DBS strikes the right balance between best of both worlds
The challenge is finding a balance between rewarding individual results in the larger context of encouraging teamwork.
In this increasingly globalized, hyper-connected world that we live in, banks and financial institutions are going through a silent yet powerful process of change. Profoundly impacted by new technologies and changing customer expectations, banking has long since ceased to be about cold hard numbers that intimidated customers. Banking today, is all about harnessing the digital power and giving the customers an ‘experience’ they look forward to, as well as solutions that are embedded in their life cycle.
With geographical divides blurring rapidly as far as service standards are concerned, and with customers becoming far more demanding and spoilt for choice, financial institutions across the world are fast realizing the importance of adopting global best practices to make banking what it should be like, truly simple, intelligent, effortless and efficient.
A huge champion of change is DBS, the largest bank in South East Asia that helped finance Singapore’s industrialization and also one of Asia’s leading financial services groups. Spearheading the change at DBS is CEO Piyush Gupta, who has been heading the group since 2009. Piyush brings with him a sea of experience, having had over three decades of experience, honed by managing multiple businesses across different geographies. At DBS, he is establishing practices and processes that are driving growth by marrying the best of East and West.
Here are some key lessons from DBS that financial institutions can use to enhance customer experience and give them an experience that goes far beyond just banking.
Strategic shift to attend to multiple stakeholder needs
The west has typically been focused on streamlined processes that largely focus on shareholder interests. With short-term performance in focus, a long-term strategy often takes a backseat. This is a key difference between the east and west: wherein the East, having more owner-entrepreneurs as leaders, has often developed strategies that are more inclusive and long-term in nature.
DBS has taken into cognizance this key cultural difference and focused not just on shareholder profits, but proactively engaged with all key stakeholders such as individuals, corporates, Government and societies at large. Learning from the global financial crisis, the west too has realized that focusing on shareholder interests alone is not adequate and is making meaningful attempts at adapting to the changing needs and expectations and trying to develop more inclusive strategies for all its stakeholders.
A fresh look at team management
“To build an organisation that will work in a growth market, one needs a team of not just generals but soldiers”, says Piyush Gupta. Western leaders have typically been very focused on managing individual performance to the last degree. Individual enterprise is rewarded while laggards are weeded out regularly. The East, on the other hand, has had teamwork as its key strength as performance as a parameter is not just assessed as mere statistics. The downside to both is that while individual performances get recognized in the western culture, in the East there is always the danger of being sucked into mediocrity because of the deadwood that does not get weeded out in time. The challenge, therefore, is finding a balance between rewarding individual results in the larger context of encouraging teamwork. At DBS, therefore, the KPIs (Key performances indicators) have been aligned in a manner to inspire and nurture individual enterprise while celebrating innovation as a whole. This unique attempt of blending East with the West is a lesson that all financial organisations can take a leaf out of, irrespective of geography.
Make innovation people centric
Piyush Gupta points out that even in the recent past, western countries thought that processes and metrics are the key recipes for success. But that has changed significantly with western leaders seeking innovation in their processes. DBS, he says, thinks of innovation as a journey that is both critical and inevitable and has identified ambassadors that encourage the journey of innovation across the organisation and inspire people to think out the box.
The aim is to create an environment that inspires every employee at DBS to dare to try and come up with creative solutions to the even the most mundane or perennial problems. Individual efforts are acknowledged and the whole team is encouraged to showcase their own innovative solutions. The result is a combination of processes and metrics with the power of individual enterprise, thus also fostering an entrepreneurial culture. These initiatives and attempts to inspire also boost team spirit and ultimately drive growth.
The sum total of the processes that DBS has put in place over the past six years can be summarized by the acronym RED (Respectful, Easy to deal with and Dependable). Going forward, DBS seeks to take its customer ethos even further. The bank lives by the maxim that in the future, banking integrated with technology and mobility should make banking easy and effortless. In its own words, it seeks to direct its efforts towards “making banking joyful”
For making your banking experience a joyful and seamless one, log on to dbs.com/in.
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