Long ago we had a suggestion box. Anyone who thought "that could be better," could write it down and put it in this sort of mailbox. After that, your suggestion would either end up in the right place or disappear in a black hole.
Then Rabobank co-workers came up with a new variety of the suggestion box: “Attack Your Bank.” This event provides all Rabobank co-workers their chance in the spotlight to pitch their suggestions for improvement related, for example, to IT & Innovation or Empowered Employees. Ideas are presented to a critical jury that includes 3 members of the Managing Board. Two employees with no regrets about participating in the event are Mirjam Beentjes, Team Manager Client Implementation Management, and recruiter Yvette van Herpen.
“Attack Your Bank” kicks off and then follows with a McKinsey workshop about problem analysis. How can ideas become concrete? What problem does it solve? What are the costs and benefits? A good idea alone is never enough though, so presentation coach David Beckett teaches the participants how to do a convincing three-minute pitch – in a boxing ring in the staff restaurant. The jury selects one or more proposals to carry out. Last year, the winning idea was “Mortgage Within a Week.” Mirjam’s group – one of the 3 winners – presented an idea about how to make it easier for (wholesale) clients to switch to Rabobank. “There’s a lot of paperwork and contracts that have to go back and forth. So we proposed digitizing the process using iDin. It saves time, it’s better for the environment and, above all, it’s in keeping with our identity as a digital bank.” Yvette’s group was ready to go a round too. “There are so many people at Rabobank who are capable of so much more than they do in their day-to-day work,” she said. “There’s so much more potential! Our idea was to develop a platform to consolidate all those qualities, skills and passions, so the entire organization can benefit.”
The group is so enthusiastic, sparks are coming off them. “The McKinsey session gave us some great rules of thumb for analyzing a problem,” Yvette explained. “Articulate your question clearly! We each got a mentor to discuss the idea with, somebody who can help you reach out to people elsewhere in the organization if you’ve got a question.” The pitch workshop was a real eye-opener for both women. “I learned so much that I can use in other situations too,” Mirjam said. From handling your nerves to limiting yourself to three points per pitch. Yvette learned a few new moves too. “It taught me to research things in great detail, and the pitch session was truly inspiring — he’s such a fantastic speaker. And you get to meet new people, that way you expand your pool of resources. I am so glad I took part! It’s really special that the bank gives staff this opportunity, I’d recommend it to anyone.” Mirjam agrees. “Whenever I tell my friends about it they say how cool it is that this exists and that something is actually happening with our idea. It’s great to have your ideas recognized, to be able to really make a difference, and just fantastic to work together on something that makes you wonder: why didn’t we think of this before!?”