Last October 7, 2019, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) President Manny Herbosa invited a group of senior officers to join a recognition event from the Sustainable Business Awards Philippines 2019. We knew we were finalist in one of the awards, but we were delighted when it was all over. We won in a category that gave recognition to our people, Best Workforce.
The Sustainable Business Awards was initiated “to validate and celebrate the companies which are leading the way in sustainable business and have truly instilled this objective into their long-term business strategy. It also aims to inspire all businesses, large and small, to make sustainability the foundation of their corporate mission and brand,” I quote Tony Gourlay, chief executive officer of Global Initiatives.
The awards are open to companies of all sizes from start-ups to multinational enterprises and currently covers six countries in Asia. The last time such awards were given in the Philippines was five years ago. Initiated by Global Initiatives, the vetting process is through the Philippine Business for the Environment and Price Waterhouse Cooper, with a distinguished academe-industry-government panel.
In 2014, the bank received two special recognition. First is in Land use, Biodiversity and Environment in relation to DBP’s Corporate Social Responsibility Forest Program, a non-credit program that aims to stop denudation and restore the country’s forest cover through organized collaboration with government and non-government organizations, state universities and colleges, people’s organization, and other qualified forest partners.
The second recognition received in that same year is in Energy Management. DBP is the first Philippine bank to receive an international certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS) under the ISO 14001 standard. It finances not only clean energy projects, regardless of scale, but also to ensure their potential partners’ commitment to the environment by requiring its borrowers to submit environmental compliance documents. DBP is also transparent regarding its environmental policy, energy management monitoring and analysis, as evidenced by its sustainability reports. Furthermore, energy management initiatives are embedded in the company’s day-to-day operations..
This year’s award is truly special because it recognized the men and women of DBP. It validated the bank human resource management practices to be at its finest, despite the limitation of the strict guidelines of being part of government.
What made HR in DBP to be one of the best are the guidelines and policies enacted in behalf of the common good among all its employees. For example, the Merit Selection Plan is devised to apply Equal Employment Opportunity Principle (EEOP) in the recruitment and selection of potential candidates as well as in promotion. As of June 2019, the bank’s manpower is dominated by 65-percent female, almost 50 percent are millennials and 1 percent of total employees belong to ethic groups such as Cuyunon, Igorot, Ibanag and Tausug, to name a few. The diversity of beliefs exercised in DBP is also imminent with 30 percent belonging to denominations other than Roman Catholic. The bank’s policy on diversity and inclusion is translated into good practice.
In order to ensure that employees’ needs are met, and key personnel are retained, the bank conducts an Employee Climate Survey to measure the degree of satisfaction of the employees on variety of issues that affects them. It
also provides an avenue for open feedback and identification of issues and potential problems. With regards to the employee’s union, a regular general assembly are held with them in order to properly address issues and get inputs to policy enhancements and recommendations. The recent survey yielded positive results.
Aside from that, the bank also supports career progression of the employees by providing continuous training and development opportunities for employees across all levels. This includes certification program, licensure for specialized roles, scholarship grants both local and abroad, implementation of coaching and mentoring programs, educational support schemes for professional advancement and continuing education.
In terms of health and well-being, the bank consistently holds events on various health topics. There is also a dedicated team that focuses on the welfare of the employees. An annual physical exam is scheduled to ensure that everyone is fit to work. This has also become an avenue to identify ailing employees who are assisted to get medical intervention right away. The bank has also organized sports activities, gym and physical fitness classes to help employees maintain their health and fitness.
The bank adapted a flexi-time working policy to relieve employees from stress brought about by traffic and provide ample time for them to spend with their families. We have mechanisms for employee grievance. Leadership continuity is addressed through succession planning. As we say in our Credo, “we belong to the DBP family,” We try to instill a sense of belonging for all.
It is of course a consolidated effort. While DBP has pro-active Human Resources (HR) Management Group, we believe HR is everyone’s responsibility and we engage all sectors. As our tagline states it, “we build possibilities” not only in terms of prospects for our clients to achieve financial inclusion and to finance major development projects. More importantly, we take care of our employees who serve as the lifeblood of DBP.
We realize there are many things we need to further enhance in the HR field so that we can serve best our constituency as a development finance institution. We still have flaws to correct. But to be recognized this way, especially in the light of the competition that joined the awards, provides with more motivation to better empower our people.
Benel D. Lagua is Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He is an active FINEX member and a long time advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs. The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.