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How to be the bank for a changing world — and keep it that way

BNP Paribas Fortis counts on ORMIT'ers for a fresh take on things

BNP Paribas Fortis is, to quote their baseline, the bank for a changing world. Today, that changing world looks more like a bullet train anchored to a rollercoaster track. It’s fintech, techfin, blockchain and disruption on all sides.

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The gist of it

Don’t like long reads? Here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss.

  • To stay ahead of the game, BNP Paribas Fortis needs people with a keen eye and as much candour as can-do attitude.
  • ORMIT'ers question the status quo and come up with solutions. Their well-developed soft skills make them great team players and future leaders.
  • Making the BNP Paribas Fortis – ORMIT program a success is a story of team work between both parties. Or as Program Manager Yannick puts it: it’s about shared responsibilities.
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To stay ahead of the game, BNP Paribas Fortis needs people with a keen eye and as much candour as can-do attitude. Young minds trained to challenge the status quo, always on their feet, even in the midst of fast transformations. That’s why we developed a tailor-made programme for the bank. Three challenging assignments give ORMIT’ers a grand tour of BNP Paribas Fortis’s universe — aka the perfect prep to start working at the bank and change things from the inside out.

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Monika Schwall is a SPOC for ORMIT’ers over at BNP Paribas Fortis. Too many acronyms? In plain English then: Monika helps trainees make the best of their mission at the bank. She works in and isn’t actively recruiting at the moment. “The only people we make an exception for,” Monika says, “are ORMIT'ers. To us, it is vital to hire new talent, but only if it’s the best quality. And that’s what ORMIT gives us.”

How to breed better managers

Admittedly, that’s a quote that’s hard to top. However, we’ve asked a few more key people for their take on the BNPPBF – ORMIT collaboration. Meet Wim Goovaerts, Monika’s colleague and fellow SPOC, works in the marketing department.

“ORMIT provides their trainees with ample instruction and insights in both soft and hard skills,” says Wim. “That comes in handy in a marketing department: I have some creative profiles running around here, but ORMIT'ers manage to add structure to the whole, precisely because they’re so solution-oriented.”

Trainings are geared towards making ORMIT'ers conscious of the way they’re perceived, and to understand others, knowing how to team up with them to meet the company’s goals. In the words of trainee Eric Nwanu, “we are constantly, and to ask feedback as well.”

According to Eric, “what’s central to the ORMIT way, is a good balance between the work itself on the one hand, and the connections you make with people on the other. I’m convinced that our self-reflection helps to connect to others, to understand them. In the long run, I think this breeds better managers. Because if you can connect with your team as a leader, your team just works better.”

Always a fresh look on things

While you could argue that talent can be found anywhere, the reason BNP Paribas Fortis calls ORMIT for mission after mission is the trainees’ way of seeing things. “Thanks to ORMIT,” Wim says, “we reel in profiles with a fresh new look on things. Our employees are often used to doing things a certain way, habits that have been installed many years earlier. In this context, it can be very useful to confront teams with new insights, just to make sure everyone in the room is wide awake and we can have a look at how things could be better.”

Enter ORMIT’ers: sharp minds as well as go-getters, selected for their tendency to move forward. What they want is impact, to see things change for the better. But to Wim, it’s more than that. “What strikes me each time, is the ORMIT’ers enthusiasm and drive. Really! Besides, I think they represent the voice of a new generation. In my team, the average employee is somewhere between 30 and 40 years old. Most ORMIT’ers are under 30, which gives them pole position to translate our future customers’ needs.”

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It’s a team effort

BNP Paribas Fortis being Belgium’s leading bank, their search for prime talent is one that’s both ongoing and vital. On the ORMIT side, this quest is led by Yannick Van Ro, who has set up , the latest traineeship ORMIT developed for BNP. Yannick: “My job is to support BNP Paribas Fortis by integrating young university graduates for missions at the bank. It’s a mix of a very close follow-up and developing trainees’ personal leadership skills.”

While the day-to-day follow-up is mostly in the hands of ORMIT, the success of each mission depends wholly on the work delivered by Yannick, Monika and Wim together. “It’s a team effort,” Monika confirms. “Yannick takes the lead, showing me several profiles and asking me whether I can put together a mission for them. We really challenge one another. On my end, I hope I can help ORMIT’ers integrate. ‘Careful!’ I tell my colleagues. ‘You’ve got a rough diamond there, don’t spoil it!’”

In the marketing department, Wim takes care of his own trainees and has regular check-ups with Yannick to measure progress and flag any issues. “After a week or two, once they get their bearings, we have a chat and I ask what I can help with. The coach on ORMIT’s side does the same—and much more, too. It’s striking how fast problems are solved this way.”

To Yannick, this being a collaboration is what makes the difference. While Wim and Monika are in fact his clients, he feels the three of them are more like team members, all working together towards the same goals. “Wim is very engaged in his role. He puts a lot of time and energy in the whole project. And what’s great with Monika is that she’s brimming with goodwill towards the trainees. She’s really after helping them land their mission. Having partners like them around the table really makes me want to do things well, too. In the end, the three of us share the responsibility for making this program a success.”

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