Mr Koh believes that J.P. Morgan’s teamwork philosophy helps foster productivity and an inclusive working culture. PHOTO: NURIA LING

Nurturing a culture of collaboration

NTU graduate Fabian Koh enjoys working at J.P. Morgan because the joint efforts in his workplace bring out the best in a team

AFTER four years with global financial giant J.P. Morgan, Mr Fabian Koh believes that the culture of collaboration in the company is a stepping stone to long-term work success.

He is only 29 but this Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduate realises that working for a leading global institution with over 40,000 employees worldwide in technology alone, and about 1,300 in Singapore, requires collaboration to harness team-skills and build a positive working culture.

“I’ve been very passionate about my job since I joined J.P. Morgan as an intern in 2010. I realised that the collaborative culture here makes a big difference in getting the best out of everyone,” says Mr Koh, an associate at J.P. Morgan.

He views four key elements essential to building a collaborative enterprise: defining and building a shared purpose; cultivating an ethic of contribution; developing processes that enable people to work together in flexible but disciplined projects; and creating an infrastructure in which collaboration is valued and rewarded.

The alliances at work sum up the importance of collaboration in creating something greater as a group than would be possible for an individual, he adds.

The J.P. Morgan philosophy of collaboration is about enhancing every employee’s work and creating a harmony. In a nutshell, it is simply following a smart plan to avoid confusion and waste.

Second nature

Mr Koh recalls a personal sporting accident six months ago, when he broke his leg while playing football.

The surgery left him grounded for more than a fortnight. His bosses allowed him to work from his home using the firm’s “remote- working” technology, where he could communicate, share work information and optimise his individual skills for team productivity towards an ongoing major project.

Mr Koh feels that when a company puts in effort to build a culture of collaboration, it becomes second nature to communicate with both internal teams and external stakeholders. And it is this kind of collaboration that helps companies to break through boundaries and produce cutting-edge innovations that solve real-world problems.

Mr Koh graduated from NTU with a Bachelor of Business (Information Technology). His internship with J.P. Morgan in 2010 sparked his interest in financial institutions and he found it to be a “very challenging and interesting industry”.

Many opportunities

“There are many opportunities in work-mobility at J.P. Morgan, doing different jobs. But always be mindful of working smart, with the teamwork philosophy and the culture of collaboration.

“The global nature of clients, transactions, deals and projects ensure that we work hard to create diverse, inclusive teams that support our business and each other,” he says.

Mr Koh is also impressed with the corporate social responsibility that the company advocates. The adoption of various social and children’s charities in Singapore is a vivid example of offering a value-add helping hand.

“There is a tangible effect on society and by promoting volunteerism, we offer opportunities to help non-profit organisations, where employees can give their time and raise money for their chosen charities,” he says.

J.P. Morgan has a robust junior talent pipeline, taking in about 100 interns from the tertiary institutions and has even piloted hiring from polytechnic levels.