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Managing the People Aspect of Digital Transformation

Organisations today are faced with change from a myriad of internal and external drivers. These range from globalisation, changes in legislation, geopolitical tensions and advancements in key technologies. In particular, disruptive advancements in the digital space have transformed customer expectations and provided a strong motivation for businesses to rethink how they deliver value to their customers.

Disruptive technological change is accelerating

Worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies, hardware, software, and services, hit $1.3 trillion in 2017. Digital technologies have the potential of not only making processes more efficient or effective but transforming business offerings and services into something radically different, in a good way.

“Technological change is exponential … we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress” - Ray Kurzweil, Futurist and Director of Engineering, Google

It’s not just technology that is changing. For digital transformation initiatives to be successful, processes and organisational culture need to be transformed alongside technology solutions to support sustainable positive change for the business.

The climate is one of significant uncertainty

Amidst the significant changes that are undergoing organisations in almost every industry, leaders feel the need to change but have doubts about their ability to change or are experiencing mixed results.

In a study done by Fujitsu in 2018 (The Digital PACT 2018), 1,625 global business leaders were surveyed and the findings highlight the gap between the need to embrace digital change and the organised perceptive of their readiness for it.

Significant Uncertainty

Digital transformation is really about human transformation

The ability for people to adapt and embrace changes is key. Digital initiatives are often hindered by low adoption rates for their intended users. This reflects a fact that we all know too well: that people are naturally adverse to change and will usually prefer to maintain the status quo where possible.

In order to support the transition that people need to undertake, digital transformation is really about transforming the people using and supporting the disruptive technologies. This need is especially evident in the banking and finance sector where competitors are no longer just other banks but platforms like Paypal, Alipay, Amazon Pay.

When Development Bank of Singapore MD was asked about their transformation journey, Ms Pearlyn Phau pointed out the people aspect to be the singular largest challenge for the award winning bank. She said, “It was really about transforming the hardware and also the ‘heart ware’ - which is the culture change”.

During a visit to a ROHEI programme, Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance said:

5c2c26dc9ab9dbe38b2e1668_Indranee Rajah ST Photo
Image Credit: Benjamin Seetor, ST
“You can see the technology wave is coming and it's transforming big things and also the small ways that people transact. The key is to make sure that people working in the financial sector are able to keep up with that. Employees themselves have to have a mindset of being open and not being afraid of it, and to embrace it.”

UOB’s PCP and ROHEI’s SFDW programme were featured in Mediacorp Channel 8 Work from the Heart docu-drama series. The programme tells the inspiring story of Ms Lim Chen Chen, a long service staff who is a great example of the open mindset that is key to embracing and thriving in digital disruption. Click here to view programme.

United Overseas Bank Case Study

United Overseas Bank (UOB) is one of ROHEI's long term partners looking to digitally transform their business. In 2017, UOB announced the roll out of the first phase of its Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to strengthen the digital capabilities of its employees in Singapore. 900 Customer-facing employees will undergo a training programme to prepare them for future responsibilities and roles in financial services over a 3 to 12 month journey.

Business Times article online
‍Click on image to read Business Times article online.

ROHEI’s 2-day SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace (SFDW) programme 
was selected by UOB to be the programme to kick off the learning journey by creating an open mindset and willingness to learn. ROHEI’s 2-day experiential learning workshop was designed to:

  1. Lower the anxiety toward change and increase digital confidence through providing a hands-on introduction to different emerging technologies that impact the financial services sector.
  2. Increase learning agility and openness to learn.

Work from the Heart, Mediacorp Ch 8
Image Credit: Work from the Heart, Mediacorp Ch 8
“Our goal was that they will not be so fearful and view these technology changes as daunting, and can adapt to these changes more easily.” - Janet Young, MD & Head, Group Channels & Digitalization, UOB Ltd

UOB’s PCP and ROHEI’s SFDW programme were featured in Mediacorp Channel 8 Work from the Heart docu-drama series. The programme tells the inspiring story of Ms Lim Chen Chen, a long service staff who is a great example of the open mindset that is key to embracing and thriving in digital disruption. Click here to view programme.

Learning that is caught and not just taught

ROHEI’s approach to experiential learning is designed to create a safe environment for learners who are not digital natives to have fun and engage with technologies and terminology that they may not be familiar with.

Through an immersive, hands-on approach, learners are able to lower their feelings of anxiety and pick up new ways to do things that excite them to become active participants in the transformation process.

5c2c2fed2de8632fe8cca2cf_Lim Chen Chen Work from the Heart Screen Capture
Image Credit : Mediacorp Channel 8 Work from the Heart docu-drama.
“The most important thing is that we all grow in our knowledge. New technologies are always emerging. We have to keep up with the times or we will be left behind.” - Ms Lim Chen Chen, UOB

In order to provide support for the staff back at their workplace, ROHEI has designed a 1-day managers programme to familiarise the managers to the learning journey that their staff is embarking on and introduce ways in which managers can support their staff apply what they learned.

ROHEI's SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace Programme

ROHEI's SkillsFuture of Digital Workplace (SFDW) programme is designed to develop learning agility and digital confidence to help staff embrace technological change. 

Since 2017, we have trained over 2,300 learners from the public and private sectors organisations including the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Finance, Temasek Polytechnic, HSBC, UOB, Hitachi, among others.

ROHEI's Two formats for the programme:

  • Two-day face to face experiential learning
  • One-day face to face experiential learning followed by mobile learning via customised Learn Bot

Who should attend

PMETs and Public Service Officers with some basic digital skills who may not be confident working with new technologies and digital platforms.

Class Size

Minimum 25 pax / Maximum 90 pax per class.

Here is a look at what the ROHEI's experiential learning for SFDW feels like:


HubSpot Video


Some responses to SFDW programme

Participants comments and key takeaways:

“This morning, I received an email from my China Chinese customer. She wrote a Chinese email and I am supposed to reply in Chinese language. I have some issue on this since I have lost touch with writing in Chinese. Fortunately, SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace program has introduced google translate and it really solved my problem. Thank you Eric and ROHEI for this wonderful course.” 

“I understand that I must change my mindset and do what I think I can’t! We need to learn, unlearn and be ready to accept changes in the digital world.”

“My key takeaways were the different styles of learning, the new apps and technologies that can help to be more productive and efficient when applied both at work and in daily life.”

“I learned to be open to step out of my comfort zone and pick up a new skill.”

Managers’ observations about their team after the SFDW programme:

  • Staff are also more aware of the changes in the industry and are therefore better equipped to handle queries from customers.  They are also more inspired to devise new processes and ways to promote efficiency.  With better knowledge, staff are able to migrate customers from offline to online with greater confidence.

  • Staff are less fearful of their jobs being completely replaced by technology. Because of this, they are able to see their worth as front liners; they are reminded of their purpose and their individual roles in driving this ecosystem.

  • The more senior staff seem to have a better grasp of the advantages of digitalisation and how it could be applied in work and even in their day to day activities. Being exposed to several of the tech terms has also increased a sense of curiosity towards the digital arena.

To find out more about ROHEI's SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme, please contact us at +65 6716 9700 or send us an email at learning@rohei.com.

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ROHEI Learning & Consulting

We are a learning and consulting partner in building a culture of trust where people and results are honoured. We develop trusted and relationally competent leaders and help organisations navigate the people aspect of their change journeys.