Singapore is known for the global companies, and the wealthy people, who have gathered there from around the world. It was perhaps inevitable that the financial industry would develop here as well. In the midst of a crowded field of banks, the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) is known for the stability of its management system. Illustrating this was OCBC’s ranking in Bloomberg Markets magazine’s 2010 list of the strongest global banks as number one, for the second year running (it was fourth for 2013).
What makes OCBC’s management so strong? It’s easy to see what’s going on when you visit OCBC Campus, OCBC’s training center in the heart of the city.
OCBC wanted to be an ‘Employer of Choice,’ so they invested a considerable amount in human resource development, including employee training. The OCBC Campus was completed in March of 2013, and was created based on that goal. They have created a wide range of training programs for many different employees representing all of the divisions and departments within the company.”
OCBC has three learning faculties that provides a comprehensive range of training programmes for its employees. The first is Banking & Finance Faculty, covering knowledge and skills on all banking-related topics. The second is Leadership & Employee Development Faculty, skills involved in thinking about leadership and communications. The third is Service Faculty. This is involved in promoting an uninterrupted flow of service to the customer. OCBC sees superior customer service as a strong way in which it can differentiate itself from other companies, so this is also the most important ability for employees to have.
OCBC has always invested in training and development, and they have always had our own training facilities – previously on one floor in OCBC Centre. As demand for training grew, they considered the possibility of expanding this. Some ideas were given that they should divide up the training into different facilities, or that they should make use of external training programs, but the conclusion was reached that they should have our own in-house facility capable of handling our training, in an inner-city location. OCBC Group employees already work in the city center, so it is easy for them to gather, and they wanted to give them a place where they could carry out our plans to increase their skills. In fact, they not only carry out employee training here, but also host role-playing training for new-graduate employees, charity events for children as well as lectures by famous figures. Because of all this, the access provided by the urban-center location is a very important point.
The resulting OCBC Campus is housed in a 10-story building. The first and second floors are the lounge area; the third floor is the event space; the fourth to ninth floors house the training rooms; while the 10th floor is the office area for those who work at the OCBC Campus. The facility was designed by Ministy of Design(MOD), a rising star in the architectural world and a group responsible for many wonderful designs around the world. The basic color tone is OCBC’s red corporate color, in a modern and unique design for a training facility.
The OCBC Campus, with a design like a nice hotel.
Sales: 3.837 billion Singapore dollars
Employees: 8,000 (2013)
Installation at the first-floor entry area. The words displayed change over time, something fun for visitors.
Perhaps the first thing one notices in the OCBC Campus are the many sofas and chairs set around the floor. This was included in the design concept, so they were arranged in this way. Employee ideas were gathered before construction began, such as the desire to be able to talk with other trainees during lunch or break times, and the desire for open spaces. To respond to this, two of the ten floors were devoted to lounge space.
And in fact, the two lounge floors are very crowded during lunchtime. They were surprised to find that trainees stopped going outside for lunch. Almost everyone goes out to buy lunch, and then they bring it back to eat in the Campus. I think it’s because people who are taking the training together enjoy talking and getting to know each other.
The employees aren’t tied down in rigid training programs, but have been provided with this kind of space where they can enjoy communication with others during their free time. This is another reason why the company will be an Employer of Choice. Answering employee requests, the number of tables can be increased, so the company also provides fast and flexible response.
Because this is a training facility, after all, training rooms feature prominently in the design. On six floors from the fourth to the ninth are a number of training rooms, with four designs so the selection can be made on which to use depending on the training being conducted.
The first is Agora (or “open space”), on the fourth floor. It features stair-step seating, like an amphitheater. Lecturers and trainees can easily join in discussion here.
The second is Inside-Outside, a style found on the fifth and seventh floors. The main point here are the large, round windows. As the name implies, even when a person is inside, it feels like the outside. It has been designed so that there is no wasted space, and is intended primarily for instructor-led training sessions.
The third type is Pod, found on the sixth and eighth floors. Trainees are surrounded by its unique shape, which really is like a pod. It is designed for training sessions with relatively few participants. Its design is modeled after a bank’s teller windows, and is used for service training for employees who meet with customers in their jobs.
Comprehensive role play can be carried out here, with the entire session recorded on video. After the role play is over, a thorough review can be made while watching the video.
The fourth type is Island, a wide area on the ninth floor. In the center of the floor is a set of tables, from which the “island” name is derived; this room is designed especially for group workshops.
The facility was created for the whole of the OCBC Group, and not just for the OCBC Bank, so all 8,000 employees, including those of subsidiaries such as Great Eastern Insurance Company and the Bank of Singapore, can undertake training here. Employees can take part in the training that they want to join, and managers can suggest training to employees as well. This generous training system and a training facility that can provide for all employees underpins one of the world’s strongest banks.
Consultancy for Work Style:in-house
Interior Design:Ministry of Design Pte Ltd
Architect:DDS Contracts & interior Solutions Pte Ltd
It looks like a fine hotel, but it’s the first-floor lounge. Red and white are the key colors throughout the area.
The fourth-floor Agora room (upper photo),
“Inside-Outside” circular window on the fifthfloor (lower photo).
The sixth-floor Pod. Identifiable by the curved walls and straight partitions.