If you’ve been following this column you’ve heard me say this before: I don’t run the ING Night Marathon, I run my personal marathon that day!
And it’s not just me, it’s the whole team setting this up. Every time I explain some of the things that happen in the background, I am amazed by people’s surprise. It seems to escape them that there are thousands of hours of work performed by the team of the organiser, Step by Step, by the different services of the Ville de Luxembourg, by the Police, the FLA and CSL, and by countless providers leading up to the event. And the day itself? Thousands of people are on duty to make the ING Night Marathon Luxembourg the great event that we all know and love.
On D-Day, ING Luxembourg is active mostly on the spectators' side. We organise several activities in Luxexpo and the city centre for the whole family. Volunteering ING staff distribute gadgets all around the city: hats and supporter fingers. I hope you got one too! Two of my colleagues from the communications department relay the event on social media. We have many guest runners, so we have our own start number pick-up desk at Luxexpo and this year, for the first time, we manned a refreshing point. These activities are done by our own staff. This year we had almost 100 ING volunteers – staff that comes to help out with family and friends and be part of the orange wave.
My role has two facets. I am one of the ING-liaisons for all entities working that day. In this role you might have seen me running around Luxexpo with an extension cord in hand, or frantically speaking into the walkie-talkie while rushing through the expo (that orange blur you saw tripping over the cables? Yep, that was me!), or scratching my head outside the arrival area trying to figure out whether the lit ING balloons that welcome runners to Luxexpo once the sun has gone down are actually lit.
My other responsibility that day is my CEO. As the main representative of our bank, during the ING Night Marathon Luxembourg, Luc Verbeken gives interviews to the press, visits all our activities and greets our volunteers, is next to the Mayor of the City of Luxembourg for the starting shot and gives the medals to the winners. My job is to make sure he has all the information he needs, that he is where he needs to be at all times (we travel back and forth between Luxexpo and the city centre) and is sufficiently hydrated, especially this year since he ran the ING Half-Marathon.
So you see, from early in the morning until late in the night (the last runner comes in at 1am on Sunday morning!) the ING Team is “running” its personal marathon. Hats off to everyone who, one way or another, gets involved in the organization and execution of the ING Night Marathon. Thank you and see you next year!
As you might know from our previous article, ING Luxembourg will move Place de la Gare in less than a year now: D-Day is getting closer!
Amongst the project’s different objectives and beyond ING visibility, two of our goals so as to enhance our Top Employer approach is facilitating collaboration and improving the well-being of ING employees within our premises.
Our new building is also an opportunity to re-think our way of working in order to cope with constraints we are facing and giving ourselves the means to support our corporate culture. To that end, we will implement an Activity-based organisation: as the name suggests, depending on the activity our colleagues are carrying out, they will be able to choose and move to the most suitable space to dialogue, collaborate, focus or even relax between two tasks. Easy to say, but it cannot be achieved overnight: it entails a lot of impacts on organisation (such as no more dedicated desks), flexibility of IT tools and infrastructure of the building and requires a great deal of change management.
Why do we need change management?
For the simple reason every change requires going through an acceptation process with more or less long phases depending on the person. Subsequently we found it very important to start as soon as possible to accompany our colleagues along the different steps, to help them prepare for their future organisation and, last but not least, to explain them why we are making this change.
How are we going to do this?
By communicating through different means. We nominated a few change managers who are in charge of conducting the project and we are implementing a network of ambassadors who help us understand the reality of the teams and who communicate with their direct colleagues. ING change approach breaks down into three characteristics:
Testing for enriching streams and projects
First of all, we put in place Proofs of Concept, which is to say that we implemented the New Way of Working as well as the needed infrastructures within two departments. The objective is to test the new model and functionalities of furniture and equipment, as well as to identify points of attention. IT is not left aside: given the flexibility of the Activity-Based organisation, we installed collaborative tools in different parts of the bank in order to best assess what we need to enable our New Way of Working. So far, we have received a lot of feedbacks and we are currently analysing implications for our new building. Fortunately we have already avoided this way wrong or mistakenly good decisions!
Working with teams to embed the concept in their organisation
We need to find the right interface between daily job and the Activity-based concept. For that purpose, we are organising workshops with managers to have a better grasp of the future concrete functioning of their teams. Managers are cornerstones for change as their role modelling and their proximity with our colleagues tremendously impact their acceptation process. As for implementing a new strategy, most of the success of a change project goes through top and middle managers.
In the coming weeks we shall also plan two different sessions for all the teams in the bank, validated by our Proofs of Concept testers who will come answering the questions their co-workers may have. Two keywords for these gatherings: fun and identification!
The first ones will be information sessions during which we try to link the theory to the participants’ daily job through different means; for instance, we present a sample of what a colleague’s schedule might look like. We also tackle some “myths” or false beliefs regarding the new model.
The second ones are interactive workshops that are more practical, given that we ask the participants to actually simulate or “act out” two working days of theirs by means of a Lego mock-up and to react to some scenarios. Thanks to role playing, people forget rational thinking and react more spontaneously: if they adopt new behaviours during the game, they will most likely replicate them in our new premises. These workshops also present an opportunity to brainstorm with them about some concerns they have and find solutions together.
Breaking silos to harvest talents and viewpoints
Besides our ambassadors, we have been sending surveys, we have been organising brainstorming meetings and we have set up several workgroups on themes like mobility and Look & Feel in order to involve colleagues in the project and gather the voice of our collaborators.
Eventually we are willing to be available when they have questions or show curiosity on very different aspects of our new premises. In order to answer this need, we plan every six weeks Lunch & Ask sessions and we are currently giving the opportunity to ING employees to visit the building site. Each team will also have its ticket to discover its future environment before the actual move.
The last word to conclude and sum up this article goes to Charles Marichal, head of the Securities department (one of our Proofs of Concept): “As far as I am concerned, I think what we absolutely need to remember is that this type of organisational change needs to be carefully and thoughtfully prepared. It requires common sense, motivation and commitment. It falls to the managers to create these feelings within their team before moving next to the train station.”
People wonder why banks have social media accounts. And by “people” I mean not only the general public (i.e. customers of those banks) but also the staff that works in banks. After all, social media are about private life, memes and funny videos, right?
Social media can be a great platform for companies to present new products with exciting and enticing pictures – not the case of banks (seriously, try posting an enticing picture about a loan on our Facebook page). Social media can be a great platform for post-sales customer contact and problem solving – hard to do on a public channel when the topic is personal finances! So why would banks want to spend time and energy in entertaining social media accounts?
Simple: to stay in touch with you. Social media represent informal, two-way communication channels that allow banks to be closer to the general public than ever. It allows banks to show what they do next to their core business of banking: from recruiting and career development, through social engagement activities all the way to innovation and digital developments that make banking easier for you. Things you would otherwise only know about if you read long, dry annual results publications.
And, in one case, social media helped a taxi driver recover a failed payment. Long after taking his client to the desired destination, the taxi driver realised the transaction hadn’t actually gone through. Knowing the person was an ING employee, the driver turned to Twitter and wrote: “@ING_news Employee ING. London taxi Dorchester Hotel – London Wall. Card rejected today @14.47 in cab. Was it you? Please get in contact.”
ING is a multinational company with more than 52,000 employees worldwide, and a staff of several hundred work in our London office serving corporate and institutional clients. But the tweet was directed to our HQ corporate communications account “ING News” in Amsterdam. Trying to find that colleague travelling to London was like looking for a needle in a haystack!
But since our purpose is to empower people to stay a step ahead in life and in business our colleagues picked up phones and dispatched emails… and less than 24 hours later the colleague was found and the taxi debt repaid. It goes to show the power of the networks!
You can read the full Twitter conversation here: https://twitter.com/ING_news/timelines/721002943714091008
Watching a TV soap opera may be considered a guilty pleasure; curling up on the couch to catch the latest plot twist and discover which character’s been caught doing what; it’s fun, but could it also be educational?
Some intriguing new research for the World Bank suggests soap opera fans can actually learn lessons about money from characters’ mistakes. When familiar characters on the TV act in financially reckless ways, the study says many people learn the lesson and apply it in their own lives.
The World Bank study used a popular soap opera in South Africa called Scandal! to test whether viewers learn from the TV drama.
The financial storyline spanned two months and featured one of the leading characters borrowing excessively and irresponsibly through hire purchase, gambling, ending up in financial distress, and eventually seeking help to find her way out.
By the end of the study, viewers of the show were almost twice as likely to borrow from formal sources, less likely to engage in gambling, and less prone to enter hire purchase agreements than a different test group that viewed another soap opera.
Why is the soap opera so persuasive? The finding taps into the well-established idea that people are social creatures, heavily influenced by what those around us are doing – even if we don’t realise it.
The saving conundrum
In the context of personal finance and decisions about saving and spending, a particular challenge emerges. Spending is often visible and therefore more easily spread as a norm, but saving is mostly not visible. A new car, nice shoes, and the latest phone are used in public and shown off to others. But saving is often reflected only in the absence of consumption, making it hard to spot.
One question for anyone trying to help others to save, or who want to save more themselves, is: “how do I make saving conspicuous?”
Perhaps making savings goals prominent on social media could help – if a Facebook feed was filled with status updates like “I’ve just increased my pension contributions”, would people who see it be likely to squirrel away more?
Read the full article on Ezonomics: www.ezonomics.com/stories/can_watching_tv_actually_improve_the_way_you_manage_money/
Last week-end, ING Luxembourg participated for the 3rd year in a row at the 11th edition of the Relais pour la vie; this event, organised by Luxembourg's Fondation Cancer, aims to show solidarity towards cancer patients.
More than a run, the amazing gesture of solidarity took place at d'Coque in Kirchberg over 24 hours from Saturday to Sunday, where more than 10,500 relay participants walked, jogged and ran.
Amongst all those taking part, the ING Team was composed of 37 members who walked, jogged and ran over the course of the 24-hour event, always in a good atmosphere and proud to participate in this challenge - even in the middle of the night! The camaraderie between all participants was evident for all to see, and not only on the track as so many additional initiatives were being organised in and around the modern facility.
At ING Luxembourg, we intend to keep this momentum going by participating actively in the Televie fundraising initiative with several internal actions later this month – we will share such details with you in future articles - watch this space!
With the European Money Week around the corner (d'Woch vun de Suen here in Luxembourg), the topic of financial education is back on the table.
For several years now, banking associations across Europe have been working together with governments to find ways of improving children's knowledge of money, as well as of young adults and the general public. And it's surprising how little most of us know about money and finance!
So, despite what some might think, it is in the interest of banks to make sure people are as money-savvy as possible. Which brings me back to d'Woch vun de Suen: what are these bank volunteers teaching our children?
The basics: from differentiating between needs (must-haves) and wishes (nice-to-haves) to saving and spending pocket money (budgeting), things children should learn as soon as possible so they truly become part of their thinking process as they grow up.
You can see the full programme here: www.suen.lu
I especially like the section about advertising. It is something I am already confronted with at home and my son is only five! And I am surprised how quickly he picks up on what I sometimes think are complicated concepts (like the need to work to earn money, then save money in order to buy things). I cannot wait to discuss with him other money-related matters: Why do I need a bank account? What is the difference betweek a debit and a credit card? What is interest and how do I calculate it? How do I calculate a percentage or a discount? And the queen of all questions: why does borrowing money cost money?
Banks want people to make informed financial decisions. So banks go out of their way to contribute to financial education in schools and also later on in life. One of example of our efforts at ING is our blog www.mymoney.lu. Because many important decisions in life (buy or rent, work or study, when to settle down and start a family) are financial decisions!
Normally I do not use this platform to speak about the products and services of ING Luxembourg, but our new version of My ING is so great that I could not help myself.
My ING is the best online banking platform in Luxembourg to manage your finances. We have worked hard for two years to design an application that is smart and easy to use, because at ING we truly believe that banking doesn’t have to be difficult and time consuming. And to ensure that, we keep looking for new ways to make things better. To provide you with relevant information – anytime, anywhere. To make things easier for you so you can stay a step ahead. And if you don’t believe me, here are some insights:
- My ING is one unique platform whether you access it from your smartphone, your tablet or laptop, your desktop at home or in the office. The times of searching through different menus are over! My ING offers you a clean, smooth view of your finances and allows you to do all your transactions, from simple to complex, anytime and anywhere;
- We’ve improved a great many things, including automatically filling in information for you wherever we can (such as a BIC code), improving your search options (you can search a beneficiary by name, account number or even the message you have saved) and refining the information and options of your direct debits;
- You already know about our alerts, unique in Luxembourg - manage them easily in the new My ING;
- My ING has a bunch of shortcuts to make your life easier and less time consuming: because if you’re looking at your overall financial situation, the chances are you’re about to make a transfer or manage your bank cards;
- The advanced ING loan simulators you know and love are at your fingertips with the new My ING to help you understand your choices and make the best financial decisions.
These and more make My ING the BEST online banking app in Luxembourg. Still not convinced? Open a free ING Orange Account and test it for yourself! And feel free to charge up your smartphone and be good at money in one of our connected benches.
The Internet is an integral part of our everyday lives. And of the lives of our children, as this video shows
It is crucial to teach children how to use the Internet, in particular social media, and how to be safe. The European Commission initiated some time ago the Safer Internet Day, which is celebrated every year in February.
This year, on 9 February 2016, countries around the world have organised activities and awareness initiatives to spread the word about a safer Internet for us all. In Luxembourg, Bee Secure organised activities for children and young adults aiming at familiarising them with new media, social media, protecting your privacy, online reputation and other related topics.
We all live in a digital environment where technology is an integral part of our lives. The key to a better and safer internet is learning to look for opportunities and positive content, and to recognise and report illegal and harmful content.
In this year's infographic the Safer Internet Day initiative asks of industries to create and promote positive content online. At ING Luxembourg we try to do just that with this column and with our financial blog MyMoney, where we share tips and tricks on passwords, anti-viruses and the like. In our Security Centre we give detailed information on how to do safe online banking and protect your data.
Everyday should be Safer Internet Day. Play your part for a better Internet!
Every year around the end of January the Autofestival frenzy hits Luxembourg.
Everywhere you go, especially on the radio and mobile apps, all you see are interesting offers for new cars. And my acquaintances ask: how can it be that car dealers offer better financing deals than banks?
Well, sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And in order to compare them, we need to make sure we’re comparing the same thing.
Apples and oranges
When comparing where you can get the cheapest loan you need to include all the costs related to the loan. Are there any additional fees, now or in the future (for example for delaying one month’s payment or repaying your loan early)? Also make sure you are comparing loans of the same duration – as you can read in this article, generally speaking the longer your loan is the more expensive it will become. Finally, when dealing with your main bank, where you also have your savings and maybe other investments, you might be in a position to negotiate an advantageous rate for your personal loan, as the risk assessment of your financial situation will include these other items.
Total cost of the loan
Car dealers advertise extremely low interest rates of close to 0%. In order to be able to offer consumers this rate, the dealer usually needs to bear part of the cost; which they pass on to the client by limiting the price negotiations of the vehicle. Shoppers can oftentimes get a good deal on a new car if they are ready to pay cash, i.e. if they get a loan from the bank instead. According to a study of the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2011, the price reduction on the most sold car models ranged from 8% to 23.7 % (with an average of 14.6%). If you can lower the total amount you need to borrow from your bank thanks to the reduced price negotiated due partly to the fact that you are paying cash, you might be paying overall less interest rate at a 2% rate than at an almost 0% rate!
Be good at money and do the maths before deciding!
My first post of 2016 is about the winter sales. Sales are currebtly being held in shops across Luxembourg. But, before you go and empty your wallet, check out the helpful tips below. I already shared them here before but they are still valid.
Follow them to be sure you make the most of your money and of your sales!
1. Keep your sales receipts: too small, too big, wrong colour? You never know...
2. Make sure that you are aware of the return policy. Sometimes, during sales periods, there are special conditions – even no return!
3. Compare prices from different shops to get what you want at the best price and check if the applied reduction is correct.
4. The tag has to indicate the old price as well as the reduced price, or the percentage of reduction applied to the item.
5. Evaluate the item's price and quality by having a look at the tag. You'll find everything you need to know about its composition. For example, items in natural fibres are more expensive than synthetic ones.
6. Be careful with reductions above 50%. Often these items are from previous seasons or have defects.
7. Be careful not to overspend just because you’re paying with plastic instead of cash.
8. Pay attention when you look for items on sale: they have to be separated from new collections.
9. If you have the feeling that you've been cheated, refer to the consumer protection association; in Luxembourg, it is the Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs (ULC) - www.ulc.lu.
10. Even if it may be difficult, be careful at the excitement of shopping: have a look at several shops, compare prices and buy only items that you really need!
I wish you many happy hours of shopping!