How the financial crisis helped ING reinvent the vision on employment

ING is currently the Netherlands’ biggest bank, active in 44 countries, with over 38 million customers. With innovations like the ATM (ING was the first), the bank was ahead of the crowds for years – until the financial crisis hit. Time for ING to reinvent itself, change its course, and start a culture change from the inside out.

Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and business

The vision on employment was restructured and ING’s purpose changed to “Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and business”. The typical ING culture – which is recognized and expressed by its employees – was defined in the “Orange Code”. Based on that purpose and the Orange Code, ING formulated the Employer Value Proposition (EVP).

During the WUA Recruitment Masterclass, Marianne Consten (Employer Branding) talked about how the purpose and the Orange Code ensured a future-proof ING, in which people are trained for jobs that don’t even exist yet. She illuminated her story with the help of the most important promises as formulated in the EVP.

Personal growth and challenging work

To ING, personal growth and challenging work means giving employees the freedom to make their own career choices. The employee satisfaction is up to the employees. It also pays attention to the human being outside of work. In special programs, people are informed about exercise and nutrition, but also about how to deal with stress and how to achieve their goals.

ING is constantly changing, which suits an innovative, ambitious company. Working in an ever-changing environment is challenging and demands a lot from people. Thankfully, they’re also rewarded for this: ING invests in the ‘craftsmanship’ and ‘wellbeing’ of its employees, and at the same time, the responsibility for personal development lies with the employees themselves. On the website, employees share their experiences. Take employee Bob de Haan, for instance. After his team started working agile, he saw an opportunity to become Customer Journey Expert.

Open and dynamic environment

In 2017, ING announced the construction of its new headquarters. The five-story building is located in the south-east of Amsterdam and part of the Amsterdam Innovation District. Two floors in the ING building are open to everyone: companies, entrepreneurs and universities alike. Here everyone works together to craft up innovative solutions to different issues in society. ING is partner in this.

The office is created to feel like a large campus and is mainly made out of glass. The environment invites people to work flexibly, and to work together. The large glass panels make it a part of the environment. The existing ING buildings will also receive make-overs, while their concrete will be reused for the gravel and construction of the A9 highway.

This openness also comes with transparency about various positions within the company. In a series made for LinkedIn, ING finds out what vague job titles actually mean. A job title might sound interesting, but what does it really mean? And what do people with this title do? These videos show the bank acting with a level of self-deprecating humor.

Progressive and forward-looking

The values ‘progressive’ and ‘forward’ can be found in both the bank’s conditions of employment and its innovations. New parents, for example, receive a month’s worth paid leave, it’s possible to take a leave of absence, and sabbaticals are encouraged. Aside from the regular days off, employees also receive a number of days off for ‘diversity leave’. These days can be taken off for, for example, Carnival, Festival of Breaking the Fast, or the Gay Pride.

Agile working is also a part of ING’s culture. In an Agile approach, people working on a project assume that circumstances may change during the project. Without letting this influence the end result, this is still taken into account. With this way of working, large-scale product developments are split into short periods of 2 to 4 weeks max. In a number of ‘sprints’, the staff work on innovation – the most recent innovation, Apple Pay, was just launched. This way, the bank doesn’t just live and breathe this value for its employees, but it applies to its customers as well.

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