How DBS Bank India grew its employee strength 3x in 4 years


  • The total employee strength of DBS Bank in India is approximately 6,500 people
  • The gender ratio at DBS Bank has improved from 24% five years ago to 30% at present
  • The bank plans to hire 2,500 people by the end of 2023

Headquartered in Singapore, DBS Bank India is one of the first big foreign banks to have started its operations in India, having first set foot in the country in 1994. This multinational corporation bank has grown rapidly in recent years.

In India, until 2018, DBS had some 2,000 employees. In 2021, the bank doubled its employee number to 4,000. Currently, the total employee strength of DBS in India is approximately 6,500 people.

In an interaction with ETHRWorld, Kishore Poduri, Managing Director and Country Head - HR, DBS Bank India, talked about the MNC bank's growth in recent years, some of its unique employee-first policies and robust tech-driven hiring strategies.

'Best of We' from 'Best of Me'

"Our motive has always been to give a holistic employee experience, and our focus and motto is 'Live Fulfilled' and how we can promote 'Best of Me'," said Poduri.

He added, "If I were an employee, I would want to be the 'best of me' at work, and bring my best to work and make a difference to the organisation, the larger society and be the change.

"According to Poduri, over the last few years, they have sought to ensure that employees drive the change in the changing times. Thus 'Best of We' (DBS) can be achieved only if each employee achieves 'Best of Me'.

Employee wellbeing initiatives and their connection with 'Best of We' and 'Best of Me.'


"iFlex is our flagship product that covers holistic well-being, self-image, self-identity and proactive healthcare. It is a truly personalised offering wherein people can utilise their iFlex points earned for insurance, outpatient claims, wellness, gadgets, work-from-home set-ups, lifestyle, sports and recreational needs," said Poduri.

Through iFlex's 'Flexible Spending Account, employees can get reimbursed for their expenses relating to family, health and wellness, personal growth, work-from-home set-up, etc, of up to Rs 50,000 a year.

This policy is designed to empower each employee to make their benefits package, plan the health and wellness of themselves and their families, and make optimum utilisation of the benefits provided by DBS.

iFlex utilisation by the employees was 87 per cent in 2021, and in 2022, the utilisation reached close to 100 per cent.


Through this policy, the mental and physical well-being and fitness of the employees are taken care of. 'Wellness Days' are organised, and doctors' and counsellors' support is provided to the employees. Poduri said, "We have structured them even more because the 'Best of Me', the 'Best of We', and the best of environments are the pillars on which our well-being is structured."

He explained that under the ‘Best of Me’, employees' financial, emotional, and physical well-being are taken care of. Through the 'Best of We', DBS tries to create a social environment for its employees where they enjoy interacting at the office and coming to work, whereby their employment is not just about coming to work.

DBS has different 'Lean in circles', 'T (Transformation) circles', informal forums and sports clubs for its employees to make a difference in their lives and help them ‘Live Fulfilled’.


DBS works in a hybrid mode, offering up to 100 per cent work-from-home to all its employees. Additionally, DBS provides up to 100 per cent work-from-home for additional six months for new parents and primary caregivers with newborn babies or adopted children up to six years of age.

Technology in HR and hiring

"We have our own in-grown core HR platform, similar to Workday, which is a cloud-based mobile-connected platform with all kinds of friendly user interfaces for all the employees," said Poduri.

The bank has used artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data analytics for the last four years.

Poduri said, "Before the pandemic, through a tie-up, we began using data scientists to develop our data analytics projects of the different predictive analytics, which was deployed three years ago." He explained that it is intrinsically a data-driven operating model that uses and works on predictive analytics.

Through this predictive analytics, the HR and management of the organisation gauge the traits of a good manager or how they can identify a good manager through the available data and how they use it while hiring at the managerial levels.

DBS also conducts several hackathons to hire from the open market. For this, it doesn't necessarily go to engineering college campuses per se for the hackathon; anybody from any engineering college from any tier 1 or tier 2 city can apply. If the candidate clears the hackathon, they can get a job with the bank. DBS has hired over 150 graduates with an MBA degree or Chartered Accountants.


In recent months, DBS launched an initiative, which is like an internal opportunities market, and named it iGrow. Internally, the company has an employee skills database and an attribute of it is called 'skills match'. Whenever a job opening is available within the bank's recruitment team, this AI/ML tool- ‘skills match,’ can be used by employees to help them take a job scan and showcase their preferences. They would be able to avail the best job match from the available jobs in the company and can apply for the same. If there is any skill gap, that is also shown, and the employee can get that fixed by working on it himself and then applying if the deadline allows that.

Diversity and inclusion

The gender ratio at DBS Bank has improved from 24 per cent five years ago to 30 per cent.

"We have special focus partners to help us drive our gender mix," said Poduri. "Our hiring, with regard to the employee mix, has a holistic way of looking at gender in terms of the careers as well, and in terms of the promotions, in terms of the mix in also our mid-level and senior management positions," he added.

Amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank India

In November 2020, through a mandate of the Government of India, DBS Bank was amalgamated with Lakshmi Vilas Bank.

Talking about the experience after the amalgamation with an Indian old-generation bank, Poduri said, "To integrate them into our workforce, we rolled out different cultural initiatives which helped assimilate them into our organisation, as well as helped integrate technologies." "It has been a journey for the last two years, and the people's integration has been very interesting,” said Poduri.

He talked about bringing together an MNC foreign bank with an old-generation private sector bank. Understanding and amalgamating the cultures of two very different organisations was an exciting yet challenging activity, some of which were first in the industry.

Hiring plans

The bank plans to hire 2,500 people by the end of 2023.

Over 1,500 new roles would be for Sales/Relationship Manager profiles to support business expansion this year.

The campus/fresher channel would contribute approximately 10 per cent to the open roles.

About 270 seeders will be onboarded in 2023 through a hackathon at DBS Tech India.

As featured in ETHR World