Are you a trainee and would you like to tag along with the big boss for a day? Nothing could be more fascinating! The only question is: for which one of you? Trainee Maaike grasped the opportunity offered her and discovered what it was like to be CEO Erik.

Of course, I was interested to find out what the CEO of a big organisation like ING does all day long. What interested me most was finding out how he treats people. And how people react when they are suddenly approached by the big boss. It was certainly a remarkable experience.

Do not disturb? On the contrary!

I noticed immediately that people tend to adopt a reserved attitude when responding to Erik. Too reserved, even. As if they’re thinking: “This man has so much to think about. I’d rather not bother him with my problems.” While Erik tries so hard to truly connect with people. He even asked me for help with this.

After all, as the HR Team we are like the organisation’s antennae. We get to hear what is really going on in the organisation, without any filters. And this is of inestimable value to him, as this will help him make the best decisions. Without having to know precisely who said what, of course.

It was like being part of a documentary film. But one that I just happen to be making.

The very first time

When I agreed to the proposal put forward by the management committee to shadow someone they said: “Well, you are the first.” Exciting. Of course, this says something about the openness of the organisation. That the CEO agreed without hesitation to go along with this.

I certainly did not do this to put myself forward. Or to show him: “Look how smart I am.” I was interested, more than anything, and keen to observe. It was like being part of a documentary film. But one that I just happen to be making.

Even keener

What did I learn? That the CEO is just Erik. A human being. Interested in other human beings. And that I can contribute, in the role I play within HR, to the success of the organisation.

After this day I am even keener to work here. Because you put yourself in a vulnerable position when someone is following you around all day. It is very disarming and has strengthened my ties with ING even more. Highly recommended.

And how did you experience this day, Erik?

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About Maaike

  • Studied Social Science HR in the Netherlands
  • Entered the ING International Talent Program in 2017
  • Started the program in the Netherlands, spent three months in Singapore and recently started working in Brussels at Talent & Acquisition
  • Wants to give shape to the ideal candidate experience based on a predilection for data and analyses
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