Our Commitment to Fairness
UOB is committed to building a safe, nurturing and inclusive workplace where all colleagues are treated respectfully and professionally and are given equal opportunity based on merit. We promote work-life harmony and an environment free from discrimination, bullying or harassment.
Our expectations of our people and the policies we expect them to abide by are stated in the UOB Code of Conduct (Code). We update our Code periodically to stay relevant with the times and to address regulatory requirements and policy changes. Upon joining UOB, all new colleagues are informed of, and sign up to, their obligations and rights under our Code.
All colleagues are required to refresh their knowledge and to renew their commitment to our Code through completing an e-learning module every year. We also help deepen understanding and embed the practice of our Code through frequent and interactive communications across the organisation.
Maintaining a Risk-Focused Organisational Culture
Our values drive our conduct and form the bedrock of our risk culture. They are the foundation for the four principles that guide our approach: enforcing robust risk governance; balancing growth with stability; ensuring accountability for all our risk-based decisions and actions; and encouraging awareness, engagement and consistent behaviour in every colleague.
Our comprehensive framework of policies, processes, methodologies and tools helps us identify, measure, monitor and manage material risks and opportunities faced by the Group. Where applicable, an individual’s key performance indicators (KPIs) also include risk control metrics.
Ongoing training reinforces the risk-focused conduct that enables us to earn the trust of our stakeholders over generations. Many of the training programmes are also available online to enable our colleagues to learn and to complete them at their own pace. On average, each colleague across the Group spent 16.1 hours on risk management training. The training topics include:
assessing and addressing operational and security risks;
core ethics for financial advisers;
countering the financing of terrorism;
financial crime prevention;
global fraud prevention;
IT security and cyber risk awareness;
regulations on short-selling; and
UK Bribery Act.
The senior management encourages understanding and practice of risk management across the organisation through regular and frequent communication such as face-to-face meetings, discussion groups and internal bulletins. It is also the responsibility of all people managers to set the tone and to promote risk-focused behaviour within their teams.
Our colleagues also participated in conferences, seminars and workshops to keep abreast of industry trends and to share best practices in risk management. For example, the Group Audit team learnt new approaches to address changing risks profiles of business and support units, through a workshop on Enhanced Risk Assessment by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2018.
We also ensure through our whistle-blowing policy that our colleagues have the ability to raise matters of potential concern in a secure manner without fear of reprisal. All reported cases are swiftly investigated and resolved. The status of all whistle-blowing cases is tracked by Group Audit and reported to the Audit Committee every quarter.
Our Group Audit colleagues discussed how audit methodologies can be improved at the Enhanced Risk Assessment workshop.
We value the opinions of our colleagues and encourage them to share their thinking on what matters to them. Every article that is posted on MyUOB, the Group’s intranet, seeks their views which can be given openly or privately.
In 2018, we acted on the feedback provided in a Group-wide Employee Survey conducted the year before. We analysed the survey results and our Group Human Resources team partnered function heads to develop and to roll out initiatives to address key improvement areas. Among these was a Manager Index report aimed at helping our people managers to improve their managerial skills and effectiveness to strengthen employee engagement.
Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity
We draw upon the diverse strengths, experiences and capabilities of our colleagues from 38 nationalities and different age groups. This helps to enrich our knowledge and appreciation of each other and the markets in which we operate. It also enables us to be sensitive to the needs of our customers and to serve them more effectively.
Ensuring Gender Diversity
Women accounted for 61.4 per cent of our permanent colleagues as at the end of 2018 and 57.1 per cent of all the hires in 2018. Women held 34.5 per cent and 51.8 per cent of senior and middle management roles respectively. They also accounted for 45 per cent of department heads, who are senior management reporting directly to the Group CEO or a Country CEO.
Our efforts in ensuring gender diversity and transparency in gender reporting in 2018 were recognised by Bloomberg, which listed UOB as one of only four companies in Singapore and 230 companies worldwide in its 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
Offering Re-employment to the Silver Workforce
We recognise the depth of knowledge and experience that colleagues who are beyond the statutory retirement age can contribute to the organisation. In Singapore, we offered re-employment opportunities to 158 colleagues who were eligible for retirement, 89 of whom were women. Since we started the re-employment of older workers in 2011, ahead of the legal requirement to do so in 2012, we have rehired 888 employees including 417 women.
Developing an Inclusive Workplace
Our diverse workforce extends beyond a mix of age and gender to include those with special abilities. The UOB Scan Hub – our nerve centre for digitising and archiving of customer documents – employs people with autism or deaf persons for their special abilities such as having a fine eye for detail, high levels of concentration and who are strong at methodical work processes. These specific skills are very suitable for a number of the functions at the UOB Scan Hub.
In 2018, we increased to 33 per cent the number of our UOB Scan Hub colleagues who have special abilities. With the Autism Resource Centre and the SPD in Singapore, we train people with special abilities to work at UOB Scan Hub and help ensure the work processes and the office environment are adjusted to accommodate their needs.
People with special abilities are valued for their contributions at the UOB Scan Hub.
Upholding Human Rights
We are committed to supporting 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. Our approach is to maintain mutually trusted and respectful relations with unions. We hold regular meetings with union representatives in markets across our network to understand and to address their concerns and expectations. In Singapore, these include the Singapore Bank Officers’ Association, Singapore Bank Employees' Union and The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers' Union in Singapore.
The collective bargaining agreements we have with the unions cover 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.
As at the end of 2018, the proportion of unionised to non-unionised employees in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore was 23.7 per cent, 86.7 per cent and 29.9 per cent respectively.
Advancing Workplace Safety and Health
Creating a healthy, safe and harmonious workplace is important to us and we have established a set of workplace safety guidelines to identify and to address health and safety risks. In Singapore, our Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Workgroup plans and implements various health and safety initiatives. The Workgroup includes representatives from different business and support units. Each department has its nominated WSH leaders, assistant leaders, managers and assistant managers and we take the necessary measures to eliminate health and safety risks.
The representatives attend the bizSAFE course on risk management accredited by SkillsFuture Singapore, a statutory board under Singapore’s Ministry of Education.