Article: Enabling data-driven decision-making is key for us: Ruth McGill, ING Group’s CHRO

Culture

Enabling data-driven decision-making is key for us: Ruth McGill, ING Group’s CHRO

Having solid and unified workforce data in place, which can help us make strategic decisions and drive business performance, isn’t an easy job, says McGill.
Enabling data-driven decision-making is key for us: Ruth McGill,  ING Group’s CHRO

Ruth McGill is the Chief HR Officer of ING group. She leads the global HR function, advising the CEO of the Dutch financial services company on all matters people. She drives several large programs on HR transformation, leadership development, continuous listening and development of talent, and organisational capabilities across the bank.

McGill joined ING in 2015 as senior HR director. With over 25 years of experience in HR and organisational change, Ruth worked at Standard Chartered Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, and other large companies.  

Aside from her work, travel and experiencing different cultures are her passion. She is based in Amsterdam. 

What are the top challenges facing the banking sector with regard to embracing next-gen technologies and driving innovation?

We want to enable data-driven decision-making to create a distinctive customer and employee experience. Hence ‘data’ is important for us at ING and is a crucial part of our larger business strategy. 

We do leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning; but one of the big challenges is to ensure that we have solid and unified workforce data that can help us make strategic decisions and enable business performance, while also ensuring that privacy is maintained.

What are the top three priorities for ING group in 2022 and beyond?

  • One of the key focus areas for us right now is well-being; normalise talking about mental health and personal challenges.
  • We want our leaders to show their vulnerability – that’s critical in encouraging people to speak up and ask for help when it's needed.
  • Building skills and capabilities needed for the future.

Can you share the top skills that you think will have a major impact on the talent landscape and organisational competencies?

Skills that differentiate humans from machines: 

Critical thinking and complex problem-solving: Our ability to structure and think about difficult problems, use creativity and innovation in solving those.

Collaboration: The skill that differentiates us from machines - quickly aligning and working towards a common goal, then jumping to another group of people on something else - thinking together, challenging each other while having fun.

Active learning: Probably one of the most important skills that is applicable literally to everyone. This is what drives progress on both individual and organisational levels - something that requires energy, motivation, curiosity and also conscious planning.

Can you share some insights on ING’s culture of co-creation and internal collaboration? How do you ensure accountability for remote workers?

ING’s culture of “taking it on and making it happen” - described in our Orange Code, has enabled us to switch quite smoothly to a remote working world and create a foundational level of accountability, collaboration and co-creation.

In order to keep building a culture of performance and co-creation, we need to help our managers to build that social connection in the team, so people feel safe to speak up, share their diverse perspectives and personal well-being challenges.

And we need to build in ‘deliberate’ moments of co-creation, where we can get together in the office to do that creative work and also have that human connection that is really important.

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You talked about data. Can you share one message about how you improve data fluency?

As HR, we enable our people to perform optimally now and in the future. This is where data plays a key role. We achieve this by improving the quality of our data so that we can make more informed decisions and by improving the data capabilities of our people, regardless of the nature of their job or their position in the organisation.

We have a data fluency academy to help promote this - data fluency is one of our so-called ‘Big 6’ capabilities that we need to deliver on our strategy.

As data becomes important for almost every organisation, the competition for talent increases too. How can you gain a competitive edge in the talent war?

There is no silver bullet on how you can approach this. But for me, it would be: Be honest about what people can expect when joining the company.

You cannot cater to all needs and wants and overselling might bring in more people, but they are bound to leave quickly again in the current job market. It is better to attract people who will match with the company's culture and purpose, who will thrive here.

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