Diversity and inclusion: every small step brings added value
Katrien has been working in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) for seven years and doesn’t see herself in a different job any time soon. At ING, she has found a solid basis for further growth. “The organisation and the employees believe D&I is crucial for the bank’s success.”
After studying English and Dutch literature and linguistics, Katrien worked in the cultural sector and ran a children’s bookshop. A desire for greater certainty and a more international perspective took her to the financial service provider Euroclear, where she started as an editor of customer documentation and later progressed to become the manager responsible for D&I, well-being and employee engagement.
Interesting and complex
At the end of 2019, Katrien moved to ING. She is Diversity & Inclusion Lead at the Centre of Expertise Talent Management & Learning and works for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This cross-border role makes her work particularly interesting, but also complex. “There are major differences between the countries. In the Netherlands, for example, cultural diversity is a bigger factor than in Belgium, and in Belgium there’s always the language issue.”
“ING provides a good basis for further growth with ‘my’ subject. I believe strongly in the power of letting people be themselves, so they can develop their potential, regardless of their background. I see that belief reflected very clearly at ING. People are aware that D&I is important for the bank’s continued success.”
I believe strongly in the power of letting people be themselves, so they can develop their potential, regardless of their background.
More innovative, original and creative
“ING is committed to innovation, and diverse teams have been shown to be more innovative, original and creative. Here’s another example: when a workforce reflects society, you can offer a better customer experience. And if you look at the personal contact we have with our customers, you can see that people relate more easily to people who are like them.”
“There’s still a lot to do. In the hiring policy, offering opportunities, spotting talent... My role is mainly about influence. I’m actually an influencer J. I can’t force anything. Instead, I must convincingly demonstrate the value of a diverse, inclusive organisation and help to design (or redesign) processes and products in a more inclusive way. My work involves a lot of networking, at all levels of the organisation and outside it, for example as a speaker at conferences. Change takes time and you achieve results with small steps. But every small step brings added value.”
D&I networks at ING include:
- BEING – Black Employee Inclusion Group
- Crossing – network for cultural diversity
- Enable – network for people with disabilities
- Experience – network for more experienced employees
Lioness – network for gender equality
- Rainbow Lions – LGBTI+ network
- RING – youth network
Katrien is something of a gastronome. She enjoys food and drink and, until recently, loved discovering new restaurants. Due to the coronavirus crisis she does a lot more cooking at home, which she increasingly enjoys. She set herself a challenge of making a different dish every day and so far she’s been successful. Katrien’s other big interests are art, travel, films, walking and reading.