Santander Group and Employee Recognition [StarMeUp Case Study]


October 4, 2017

Grupo Santander uses StarmeUp to spread the corporate culture and acknowledge the people who represent it best. How does it work? Let’s find out in this case study on rewards and recognition.

What is Grupo Santander?

Grupo Santander is a Spanish banking group organized around Banco Santander. It includes a network of financial institutions with presence around the world, mainly in Europe and Latin America. Grupo Santander has 12,235 branches, 188,492 employees, 125 million customers and 3.9 million shareholders worldwide.

In December 2016, during the annual convention that gathers the directors of Grupo Santander around the world, its President Ana Botin shared her empathic view: It was essential to foster collaboration, promote the exchange of ideas and spread the corporate culture among its more than 180,000 employees worldwide. Just a few days before, she had held a meeting in Buenos Aires with Martín Migoya, Globant’s CEO, and had learned about StarMeUp, the solution that perfectly matched her corporate expectations.

The Solution: StarMeUp

As any reader of this blog already knows, StarMeUp is a social peer-to-peer recognition platform developed by Globant and part of a suite of products that enhance humanity inside the organization, allowing employees  to recognize their colleagues through stars that represent the company’s values. It’s a way of motivating and inspiring teamwork, and at the same time, it is an effective tool to detect the talents that best suit every task or goal.

“This tool will allow us to understand what we do best and what areas need to be strengthened,” said Ana Botin during her presentation. In order to give a strong signal of support, the President of Grupo Santander used that conference to grant the first stars live.

The Challenge: A Fast Implementation

The implementation had been carried out over just one week: that was the time it took Globant experts and the team appointed by the bank, to have StarMeUp running and available to Grupo Santander’s employees around the world.
“We had to make some adjustments later, but we managed to have it running in record time,” Miguel Angel Dorado Barra, Human Resources Department of Grupo Santander, explains. Within  seven days, a huge number of complex challenges had solutions already underway: from legal procedures that vary from country to country, to regulatory compliance regarding the way information should be stored in each country.


An Immediate Success

From the moment it was launched , the response was immediate: in a short period of time, there were already 95,000 active employees, – about 54% of the total staff. “Great part of our success is related to the importance that the president of the institution gives to corporate culture, which has beena paramount boost for the platform,” Cristina Palanca Gomez-Pablos, Communication Corporate Marketing and Studies Department of Grupo Santander, highlights. “, The commitment that the leaders of each country show to continue the spread and use of the platform is key,” she added.  

One of the singularities in the  implementation of StarMeUp in Grupo Santander, is the fact that each person has a limited number of monthly stars to send to their colleagues.

“This brings about a high emotional component to the process of sending a star ‘This way, people don’t take stars for granted, they send them when they really mean to recognize someone’ ” explains Palanca.

The groundbreaking numbers do not mean that the cultural transformation is over: the challenge for the bank now is to ensure the percentage of users continues growing  steadily until reaching all employees . The ideal scenario is to see everyone using their monthly stars and interacting at different levels on the platform: either by recognizing their peers, giving likes to third-party stars, or simply commenting. “There is a distinctive behavior among employees:, those who receive more stars are also very proactive  when it comes to sending them, and this represents a great feedback activity on the platform,” says Dorado Barra.


Ongoing Improvement

“For us, it is a privilege to be able to help Santander in this ambitious project. In Globant, we deeply believe in StarmeUp because we have had an extremely positive internal experience with the platform,” Guibert Englebienne, Globant’s Co-Founder and CTO, emphasizes.

Grupo Santander and Globant will continue working collaboratively to incorporate improvements to the application and help the organization make the most of them to make their culture stronger over time. For example, the platform currently shows filters by country, so that someone working in Brazil can focus on their immediate partners. A people tracking solution was also developed, to notify users  when a particular employee receives a star, so that everyone gets the chance to congratulate them. Plus, thanks to a specific tool, people can also  know how many employees are simultaneously online at any given time.

Recognition is part of our corporate culture and those who receive more stars, especially the StarPros, who are recognized in each of the categories, gain visibility, have contact with top management and, most importantly, position themselves as cultural ambassadors within the organization,” Palanca concludes.

Now in Grupo Santander, any employee  can suddenly become a star. Or, at least, get one!

Download the full case here.


Employee Recognition, StarMeUp Features, Success Cases


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