In DBS, the month of March is designated to be International Women's Month. This is an opportunity to recognise the contribution by our female employees and learn how we can forge a diverse and inclusive working environment. The theme of 2022 IWD (International Women’s Day) is #BreakTheBias. A diverse and inclusive environment establishes a sense of belonging among employees, and engaging employees produce higher quality work.
We chatted with Zimkie Chan, Team Head of Treasures Cognitive Banking and Staff Development of our Consumer Banking Group (CBG) to learn about her journey at DBS to embrace diversity and maintain a work-life balance.
“Back in 2016, DBS acquired the wealth management and retail banking business of ANZ in 5 markets, and Hong Kong was one of them. I was migrated from ANZ and joined DBS Hong Kong on 11 Sep 2017. Throughout my career prior to joining DBS, I worked as a frontliner sales starting as Branch Relationship Manager to Head of Specialists of Wealth Management,” Zimkie said.
“After joining the DBS family, my manager offered me an opportunity in the back office responsible for transforming the sales process. I remembered that our online platform was not that mature at that time. Our relationship managers had to go through a very long sales process with the customers. So I took the lead to work closely with Compliance, Regulatory and Product teams to review the investment sales process. We came up plans to minimise the time required and yet could fulfill the risk and compliance requirements. The streamlined process helped increasing the sales productivity and efficiency.”
“Being a frontliner for so many years, I initially could not imagine myself working in the back office. Would it be boring? This came out totally different!” Zimkie shared. “I have to say that I like talking. I enjoy the moment speaking to different people. Instead of talking with clients like before, I had to read through all the guidelines and sales procedures so to come up plans to improve the sales process. You know, it’s really a very good experience to me. We should always be open-minded and grasp the opportunities to try and learn new subject matters.”
“After working in the back office, I had a much better understanding and knowledge about the bank’s overall operations, and the support from those behind-the-scene colleagues like Compliance and Regulatory teams. This gave me clearer picture on the bank’s purpose too. This not only benefits me, but I can also communicate to my frontline sales colleagues letting them know more about the bank’s directions and values.”
“During these 2 years working in back office, I built a strong network with colleagues from different business and supporting units. Such good relationship facilitates me to collaborate with them in many other projects, and we also become friends!” added Zimkie.
As the theme of 2022 IWD (International Women’s Day) is #BreakTheBias, we believe gender bias affects not only women but men too. In DBS, we embrace gender and cultural diversity which we believe is key to a conductive working environment where our people are respected, supported and included. As a team head, Zimkie shared with us her experience. “My recent team comprises with staff in both genders, and their ages range from twenties to fifties. As a people manager, I believe we have to be proactive to care about other staff with all one’s heart. I usually start the conversation with them with some casual talks, like about doing exercises, fashion, latest trends, daily life. It may need taking some time to build trust with the team. If we really care others wholeheartedly and with empathy, we can build up the relationships with them gradually. During the recent pandemic situation, we cannot meet each other like before. So I do have daily catch-up call with my people and provide timely support to them if needed.”
Staff’s health, safety and overall wellbeing are always DBS’ top priority. To support our people, iHealth app was launched in January last year to engage our employees to look after their health and wellbeing together. Zimkie is one of our iHealth Wellness Warriors as she takes extra steps to share and exchange thoughts with her colleagues on how to be healthier.
“I do have a regular daily routine. I set a target to walk at least 5K every day. If going back to office, I walk from home to MTR station instead of taking bus. If working from home, I still wake up early in the morning, and make use of this period to have some workouts. I always ride on the mini challenge at iHealth app engaging my teammates to do exercises together. Let’s build a habit to be active, either walking, running or going to gym, a way that suits you.”
Zimkie added, “A balanced diet is also very important. Having enough protein intake helps burning fat. I even took the Diploma of Nutrition to learn more about the science behind. This is not only for myself, but I will also continue giving advice to my colleagues and friends on the ways to stay health and fit!”
Zimkie also shared the importance to have a balance between work and life. “Thanks for the bank’s support on the flexible work arrangement which allows us to strike the balance between work and personal matters. Last year, the bank implemented the hybrid work model which we can work from home up to 40% of our time. This gives us more flexibility as we can devise our own schedules for the teams. I devote myself to work on weekdays, but I spend my time with my family and my church.”
At the end of the chat, we asked Zimkie to use one word to describe her life in DBS. She replied, “Blessing! I am blessed that I have different opportunities to continue learning new subject matters in my career. All the challenges encountered let me grow and develop continuously to be a better me.” Last but the least, Zimkie said, “ We have to start with me! Self-care is important that every one of us should have some me-time! Continue grooming yourself by do something you enjoy. Like me, I take up painting and wine tasting classes! I do encourage all of you trying out different ways to recharge you!”