Kennis en inspiratie

ABN AMRO makes diversity very tangible – Everyone brings a bit of diversity

ABN AMRO logoEveryone brings diversity. Head of Diversity & Inclusion Yelle Weidenaar is certain: by 2020, 30% of all senior management positions at ABN AMRO will be filled by women. Yelly Weidenaar: “We will certainly achieve that. We have found the right buttons for us to achieve

She achieves this in all kinds of ways. In addition to gender diversity, cultural diversity is an important spearhead. The mind bugs play on this too .. ”

ABN AMRO is a good example of an organization that initially focused mainly on gender diversity and that now also uses all acquired knowledge, interventions and insights for managers and employees with, for example, a different cultural background, generations or a work disability. The commitment, awareness and empowerment model used by ABN AMRO that was originally designed for the promotion of women also works for other groups of diverse talent.

Constant research about diversity

When Yelly Weidenaar and her team took up office in 2011, ABN AMRO already considered diversity very important, but it was not yet reflected in the appointments to management positions. Even though ABN AMRO had signed the Talent to the Top Charter, it did not work well to maintain the focus on diversity during the integration of Fortis and ABN AMRO in 2010. The percentage of women in the top fell to a low of 14.9 percent. ‘It is a very rational company. Figures speak to us. We love to measure our performance. As a team, we chose to constantly research and fully understand the issues we work on. So we are constantly investigating and interviewing employees. One of the findings was that (just as in the Direction survey, 95 percent of our employees believe that diversity really has added value and that diversity makes our bank better. More than two-thirds of the employees are also convinced that more diversity ultimately makes our bank more successful, these are good starting points. ‘

Dashboard for diversity

Yelly Weidenaar’s team is small and effective. Together they ensure that the subject remains in the spotlight. They do this in many ways:

  • training for all managers
  • meetings for various groups of talent
  • a large annual conference
  • the magazine MIX what they make with professionals and
  • a highly motivated Diversity Board with a focus on gender and multicultural talent.

Yelly Weidenaar ABN AMRO

Yelly Weidenaar: “But it’s not just our team that makes it work. Many managers have embraced the goal and for our top management it is really a spearhead. Our chairman of the board of directors, Gerrit Zalm, regularly uses diversity as a topic in his blogs on his own initiative. And people who enter into a dialogue with him on the basis of such a blog or a presentation, he often invites or visits it himself. In this way, all employees know that ABN AMRO really wants more diversity and is going to make it happen. ” The “to measure is to know” focus led ABN AMRO to develop a dashboard to avoid all kinds of opinions and gut feelings. In this dashboard, the goals of the bank-wide diversity targets are translated into goals per business unit. This way, every manager knows where he or she stands and what still needs to be done. The dashboard not only indicates percentages, but also concretely how many women and cultural talents with a non-Western background still need to be appointed per level in your business unit in order to achieve your target for that year. Making that very concrete turned out to make a difference in the number of appointments.

Promote gender diversity: Have ambition, show ambition!

Another intervention that works very well is the measure that ABN AMRO took when an internal survey showed that most women in their organization are very ambitious. Yelly Weidenaar: “Much more ambitious than people may have thought at first. But women are less easy to express their ambitions and are sometimes less proactive in this. Now we ensure that if there is a vacancy where managers are looking for a female candidate, and you as a woman work at our bank and belong to the target group that is eligible for that position, you will receive that vacancy in your mailbox. We encourage ambitious women to actually express their ambitions and to accelerate their career steps. ”

In the field of gender diversity, the current challenge is to increase the percentage of women in the subtop. Internal research shows that the ambition and assessment of women at ABN AMRO is the same as for men. But in the age category of employees aged 30-34 there is a remarkable gap between the percentage of women in that age category and the percentage of promotions. Yelly Weidenaar: “Apparently there is a bottleneck and we are now studying what is needed to straighten this out and then take action”. “Achieving more diversity requires a change management approach,” says Yelly Weidenaar. “You have to be patient for a real behavioral change. It does not happen by itself. That is why you have to think about the minimum you want to achieve and just start with it. We are now the best bank for women in the Netherlands to work at, we have really been doing better than the average Dutch organization in recent years and we are achieving our goals faster than other financial institutions. “

“Everyone brings diversity”

ABN AMRO started with gender diversity as a focus, but is now the initiator of many other types of diversity. They introduce targets and work towards results for more diverse cultural talent, people with an occupational disability, LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and for more cooperation and mobility of generations. For cultural diversity, just as for gender diversity, there are now targets and targeted interventions to increase the awareness of managers and the visibility of employees with a different cultural background.

“Increasing cultural diversity is currently an important spearhead of our bank. In cultural diversity, we see that mind bugs also play a major role, just as with women. Culturally diverse candidates dropped out significantly more often in interviews in the past. Nobody wanted that, but it did. That is why we now train people to be aware of, for example, a potential bias and mind bugs, to gain more insight and to be a better conversation partner for people from a different background. Ultimately, everyone brings a bit of diversity. And only then is our work finished. ”

“Our team has been working on the topic of” diversity “since 2011,” said Yelly Weidenaar. “And we are only getting better. Based on our experience and knowledge, we have been able to provide good input to the participation law for people with an occupational disability. We are also taking steps here. We have learned for this group that both the employer and the employee must pay attention to the energy balance for this group. Often a job-disabled candidate is so happy with the new challenge that he or she wants too much out of enthusiasm. We continue to expand our expertise and ensure more and more diversity from many groups. Ultimately, everyone belongs to our target group. Ultimately, everyone brings a bit of diversity. And only then is our work finished ”.

Want to know more?

Would you like more information? Please contact Robert Smit (T. 06 – 54253643) or make an appointment with Esther Mollema.

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