People as the Competitive Advantage, Culture as the Sustainable Advantage: these are the cornerstones of the mission of Daniel James Strode, Director of Culture and Strategy of Banco Santander of which he is Global HR Director, who recently gave a speech dedicated to the participants of the Master in HR & Organization.
An opportunity to closely understand the profession of HR manager through the words of one of its best-known exponents, and to grasp at the same time how corporate culture can be shaped strategically, to promote the creativity of resources.
“Dan’s talk has been truly enlightening for me – said Paolo Lodi, participant of the Master.- Not only he masters the topic very well, but he is also a great speaker! I’ll give him that, and this (as we have recently understood) makes a great difference. What I really liked about HR in his presentation, was his impression on how HR professionals behave. He mentioned his previous experience, coming from a different filed, the strategy, where everyone was not willing to exchange opinions or ideas. Despite this, when he moved into HR he found a completely different situation. Since then he has been enjoying the willingness of HR people to share and grow together. This is what I have had the chance to discover myself, and I am happy to see it is a shared view. I do believe cross contamination between different companies (and countries) is essential, today even more”.
Strode, responsible for the corporate culture of a company of 202,000 people active in 32 countries worldwide, is the head of The Santander Way project, which hopes for the well-being of its employees by leveraging elements such as collaboration, flexibility, respect, change and a continuous feedback system.
“Organizational culture is surely fundamental to thrive the business – Paolo continues – Every company knows it, and every company has its own culture. However what differs is that not everyone is able to communicate its culture to the same extent. I believe HR plays a role also in this perspective, being in charge to know who properly understand and share the company culture into and outside the organization (Santander culture is pretty clear to me know!). Starting from this HR should consequently plan the further actions needed in order to eventually rethink culture and its communication, helping it in promoting creativity, experimentation and responsiveness to customer”.
Moreover, innovation is intrinsically linked to corporate culture, and it is up to human resources to translate this into identity and sense of belonging.
“As everyone knows by now in fact, HR within companies is not sitting apart from the rest of the business – Paolo concludes – but is the most connected function, having many and several relations all across the units. And this put HR in a strategic position which is fundamental for any business success”.