Santanna Energy Services, founded in 1988, is a natural gas and electricity provider for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Three years ago, Santanna became 100% employee owned. This decision changed the culture of the company, creating a strong sense of collaboration and pride among employees as well as a strong focus on the customer.
According to Greg Rabaey, President, “I’ve been part of Santanna for nearly 25 years. I joined in 1996 – at that time, we had about 1200 customers. I’ve had the opportunity to watch and contribute to Santanna’s growth and success over those many years. It was exciting for me on the day we became an Employee-Owned Company (January 3, 2017).”
Rabaey goes on to say, “The most exciting effect of the shift to 100% employee ownership has been the change in our culture. It sounds simplistic but being an owner can be a bit scary because my fellow Employee Owners have as much invested as I do. I’m sure that many new employee owners worried that some of us would be “pulling on the rope” while other fellow employee owners would be “tagging along for the ride’. We now have an ownership culture where we’re all in it together and we all practice the same core values: Commitment, Honesty, Outstanding Quality of Service, Innovation, Collaboration, and Excellence.”
Core Values in Action
Practicing these core values puts the customer front and center. Working in a 100% employee owned company means Santanna goes above and beyond to ensure customer’s energy needs are met. As an employee-owned company, everyone in Santanna is a stockholder, which motivates a more innovative and hands-on mindset than in more traditionally run companies. Santanna employees care about customers, rather than a finish line.
A close partnership is developed with each customer at Santanna. If a customer isn’t satisfied, steps are taken to improve systems and processes to create a better experience. From enrolling in an energy plan to answering questions about a bill, Santanna’s Customer Care Specialists offer friendly, quick, and knowledgeable assistance. Most of these employee owners are centrally located in the Mid-West, right in the heart of Santanna’s service area. They understand unexpected weather conditions and have plans set up to fit customers’ needs. Customers trust Santanna’s employee owners to meet their energy needs.
At Santanna, customers are the top priority. Being an employee-owner means that those at every level and in every department work together to ensure customer satisfaction:
Stephanie Zelinski – Marketing Coordinator
“Being an Employee Owner means truly having a stake in the company. Being an Employee Owner means having your voice be heard and put the customers’ needs in the forefront. As a marketing coordinator, it is my job to advertise our new messages, new products, and improvements – to make sure our customers know that “we hear you and are continuing to improve”. Employee Owners get their say and so do our customers. It is the ultimate collaboration!”
Tyler Castle – Digital Advertising Operations Specialist
“Being an employee owner means the metrics of my work don’t just live on a piece of paper, reviewed annually. Rather, my personal impact is directly tied to the future of the company. That Impact is measured regularly and discussed openly by everyone in the organization. It means the effort I put in benefits everyone, and that I can rely on everyone else leaning in as much as I am to achieve our goals.”
Carrie Yarbrough – Software Developer
“Being an employee owner means going the extra mile every time to ensure we understand the needs of our customers. The I.T. Software Development team works with the Santanna marketing, sales, and customer service teams. Therefore, it is imperative to deliver high quality tools that allow these reps to efficiently and effectively communicate with our customers, in order to offer the best service and plans possible.”
More Benefits of Employee-Ownership
100% employee ownership means that every employee is a stockholder who plays an important role at the company. While this approach motivates employees to work together to benefit customers, in the long-run, employees themselves also benefit.
Greg Rabaey, President, explains: Our Santanna Employee Ownership is defined through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), which is really a retirement plan. I’m sure that I am like many people; I want to live out my post-employment days, enjoying hobbies, traveling and spending time with family and friends. To have these benefits, I know that I and my fellow Employee Owners have to work hard now. It matters now! I know that it is not just a few individuals, but all of us together, who have actual financial incentives beyond a paycheck, because we all have stock in Santanna.”
As employee owners, everyone who works at Santanna is aware of company finances and plans. It’s all part of the new collaborative culture.
According to Rabaey: Very early on in our Employee Ownership journey, we began to practice Open Book Management. This has become an important part of our culture, because Santanna’s successes and failures, financial and otherwise, affect everyone. This understanding, that what we do each day, is tied to our company’s health, has created a culture of pride in our work and a collaborative nature between our Employee Owners.”
Since making the transition to 100% employee ownership, Santanna has taken the ultimate step in committing to its key differentiating asset – its employees. The Company formed its first official Employee Ownership Committee in April 2019. This committee, elected by it peers, gives employees from each department a forum to discuss business policies that directly involve fellow owners.
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Santanna Energy Services is constantly working to introduce new products and improve customers’ energy experience with plans to fit everyone’s lifestyle needs. For many years to come, Santanna will remain committed to the success of its employees, customers, and community. Once they switch to Santanna Energy, they join a family.
For more information on Santanna’s energy plans or to enroll in a plan, call 630-552-6881 or go online to: www.santannaenergyservices.com
About Santanna Energy Services
Santanna Energy Services, located in Austin, TX and Bolingbrook IL, is a Natural Gas and Electricity Provider for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and more. Founded in 1988, Santanna has been in business for 32 years and growing!