Attracting Developing and Retaining Talent
Why this topic matters to UOB
It is a strategic priority for UOB to attract, to develop and to retain talent so as to keep raising the standards of our service and ensuring  sustainable business growth. We believe that every one of our colleagues is able to contribute strongly for the good of our stakeholders and the whole organisation. Hence, we adopt an holistic approach to building and to strengthening our people capabilities proactively and continually as we recognise that a dynamic and engaged workforce is essential to the continued success of our organisation. In sharpening the knowledge and expertise of our people through professional and personal development programmes, we ensure that they are equipped with the skillsets and mindsets to remain relevant, competitive and fulfilled.
How we approach this topic
We are dedicated to building a culture where our colleagues are empowered to make a positive and meaningful difference in what they do for our internal and external stakeholders.  We do this by fostering an inclusive, prudent, progressive and performance-based organisation that encourages the best of each individual.

Setting rewarding career paths, offering educational opportunities and coaching are essential components of our approach to creating a dynamic and engaged workforce. We run numerous training and development programmes to equip our colleagues with the right skillsets to realise their full potential and to serve our customers better. Our colleagues are also encouraged to explore and to learn new skills in order to stay relevant and ready for the future.

UOB is an equal opportunity employer and aims to attract and to retain talent of principle, who have the passion and commitment to do what is right always. To secure the best talent, we continue to broaden our outreach to different talent groups globally through collaborations with recruitment marketplaces for inbound sourcing and recruitment platforms for outbound sourcing. During our recruitment process, we also use technology to improve the candidate experience through the following initiatives:
  • Deploying a global applicant tracking system which provides interested candidates the opportunity to view current job postings across the Group’s network and to apply directly for the role online;
  • Improving candidate conversion for Personal Bankers by using a chatbot for screening online job applications and online gamified assessment to minimise unconscious bias; and
  • Improving the employee onboarding process, such as using robotic process automation for background screening and providing e-sign offer and e-submit documents via the recruitment portal.
Our targets
  • Increase average training hours per employee across the Group each year.
  • 100 per cent of colleagues across the Group to undergo the five compulsory modules of the Better U learning and development over the next three years. [2022]
Our performance in 2019
  • We invested $31 million in training our people across the organisation. On average, each colleague completed 52.5 training hours, equivalent to about 1.4 million hours across UOB in aggregate, an increase of 17 per cent over 2018.
  • We launched the regional Better U learning and development programme first in Singapore and subsequently in mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
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.
Managing employee performance
UOB is committed to fostering a meritocratic, performance excellence culture at the workplace. Our integrated performance management framework, which comprises four stages namely Plan, Engage, Appraise and Keep Track (PEAK), is designed to assess and to reward performance in an objective and fair manner and to support career development.

Using the PEAK framework, colleagues establish their business and personal development goals at the start of the year in consultation with their managers. Performance Improvement Plans are also developed to help colleagues in need of additional guidance. Managers hold discussions with their team members throughout the year to review their progress and to address their challenges.

At the end of each year, all eligible permanent employees are assessed through performance appraisals against agreed key performance indicators and job-related competencies. The performance assessment structure also includes a values component to reinforce the importance of upholding our values.
Leadership development and succession planning
Leadership development is a key focus for UOB. As part of our continual efforts to build our bench strength, the Human Resources Committee established a Development Council to drive and to strengthen the process of identifying and planning for leadership development at all levels of the organisation. Individual Development Plans are created for each of our identified talents and are updated on an annual basis.

Succession planning is an integral part of our leadership continuity strategy and we have succession plans in place for key positions across the Group. Successors to critical roles are provided opportunities in various working committees across the Group to broaden their exposure and learning. The Board of Directors regularly reviews our succession plans through the Nominating Committee. The segment and function heads have the responsibility for their respective talent pools, whereas the Human Resources Committee manages the Group’s collective talent pool.
Building capabilities for the future
In 2019, we launched Better U, an holistic learning and development programme to support our colleagues in their development journey and to help them build successful careers in the digital age. With the banking sector undergoing rapid transformation and roles increasingly redefined by emerging and new technologies, the Better U programme equips our colleagues with five core competencies essential to remain relevant in the future. Through the 12-week foundation course, colleagues attend a face-to-face workshop and complete online modules aimed at encouraging a growth mindset, developing complex problem solving skills, as well as skills in the areas of digital innovation, human-centred design and data storytelling. The Better U programme is the first such training initiative to receive accreditation by The Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore. About 340 colleagues from various functions have attended the Better U programme in Singapore since its launch in October. The programme is also available for our colleagues in mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The UOB SUMMIT (Social, Unity, Motivation, Mastery, Innovation, Technology) programme continued to run in Singapore in 2019, offering additional opportunities for our colleagues to upgrade their skills. Under the initiative, we re-invest the grants received via the Singapore Government’s Wage Credit Scheme into personal and professional development courses for our people. In 2019, we expanded the selection of programmes to include digital skills such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing. A total of about 2,900 colleagues benefitted from UOB SUMMIT programmes in 2019.

In anticipation of the needs of a new generation of digitally-savvy customers, we continue to sharpen our digital skills training programmes. Our Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), developed in 2017 in collaboration with Workforce Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and The Institute of Banking and Finance, enables our branch colleagues in Singapore to strengthen their digital capabilities and to prepare them for future roles in the financial sector. The PCP adds to our existing suite of training programmes aimed at preparing our people for the future. In the first phase of the PCP, our customer-facing colleagues from service associates to assistant branch managers underwent a series of training programmes covering areas such as design thinking, customer journey design, channel management and scenario analysis and planning. Each course, ranging from three to 12 months, was conducted through classroom learning, workshops and on-the-job training. As at end-2019, 86 per cent of our nearly 900 eligible branch colleagues had completed the PCP.

As an organisation focused on keeping customers at the centre of all that we do, we have been upgrading the design thinking and human-centred design skills of our people. About 1,200 employees from various functions have attended design thinking workshops to pick up skills in developing creative solutions that meet and exceed corporate and consumer needs.
Grooming young talent
Our 18-month UOB Management Associate programme aims to attract high-calibre, early-career talents from across the region to take on roles in UOB. In 2019, we received more than 35,000 applications, from which 48 fresh graduates from top universities mainly in mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were chosen. Selected Management Associates are given overseas assignments so they gain regional experience. Since the programme was launched in 2004, we have hired 577 Management Associates, most of whom have progressed well in their careers.
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.
Freedom of association
We respect our employees’ lawful right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Our approach is to maintain mutually trusted and respectful relations with employee unions. We hold regular meetings with union representatives to understand and to address their concerns and expectations.

In Singapore, we engage three unions, namely The Banking and Financial Services Union, Singapore Bank Employees’ Union and the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers Union. We engage four unions in Malaysia and one in Indonesia.

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 end-2019, the proportion of unionised to non-unionised employees in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia was 31.5 per cent, 87.5 per cent and 22.7 per cent respectively.
Workplace Safety, Health and Well-being
Diverse and Inclusive Workforce