Santander - Developing a future ways of working.

Developing a future ways of working cultural strategy.

Changing ways of working using employee-led insights.

Shaping the future in a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed employees working lives and for many working from home became the new norm. As lockdown measures start to ease, Santander are in the mist of planning their future ways of working strategy post-pandemic.

To help shape the future strategy, Santander were keen to adopt a fun, innovative and engaging approach to ideate with colleagues to help build how the future ways of working at Santander may look.

The objective was to:

  • Understand employee experience in 2020
  • What has been positive and what are the areas for focus
  • Generate new ideas to shape future ways of working

5 weeks to deliver

We ran a 48-hour online moderated discussion leveraging our digital hives platform, inviting all 23k colleagues who were predominantly working from home, or in branches. Discussions boards and individual activities were designed around 9 cultural enablers including; People Managers, Growth & Development, Work-life Balance; Inclusion, Wellbeing and Appreciation & Benefits.

Our approach not only allowed us to gather rich insights using a variety of research question types such as; open-ended questions, ranking, sort-cards and image selection, we were also able to deep dive and probe into specific responses in real-time.

Most importantly, our approach allowed colleagues to connect, share ideas and have open discussions on a range of topics in a secure and anonymous (if preferred) manner.

We delivered rich insights from colleagues working across different business areas, locations and grades on areas which had worked well for them and their teams and what more could be done by Santander and the leadership teams to improve the ways of working.

An idea-thon with an impact

The research generated a wealth of ideas (500+) from colleagues both tactical and strategic including; knowledge sharing initiatives, approaches to enhance career development, opportunities, wider engagement in community work and enhancements to technology to simplify ways of working. Santander have taken these ideas forward in to their planning and programmes to shape their future ways of working.

We worked with Engine over a short period of just 5 weeks to deliver our idea-thon which required a clear brief, and close collaboration. They understood our objectives quickly and were able to help us to build a comprehensive online event that was highly engaging and yielded a significant number of ideas and valuable insights. The platform met our needs perfectly and provided us with a new and exciting way to engage with our colleagues.

Theresa Winters, Senior HR Manager Employee Experience Proposition, Santander UK

Individual contributions


Employee-led discussions


Ideas generated