Here’s part one of an interview with Kate Fitzgibbon from corporate relations at online banking concern ING DIRECT:
How did “Orange Days of Giving” originate?
ING DIRECT believes in giving back to the community. Whether it’s helping build homes through Habitat for Humanity or teaching children about money management, ING DIRECT employees get involved in helping others throughout the year.
At last year’s annual corporate conference, there was such overwhelming positive feedback from the bike-build activity (several hundred children’s bicycles were assembled and then donated to the Adopt-a-Family program), that organizers of the conference decided to make 2007 solely about giving back to the community. The name chosen for this program was the Orange Days of Giving.
Some people are rather, let’s just say quite plainly, cynical about the connection between doing good and retention. But it seems to really work at ING DIRECT. What can the company teach the doubters? Can you quantify the results as far as retention goes?
Working with people in our community who are less fortunate has always been an integral part of the company’s culture. How many companies can say that their senior executives, including their CEO, not only encourage employees to get involved but volunteer themselves? CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann strongly believes that philanthropy and community involvement provide for valuable leadership training, work experience, and a sense of personal fulfillment. He and other top executives personally get involved in the community – they “walk the talk.”
From the first day ING DIRECT employees join the bank, they get a feel for the “orange culture” of ING DIRECT, which involves giving back to others. During associates’ first 90 days of employment they are asked to volunteer with a local organization.
Half of the company’s 1,700 employees including the company’s President and CEO and other top executives regularly volunteer in the community to teach children about personal finance, build playgrounds for kids, construct houses for families, and serve on the Boards of a number of nonprofit organizations throughout the country.
We recently administered a survey to our associates, asking them for their thoughts on various aspects about ING DIRECT that make this company a great place to work. Of the 130 companies that participated in the survey, ING DIRECT ranked #1, based on the positive responses from employees. Nearly 80% responded very positively to “ING DIRECT supports the local community.”