Some examples include financial wellness webinars on how to manage personal cash flow and be retirement-ready, and virtual fitness sessions such as yoga, pilates, and zumba.
The bank also encourages its employees to explore new experiences and pick up new hobbies by organising workshops where they can learn how to build a terrarium, blend essential oils and paint tote bags.
To date, more than 7,800 UOB employees have participated in the programme, says Mr Yam. “We received overwhelmingly positive feedback through the surveys conducted at the end of each activity.”
In 2021, the bank transformed one of the historical shophouses along Boat Quay into a clubhouse for their employees to recharge and connect with each other.
Dubbed “28BQ”, it has general lounge areas for relaxing and remote working, zones where they can unwind over a game of table tennis or table football (also known as foosball), rooms available for gatherings and employee training. It also has a dedicated wellness zone for activities like yoga, complete with lockers and shower facilities.
“UOB is constantly looking for ways to create a better workplace and better work life for our employees,” says Mr Yam. “28BQ was designed with this in mind, to create experiences that cater to the diverse needs of our workforce in the new normal.”
Developing leaders sustainably
The bank’s philosophy on enabling balanced ways of working extends to its Leadership Acceleration Programme (LAP). The talent development initiative is open to existing employees in UOB.
They’re selected not only based on their performance and potential, but also on displaying “the right behaviours that are aligned with our values,” says Mr Bryan Lim, 51, head of Talent and Development at UOB.
In addition to leadership development courses and opportunities for career mobility, those who are placed on the programme get paired with a mentor who provides them with guidance on their career journey, customised mapping on their 10-year career plan, and exposure to strategic projects. This includes the bank’s Gig+U initiative, which was launched to provide flexible work opportunities for retirees.
LAP participant Sarah Tan, vice-president of UOB’s TMRW Digital Group Engagement and Innovation team, shares that one aspect of the programme she appreciates is the opportunity for participants to move at their own pace.
“It takes commitment to stretch and disrupt yourself for personal and professional growth as part of the LAP, but UOB readily supports us on that journey, while recognising that priorities may change at different points in our lives.”
“The bank empowers us to accelerate our career development and supports us when our personal priorities come in, which has been helpful in enabling us to thrive in both our career and life,” says Ms Tan, 33, who is married. She pivoted her career from human resources to digital banking in January this year.
When it comes to achieving balanced ways of working, the bank believes that “it’s the small things that matter”, says Mr Lim.
“No two employees are the same, and at UOB, we appreciate their unique capabilities and potential.
“Be it our employment philosophy or our leadership development programme, the bank wants to really zoom in on what will make a difference for (our employees), and help them grow a more purposeful career while achieving work-life balance,” he adds.