Naïma Ait Ali
ING focuses on your qualities, which is one reason this is such a great place to work
As an Onbekend Talent (‘Untapped Talent’) employee, one of Naïma Ait Ali’s responsibilities is the ‘on-boarding’ of new arrivals. She also handles an increasing number of the PR activities for the Onbekend Talent programme. Naïma has been working at ING since 2012 and received a permanent contract in early 2015. She is qualified to MBO+ level as a social legal employee. Naïma has a rare, progressive skin condition and as a result is also visually impaired.
Naïma first came into contact with ING through a recruitment agency that supports young people with a chronic illness or physical disability. There was an immediate match and before long she had started in a work experience position in the HR department. Nowadays, she works for Onbekend Talent, a programme aimed at embedding the recruitment and selection of employees with a work limitation into the regular processes. Naïma: ‘We want to help people like that to join ING in existing roles so that we can achieve continuity and create opportunities for progression. I myself am a good example of how things can turn out – although I didn’t actually join ING through this programme. I’ve been given a permanent contract and a regular position as Junior Operations Specialist. I ensure that everything is arranged for new employees such as their contracts and access to the computer systems. As a member of the project team I plan the team meetings and prepare the reports. On top of that, I’ve recently been doing an increasing amount of PR for the Onbekend Talent programme, such as writing articles for ING media. It’s great fun to do!
ING sees who I really am
I have a photosensitive skin condition which means that I’m overly sensitive to light. Sunlight and even daylight can damage my skin. As a result of my skin condition, I’ve also been visually impaired since I was 15. I have to take care to minimise my exposure to daylight. Needless to say, my skin condition is very visible – you can’t miss it. And my sight has also continued to deteriorate; I now have only 2 percent vision. My limitations are not an issue for my immediate colleagues. I’m very open about it. But when I meet people for the first time I’m very aware that they’re probably thinking “Oh, what’s wrong with her?” My role also involves me meeting with candidates to finalise the terms and conditions of their employment. That’s when we all see each other for the first time, which can be a little nerve-racking sometimes, but I can’t keep worrying about what other people might think. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my job so much. I love the fact that ING sees who I really am, my dedication and my strengths rather than my limitations. Another thing I love: I work 16 hours a week, split over four mornings. Not every employer is prepared to accept that. Both ING and I know where we stand and what we can expect from one another.
At my desk the windows have blackout blinds and the fluorescent light tubes have been removed directly above me, but I still sit in the open-plan office. Otherwise I might as well work from home. Contact with colleagues is very important to me. I do increase the risk to my health by coming in to work; after all, I have to go out into the daylight in order to get here. But my job means the world to me. My disability has a huge impact on my daily life. Working gives me lots of positive energy – a sense of achievement, confirmation that I’m a part of society, that I’m making a contribution. I didn’t study for nothing! I want to put that knowledge to good use.
Desk editor ambitions
What do I want to do next? Well, I really enjoy writing, so my concrete ambition is to become a desk editor. I often receive compliments for my articles, and that reinforces my belief that I can do it. The Communication department recently asked me to write something for them after I’d mentioned to a colleague in passing how much I loved writing. I think that’s great, and typical of how things are at ING. Here, the main focus is on your qualities and what you yourself want. You have to take a certain amount of initiative, of course, but you receive plenty of opportunities in return. That’s one reason that ING is such a great place to work.’