Toyota Spain Experienced Failing KPIs and Decreased Employee Satisfaction; Here's What We Discovered

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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 failing KPI’s, a decrease in employee satisfaction, and a dramatic drop in engagement.  


Alarmed by their findings, their team of Talent Directors, Eugenia Machado and Valentina Nicoara reached out to DH Spain to help them in the midst of this internal crisis. 


Eroding 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. 


The DH team discovered the core issue was a lack of trust for their leaders, dating back to an abrupt change 4 years prior. 


They learned that the business shifted from a product-focused approach to being more customer-centric, but the leaders did not address change management in the process, neglecting their employees' happiness.


The swift change demanded big results, but abandoned an important focus on their people, which pushed their boundaries to the limits.


This erosion of trust between employees and leadership left them feeling discouraged, disengaged, and burnt out.


Anonymous employee surveys revealed that they were deeply dissatisfied with their Board of Directors because they didn't allow managers to effectively do their jobs, and have more autonomy.


The Employee Experience

The company desperately needed a major change in their structure. Beyond culture, they needed to address and improve the employee experience. 


This is how Experiencia Toyota was born. The DH team thoughtfully designed this program to 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 


Experiencia Toyota says to the employees, 

“We care for you and want you to have the best experience.”


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 could then 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.


Another Roadblock

Two weeks into the program, the president resigned and a new president was assigned to the company. 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 and shared the inherent issues with him and their new approach. He was open-minded and understood the importance of resolving the existing issues and 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.” - quote from Begonia Ojenia


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. 


The employees of Toyota Spain give their all to their company. They are the heartbeat of the organization. When leaders can prioritize their people, along with their KPIs, they will reap the benefits. Leaders will also experience a ripple effect from the inside out, reaching clients and the community. 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, 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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