EngagementEmployee EngagementEmployee experience at ABN AMRO

Employee experience at ABN AMRO

Ahead of HRD Summit/Europe, one of the speakers, ABN Amro’s Head of Experience is Frank van den Brink discusses changing traditional HR enabling the organisation to get closer to employees, radically change the business structure and processes, and anticipate more disruptive changes in the industry.

 What led ABN Amro to become an EX organisation?

At this stage of experience (EX) implementation, we want to achieve an improved EX for 23,000 employees. How do we do this? By making sure that traditional HR practices become more centered around individuals and making sure that technology enables continuous listening and mass customisation, both by taking individual, team and organisational perspectives into account.

Why does employee experience matter to our customers?

To create a sustainable, world-class Customer Experience (CX), our organisation must first create a sustainable world-class and meaningful Employee Experience (EX). EX is a new way of looking at how to design and engineer a high value, integrated and relevant end-to-end EX for our employees and future new hires. This includes everything to create a ‘best start’ for new hires, employees starting in new positions and “great ambassadors” when employees leave our organisation.

We oversee and connect everything which is relevant for our “workplace as an experience” vision, which will be central to our culture and employee-centric approach. We would like to bring meaning to the workplace and our EX-design principles should run through everything that affects people within our organisation and beyond. We should pay more attention to the messages sent from our own HR IT systems and tiered service model to our employees.

The coming years we will be architecting employee journeys, persona’s, optimising the EX-cycle by using Design Thinking and Agile in action. We believe that “Happy People” will result in “Happy Clients” and we will try to go the extra mile every day to realise the best EX possible. Creating a WOW experience for employees and teams is what should matter most, this is a way to stay relevant and make a difference for current and potential future hires.

“How do we do this? By making sure that traditional HR practices become more centered around individuals and making sure that technology enables continuous listening and mass customisation, both by taking individual, team and organisational perspectives into account.”

How did ABN Amro transform?

In the beginning of the transition (April 2017), we looked at how to be more client-oriented. What they discovered through employee feedback, however, is that HR was too process-oriented. As a result, Frank decided to align with the CX  directors and map a customer journey, feeling strongly that the customer cycle was equal to the employee cycle. He reasoned, “We know there will likely be more changes with respect to numbers of FTE’s so we better start optimizing the experience and processes for people joining and leaving; otherwise, people will potentially talk badly about ABN Amro and instead he started to put energy in people leaving ABN AMRO as true ambassadors

To start making the needed changes, ABN AMRO created an HR management team of five and an organization that sits under them. The organization includes several HR Business Partners and an Employee Experience department with EX service delivery (including Digital, Strategy and Change Management). They have a total leadership team of 30 and almost half of those are in the domain of EX. They rely on multidisciplinary teams and an HR digital leader to drive the digital EX.

With an analytics team gathering and analyzing insights from all functions in the business, the EX team defined key moments in customer journeys, measuring areas of high and low impact on business performance and productivity. They used design thinking to observe and ideate opportunities to build a positive EX through various journeys, which were prototyped and tested in certain parts of the business that enabled quick feedback. Frank and his team came up with the following journeys:

–        Best start – supporting candidate attraction, recruiting and on-boarding
–        Let me help you – the way we are able to support and interact with our employees
–        Meaningful growth – how we enable employees to achieve a meaningful business and personal growth through performance, learning, development
–        I owe you – the way we recognize talent and performance by also focusing on wellbeing (vitally, mindfulness, sabbaticals), preparation for retirement, recognizing longtime contributions
–        Great ambassadors – building a strong alumni experience and better external reputation

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They also developed several main EX circles of expertise:

1. Talent Attraction: How to improve the candidate journey, design and implement a sourcing strategy and create a “love brand” that sits next to ABN Amro’s marketing brand.

2. People development: How to shift performance management from reward focus to a people development focus. Performance management had been a reward- and regulatory-driven process, and they wanted to change the focus to people’s development and engagement.

3. Focus on a total reward strategy: Our employees are crazy for clients. They give their best. We ensure their contributions are recognised. Not only financially by a competitive salary and great benefits, but also non-financially by focusing on a great place to work, flexibility, vitality and sustainability.

4. How to optimize learning to create more business growth: At ABN Amro we recognise that all our people want to learn, grow and continually improve in their jobs as part of who they are. Making progress in your work is one of the most motivating aspects of many jobs. This means that learning and development is one of the biggest drivers for people retention, engagement and motivation. Thus, both from an organisational and individual perspective, we need to ensure our people are able to get better every day in their work and continuously improve.

Our CX counterparts help us on the same principles for client capability. It’s similar to what we’re doing – we have a client and employee approach – why not do it together?

Last but not least is capability building within HR itself – they are moving more and more non-traditional, designing HR roles after marketing, using analytics on content restructuring. The goal was to make HR ‘future-fit.

“Last but not least, start simple and small, bigger change interventions will follow.”

A lot of companies skip that part and just do the EX project without new capabilities or redesign of roles and organisational setup. We had natural momentum with a new CEO last year. The management group was completely reshuffled. Our top 100 leaders were assessed and restructured, 40 Managing Directors left, and we created new portfolios. In that whole (re)design we did away with silo thinking. We positioned EX next to CX on the org chart. When people see the governance and the positioning in the organization, they understand that people are as important as clients.

What advice does ABN Amro have for you?

Implementing EX can’t be done just once; efforts must be on-going and innovative, do not consider this to be a one-off project. If we do face-to-face feedback and get, say 200 questions on pensions, then we have something wrong with our content. We’re looking for more use of AI in our service delivery model (e.g., Chatbots that can help you with questions). We coach a lot of managers to make them responsible for their EX circle.

Last but not least, start simple and small, bigger change interventions will follow.

Frank will be speaking at HRD Summit/Europe next week, for more information click here. 

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