DBS to invest $20m over five years to transform 10,000 employees into 'digital workforce'

The DBS Asia X centre, a purpose-built innovation facility for DBS employees to come together, design and develop iconic customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader fintech community.
The DBS Asia X centre, a purpose-built innovation facility for DBS employees to come together, design and develop iconic customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader fintech community.PHOTO: DBS

SINGAPORE - DBS Bank announced on Monday (Aug 21) it is investing S$20 million over the next five years in a broad-based programme to equip its 10,000 Singapore-based employees with skills in digital banking and emerging technologies.

Singapore's biggest bank said the move supports Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's call at Sunday's National Day Rally to do more to make Singapore a Smart Nation.

Specifically, it  supports the Monetary Authority of Singapore's vision to create a Smart Financial Centre where technology is used pervasively in the financial industry to increase efficiency, create opportunities, better manage risks and improve lives, said the bank.

The programme is designed to encourage large-scale participation and digital adoption by all bank employees, and comprises several aspects:

  • Artificial intelligence-powered e-learning, which can be accessed 24/7
  • Experiential learning, such as intrapreneur programmes and hackathons
  • Grants and scholarships
  • Innovative learning spaces

In the area of artificial intelligence-powered e-learning, for example, DBS said it has launched a new cloud-based learning management system called DBS Horizon. It uses artificial intelligence to make personalised course recommendations and help employees collaborate, create communities of interest and engage in mobile education anytime, anywhere across the bank.

DBS employees are given the opportunity to go on paid sabbaticals to work on prototypes and start their own businesses. The bank also runs accelerator programmes, which provide mentorship and funding to help intrapreneurs grow their concepts into prototypes. In addition, more than 2,000 DBS staff have participated in human-centred design workshops and hackathons, and conducted more than 1,000 experiments since 2015.

Said Lee Yan Hong, DBS Bank's group head of human resources: "As the financial sector evolves, the profile of jobs will change and we are committed to helping our people adapt and embrace digital transformation through innovative and immersive continuous learning programmes.

"An agile and innovative workforce will also make Singapore's Smart Nation ambition a reality and, along with this, we are making significant investments to groom a generation of digital bankers, strengthening Singapore's talent pool."

The bank also offers scholarships to employees to further their skills in emerging technologies, such as data and analytics, design thinking, and automation. They are then encouraged to share their learning with their peers, creating a culture of peer-to-peer learning. To date, 130 scholars have shared their knowledge with more than 1,000 of their peers.

DBS has also invested in innovative learning spaces for its employees, including the DBS Academy and DBS Asia X, its latest innovation hub. Spanning 40,000 sq ft, the DBS Academy conducts more than 10,000 training sessions each year and provides employees access to a wide selection of courses, such as scenario-based leadership development programmes and digital master classes, said the bank.

DBS Asia X is a purpose-built innovation facility for DBS employees to come together, design and develop iconic customer journeys and work in close collaboration with start-ups and the broader FinTech community.