Making ING accessible for everyone
To make ING a great place to work without any barriers, even if you have a physical, mental or neurological disability – that’s the aim of the bank’s ENABLE network. Committee members Marilyn Moolhuijzen and Ronald Oudendijk explain what ENABLE does and why.
Marilyn is a Business Analyst at Global Know Your Customer (KYC). She found out about the ENABLE network during the Diversity & Inclusion Week in 2019 and decided to become an active member. “And before I knew it I was the chairperson... which wasn’t necessarily my intention, but I had nothing to lose because the network had been pretty neglected at that time. In late 2019, I started to build a core team.”
Not long afterwards, Ronald joined the network and immediately became a committee member too. Marilyn describes the Chief Data Officer Finance & Risk as “someone with tons of energy and a senior position within the organisation – just the kind of person we need to get things off the ground.”
They both have a particular interest in ENABLE due to their personal situation. An accident at the age of 12 left Ronald with a spinal cord injury and he uses a wheelchair on a daily basis. Marilyn is going blind in one eye and also suffered a trauma following a very tough pregnancy. Her team was disbanded as part of a restructuring programme while she was still on maternity leave, putting paid to her reintegration plans. By leveraging her network, she found her current position as a business analyst under her own steam.
The full potential
Ronald himself has never felt restricted or come up against limitations; he has always had – and seized – lots of opportunities. “I honestly don’t notice that I’m ‘different’ and my aim is to achieve that for all other colleagues too. Besides that, it would be great if the organisation could maximise its full potential, and that means being accessible for everyone.”
Accessibility by design
“Exactly,” agrees Marilyn. “It’s all about accessibility, at all levels. ‘Accessibility by design’ should become the norm so that everything is designed to work for everyone right from the start – so that everyone can be productive, throughout the entire workplace, irrespective of their needs.” Ronald: “We shouldn’t have a situation in which I can’t buy a sandwich in our beautiful new building because the payment terminal is positioned too high, for example. That’s pretty ridiculous.”
Doing away with the ‘special circumstances’ label
Marilyn: “Right now, any ‘deviations’ are dealt with as problems, but that’s the wrong mindset. We need to do away with the ‘special circumstances’ label. Everyone stands to benefit from well thought-out workplaces and systems, and smooth-functioning tools – not only our employees, but also our customers! Things like even more accessible mobile banking services, for example.”
“New legislation – the European Accessibility Act – is making this particularly topical. It will come into force at the end of 2025, so accessibility must be embedded in all our systems and facilities by then.” Ronald: “And who better to provide input on this topic than our own people? We have so much expertise in house.” “Some wonderful things are already happening,” adds Marilyn. “Such as the Accessibility Answer Desk, which was a finalist in ING’s Innovation Bootcamp last year, and the Accessibility Tour which was conducted in our new building. It revealed lots of ‘quick wins’ for improvements, and the report is now being used at ING Belgium.”
Nevertheless, ENABLE still has its work cut out to break down technical and social barriers. The network has got off to a good start, with 150 members, an enthusiastic core team, a lot of lobbying work and social events such as pub quizzes and get-togethers – although they can only be held online for now.
After joining ING 15 years ago, Marilyn spent many years in Wholesale Banking on the client services side and is now a business analyst in transaction monitoring at Global KYC. She has a husband and three young children, with whom she enjoys doing creative activities.
Now Chief Data Officer Finance & Risk, Ronald has been working at ING for 33 years. Having started in Finance, he moved to Operations and subsequently worked in various commercial and marketing roles before joining the data organisation for Finance & Risk. He is married and has two grown-up children and a dog. He and his wife enjoy spending time outdoors – walking in the woods or gardening – and they are huge art lovers.