shape our future and to add value to the lives we touch.


Lead by Positive Example

Our leaders act as role models, guiding teams to take on challenges and to take ownership of their actions. Together, we focus on enabling the success and advancement of individuals and teams.

2016 Highlights

  • Reinforced the importance of living the UOB values by adding a values component to the Group-wide performance assessment structure;
  • Invested $19.6 million in our training programmes for our people;
  • Helped our people to deepen their skills and to develop new skills through more than 900,000 training hours;
  • Held the UOB 2020 Ideas Contest and Regional Hackathon to embed a culture of innovation;
  • Equipped our people with core competencies and role-specific skills under our Group-wide competency framework;
  • Created six segment and function-based Talent Management Councils to strengthen the Group’s talent management process;
  • Expanded our Management Associate Programme to include regional projects and overseas attachment opportunities;
  • Provided $11.2 million worth of healthcare and lifestyle benefits to our people to encourage healthy living;
  • Honoured 80 colleagues from across the region at our inaugural UOB Customer Commitments Awards ceremony in recognition of their commitment to service excellence;
  • Presented the UOB Dedication Awards to 270 employees in Singapore, four of whom were honoured for 50 years of service; and
  • Received seven industry awards in Singapore, Hong Kong and China for our positive workplace practices.

Our People Profile

(as at 31 December 2016)

Upholding the Highest Professional and Ethical Standards

The UOB Code of Conduct sets out the principles of personal and professional conduct expected of our people. It also reflects the Bank’s commitment to ensure merit-based, equal employment opportunities. It defines the standards we require to offer a safe working environment that is free from discrimination, bullying and harassment. All new employees upon joining UOB are informed of, and sign up to, their obligations and rights under the Code of Conduct. In Singapore, existing employees refresh their knowledge and renew their commitment through the completion of an e-learning module annually.

More information on our ethical standards and compliance practices can be found in the Regulators and Corporate Governance sections of this report.

Maintaining a Risk-Focused Organisational Culture

At UOB, our commitment to good governance and informed risk-based decision-making enables us to grow sustainably. To maintain a strong risk-focused culture across the organisation, we have put in place a comprehensive framework of policies, processes, methodologies and tools that will help us identify, measure, monitor and manage material risks and opportunities faced by the Group.

Ongoing training is integral to our efforts to promote risk awareness among our people. All employees are required to complete e-learning modules annually on topics related to the material risks of the Group. These topics include anti-money laundering, UK Bribery Act, Insider Trading and Market Misconduct, Banking Secrecy, Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity, IT Security and Fair Dealing. The UOB Group Risk Appetite Framework is also easily accessible on the intranet.

Where applicable, employees’ key performance indicators also include risk control metrics. Areas of discussion during performance review sessions include audit, risk and compliance issues identified in internal and external audits, results of compliance reviews and internal audit ratings, significant regulatory breaches and control lapses, as well as customer survey results and customer complaints.

More information on our risk management strategy and approach can be found in the Risk Management section of this report.

Maintaining Workplace Safety and Health

Our people’s health and safety are important to us. Our workplace safety policy and guidelines identify and address health and safety risks Group-wide.

In Singapore, our Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Workgroup plans and implements various health and safety initiatives. The workgroup includes representation from various business and support units. WSH leaders, assistant leaders, managers and assistant managers are also nominated within each department to assist in making sure that every measure is taken to eliminate health and safety risks. The representatives attend the risk management course approved by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower.

We are certified as BizSAFE Level 2 by the WSH Council.

Upholding Human Rights

We are committed to upholding internationally-accepted human rights principles, including those relating to non-discrimination, child labour, forced labour and freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Ensuring Freedom of Association

We respect our colleagues’ lawful right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The proportion of unionised to non-unionised employees in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia at the end of 2016 was 33.2 per cent, 87.7 per cent and 31.6 per cent respectively.

We also maintain mutually trusted and respectful relations with employee unions. In Singapore, we are engaged with three unions, namely The Singapore Bank Officers’ Association, Singapore Bank Employees’ Union and the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers Union. We are engaged with four unions in Malaysia and two in Indonesia.

Our management holds regular meetings with the union representatives to understand and to address their concerns. The collective bargaining agreements with our unions cover a range of topics related to wages and working conditions such as working hours, retirement age and re-employment, shift work, allowances, transport reimbursement, leave benefits, medical benefits, insurance benefits and grievance procedures.

Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

We have colleagues from 35 nationalities of different age groups across the Group. The diverse strengths of our people enrich our business competitiveness and enable us to be sensitive and attuned to the range of personal and business banking needs of our customers.

Offering Re-Employment to the Silver Workforce

Recognising the depth of knowledge and experience that our older colleagues bring to the workplace, we enable them to continue working with us beyond the statutory minimum retirement age. In Singapore, we re-hired 126 employees who were retiring in 2016. Their one-year employment contract is renewable every year, up to 31 December of the year when the employees turn 65. Half of this group were female.

Ensuring Gender Diversity

Females accounted for 61.9 per cent of our permanent employees as at the end of 2016 and 57.5 per cent of all the hires in 2016. In Senior Management and middle management roles, women made up 35.9 per cent and 52.1 per cent respectively. They also account for 47.4 per cent of department heads, who are Senior Management reporting directly to the Group CEO or a Country CEO, in Singapore, Thailand, China and Hong Kong.

Developing an Inclusive Workplace

At UOB, the practice of diversity extends beyond age and gender differences to include drawing on the range of different experiences and abilities that our colleagues can bring to the organisation.

In some areas, the work requires specific skills that best suit people with special abilities. As an example, Scan Hub is UOB’s nerve centre for the checking, digitising and archiving of customer documents. Such work requires a sharp eye for detail, high-levels of concentration and an ability to work methodically. The extent of rigour and focus needed for certain roles in this function make the jobs well-suited for people with autism.

The UOB Scan Hub exemplifies UOB’s inclusive employment initiatives.

As such, in partnership with the Autism Resource Centre’s Employability and Employment Centre in Singapore, we redesigned work processes, modified the office environment and developed structured training programmes for people with autism to work at our Scan Hub operations centre in Singapore.

Since redesigning the roles and integrating the team at UOB Scan Hub, employee turnover has fallen while overall work productivity has risen. In 2016, UOB Scan Hub expanded its special needs workforce with three new hires. As at 31 December 2016, the team had 18 people with special needs, representing 40 per cent of the workforce of the department.

Nurturing Our People Through Training and Career Development

Continuous employee training and development is a top priority at UOB. We have infused our values into our training programmes to ensure that our people have the right skills and mindset to build trust with colleagues and customers.

Just as we further our investments in technology across our regional network in service of the customer, we ensure that our people are equipped with the professional and leadership competencies, skills and knowledge they require to be ‘future- ready’. This is done through on-the-job, self- and peer-based learning and workshops.

In 2016, we invested $19.6 million in training our people. They completed about 910,000 training hours in total, which equates to an average of 37 hours for each employee. We also received approximately $3.0 million in training subsidies and grants from the governments of Singapore and Malaysia.

Training Expenditure

2016 2015 2014
Total ($ million)
19.6 20.9 19.4
Average per headcount($)
788.9 835.9 774.0

Training Hours Per Headcount (Singapore)

2016 2015 2014
46.5 57.3 58.6
32.9 41.6 44.4

Training Hours Per Headcount in 2016 (Singapore)

Senior Management Middle Management Executive Administrative
23.2 29.5 67.2 13.8
24.9 28.3 41.9 17.3

Developing Digital Capabilities

Encouraging enterprising thinking and acquiring digital skills are among our top training priorities as we strive to anticipate and to meet the needs of a new generation of increasingly tech-savvy customers.

In 2016, we held the UOB 2020 Ideas Contest for employees to submit innovative ideas on how UOB can harness technology to provide a better customer experience. We saw more than 200 submissions from teams formed by 600 employees across the Group. More than 20 of the teams were shortlisted to test their ideas on commercially-viable solutions for real-life banking challenges at our inaugural UOB 2020 Regional Hackathon in Singapore. The participants were guided on app design and how to pitch their ideas, while mentors from UOB provided advice on customer experience and business realities to challenge the teams.

Deepening Role-Specific Skills

Our Group-wide competency framework – Strategise, Engage, Execute and Develop (SEED) – is the basis for a suite of courses to equip our people with the core competencies and skills they need to perform and to excel in their current roles. Under the SEED programme, employees are able to learn using tools and frameworks that they can refer to easily for their daily work. In 2016, 765 employees graduated from this programme.

During the year, our Channels, Personal Financial Services, Business Banking, Wholesale Banking, and Technology and Operations Training Academies provided business and role-specific skills training. For example in China, our Wholesale Banking Training Academy developed a job grade-specific training programme to equip relationship managers with the required knowledge and practical skills to serve their clients well. A highlight of the programme was having senior leaders provide guidance on business strategy and share their experience through case studies.

In Malaysia, we partnered the Asian Banking School, an affliate of Bank Negara Malaysia, to launch the finance industry’s first executive certification programme for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) bankers. The cost of this programme is covered by the Bank Negara Malaysia’s Staff Training Fund, which was set up to address talent retention in the banking industry. We also worked with the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia to introduce a similar programme there to help our bankers gain a deeper understanding of business trends, the characteristics and needs of SMEs, and the financial solutions they require to manage their businesses.

In 2016, 76 of our colleagues from Malaysia also obtained various professional certifications from the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers.

The UOB SUMMIT (Social, Unity, Motivation, Mastery, Innovation, Technology) programme, which was launched in 2015, complements UOB’s employee training and development programme in Singapore. As part of this initiative, we reinvest the grants received under the Singapore government’s Wage Credit Scheme into career and personal development courses for our people. In 2016, we enhanced the programme so that employees can also use the training credits for courses under the national SkillsFuture programme. Currently, more than 5,000 training places are available for courses on innovation, productivity, service excellence and IT.

Serving Customers with Special Needs

UOB takes an active role in championing a more inclusive society. We partner non-profit organisations dedicated to the welfare of persons with disabilities including SG Enable, Autism Resource Centre and Society for the Physically Disabled to review and to update our training programmes for customer service employees. These programmes are aimed at improving disability awareness so that our people can understand better the special needs of such customers and to provide a smooth and seamless banking experience for them in our branches. The training content spans the entire customer service journey, from first impressions to communication, account servicing and helping the customers with their mobility challenges in the branch.

Developing Our Leaders

Our talent management philosophy centres on developing leadership talent at all levels of the organisation. Our programmes focus on identifying, assessing, developing and deploying talent across the Group.

We have a mix of on-the-job experience-based development, learning through feedback and formal learning and education programmes. For early-career talent, the focus is on deepening functional and technical expertise while for senior leaders it includes improving people management, leadership skills and providing exposure to managing regional operations.

The 2016 cohort of the UOB Management Associate Programme.

Grooming Fresh Graduates

Under our 16-month Management Associate Programme, we recruit fresh graduates from top universities in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong, and groom them to take on leadership and regional roles within UOB through accelerated training.

The 47 fresh graduates hired in 2016 worked on regional projects and had overseas attachment opportunities. Since the programme was launched in 2004, we have recruited 497 management associates, and nearly half of them are still in UOB Group, with many having progressed well in their careers and holding leadership positions.

Cultivating Leadership Skills

The UOB Leadership Academy plays an important role in the professional development of our high-potential colleagues. The Academy prepares our managers to implement and to manage change and to lead their teams more effectively. We also worked with SMU to incorporate a human-centred design framework that guides the participants at the Academy to develop business impact projects that improve the customer experience. The Academy’s programmes are reviewed annually to ensure they stay relevant to the demands of our business and the needs of our customers. In 2016, 195 employees graduated from the UOB Leadership Academy.

Strengthening Our Talent Management Process

In 2016, we created six Talent Management (TM) Councils, comprising senior business leaders from across our businesses to strengthen our talent management process.

The TM Councils serve as advisory bodies to the respective segment and function heads, and are responsible for identifying, assessing, developing and deploying talent across the Group. They meet as part of our annual Group Organisation and People Review process to define the development plans of the identified talent and to monitor and to discuss the progress of these employees regularly. The TM Councils also mentor selected employees.

Planning for Succession

Leadership succession is a key priority for UOB. We have implemented an organisation-wide accountability framework for succession planning and our Board of Directors, through its Nominating Committee, has oversight of all Senior Management talent and succession plans. The TM Councils and segment and function heads are delegated with accountability for their respective talent pools, while the Human Resources Committee has oversight of the Group’s collective talent pool.

To ensure proactive planning, succession plans for key positions are developed and reviewed by the senior leadership team as well as at the Board level annually. Individual development plans are put in place to prepare successors. Succession planning is a core component of the Group Organisation and People Review process.

The integration of our talent management activities with the succession planning process helps ensure that we meet the critical leadership requirements of our business.

Managing Employee Performance

UOB is committed to an objective and fair performance management process to reward performance and to support people development. Our integrated performance management framework, which comprises four stages namely Plan, Engage, Appraise and Keep Track (PEAK), is aimed at promoting a meritocratic, performance excellence culture.

The PEAK framework enables employee-centric and business-focused dialogues between managers and employees to help achieve business as well as personal development goals. Employee goals are established at the start of the year. Throughout the year, managers engage in discussions with team members to review their progress and challenges. Performance Improvement Plans are also developed for the weaker performers.

The UOB Leadership Academy runs a suite of programmes designed to develop our employees’ leadership skills.

Formal appraisals are conducted at the end of the year, during which employees are assessed based on the agreed key performance indicators and the competencies defined for their job grades. In 2016, a significant values component was added to the performance assessment structure to reinforce the importance of living the UOB values. All permanent employees participated in performance and career development reviews during the year.

In 2016, we also launched an online version of PEAK across the Group to enhance the performance management and personal development experience for our employees.

Caring for Our People

We care about our people and are committed to looking after their well-being. As part of this commitment, we promote a healthy work-life balance because we appreciate that it leads to better productivity and happier colleagues.

Promoting Work-Life Harmony

Under our work-life harmony programme, full-time employees in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong can opt for staggered working hours to suit their family or personal needs. We also offer family care and child care leave days which gives our people more flexibility in managing on the home front.

In Singapore in 2015, we doubled the paternity leave to two weeks. This was in addition to the shared parental leave we already offer, which allows fathers to share one week of leave with their spouse’s maternity leave entitlement. In 2016, the number of our male colleagues who utilised their paternity leave rose by 26 per cent, and about 90 per cent of employees who returned to work after maternity or paternity leave, remained employed for at least 12 months upon return.

Providing Employee Benefits

Our permanent employees are entitled to a range of benefits, such as social security equivalent contributions, life insurance, accident insurance, annual leave, parental leave, staff loans, special allowances and reimbursements, as well as healthcare and retirement benefits. Our employee benefits, including those for contract and temporary employees, vary according to local regulations and market practices.

Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles

Our healthcare programme – Healthy Employees, Active Lifestyles (HEAL) – has comprehensive medical and healthcare coverage, as well as flexible wellness benefits for all full-time permanent employees. This programme was launched in Singapore in 2014 and extended to China in 2015.

Under the programme, employees receive HEAL dollars to spend on a wide range of health and wellness benefits for themselves and their dependents. Some of the benefits include health screenings, vaccinations, dental and optical treatments, gym memberships and health-related workshops.

In 2016, we provided $11.2 million worth of HEAL benefits, compared with $9.8 million in 2015. A total of $31.3 million worth of HEAL benefits has been disbursed since the launch of the programme.

Our people also have access to a counselling helpline to seek help for stress or other challenges at work.

Recognising Our Employees’ Dedication

To thank our people for their commitment and loyalty to UOB, we recognise and reward employees’ long service at our UOB Dedication Awards. Awards are given to employees who have served 20, 30, 40 and 50 years across the Group. In 2016, 270 employees in Singapore received the award, four of whom were honoured for their 50 years of service.

UOB Deputy Chairman and CEO, Mr Wee Ee Cheong, thanking our employees at the UOB Dedication Awards ceremony for their years of service.

Engaging Our People

Employee engagement is integral to developing our people’s sense of belonging at UOB. Through communication channels such as townhalls, dialogues and our intranet, we inform our people on matters of Group-wide importance, such as business developments, financial performance, organisational changes and new programmes and policies.

In 2016, we launched a new intranet portal, MyUOB, for all colleagues across our global network. It was designed to encourage colleagues to connect across teams and borders, to improve collaboration and to encourage creative thinking. To help streamline work processes, business teams use MyUOB collaboration sites to manage their work flows. There is also a high frequency of interaction among colleagues enabled by MyUOB’s social features which enable our people to comment, to like and to share stories on a range of topics which encompass the full breadth of work-related, social and community activities at UOB.

For employees who enjoy team sport, the UOB Recreation Club organises a variety of games and tournaments annually. Our people are also highly involved in the volunteer events and workshops organised as part of the UOB Heartbeat Corporate Social Responsibility programme focusing on art, children and education.

More information on our community initiatives can be found in the Community section of this report.
Our new intranet portal, MyUOB, enables all colleagues across our global network to connect and to collaborate with each other.

Inspiring and Encouraging Service Excellence

In 2015, we launched the UOB Customer Commitments Awards, our first Group-wide employee recognition programme that aims to cultivate service leadership behaviour among all colleagues. The year-round programme covers six regional countries and overseas branches and is run by the Customer Advocacy and Service Quality team.

Through the recognition of exemplary colleagues across the Group who best demonstrate our values and fulfil our customer commitments, we hope to inspire and encourage all employees toward service excellence.

In 2016, close to 80 colleagues were honoured at a regional awards ceremony held in Singapore for being role models. The colleagues from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were presented with awards by our Deputy Chairman and CEO, Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Country CEOs and senior leaders.

Receiving Industry Recognition

In acknowledgement of our positive workplace practices, we were recognised with a Plaque of Commendation Award at the 2016 National Trades Union Congress May Day Awards for our contributions to Singapore’s labour movement.

In Hong Kong, UOB was named one of the Best Companies to Work for in Asia by HR Asia in 2016. We also received the Family-Friendly Employers Award and the Award for Breastfeeding Support from the Hong Kong Family Council.

UOB (China) also won top human resource awards, including the Top 100 Employers and Excellence in HR Management Team at China’s Employer Excellence Awards presented by 51job Limited; Top 100 Best Employers in China by Zhaopin Limited and Peking University; and the Most Valuable Case Study at the 2016 Best China Talent Development Awards organised by the Shanghai HR Union.

At our inaugural UOB Customer Commitments Awards ceremony, our employees from across the region were recognised for their service excellence.

Diversity of Our People

(as at 31 December 2016)

Permanent Employees Contract Employees < 30 years old 30 - 50 years old > 50 years old
38.1% 47.5% 41.5% 43.2% 49.6%
61.9% 52.5% 58.5% 56.8% 50.4%
Total New Hires < 30 years old 30 - 50 years old > 50 years old
2,431 (42.5%) 41.5% 43.2% 49.6%
3,284 (57.5%) 58.5% 56.8% 50.4%
Senior management Middle management Executive Administrative
64.1% 47.9% 37.6% 31.2%
35.9 52.1% 62.4% 68.8%
Turnover rate 2016 2015 2014
Overall 20.6% 19.8% 23.1%
24.1% 21.1% 25.8
18.4% 19.0% 21.5%