The development of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) represents a long way from working with small sellers to become one of the the most influential financial services groups in Asia. The critical element in this success story is allotted to the skill of selecting and grooming human capital, the view on which has changed significantly from the beginning of the last century. The singularity of the approach that OCBC takes to talent management and development, except for general tendencies such as emphasizing commitment and training, is in a variety of career development programs available for the selected candidates. Thus, the prosperity achieved by the bank is in many ways due to putting a value on human resources.
The uniqueness of OCBC’s approach to managing and selecting talents stems from the system of programs offered to its future employees. The educational part of these programs is another peculiarity of OCBC – its personnel has a chance to deepen their knowledge within their specialization and thus enhance their potential for career acceleration. This focus on professional improvement of human resources and gaining up-to-date information is the primary contributing factor that ensured OCBC’s success.
Moreover, the bank tries to warrant that women employees also have a chance to succeed within the system as it is regulated by the bank’s gender balance, which tilts more towards women nowadays (Lim & Parker, 2020). Overall, the bank’s high performance and competitiveness are due to the people behind it, active talent management, and development (Chhanwal, 2015). In this way, the individualistic approach aimed to match a candidate to an appropriate position is one of the elements that led the bank to its present success.
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) is another world leader in the sphere of talent management and development. Despite some similarities that LVMH and OCBC share in how they handle their human resources, LVMH’s approach is somewhat dissimilar. For instance, LVMH does not disclose candidates’ status and does not let them know if they have been selected for specific programs, as it, supposedly, keeps them motivated longer (Shipilov & Godart, 2015).
Another peculiarity is that the group does not offer transparent career schemes as they do not exist: employees are often interchanged and rotated between different brands within the group (Shipilov & Godart, 2015). The dissimilarities between the companies show the absence of the singular approach that could lead to success and emphasize the importance of flexibility in human resource management.
The crux of OCBC’s talent management success seems to be in attracting the best candidates and increasing their individual potential and work efficacy in order to detect and use employees’ capacities to the fullest. This selective approach is gaining popularity within many spheres but does not apply to various industries or positions within them. For instance, it is not suited for jobs that do not require high qualification levels (Kontoghiorghes, 2015). Even though OCBC values superior individual performance, it is not indispensable in all domains.
Efficiency as the most common practice to measure the value of employees’ activities entails several problems associated with it. The most obvious one is that the issues that employees face may vary significantly, and a rigid efficacy system lacks the flexibility to assess performance correctly as it cannot be fully reduced to a set of numbers (Kontoghiorghes, 2015). At the same time, efficiency is the most easily measurable indicator that allows employers to abuse it, and if applied without moderation, it may even lead to employees’ burnout. Additionally, OCBC’s approach would not work in companies within companies with a rigid hierarchical model.
Recently, the bank’s performance in the human resources domain seemed more focused on the elaboration of programs and launching new talent development projects – for instance, MentorMe was put into action. Collaboration between mentors and their protégés in the program is aimed to establish a hereditary knowledge system within the company and create a robust corporation culture. The selection for mentor positions is highly competitive, as only employees with a sufficient experience level and superiority are allowed to participate (Lim & Parker, 2020). The uniqueness of the bank’s approach was manifested further in the matching process for mentors and protégés, which resembled a “Bingo” game (Lim & Parker, 2020).
The Career Best program is another creation of OCBC in the sphere of talent management that distinguished it from rivals. The program allows employees to estimate their strengths and match them to career paths. Lately, the bank has also tried to incorporate more women in their decision-making processes and grant a privilege to their hiring (Lim & Parker, 2020). The creation of projects directed to maximize human potential and to balance gender demographics within it seem like the main tendencies adopted by the bank recently.
Attracting and retaining the best candidates through career programs and mentoring is a strategy that spreads with increasing speed among large companies and corporations and seems to have the potential to become a norm. Despite the vast popularity of the approach, OCBC manages to stay loyal to its tradition in human resource management, as valuing and investing in personnel is not an innovation for the bank but its inherent feature. Hence, what discerners OCBC from its rivals is its long history of appreciation for its employees.
- Chhanwal, S. (2015). Putting the “person” in personnel. LinkedIn. Web.
- Kontoghiorghes, C. (2015). Linking high-performance organizational culture and talent management: satisfaction/motivation and organizational commitment as mediators. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(16), 1833–1853.
- Lim, P., & Parker, A. (2020). Mentoring millennials in an Asian context: Talent management insights from Singapore. Emerald Group Publishing.
- Shipilov, A., & Godart, F. (2015). Luxury’s talent factory: How companies like LVMH, Kering, and Richemont groom designers and managers. Harvard Business Review, 93(7), 98–104.