During the height of COVID-19, companies around the world faced tremendous adversity and uncertainty. For global financial institutions, the challenges were unprecedented. And even in the post-pandemic era, the war in Ukraine and a crisis of confidence in the financial services sector earlier this year brought on more adversity.
Despite this, Amsterdam-based ING has been on a journey during the past three years to accelerate growth by creating a world-class workforce. By emphasizing a better customer experience and focusing on sustainability, the company has markedly grown its client base, increased deposits and strengthened its lending portfolio. All of this wouldn’t be possible, according to the company’s 2022 annual report, without ING’s people.
creating a better experience for all
With the workforce playing such a critical role in its success, ING in 2022 tapped one of its own to ensure access to the best talent around the world. Martijn Feikens, who previously served in various positions at the company, including managing non-financial risk, was named global head of Recruiting Services. Since then, he and the recruitment teams have been updating the company’s talent acquisition strategy by focusing on the talent experience. These efforts are being executed with a heavy focus on operational excellence and recruiting experience for both candidates and hiring managers.
“One of the reasons why people ultimately join your company is because of a good hiring experience. This leads to great expectations for your career. On the other hand, if you have a poor hiring experience, do you really want to join an organization,” Feikens poses. “ING has always put a lot of emphasis on the customer experience — we need to put that same type of focus on the talent experience.”
As the company strives to enhance operational efficiencies and outcomes, that philosophy is trickling down to functions across the enterprise, including talent acquisition. According to the company’s annual report, ING is attracting, developing and retaining great talent by creating an environment that “unlocks” employees’ full potential through skilling and a diverse, inclusive and vitalized culture. The latest results from internal surveys on employee experience show a clear upward trend of an improved candidate experience.
value alignment and talent attraction
Building a compelling company vision and values are key to the talent experience, research shows. Randstad’s 2023 Workmonitor survey of more than 35,000 workers around the world found that 42% wouldn’t accept a job with a business whose values didn’t align with theirs. Furthermore, 52% said they would quit a job if they didn’t feel they belonged there.
Understanding the importance of value alignment and its impact on talent attraction, in his short time leading global recruitment services, Feikens has already made key strategic changes to ING’s approach. For instance, hiring IT engineers is a persistent challenge, especially as demand continues to rise to meet the company’s push to grow as a digital bank. Already, 95% of customer interactions are strictly through digital channels.
According to Feikens, in the company’s home market of the Netherlands, engineering profiles perennially account for the largest open roles across the company. To raise its profile among this particular population, multidisciplinary teams led an effort to develop an employee value proposition (EVP) appealing specifically to IT workers. In adopting a bottom-up approach, this unique EVP soundly resonates with its target candidates.
“We of course have an overall EVP, but this one is quite effective with IT engineers,” he says, adding that once talent is in the pipeline, they are treated with white gloves. “We also have a fairly good interview practice. They are well prepared and attended by the right panelists, which inspires our candidates.”
personalizing experiences with tech
Technology is increasingly important to the recruitment continuum at ING. The company is in the process of implementing a major HRIS to better manage hiring and gain a clearer understanding of its processes. It also relies on talent intelligence provided by its recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider to access useful business insights on how to acquire talent more quickly and cost effectively. The banking giant is also updating its career site with technology that can improve on personalization.
These are just part of an overall effort to elevate the company’s talent experience. Leveraging talent marketing to reach passive and active candidates, building talent pools and communities to grow the pipeline, and providing more training to hiring managers are all advancing recruitment objectives, leading to better time-to-hire and other results. These are all in line with the company’s emphasis on improving operational effectiveness and bottom-line results.
The impact on talent has been meaningful also. An expedited application process, better managed candidate expectations and a more positive onboarding experience all lead to greater engagement and faster time to productivity.
hiring the right people to drive client experience
One way of doing this is to better support client needs, regardless of which channels they use. To optimize operational profiles, Feikens says the company periodically assesses the availability of talent in key markets.
The company’s aim to improve execution, operational excellence and tangible results has been evident in the results reported by ING for the past three years and in the company’s steadily growing market capitalization. For the company to continue its progress, it’s clear that ING needs access to world-class talent at all levels. And to do that, a memorable candidate experience will help its ability to attract the best of the best.