On the Journey Toward a True Digital Workplace

A case study with ING Group

Overview

ING is a global bank based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Their 70,000+ employees serve approximately 38.4 million customers, corporate clients, and financial institutions in more than 40 countries around the world. ING is widely known for their excellence in customer experience, and they continuously innovate to improve it. Recently, the ING team expanded their focus to include employee experience as well.

We really have adopted a people-centric, rather than technology-centric, approach to our digital workplace project. Up to now, we had many siloed organizations, and the thing that I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to bring those people much more together and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Joris Kok

Product Owner

Problem

ING had an intranet problem. For every business unit, department, and team in their global, 70,000 employee workforce, there was a unique, independent intranet site. The sites were one-offs, created on an as-needed basis, and due to their siloed existence, were unable to provide the unifying, branded experience that ING wanted to deliver for its employees.

Solution

ING uses the Akumina platform to power the One Intranet digital workplace built on Microsoft SharePoint and integrated with third-party tools that ING employees need to do their jobs. Beginning the digital workplace journey by focusing on a single use case has allowed ING to make a large impact by taking small steps. Their first task was to solve onboarding challenges for new employees in the Netherlands. By providing relevant content and information based on location and user personas, they’ve been able to streamline the overall process and provide enhanced employee experience from the first moment of employment.

Q&A with Sander de Bruijn, Head of Global Employee Experience at ING

ING has a strong stance on the importance of customer experience. What is it, and how does it translate to employee experience?

Our purpose at ING is to empower people to stay a step ahead in life and in business, and we really strive to offer one consistently superior ING experience for customers and employees.

I always like to refer to Virgin CEO, Sir Richard Branson, who says, “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” We all know that there is a very strong bond between EX and CX and that is why customer and employee experience are both very important to ING.

When did you realize you needed to invest in your employee experience at ING?

When I joined in 2018, I realized that my employee experience was not what I had expected. I’m a customer of ING, I knew about their reputation in the market, and then I found out that my candidate experience and my onboarding experience was not up to the standard that I expected. I later learned through internal research and poll surveys that others shared the same sentiment. At ING, we were seeing a drop in job engagement and organization engagement numbers.

Tell us about your view on the employee journey at ING.

We strongly believe that all the experiences that people have with their company (from relationships with their managers and peers to the technology they use to corporate culture) all add up. People will remember them, and they will define the level of job or company engagement that people have.

 

So focusing on those right moments in the employee journey will engage teams and impact productivity. Ultimately, time saved and increased engagement as a result of good experiences will add to company value, profitability, and better customer experience.

How important is technology to ING’s employee experience strategy?

Today, the big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Spotify really raise the bar when it comes to the experiences that people expect. People are living their lives on their phones and expect very intuitive, effortless and seamless mobile experiences. We noticed and heard that people expect the same from us. So we want to ensure that wherever you are in the world connecting with ING your experience is the same.

We want to have a unified employee experience so people know exactly where they need to be if they have a question, if they are looking for content, or if they want to perform an action. Our goal is to build an employee experience platform that will serve as a hub to connect people to all the technology that they need to find information, to perform their tasks, and to get an overview of their work.

How have you rolled out your employee experience strategy at ING?

We started small. It’s been a little over a year on the job, where we have at a small scale, in an agile scale, been testing and prototyping with our teams. What we see is that if you really take that employee journey approach and really guide people through processes, take them through the most lean way through their journey then it will boost their sense of enablement and their sense of empowerment.

For instance, by better supporting our managers, we’ve seen a 30% increase in a sense of enablement and empowerment from that group, and we know that those are big, big engagement drivers.

Q&A with Joris Kok, Product Owner

What did the digital workplace look like when you joined ING?

When I joined ING, there was a large-scale project just starting because we had a dispersed landscape of nearly 500 intranet sites worldwide.

We have about 42 countries and regions where we are present and about 70,000 employees around the globe. As part of an overall effort to unite ING, we were able to create one ING experience online that allows our workforce to share information and to publish communications in a more structured way than just cascading down through all these individual intranets.

Our next step is to create an even more valuable environment focusing relevance and personalization for each employee.

Why did you choose Akumina as your digital workplace partner?

We put the user and the journey in the center of our strategy. For me, that is one of the most important things to consider when looking at the products that we select and then the landscape that we are building. Akumina thinks the same way as we do in that respect.

Akumina also has the same strategic approach to building a digital workplace as we do. Digital workplace is not just Office 365, it’s not just Microsoft, there’s so much more involved. If you really centralize the humans in those employee journeys, then you also need the technology to make those connections and make those experiences possible through APIs, microservices, and all these kinds of new great technologies.

What are you most proud of in your work with ING’s digital workplace?

We really have adopted a people-centric, rather than technology-centric, approach to our digital workplace project. Up to now, we had many siloed organizations, and the thing that I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to bring those people much more together and will continue to do so moving forward.

So, what’s next for ING?

We have now a proper platform. We can reach everyone. Everyone can find their information. But there’s a lot to improve, and we’re careful not to try do it all at once. So we’re taking baby steps.

So for us, the short term, we’re focusing on one specific use case, which is onboarding. We’re working with new people joining ING in one country and trying to better facilitate that journey from a technology perspective and from an information perspective.

We’re making sure to listen closely to those employees to learn about their pain points, their top tasks, and their top journeys.