For UnionBank, digital transformation is “more about people, less about tech”

“Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people.” This was the most notable statement by Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Michelle Rubio during the 10th installment of the giant lender’s virtual roundtable series E-TalkTales.

Rubio emphasized the importance of continuous upskilling of employees. “UnionBank continuously upskills employees true to its commitment of growing and developing its talents and the talent community,” she said. The bank is taking this approach in anticipation of the possibility of skill sets becoming obsolete in the coming years amid the rapid advancement of technology.

UnionBank is guided by findings of a recent research by multinational advisory firm Deloitte, which reported that many people skills are expected to be less necessary in about five years. The study also highlighted that the need for current people skills may continue to shrink as the world turns more digital.

Equipping people with the right skills

Rubio further expounded that for digital transformation to be successful, organizations should focus more on equipping their people with the right skills and helping them become more agile to give them more mileage. She said this is more important than just investing in the latest equipment and software.

“Holding on to its purpose of co-creating innovations for a better world, UnionBank was able to forge a strategy that could accelerate talent at any point of interaction with the Bank. This is called People Tech: people at the core, technology at the fore. Aligned to the Bank’s purpose of co-creating innovations for a better world, UnionBank focused on People to make the transformation happen,” Rubio added.

Through its People tech advocacy, UnionBank has been successfully implementing programs aimed at equipping its people with the right skills to thrive in the evolving digital workplace.

Important and timely people programs

Among the highlighted programs of the bank is its Xcellerator series that offers accessible education not just for the company’s employees but also to any professional who intends to learn more about subjects that are relevant to the digital world. UnionBank has so far helped thousands of learners to be more knowledgeable in various topics related to digitization—including project management, blockchain application programming interface, digital marketing, coding, data privacy, and fintech.

“Through Xcellerator, we advocate digital delivery through capability building, so that innovations may happen to ensure no one gets left behind,” said Special Projects Head for UnionBank’s Fintech Group and Xcellerator Program Lead Nix Syjuco. “We ‘tech-up’ the Philippines by educating and mentoring our community members in emerging technologies, contributing to the higher purpose of co-creating innovations for a better world, possibly opening up opportunities for Filipino tech talents.”

UnionBank has also implemented a number of initiatives with People Tech advocacy that benefit external stakeholders in the new normal. Among those are the GoBeyond Communities effort, which encourages the company’s employees to join community-centric activities in line with their personal advocacies. The HEROES 2021 program (in partnership with Thames International School) aims to train educators in conducting online classes, while the Climathon Online Ideation encourages people to help create solutions to address the current most pressing issues.

Special Projects Head for UnionBank’s Fintech Group and Xcellerator Program Lead Nix Syjuco, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Michelle Rubio, and Vice President for Sustainability Dave Devilles

Creating a lasting positive impact

Meanwhile, UnionBank Vice President for Sustainability Dave Devilles emphasized the bank’s goal to continuously change the way people see technology and help them realize its potential in creating a lasting positive impact for the greater good.

“It’s really about changing the mindset and moving the behavior, and we have witnessed how UnionBank has evolved from our desire to build capabilities internally, to share these, and to help communities and ultimately our country,” Devilles ended.