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"Your title is not as important as what you can do and your attitude"

Identify the daily or future needs of workers. This was the goal of the Strategic Workforce Planning initiative, which Banco Santander launched in 2018 and which is reflected in the Dojo learning platform. However, this is not the only initiative with which the bank combines human resources with technology . She also has a project to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the shortlist of prospective employees, like explains the global head of Education, Development and Talent at Banco Santander, Elisabetta Galli, who ensures that she has already booked several courses in the dojo.

New technologies permeate all areas of a company. How do they affect the HR departments?

Technology greatly facilitates connections and dynamics … In our case, we apply them in two areas. One of them is recruiting, where we are introducing artificial intelligence. And the thickest part, the most important, is the implementation of the Dojo program, which involves a radical transformation of the entire operating model of learning and development.

It is currently a unique learning experience platform that gives us the opportunity to start our strategy: implementation of a new competency model on a global level in Santander. In January we launched the product with minimal viability. Our goal is for Banco Santander's 200,000 employees to be involved worldwide in 2021.

How do you prepare employees to face this type of development in their daily processes?

We define and implement a very important, very deep and global plan for change management. It's not just about implementing a new concept or process. For the first time, we urge employees to take full responsibility for their own development and training. This implies a change in mentality because training and development in the traditional world have always been passive processes and we want to move to an almost fully active dimension.

When it comes to recruiting, there are already companies that use innovations such as gamification and virtual interviews . What is Santander doing to join this transformation?

We have a project to integrate artificial intelligence into the pre-selection. I'm sure non-verbal facial reading and neurolinguistic programming can help determine who more or less matches your values ​​or has the skills you need, but I want to see data. We are in talks with companies that use artificial intelligence to analyze verbal and non-verbal language and provide predictive data. I have good feelings. Let's look at the results.

Do you think that training with technological tools is more or less effective than training on site? Do you think it enables you to generate experiences and learning outcomes that you may not allow face to face?

Yes to both questions. I believe that personal training is not more or less effective: it is only effective when it is necessary. I'll give you an example. The most important and shortest part of the training routes is the one that you can learn naturally, digitally, asynchronously whenever you want. But at some point you have to do something practical, have an experience. It's clear that you need to go through a digital training route, but to be certified, you need to end up acting, participating in a project, and leading it. This cannot be given to you digitally.

It's not about doing [formación] personally when we have other options. It will still be possible to bring people into a room for four days and have a speaking teacher, but only if this is necessary and functional for learning or experience.

I also believe that formal learning is very important because it teaches you to think in a structured way. This can be done through more traditional training. But what makes the difference is flexibility, what I can do in real time right now, as far as I can apply my knowledge. The universities are trying to achieve this. They were all created and I think the traditional way of creating knowledge and training will change a lot. Digital companies like Google don't care so much about your university degree, but what you do and how you behave.

Technology makes it possible to eliminate administrative processes. Do you think this benefit allows HR departments to spend more time on people, talent and culture and less time on administrative tasks?

Absolutely yes. We already see it when implementing [la herramienta de gestión de datos de los empleados] Workday: The manager and the employee manage the tasks directly and interact with the system. This will also happen to us with Dojo: employees and managers can interact with the platform and extract all information in a natural and autonomous way in real time.

All of this will change the way we work and interact in the area of ​​learning and development. We need fewer pure administrative staff and much more strategic and internal consulting profiles.

What are the benefits for employees when these types of technologies are introduced in their daily lives?

The one to be master of his time. Time is the greatest value. To be able to learn at any time when I am on the subway, when I have half an hour off and I am interested in a topic.

For my "learning queue" in the dojo, I chose topics that I think are very important for Banco Santander. Dojo gives you the ability to create this queue: you know I want to learn something about agile Blockchain and Data Analysis so it will suggest everything we do have about it, of course, so that I can learn. That gives me two very important things. First I will develop my profile and learn what interests me. Second, I will learn relevant things for the bank.

And how do employees react to these benefits?

There are different categories of employees. In one there are the younger ones who are digital by nature, but also older people who are super digital. Another group are those who are skeptical, but they understand very well that this is the future, that they cannot stop them and that they need to get dressed and learn. The third group is that of people who do not want to know about it and push it back . I am very interested in this group because I think we can do a lot to change their minds and understand the benefits of new work and learning methods.

In general, I see that the employees are very interested and receive this transformation in a very positive way. I also see that in the older generations, which represent a very good social sample, a good percentage of those interested are interested in this being the right direction.

I'm not a digital native, but I don't think the future can be stopped. The only wise thing you can do is to look, listen, learn and say, "I want it and I build it in". That is the attitude. For the first time, I have engineers on my team. I have never had to hire them in my professional career, right now. I learn a lot from them. Now that I understand a lot more, I see how these new skills make a difference.

How do you see the future of human resources?

I see it completely data-driven . Data, numbers and pure research are used to make decisions. This is completely new in the human resources department. In fact, after the first analysis, Dojo was born when we saw that we had to train and retrain 70% of our workforce .

What types of data are critical to these transformation or decision-making processes?

You must have real-time dynamic data in your template. And you have to understand it through analysis. I'll give you another example with Dojo: when I see 50% of my employees looking for a completely new topic, I have to understand why. And if I have no content on the subject, I have to create it quickly.

Do you think there is a need for human resources that technology has not yet solved?

I would like to have a system with which I can visualize the analysis data of all market trends in real time: external, internal, disruptive events … This work takes time, if I could rely on a technology that compares and comments Data for me and in real time it would be great.

HR departments often buy pre-built technologies. Can you imagine a department with its own research and development center or its own technological laboratory?

Total. Dojo is an example. We have adopted a product that was only used by IBM and are adapting it. We work in a joint venture we learn and invent things together. That's the future.

I strongly support the purchase of manufactured products as it is a headache to do something inside if you don't have the knowledge or core of your business. The future, however, is to have an innovation lab where you can partner with other technology companies and respond to new needs.

What advice would you give to transform and take on new challenges for other colleagues who are in the same situation?

That you have to have a lot of courage, resilience and a very clear idea of ​​where you want to go to pursue it with all your strength. Get people behind you, teach the direction and never stop sharing this vision, enthusiasm and energy.

Everything we've talked about can only work if you start: You can't do anything unless you provoke profound cultural change, no wave of change. And the wave of change can come in a number of ways, but I think top management must lead by example and make room for islands of change in the company.

Can you highlight a Banco Santander technological project for the financial environment?

In stores, we test robots that interact with customers, and I think they can work very well. In addition, we are working hard and very successfully on digitizing our services to keep pace with market changes and new customer needs. I believe that Santander has already implemented all strategic initiatives to optimally anticipate the future for our internal and external customers. And we are doing very well!

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