winning secrets

This award-winning employer goes by the belief that every individual has a personal responsibility to themselves and the Bank to enhance their self-development in order to contribute more effectively.

At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Singapore, Maybank Singapore received the silver award for Best Organisational Upskilling and Reskilling Strategy.

In this interview, Wong Keng Fye, Head of Human Capital, Maybank Singapore shares the secrets behind this win - how the company pushed and developed its workforce's digital capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of a workplace, tackled topics like sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and more.

Q Congratulations on bagging this award! What is your award-winning employee experience strategy that led to this win?

Humanising financial services serves as both our enduring mission and the guiding philosophy at the heart of Maybank’s endeavours. Denoting a humanistic approach emphasising customer centricity, it also underpins our continued investment in our greatest asset – our Maybankers. Through the Bank’s learning philosophy, Maybankers are encouraged to seek personal and professional development.

Covering three fundamental aspects, this philosophy aligns individual growth with the organisation’s corporate objectives:

  • Recognising that a well-trained workforce that is committed and willing to provide quality services to the Bank and customers is critical to continued growth;
  • The belief that every individual has a personal responsibility to themselves and the Bank to enhance their self-development in order to contribute more effectively; and
  • Recognising that the learning and development of employees is the responsibility of all officers and managers in the Bank.

Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?

Maybank’s responsibility to our workforce lies in providing avenues to enhance their professional capabilities. The Bank strives to ensure Maybankers keep pace with advancements and changes in the financial industry. Today, the advent of digitisation and technological proliferation has also necessitated equal focus on reskilling and upskilling Maybankers for the future workplace.

The technological evolution of the workplace saw the recent introduction of the Group’s M25 strategy – a five-year plan focusing on digitilisation, diversity, sustainability, and the future of banking. Our current FutureReady programme, predicated on six pillars of future-enabled skills, will help prepare Maybankers for an increasingly digitised professional sphere.

The global pandemic’s unfolding impact has presented an unprecedented set of circumstances, accelerating the Bank’s adoption of digital tools and platforms. The facilitation of learning and engagement initiatives over the last year has required an increased dependency on digital workplace tools.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Defined by unpredictability, along with the need for adaptability and resilience, the pandemic brought about many hard-learned lessons. This necessitated a different approach to circumvent disruptions to learning and engagement activities. Proving a definite nod to the Maybank’s efforts to elevate digital literacy amongst our workforce, which displayed increased comfort with the multitude of digital tools presently available.

Taking a page from the FutureReady programme, which runs key segments such as IT Security Awareness and the Maybank and Sustainability Series as e-learning initiatives, the #LearningNeverStops (#LNS) series was launched in March 2020 to supplement pandemic-era learning opportunities. Regulatory trainings, professional certification and upskilling courses, along with work-life and employee engagement initiatives, continued with minimal disruptions, thanks to the increased usage of digital tools and learning platforms. For example, Blackboard and Maybank’s in-house MyCampus learning portal.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in Maybank, in terms of ROI? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

Gleaning positives from adapting to the new normal, Maybankers have displayed a greater confidence and fluency using digital tools for work on a day-to-day basis. While the digital transition has been greatly accelerated out of necessity, Maybank’s FutureReady push will continue to be a key focus across the group as reflected by its inclusion in the group-wide KPI and country scorecard. Digitalisation will also continue to be a strategic focus as part of the Bank’s M25 strategy.

Group-wide learning initiatives, such as FutureReady Bytes — which is a series of staff EDMs with bite-sized information on tech developments — have also been integral in delivering key digital fundamentals, elevating digital awareness amongst Maybankers across the Group. The Group has also made strides in the realm of cyber security through the annual IT Security Awareness e-learning, ensuring heightened top-down alignment to safeguard the Bank’s against the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches –preserving operational readiness and, in turn, customer confidence in the Bank’s reputation.

Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of (and winning at!) the debut Employee Experience Awards?

Recognition is always positive, but the true victory is in knowing that our corporate mission of Humanising Financial Services resonates with human resource practitioners on a professional level. This gives us the confidence to continue driving forward, championing a people-first approach that will ensure Maybankers’ professional development and personal growth remains in focus.

Maybank will stay the course, while also continuing to find ways to innovate and improve. As the Bank keeps an eye on the evolution of the financial industry landscape, prioritising the individual needs of all Maybankers will stay at the top of our agenda. Ultimately, to maintain our position as one of the industry leaders, we will need to be powered by a workforce that is well-educated and kept abreast of updates in the financial industry.

Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?

From a learning and engagement perspective, a dual focus on futurisation and sustainability remains on the horizon.

For the former, this spells an approach that will see increased digital literacy through collaborations with institutes of higher learning, together with a comprehensive line-up of in-house learning opportunities designed to keep Maybankers well versed on the latest banking and technical proficiencies.

On the sustainability front, Maybank has made a firm commitment to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), targeting one million sustainability hours collectively in 2021 through learning and engagement initiatives. This will not only see continued focus on championing inclusivity and diversity, but also elevated importance placed on mental wellbeing amongst Maybankers – an issue that has seen increased pertinence as a result of the pandemic.

Q Do share 1-2 tips to inspire your peers who are working on their EX strategies and would love to participate in the awards next year.

The first: Adopt a people-first mindset. Listen to your employees to better understand their perspectives. Employer-employee alignment allows an organisation to provide the right tools and opportunities needed for success.

The second tip would be: Happy employees equals to happy customers equals to happy results. It is a simple equation which in turn translates into business success both the in the short term and over the long haul. Giving employees the best chance to succeed pays dividends for any organisation.

Q Lastly, to end on a fun note –if you could describe the employee experience at Maybank in in one sentence, what would that be?

For Maybank, being people-centrical ways comes first, which means we will continue championing our workforce through sustained focus on work-life excellence and lifelong learning.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!


Photo / Provided [Pictured: Wong Keng Fye, Head of Human Capital, Maybank Singapore]

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