Your Future at Rabobank: Improve Yourself with the Personal Development Budget

Francien steps into the car
Francien stapt auto in
Francien Peeters Smits
Customer Support Representative
Reading time4 minutes

What will your work be like in 2030? Which jobs will be in high demand that we currently have no name for? How do you prepare for that? Which career path should you choose to be assured of a stable future? These are all key questions you’ll face in your career development. Rabobank can help you make the right choices. Discover the possibilities of the personal development budget. Every employee can use this sum to advance their growth however they choose. We spoke to Francien Peeters Smits to learn how she used the personal development budget to take a bold new step in her career and optimize the opportunities she had.

Acquiring more knowledge and skills

Employees of Rabobank can use the personal development budget to carve their own path of personal development. Trainings, courses, and coaching expand your knowledge and teach you new skills. Learning more improves your chances on the job market, both within Rabobank and beyond.

Bianca Verheijen, Employee Development product manager, told us more about Rabobank’s vision for the personal development budget: “We believe strongly in investing in Rabobank employees’ development. We have observed that people who are working to improve their knowledge and skills experience greater satisfaction in their work, become both more involved and more employable. We encourage a future-ready workforce. That makes the entire Rabobank organization stronger and more agile.”

The personal development budget is separate from the regular education budget. It can be spent freely on certain things without the approval of a manager. “For example,” said Bianca Verheijen, “courses or career coaching, workshops, and trainings. These are all different ways to work on your own professional and personal development and improve your position on the job market. We encourage mobility within the bank in this way, but you can also spend the budget on learning new things. You might find work outside the bank as a result; your professional development is the focus.”

Francien walks across the street while holding her mobile phone

Development budget: A personal story

Francien has worked at Rabobank since 1988. She works in customer support at the Service Center Wonen, where she handles the administration for private customers. In addition to this role, she has four years of experience as one of the bank’s vitality officers, and provides information and advice to employees about combining informal care obligations with work.

“I was already aware of informal care through my personal experience,” explained Francien. “A few years ago, my daughter suddenly developed severe health problems. She had developed an auto-immune disease that made walking difficult, and she ended up wheelchair-bound. This had a huge impact on our lives, which became dominated by caregiving, rehabilitation, and arranging medical devices, special education, and therapies. She has recovered now, happily, but it was a hard time in our lives. Our family was able to weather the storm, in part thanks to outside help. We experienced firsthand how complex the process of organizing a care situation like that actually is, also when combined with work. That’s what led me to get more involved.”

“I used my personal development budget to become qualified as an informal care adviser. That’s someone who helps informal carers with all the research and organizing that accompanies their caregiving duties. An added bonus is that I also have a stronger position on the job market and my skills are valuable in a wider context.”

A new world

“One of the things I learned during my training was how to help family and informal caregivers find a balance between their care responsibilities and their work. During that time, I had many conversations with family caregivers and also worked as a volunteer at a local informal care support center. It was a totally new world for me. Informal care is so broad: it can involve children with additional care needs, a partner who becomes seriously ill, ageing parents who become dependent, or caring for other people close to you; it affects all ages and many situations.”

“I did the course partly on my own time, but I got a lot of energy from everything I was learning. I also instantly saw how I could use my new knowledge to help people around me. More and more people are dealing with informal care, partly because seniors are living at home longer. Many people do not see the work they do as informal care, even though it is important to be aware of this fact. It can have a great impact on your employability, but there are plenty of support options that can reduce the pressure.”

Francien has a conversation with a woman

Helping colleagues with knowledge and experience

“A lot of Rabobank colleagues are also informal caregivers. During my training I spoke to my manager and the HR department to see if there was a way I could help my colleagues through my work. I had noticed that there was a lot of attention for many things that boost vitality, such as exercise, healthy eating, and work-life balance. But there was nothing about informal care. I wanted to change that, and I succeeded. Now I’m also a vitality officer for Rabobank and can devote part of my working hours to supporting colleagues with my knowledge and experience.”

“Rabobank’s personnel policy is , only not everybody is familiar with all the regulations. So now I am helping to change that. I make the regulations surrounding care laws easier to understand and inform people about how they can get support in their home situation. These days I do a lot of video calls, which makes asking for help easy and accessible for colleagues from all over the country. I speak to them as a colleague, as an informal care expert, and from experience.”

Happy with this step

“I am happy that I could use the personal development budget to take this step. I enjoy combining my work as an informal care adviser at Rabobank with my administrative work for Service Centrum Wonen. I especially enjoy the personal interaction with all my colleagues. The position as informal care adviser was really new for me and I think it is truly a good fit. I enjoy helping my colleagues who combine work and caregiving find their way in the world of informal care.”