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Delphine Berlemont (ING): One step ahead

Delphine Berlemont, Head of Human Resources at ING Luxembourg, explains how her department is managing the pandemic, while ensuring the bank's strategy is implemented.

 

What challenges have your teams had to face during the coronavirus pandemic? 

 

La première The first urgent imperative was to protect our staff, while ensuring the continuity of our operations and customer services. As a result, 80% of our employees switched overnight to teleworking. As a pioneer of home-working since 2012, this move was a widening of well-established culture and habits. Internally, however, we have had to rethink the way we operate and communicate, for example by helping managers coordinate and motivate their home office teams.  We also reviewed our processes for recruiting and integrating new employees, and adapted our tools to the challenges arising from this new context. Then, as soon as the lockdown was lifted, we introduced a gradual return to the office,with staff alternating between home and office on a weekly basis.. This allowed normal human interactions to resume, while maintaining flexibility in terms of private and professional life. Due to recent restrictions, we have had to suspend this rotation. After the initial lockdown, the easing of restrictions over the summer and a gradual return to the office followed by a new lockdown…  , it is natural that a certain weariness can set in. Hence the importance of remaining attentive to engaging and motivating our employees, while reinforcing beneficial habits and mechanisms.

"In all our action, our priority is to react quickly, in a concerted and intelligent manner, while taking into consideration existing constraints” 

What is ING’s approach in these unusual circumstances?

 

At the operational level, we have used an agile model since the end of 2019. This is based on communication, information sharing and collaboration, a way of working that helped us during the pandemic. 

In terms of change management, we created a helpdesk to support our employees and answer their questions. We rearranged ande secured the workspaces, and our cafeteria remained open for the convenience of our teams.

We have also strengthened communication between management and staff, notably through "Talks with the Executive Committee" events, regular surveys of all employees, and by sharing advice and "best practices"which has helped us keep in touch with each other. Finally, we have promoted a range of initiatives internally,as well as those of our employees (such as sport/yoga in virtual format). We have been living by the principle "stay close, but at a distance". In all our action, our priority is to react quickly, in a concerted and intelligent manner, while taking into consideration existing constraints.

 

How will human resources evolve at ING over the next five years?

 

HR holds a special place in an organisation : it is at the heart of several business lines and participates in their development. As such, HR teams are becoming an increasingly important partner in implementing the bank's strategy, for example by supporting the deployment of the "agile" approach we implemented just over a year ago. Another key area for HR is employee support, which is increasingly being provided digitally and with self-service solutions. 

To assist this development, our department is working on implementing online solutions, in particular e-learning platforms with individualised training courses, integration tools, etc. Thanks to these new technologies, we want to focus on the areas where we add value while maintaining the efficient processing of our operations. In short, HR must identify sources of innovation and remain true to ING's core values of remaining "one step ahead".