Be Employee Obsessed @DBS

Stories inspired by employees

Be Employee Obsessed @DBS.

Customer obsession is important nowadays.  This helps organisations continuously add value to customer experience by collecting feedback regularly and prioritise customer needs in every goal.  Customers refer to external clients and internal stakeholders – our employees, which are both important to the bank.  Being RED (Respectful, Easy to Deal With and Dependable) is how DBS delivers our seamless and unique Asian service standards. 


How can we empower our colleagues in delivering RED experiences in everything they do?  We chated with Nicole Yuen of Business Management & Strategic Planning, Technology & Operations (T&O) to share with us how she works on the user experience journey and people transformation to have “Happy Staff, Happy Customer” in the bank.

“As I had my university studies overseas, I graduated one year earlier than my other friends. Thus, I have the time to explore which career path suits me the best.  I learnt about DBS Bank from a friend who worked here as Summer Assistant.  With her referral, I also joined DBS as Summer Assistant for Risk & Control for Consumer Banking Operations,” Nicole said.  “During that period, I had the chance to know other Graduate Associates Programme (GAP) while working together on a project.  I learnt more from them about the fabulous experience gaining from the Programme and that sounded attractive.  I applied for the GAP and got admitted in 2018.  After the 2-year programme rotating across operation and corporate functions, I landed at where I am working currently - Business Management and Strategy Planning team.  In this position, I have the privilege to work on signature bank-wide initiatives, like Future of Work, Employee Journey and other change management and transformation initiatives.  At the very beginning, I could not imagine myself working in a financial institution as I studied Sociology but not Business or Finance in the university!”  As a purpose-driven organisation, DBS is committed to providing an inclusive work environment where employees can develop professionally.  We embrace diversity for tapping into a wider talent pool which leads to a multiplicity of views and perspectives.


Nicole mentioned, “In Sociology, our desire is to improve human conditions by identifying and improving social inequalities.   I am able to translate my training in Sociology into the world of banking as my current role is to keep customers, i.e. our employees, happy by always putting their interests as priority.   We are encouraged to be emphatic.  Try putting ourselves into others’ shoes let us understand not just their pain points and frustrations, but also share their happy moments.   This helps us to work on the solutions and improvement plans which facilitate our colleagues to achieve their personal and career goals.”

She continued, “We organised various collaboration workshops connecting different parties to improve the processes leading to better employer experience.  Focus groups were held prior to the workshops in which we could understand more about the different customer touchpoints, any pain-points and challenges our colleagues were facing.  Colleagues from different functions and areas of expertise attended the workshops to co-create new solutions aiming to improve customer experience continuously.   We are encouraged to think out-of-the-box, to challenge status quo so to innovate.  We break the silos and take the end-to-end approach connecting external customers with respective business units and T&O team.  This forms a feedback loop from front to end  for deepening the journey design in a better way.  We are always customers obsessed, for external customers and also employees.” 

“I am impressed by the bank’s culture that the RED DNA is embedded in our colleagues.  Early this year, I started focusing on the Employee Journey (EJ) improvement to look after the employee experience for my own department.   We take a new approach this year to identify EJ Champions who help bridging with all the colleagues to have more deep-dive understanding of their feedback pain-points and preferences. We received many nominations to be the EJ Champions for working together to improve our working journey.   I really have to thank all the EJ Champions for their great support which facilitates our work to know more about our employees’ needs.” 

The User Experience Journey and People Transformation not only received support internally, but also being recognised with external recognition.  The team was awarded as Internal Support Service Team Bronze Award by Hong Kong Association of Customer Service Excellence (HKACE) in 2019.   “We are the ‘STAR’ team to transform the way we work be a joyful experience for all the colleagues.  We continue building RED awareness via Show & Tell to proactively deliver RED service in our everyday work.  We ‘Train & upskill’ our colleagues to scale-up their capabilities through education and cultural change.  We ‘Analyse & Act’ to transform the as-is service to offer differentiated and innovative solutions.  We also ‘Recognise & Engage’ to create strong bonding as one team.”

“Another point I want to share is our Joyspace in our DigiHub office.  For my recent job nature, I need to engage with different teams for discussion and brainstorming.  Under Joyspace, 30% area is set-up for collaboration and celebration, I can easily catch colleagues from different teams for discussion.  This allows us with greater flexibility to communicate and interact with each other.   Before the pandemic, we did have many gatherings and parties in Social Hub for celebrations.  This really helps to improve colleagues’ working experience and enhance team bonding.  On the other hand, working in this open space set-up allowed us to be considerate with each other.  For example if we need to make a phone call, we can go into the phone-booth so not to interrupt others.”

As a forward-looking organisation, DBS started to transform our workplace as Joyspace since 2016 to allow more collaboration in the office.   In Hong Kong, our T&O colleagues moved into DigiHub in 2019 and we just reconfigured part of our workplace in One Island East into Joyspace to enable greater collaboration and ideation aiming to blend the best of physical and virtual mode for working under our Future of Work vision.


At the end of the chat, we asked Nicole to use two words to describe her life at DBS.  She replied, “Continuous improvement!”  Embracing a growth mindset helps me as a push factor to keep improving together with other colleagues.  I recalled that I joined the bank without any finance or banking background.  I keep learning more about the industry and other new subject matters.  I want to be a better me and go beyond myself to have impact to others too!”