Toyota Spain Focused on Employee-Centricity; Here's What Happened

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Experienca Toyota Core Team and Delivering Happiness


Inside Toyota Spain, behind their high-quality vehicles, are talented, passionate people. Generations upon generations work for and remain with Toyota over a lifetime. They are loyal, dedicated, and proud to be part of one of the world’s leading car manufacturing companies.


It begs the question why the company was experiencing a decrease in employee satisfaction and a drop in engagement.  


Toyota Spain always had the customer in mind, but they wanted to strengthen their relationship with their employees. Their team reached out to DH Spain where Talent Directors, Eugenia Machado and Valentina Nicoara helped shift the focus to be more employee-centric.


"We wanted to do the same thing we were doing with our customers, but with our employees. We knew it wouldn't be the same because our values and vision were different for our employees than they were for a customer's relationship with the brand." - Marta Martin, Employee Experience Senior Specialist

Mutual Trust


CEO of DH Spain, Carlos Piera Serra and Project Lead, Veronica Fernandez Mesias performed in-depth qualitative culture assessments, focus groups, and interviews to determine the root cause of the company's challenges. 


Mutual trust was one of the company's core values, and the DH team discovered that every 4 years the Toyota headquarters selects a new president, so an abrupt change in management could have the risk of impacting trust if leaders don't address change management


Carlos and Vero knew that leader alignment and sustaining the continuity of this new program was now a top priority. They met with the new president at the time and shared their new approach. He understood the importance of aligning with his new team. They spent a full day with the board of directors and created an action plan.


“This is not just a responsibility for talent directors, it's for all leaders.”

- Begonia Ojenia


The Employee Experience


The business shifted from a product-focused approach to being more customer-centric, but the company needed a change in their structure when it came to their employees. Beyond culture, they needed to address and improve the employee experience. 


This is how Experiencia Toyota was born. It was led by Marta Martin, Employee Experience Senior Specialist. She worked closely with DH coach|sultants® to design the program and address every touchpoint the employee has over their time with the company.


The employee experience includes all of the interactive moments they have from hiring, onboarding, and change management, to meeting with leaders, and it even includes being laid off or fired.”

- Veronica Fernandez Mesias, Delivering Happiness Project Lead 


Carlos and Vero wanted to pass on the tools and knowledge to Human Resources and CAT [Culture Ambassador Team], in order to co-create a unique initiative for every moment of the employee experience. They created workshops based on DH concepts such as optimism and the science of happiness.  


The talent leaders at Toyota Spain could take this methodology and train the rest of their team in order to sustain without DH. One of Toyota’s core values is constant improvement, so they were eager to move forward.


Experiencia Toyota says to the employees, 

we care for you and want you to have the best experience.

Experiencia Toyota Culture Program with Delivering Happiness


Moving Forward


Leaders are responsible for ensuring the happiness of their people. It's not just about interactions with the company, it's about the relationship between employees, leaders, and management.


A survey can tell you that your employees are not motivated or engaged, but an

in-depth qualitative assessment can determine the root cause behind the issues within your organization. Understanding the why is equally important to pivoting and ensuring the success of your company moving forward. 


Experiencia Toyota group activity.


A Pandemic-Proof Culture


In early 2020 when businesses around world went into lockdown, the employees of Toyota Spain began working from home. The company believe they adapted well because they made sure to stay connected to their employees and their families. They sent out weekly surveys to get a pulse check and see how people were feeling and dealing through the crisis. They also launched competitive challenges and games to ease stress.


"Employee engagement grew during quarantine. We used our culture to support one another through the crisis. Our values made us resilient."

Marta Martin, Employee Experience Senior Specialist


The dealerships took the biggest hit, but mechanic shops stayed open and prioritized repairs to vehicles that provided essential services, in order to alleviate the stress of the pandemic throughout the community.  


What's more, the employees who worked from home loaned their vehicles to help transport sick people. Proud Toyota owners, of course. You can imagine the sense of purpose this gave their employees. 


At Toyota Spain, the philosophies, values and culture they live and breathe are contagious. They have created a ripple effect from the inside-out; beginning with their employees and families, which extends to their clients, and and out into the community. The people at Toyota Spain give their all to the company. They are the heartbeat of the organization.


When leaders can prioritize their people, along with their KPIs, they will reap the benefits. This is what the company calls the Toyota Effect. 



"Thank you all very much for joining us in this adventure and this turning point for our company, in starting to do things in a different and better way. Thank you for sharing your experience to help us pave the way and give us some of your happiness.”-Berta Dominguez, Former People & Talent Department Director, Toyota Spain



The success of your business depends on your workplace culture.


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About the Author

Karissa Barcelo

Karissa was born in New York City, raised in Miami Beach, and she currently resides in Las Vegas. For 10+ years she worked as a script supervisor, producer and copywriter for various commercials, TV shows, films and more. She helped produce buzz-worthy content for the entertainment news show Dish Nation and interviewed celebrities at major award shows such as the Oscars and the MTV Video Music Awards. She also managed marketing campaigns for high-end luxury brands. Producing compelling content with a killer marketing strategy behind it is her passion.

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