2020 was a very peculiar year for everyone. The covid-19 pandemic changed our lives overnight. Leaders in organizations faced unprecedented challenges on a large scale. To our leaders, the new normal means making decisions in an uncertain environment, managing many priorities, leading remote teams, and making their staff and customers feel safe. The leadership of our teams is more vital than ever during this difficult time. 

What the Leaders for Employees programme is

For many years, Santander Bank Polska has kept up the Leaders for Employees programme to transform its leadership culture. It targets at senior managers, whose development rests on four guiding commitments that emphasize these attitudes:

  • Being open and inclusive
  • Inspiring and effecting change
  • Encouraging the Team to Prosper
  • Leading by example

Diversity is fundamental to the programme. We want our leaders to make full use of their staff and teams’ potential.  This year, we will continue the programme’s development initiatives to support them in the challenges they face.

Two paths on the road to development

In addition to the commitments, our core values for leadership development in these trying times are trust, compassion, stability and safety. Based on senior management’s needs and challenges in this new reality, we have built two paths in the development journey: #StayConnected and #ExtremeLeadership. 

  • #StayConnected

The initiative aims to share know-how and experience, and to promote a culture of dialogue in the bank. Because we’ve been working apart from each other, unity is more important than ever and our work environment must help us “be close” even when we’re not. We’re focusing on clear and frequent communication and, through #StayConnected, we’ve been organizing regular online meetings between the bank’s Management Board and senior managers to address relevant needs, projects and business issues. So far, we’ve discussed the attitudes and skills our leaders need to continue to transform the bank.

We set up meetings among senior managers to draw inspiration from each other, share knowledge and build up the #OneTeam community. At #LeadershipEspresso, we talked about why succession is important. Meetings will continue in 2021. 

Digital Open Sessions

We also want to keep open communication between our leaders and staff. Now more than ever, employees need contact with leaders who will guide them in this ever-changing reality. Through our Digital Open Sessions initiative, we’ve organized open meetings between staff and senior managers. Our leaders have shared their views on the new normality, talked about the challenges faced in recent months and the lessons they’ve learned.

  • #ExtremeLeadership

#ExtremeLeadership, the other track the Leaders for Employees programme offered last year, focuses on needs and challenges in the new reality. 

Digital Academy

We opened the Digital Academy for senior managers. It is a set of online workshops on how to manage virtual teams, motivate effectively, drive commitment and manage emotions. In addition, our leaders gained access to a special website that inspired them with interesting articles, resources and webinars. All participants took part in the gamification module; the most active participants were rewarded the option of a one-to-one session with an expert. 

In addition, this year we created an online platform for our leaders, where we post information about career development and regular performance reviews. It also has a list of books about personal development, leadership and strategy.

Website for managers

At the beginning of the pandemic, Santander Bank Polska launched the extreme leadership website for managers, where we compile important details about managing teams under the current circumstances (HR information, materials and articles on development).

We believe #StayConnected and #ExtremeLeadership will help leaders improve and grow stronger in the bank. Leadership is fundamental today because leaders must build up the organization for the future and inspire teams to work in this uncertain environment by taking initiative and building trust.

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