TECHNOLOGY IS KEY TO THRIVE IN THE NEW NORMAL OF WORK: GLOBAL HEAD OF HR, BANK OF SINGAPORE
People Matters|July 2020
TECHNOLOGY IS KEY TO THRIVE IN THE NEW NORMAL OF WORK: GLOBAL HEAD OF HR, BANK OF SINGAPORE
THESE ARE INDEED CHALLENGING AND UNCERTAIN TIMES. OUR ROLES AND NEW WORKING ARRANGEMENTS WOULD BE DIFFERENT AND ORGANIZATIONS AND EMPLOYEES NEED TO EFFECTIVELY ADJUST AND PIVOT TOWARDS THIS 'NEW NORMAL', SAYS JEFFREY CHIAM, GLOBAL HEAD OF HUMAN RESOURCES, BANK OF SINGAPORE, IN AN INTERACTION WITH PEOPLE MATTERS
Mastufa Ahmed

Jeff has more than 20 years of HR experience in global financial institutions, of which about 10 years are senior HR appointments in the private banking business.

Jeff was previously Regional Human Resources Manager of ING Private Bank and subsequently Head Human Resources Asia for Bank Julius Baer. Prior to joining Bank of Singapore, he was Managing Director, Organization, and People with Temasek Holdings responsible for employees in Singapore and international offices in China, India, U.S. and U.K.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Monash University, Australia on a Colombo Plan scholarship as well as a postgraduate Diploma in Education from the Institute of Education, Singapore.

What measures are you taking at Bank of Singapore to keep your employees safe along with keeping the business continuity plan intact? What are your top challenges?

The health and wellbeing of our employees are of paramount importance to us.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, we have put in place preventative measures at all our offices globally while ensuring business continuity across our network. Face masks were distributed to all employees, and hand sanitizers were placed in offices. Cleaning regimes in common areas such as the branch lobbies, lifts, corridors, and toilets were also stepped up. Staggered work hours and safe-distancing within the office premises were implemented as well. Similarly, spilled organizational operations and work from home arrangements have been implemented for the majority of employees. Employees whom we deem to be vulnerable - those who are pregnant or have pre-existing health conditions – are amongst this group.

Indeed, this has been a trying time for all of us. Those working from home have had to juggle office work online and Skype meetings with clients and colleagues, and getting things done without the usual access to supporting resources. This is on top of taking care of vulnerable family members at home. My top challenges are ensuring that our employees remain engaged in a new working environment where face-to-face interactions are absent and for our managers to understand what their team members are going through without the benefit of being physically present. Constant communication on work and social level is key. We have encouraged and organized a number of virtual initiatives to maintain our closeness as we continue to spend time apart. They include a bank-wide virtual cooking challenge and individual team bonding activities such as virtual trivia nights and fitness workouts. There are other areas of learning and development, coaching and counseling, where the human touch is especially important and we need to find ways to overcome that.

What role would technology play in this new normal of work? Can you throw some light on how can organizations continue to operate effectively if employees have to work remotely for a prolonged period of time?

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

July 2020