Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Rosa and I've been working at IG&H for almost six years; I started as an intern in 2017 during my master's and moved from intern to analyst to consultant to manager in the pension sector. I never expected to be working in this sector but here I am!
I first studied public administration with a focus on economics and management. I found business administration most interesting, so I studied that during my master's. Then I did a second master's in culture organization and management, writing my thesis about the culture at IG&H. I enjoyed that master the most and obviously also my time at IG&H.
What drew you to IG&H?
During my studies I worked for an organization heavily focused on strategy consulting. I knew I did not want to work on a project and create advice for a client that ended up shoved into a drawer somewhere. The goal was to make an impact but not feel detached from the client. My search was for something in-between: creating a strategy that can be implemented but also helping the client be able to do things themselves eventually.
This concept first caught my eye but during the interview process at IG&H, I noticed how open and transparent the culture is, coupled with good conversations with two directors in our pension vertical. I was welcomed so openly, and this stayed true throughout my career here – getting a lot of responsibility and the company helping me grow.
What is your role & what does it involve?
When growing into the role of manager, you start to become more of a subject matter expert. Creating an excellent customer experience within the pension sector is my area of expertise. This involves having conversations with clients to determine pain points and possibilities for their participants. More high-level responsibility in projects is also part of it; you have to let go a bit and allow the consultants to work their magic and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
What does a typical day at IG&H look like?
I've been working on a project for the past half year, starting with a daily meeting with my project manager at 8:30 where we discuss what stakeholders to connect with, obtaining the right information for documents, etc. At 11:00 I have my daily meeting with the developers, possibly refining and diving more into the content, for example discussing portals' functionality and user stories. Throughout the day I try to connect with the client to hear how they think everything is going, maybe have a content-driven workshop to think ahead and of course have lunch together. The afternoon is when I get to my emails or spreadsheets and presentations we'll deliver during the week.
What do you enjoy most about working at IG&H?
I love working in a big team, currently with around 15 people, and creating something together. We have team members from IG&H in Portugal, business engineering, transformation and of course the pensions team. We have a common goal and stand shoulder to shoulder, day by day, to achieve it. Seeing the things you created, like functionality coming to life, shows you can solve a sector-level problem and make an impact. I truly enjoy working on this daily.
Could you give an example of customer experience in the pension sector?
People tend to think about retirement quite late or sporadically, for instance when turning 55, when they become parents or switch jobs. 'Customer experience in pensions? I don't really care' is unfortunately still quite common. That's the starting point for solving the issue: My goal is for people to see the link between these two concepts.
It's important that everyone is financially well-off and has the tools and resources to maintain their quality of life when they retire. To enable that long-term future goal, people must be aware of their pension in the present. An example of this is the customer journey, proactively communicating to people when they need to think about their pension, like when purchasing a house with someone, getting married, divorced, etc.
Pensions suffer from low and irregular involvement; I want to help pensions providers create the necessary awareness and of course also make things easier for the citizens. We recently conducted research at IG&H and asked 500 people what was the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about pensions. One of the most common answers was 'freedom' but if you want that freedom, you must think and act now. I want to help people realize this can be easy and fun!
What has been your proudest moment at IG&H?
I was a product owner for a pension application. It went live for 4.5 million people. What I'm most proud of was the soft launch, where we created a minimum viable product version, sending out invites. We received positive feedback on this initial version, people mentioned things like 'This is what I have been waiting for, it will make things much easier from now on' in their reviews.
The pension sector in the Netherlands is going through a massive transition. What are your thoughts?
There are still many ongoing discussions in the sector. We can support on a content, organizational, administrative or technical level. We've been working on a system to support our clients in making that transition smoothly. We built a pension solution called IG&H AllVida. In these uncertain times, we help make this transition smoothly.
Pensions are often described as 'gray' … what would you like people considering a career in this sector to know?
There is such a large window of opportunity for change at this moment. For consultants wishing to make an impact, I'd say this is one of the best sectors to be in right now. The industry must change, and clients want our help.
The 'gray' description is not true. One could argue that the clients are well-established and mature in this industry, but we've seen first-hand how open and willing to change they are! The sector sees the need for improved customer experience and being better perceived by pension participants. The societal impact it what drives me personally, making sure people are financially healthy upon retirement. Within the financial services industry, improving the pension experience is a great way to have a positive influence on society.