HR Champions: Hendra Gunawan on communication, belonging, and crisis mitigation


  • Title: CEO
  • Organisation: United Overseas Bank (UOB) Indonesia
  • Office headquarters: Indonesia
  • Company operations: Global
  • Industry: Banking
  • Employees: 3,200 (provided by the company)

UOB Indonesia’s HR team and other staff can testify to how Hendra Gunawan prioritises employee wellbeing and development. He values clear and open communication with employees regardless of seniority or role, so a strong sense of belonging and collaboration is evident throughout the organisation.

When Covid-19 hit, Gunawan directed the comprehensive adoption of measures aimed at minimising the spread of the virus. UOB Indonesia was quick to offer remote work. Employees were supported with access to mental and physical health and wellness programmes, and by the end of 2022, 99% had been vaccinated.

In the company’s 2022 Annual Report, the CEO says: “We continue to implement hybrid work arrangements and have put in place several initiatives to ensure our colleagues remain safe while maintaining their productivity.”

Gunawan is equally bent on supporting promotion and succession from within the company. He says: “We also provided our people with access to training via webinars, instructor-led virtual sessions and an online learning library. Furthermore, we encouraged our colleagues to pursue ‘Flexi Upskill’ programmes to improve their functional skills or explore their personal passions.”

Every month, Gunawan himself hosts an HR committee meeting to discuss and support new and ongoing initiatives for people development. At the start of 2023, he introduced the theme ‘Growing in Unity’ to ensure values of collaboration stayed in place as the company achieved its goals. There is also a yearly CEO town hall, gathering all UOB employees in one forum for transparency and awareness of the bank’s strategy and business achievement, presented directly by the management.

UOB Indonesia even yielded higher employee engagement and retention during the pandemic. Gunawan says this “demonstrates the trust our people have in the Bank and showcased the strong collaboration to make UOB a better place to work”.

Bold and compassionate; proven resilient and intensely mindful of their own humanness, these HR Champions are being revealed one-by-one. The full report, featuring all 15 Champions, is now available for subscriber download.

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Chief of Staff Asia