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Danske Bank launches ‘Better Ways of Working’

Danske Bank is on a transformation mission that has customers and their convenience at the core:

Copenhagen, Denmark-headquartered Danske Bank has recently adopted a new way of working for its IT staff – including program developers and software engineers – that ensures less hierarchy and greater flexibility in the work field. The new system also means the staff is made part of more agile teams, which are equipped with all the competencies to take care of the development process and with enough freedom to decide how the development actually takes place. What really helped the bank is the work-from-home regimen that came into effect following the pandemic. It could give its technology staff a flexibility, which it hopes in future will make it possible to plan working environment in collaboration with the managers that lead various teams.

As part of the new way of working, the bank is now giving greater emphasis on diversity among the employees – in terms of cultural background, gender variation and sexual orientation. And this is evident from the fact that the bank now has its development centers in Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark, Bangalore in India and Vilnius in Lithuania.

Danske Bank in fact began its journey in digitization in 2017-18. It thought of the transformation slightly differently – becoming digital at its core with a human touch, thereby recognizing the importance of managing digital transformation responsibly and helping employees, customers and other stakeholders manage this transition. Like most of the big banks that took up the digital transformation, Danske Bank too decided to change the way it operates, bringing in a major cultural change in the organization and increasing investment in digital platforms that were sought to be created. The aim was to build a digitally-enabled, locally-focused bank through continued technology transformation. The main thrust in this transformation effort has been to be digital, on the inside as well as the outside, with the human touch, win the customer loyalty by adding value, deliver user-centred customer journey design and interfaces and create a paperless organization.


The bank has embarked on a ‘Better Ways of Working’ initiative and as part of this, it is now creating autonomous teams comprising IT and business development staff and empower them to create competencies. The first batch of staff in a team has now started working in the new way. The bank ensured that in this restructuring there are no redundancies as those affected were given training and entrusted with new roles. The ‘teams’, known as Squads, will be autonomous with the needs of customers being the main driver than the management. Squads will belong to bigger Tribes, or collections of Squads, that contribute to the bank’s business strategy. In the words of the bank’s Chief Operating Officer Frans Woelders, the bank wants to give the employees wide roads with high curbs. In other words, they will be given autonomy, and they need to listen to the needs of the customers, instead of what the management thinks.


Squad is a multi-disciplinary small group of people trained to work together as a unit, forming the core of an agile organization. Each squad has a clear and specific mission that contributes to the Tribe’s mission and is end-to-end responsible to deliver it.

Tribe is a collection of Squads that contributes to the Tribe’s and the bank’s strategy and goals. It is a flat organization, has a clear mission, purpose, business objectives and metrics – and holds end-to-end responsibility to deliver on them.

Innovation has always been a crucial factor in the bank – may be form overdrafts in the 1800s to ground-breaking EDP machines in the 1960s and then MobilePay and the current Mobilebank. Its transition from analogue and face-to-face services to digital tools has been smooth and has made the bank a leader and Denmark an international center for digitization.


One of the landmark happenings in the bank occurred in 1983, when the popular chequebook got a competitor – Dankort – and this is the first digital payment card that the people got from the bank. Initially, Dankort had to be run through a ‘fly swatter’ or credit card imprinter.

The bank brought in digitization in a swift manner as more and more bank services became digital as the internet spread from the 1990s onwards. For example, the bank’s customers were among the first in Denmark who could buy and sell financial securities online. Another milestone in the transformation journey happened in 2013, when the bank developed the payment app MobilePay in a matter of 6 months. MobilePay was a major instrument for the bank as it totally digitized the use of cash and turned upside down how payments are made. Just 10 weeks after the service was launched, 300,000 Danes had downloaded the new app, which satisfied a need among consumers they were barely aware they had.

Danske Bank has come a long way ever since the first EDP machines were introduced and its Dankort changed the way customers transacted. It is now foraying into newer fields with collaboration with fintechs. For example, it has partnered with Spiir, thereby offering its customers open banking facilities like allowing them to view their accounts with other banks directly in Danske Mobile Banking.

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