Agree or Disagree? Our IT colleagues give their opinion on working at ING, by answering– sometimes bold – statements. Here are the stories behind the percentages used in a worldwide ING campaign. Thatiana, Erik and Gijs explain their choices.

At ING you can wear what you want, even pinstripes

An easy statement, because our 3 colleagues fully agree on this one.

Thatiana: “Agree. If I think back to my experience of working for a bank in Brazil, the whole atmosphere was much more formal, so very different from ING. My male colleagues weren’t allowed to wear shorts, despite the tropical temperatures. So, when I moved to the Netherlands, I was amazed to see that it was much more casual (I was working at then). At ING, I guess it depends on your role and your field of work. In IT we usually dress very casually. Everybody chooses the clothes they like and feel comfortable in.“

Also Eric agrees on this statement. “Nobody cares what you wear, especially in IT. We’re definitely the most casually dressed group within ING. Lots of engineers wear T-shirts from the conferences that they’ve attended. That’s the equivalent of a band T-shirt for techies – although you see plenty of real band T-shirts here too. By IT standards I’m a pretty sharp dresser (I call it ‘professional’): I tend to wear a ‘uniform’ of jeans and a shirt with a T-shirt underneath”

Gijs says that it doesn’t really matter what you wear to work as long as you feel comfortable and it doesn’t cause any offence to your colleagues. “There’s no longer such a clear distinction between what IT specialists wear, for example, and people from the business. You still see prototype engineers wearing black hoodies, of course, but customer journey experts or product owners are just as likely to wear them. If you ask me, the choice of clothing is more of a generational thing than role-related.”

At ING you develop software and yourself

This statement doesn’t cause a real discussion either. Agree, for all three.

Erik states that ING offers plenty of scope for personal development. “Within IT, 10% of your time is ‘chapter time’. It’s up to you how you want to spend it, such as on your own development. Personally, I like to expand my knowledge by attending conferences, plus much of the time I spend on social media is work-related. I use Twitter a lot to keep in touch with fellow IT professionals.”

Recognizable, says Gijs. “Our core task is to develop software, but we also pay a great deal of attention to developing our engineers themselves. That makes ING one of the best places to work for techies. You can spend around 10% of your time on your own personal and professional development. I’m one of the initiators of the Mastery Day: as an engineer, you spend one day every four weeks on fine-tuning your skills and exploring and developing ideas, together with other engineers and colleagues from other disciplines. Besides that, there are all kinds of ING tech meetups, online training courses and the opportunity to study individually. We also actively encourage people to share their knowledge with others, whether during the Mastery Days, at internal/external meetups and conferences or by contributing to open-source projects, for example.”

Thatiana agrees with what her colleagues said. “Although software development is our core job at IT, there is also a lot of focus on the development of people’s hard and soft skills. As a Chapter Lead I make a point of encouraging engineers to develop their soft skills, because communication, attitude, emotional intelligence and so many other personal attributes are crucial for success. And in terms of developing our hard skills in IT, we have e-learning modules and lots of great communities where we can share knowledge – such as our ‘guilds’, which are specialised expertise groups.”

At ING we care about your code-life-balance

Gijs: “Agree. We’re very alert to that and it’s also part of our management approach. I think that our strong focus on health and well-being is another reason why engineers like working here. We offer a good benefits package including 6 weeks of paternity leave, for example, and we might be introducing unlimited annual leave. ING is very pioneering in that respect. Recently, we also introduced an expenses policy for setting up a workspace at home; everyone can receive a substantial amount to spend on office-related equipment at Coolblue. I was personally involved in lobbying for that because the set-up needs to be as optimal as possible now that most of us are working from home. “

Thatiana agrees with this statement as well. “I see that Dutch society in general values quality of life, and companies like ING do a terrific job caring about the well-being of employees. Especially now, with many of us working from home, there is extra attention for anyone who is struggling with their personal situation. We’re encouraged to be open about any challenges, and as leaders we’ve been given tools to support our colleagues. The sanity and safety of our people is important, both now and in the longer term.”

Erik has been forced been forced to spend the majority of my time on the ‘life’ aspect over the last year. “Operations on tumours in my head have left me with brain damage. A new one was found last year so I had to have another operation, followed by a long period of rehabilitation. I joined ING six years ago as part of the Unknown Talent programme. Initially I worked 21 hours a week, but nowadays I do more than the standard working week of 36 hours. I consider myself lucky to be able to do something that I really enjoy! For me, work is also my way of relaxing – that helps to keep things under control and in balance.“

Gijs Meijer (39) is an IT Lead in ING’s Dutch IT organisation, where 450 engineers are working on the digital customer journey for ING’s mobile app and websites. He has been employed by ING since 2010 and initially had contact with ING before that as an IT Strategy Consultant.

Thatiana Mendes Gomes (36) joined ING in 2018. Currently she is an IT Chapter Lead within Core Bank & Advisory domain, developing and executing a vision within IT operations to inspire engineers to grow and drive technological innovation. Thatiana is originally from Brazil.

Erik Kroes is a Product Owner. His team designs and builds components for apps and websites that are used by ING developers worldwide. He is 36 years old and has been working at ING since 2015.

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