Santander clients and employees support social welfare
One of the characteristics that define 21st century man is the active pursuit of happiness. In developed countries, with most basic needs covered, people tend to look beyond and seek personal fulfilment and, ultimately, happiness. But can we reach happiness and progress by seeking only our own benefit? Experts agree that we cannot.
Let us first ask ourselves what progress is. The term is usually identified only with wealth, but actually goes much further. Andrea Fernández, an integrative coach, explains, "Progress happens when something works, is successful and brings stability or well-being. But it is something deeper than we usually think, since we usually focus only on the material. How many people are materially "prosperous" and do not feel fortunate? On many occasions they feel they are missing something." Thus, the expert defines progress as "a common state of well-being, involving service, that which the human being is willing to do for himself and for others as part of his own success. It is not what you have, but what moves you."
"Prosperity is a state of common well-being, which implies service"
Progress goes beyond the economy
"Progress is economic, social and moral or is not progress." This is what Nuria Chinchilla firmly says, IESE professor and holder of the business school’s Women and Leadership Chair. He considers that "prosperity cannot be limited to the economic aspect, it needs to encompass much more, to be global. Progress is much more than wealth; it is social action, values."
What does it give to those who help
From the psychological point of view, helping others brings multiple benefits to the person. Nuria Chinchilla stresses "psychological well-being, learning and a feeling of transcendence. In addition, it brings recognition, which, although it should not be the main cause that moves us, is a motivation that can be very useful to take the first steps.
Andrea Fernández adds that "social action opens many personal doors. It helps the individual not to remain oblivious to the problems that exist and to feel part of the solution, because they really are. It offers a real, empathic vision of common work. It is one of the best ways to give the person the possibility of feeling more human."
A benefit also for companies
As a professor of People Management in Organisations, Nuria Chinchilla also talks about the benefits that workers' social action has for companies. "It improves individual capacities in values such as generosity and trust, which are key in organisations. It also promotes quality in labour relations, especially between management and employees."
The expert points out that, "We no longer serve the traditional 'boss', who must be obeyed without question; organisations need a leader who demonstrates that they are and who earns the trust of their employees, and leading a collective social action is an excellent tool for this. On the other hand, developing employees' ability to 'move' for others will make them more willing to help the internal organisation, and even engage more with clients.”
Many large companies such as IBM, Bank of America or SAP have important social action programmes for which they have been distinguished in different editions of the international awards of the IAVE (International Association for Volunteer Effort). Within Spain, there are particularly Telefónica, also awarded by the IAVE, and Banco Santander, which has several programmes in the countries in which it operates, especially focusing on education, promotion of social entrepreneurship, support for social welfare and protection and diffusion of culture.
Involve employees directly
Banco Santander works in support of communities with a threefold aspect: employees -the first link in the chain-, shareholders and local communities. This direct involvement of the workers is especially evident in the Call for Social Projects "Euros in your salary", which in 2017 has held its ninth edition.
"Social action in companies improves the employee's capacities in values such as generosity and trust, key in organisations"
In this action, it is the employees of the group in Spain who present projects of entities that carry out activities that contribute to improving society. The winners are financed by a fund to which the employees themselves contribute monthly with a small part of their pay, and the amount collected is matched by the Bank. This call supports projects in the areas of international cooperation, disability, health, social exclusion and infant education.
And what does society receive
Apart from the important material, economic and educational aid that the beneficiaries receive, which can transform their lives, social actions have a fundamental impact on the well-being of the individual. Andrea Fernández says that "when a person receives the help of another person or people, he experiences two very important positive feelings: emotion and gratitude."
The coach adds that "when a person is aware that there is someone willing to help him, even without knowing him, that makes him feel part of something, a community. And when suffering is alleviated you get a sense of inner peace, which also helps you to recover your energy and to think it is possible to get ahead.”
And answering the first question, ‘Can you be happy helping others?’ Andrea Fernández says, "In reality, we cannot do anything alone, except to offer and receive what others give us, both at work and in personal relationships."
Social action is one more step to finding happiness.