Article: We need to design experiences that are intuitive, engaging and seamless: Sander de Brujin, ING

Employee Engagement

We need to design experiences that are intuitive, engaging and seamless: Sander de Brujin, ING

The overall success of hybrid mode will be in our attitude towards flexible working and the capability of our leaders to create a safe and inclusive work environment for their teams, believes Sander de Brujin, Head of Global Employee Experience, ING.
We need to design experiences that are intuitive, engaging and seamless: Sander de Brujin, ING

Sander de Brujin joined ING in 2018 as their first Head of Global Employee Experience. In this role, Sander is responsible for a differentiating and consistent employee experience within ING. With almost 20 years of experience in Marketing and Talent Acquisition roles Sander has delivered numerous customer and candidate experiences. As ING is globalizing People Services, it is Sander’s responsibility to design experiences that are personal, smart and easy and that will contribute to an engaged and high performing organisation.

In an exclusive interaction with us, Sander, who will be speaking at People Matters EX APAC Conference,  throws light on how the concepts of “data driven improvement” and ”human centric design” can help build a superior employee experience in today’s hybrid world.

How do we reboot Employee Experience and tune up for success in our changed world of work?

After a period of working from home, we are now preparing to go back to the office. Many companies, including ING, will work in Hybrid Mode. On average we expect to work 50% of the time from home and 50% at the office. This will bring new and unique challenges for all of us. How we respond to these challenges will be critical for our success.

Essentially, the ground rules for employee experience have not changed. In order to be successful as a company, we need our people be on their best performance. For people to perform best, we need to create a safe and inclusive work environment where people feel that they belong and their work is appreciated. Additionally, we need to design experiences that are intuitive, engaging and seamless.

Yet, we know that a new way of working will require adjustments in our employee experience designs. With the majority of the workforce working from home for an average of 50 per cent of their time, we need to look again at how we will ensure safety, inclusiveness and personal, smart and easy interactions. Just some examples of the different initiatives in ING to make sure we remain successful in Hybrid mode are:

We have ramped up our migration to a new digital workplace rolling out Office 365, allowing and supporting workers globally to virtually work together in a meaningful way.

We have designed a global training for leaders, “How to successfully lead in Hybrid mode”. It is a learning experience to help leads and agile coaches understand, practice and prepare for the challenges of Hybrid Mode as a leader, including managing consequences of your everyday choices, fostering inclusion and wellbeing, understanding that preferences and circumstances differ and being mindful of the impact team decisions might have on the individual.

We have ramped up our employee listening activities, focusing on wellbeing and engagement, but also on D&I and on employee experience, measuring satisfaction with touchpoints and moments on journey level. 

We are introducing new technologies to our landscape to improve engagement in virtual experiences, for instance with the global scale up of an onboarding application to engage new hires and their managers from the moment that the offer is accepted.

The overall success of hybrid mode will be in our attitude towards flexible working and the capability of our leaders to create a safe and inclusive work environment for their teams. 

What does employee experience in the new hybrid reality of work look like? What are some of the key defining parameters?

In our largest markets the teams decided to create and share a set of   joint beliefs and commitments - based on ING’s Orange Code – to provide guidance and help making Hybrid Mode work.

Our joint beliefs are:

  • Output and impact of work delivered are more important than location of work
  • Giving our people more flexibility in where and when they work, will support their wellbeing and engagement
  • For our ING culture to thrive, it is important that colleagues interact and collaborate

Our joint commitments are:

  • At ING we will work in a hybrid mode, combining working from an ING office and working from home 
  • We plan the location of our work based on the nature of the activity
  • In planning our work, we balance the interests of our customers, our team and ourselves
  • We empower teams to decide what the exact mix is
  • Physical, mental and emotional wellbeing remains a shared responsibility
  • We lead by example
  • We take an agile approach and continuously learn and improve to make the hybrid mode work

What role does data driven improvement play in revamping employee experience for employees?

For us, it is vital to measure the experience at our employees’ ‘Moments-of-Truth’, as these can be highly emotionally loaded moments that have a disproportionate impact on engagement. And it is at these moments that we as a company can impact their experience directly.

There is another important reason to measure EX, and it is derived from managing our customers’ experience: In our customers’ world, the quality of our service is often defined by its effortlessness. And just as our customers expect an effortless banking service; our employees expect an effortless experience when interacting with each other, their managers, and with company services such as People Services, IT and facilities. Together, we will gain business value from providing a better experience at ‘Moments-of-Truth’ and a more effortless experience for both our managers and employees. Better experiences will result in higher attraction and retention, higher productivity and higher discretionary effort.

Historically, measurement in HR has been focused a lot on employee engagement. Employee Experience is something else in my opinion. EX is measured on specific moments, which makes EX data very actionable. We believe that Employee Engagement scores are in fact the sum of all experiences an employee has had with their work. When we are able to measure these experiences at key moments, we have the insights needed to re-design the causes of high or low engagement.

For example, for many employees the Moments of truth during an onboarding journey are the moment they hear they got the job, their first day at work or their first evaluation with their manager. Managers sometimes forget how important these moments are. A differentiating experience at these moments will never be forgotten. In fact, it is in this short period when an employee decides how long he/ she expects to stay with the company.

To be able to measure EX through the entire lifecycle on a global scale we ran a first pilot in four countries last year. The survey is called the Employee Experience Index and will be scaled up to become a global survey and part of our Continuous Listening approach in 2022. The EXI© Diagnostic is a survey, developed by TI-People, that assesses the quality of interactions people have with our organization from their first moment of contact through every day work life to the day we part ways. And even beyond. In total there are 28 moments defined in four journey stages (I consider, I begin, I work, I leave). The thinking behind the EXI is that in EX we need insights that we can take action on.

Because the moments described here are specific, such as the experience of returning to work after a maternity leave for instance, or the experience of a year-end review with the manager, or the experience of requesting information or support from a service department, we can identify exactly which touchpoint to improve and who is the owner of that responsibility (e.g. manager, People Services Center, IT service Center) 

Wellbeing as a focus area for organizations was majorly thrust into prominence for all organizations in 2020. What are the key trends that are emerging in 2021?

We see two things happening:

1. Employees have new and intensified needs: During the pandemic, we were all confronted with situations we were not used to, resulting in increased stress levels. Whether it is caused by an increased number of virtual meetings, the lack of boundaries between work and private life, the juggling between being a professional and a parent, or the sudden isolation from your peers, the pandemic intensified our experiences and our needs.   

2. Employees have a greater variety of needs: Employee needs strongly differ. A ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work. In our wellbeing offering we need to accommodate for these different needs and make sure everyone feels safe, valued and empowered.  

Employee experience in 2021 requires human centric design more than ever. How can organizations inculcate this when designing their EX strategy?

I would advise any organization designing their EX strategy, to build it up along these three strategic pillars:

1. Build a framework of journeys, moments and touchpoints  

2. Start measuring Employee Experience. Start collecting feedback on journey, moment and touchpoint level

3. Invest in design thinking capabilities to make sure you design in full alignment with your target audience, the employees in your organization.  


Join us at the EX APAC Conference on 9th September to know more about adapting EX for the now and next of work. Click here to register.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, #PMEXAPAC

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