The Talent Economy Podcast


Putting Customers First Means Caring for Employees

Season 2, Ep. 19

Big companies have often treated efforts to build a cohesive corporate culture as an afterthought. More recently, however, and particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders like Angela Santone, Senior Executive Vice President of Human Resources for AT&T, have begun to realize that cultivating a positive environment is integral to maintaining a dedicated workforce. Santone says that in order to fulfill its mission of putting customers first, AT&T focuses on caring for the employees who serve those customers, creating an inclusive culture that helps it attract and retain exceptional talent, even in the face of the Great Resignation.  

Santone, who oversees AT&T’s global human resources strategy, leads a team of HR experts rethinking the company’s talent development practices, total rewards and benefits programs, and culture initiatives. She was appointed to the role in 2019 after serving as Chief Administrative Officer of AT&T. 

Before joining AT&T, Santone served as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer at Turner Broadcasting System Inc., where she led a global HR strategy. Her executive oversight included talent acquisition and retention, learning and development, employee engagement, workplace culture, wellness, corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, and global security.

In this episode, Santone talks about keeping employees safe during COVID-19, how her experience as a woman in the corporate world led her to implement AT&T’s generous and flexible benefits program, what she’s doing to retain employees during the Great Resignation, how to blend company cultures during a merger, and why it’s crucial to involve employees when designing culture initiatives. 

Some Questions Asked:

  • How did you motivate your employees to continue showing up during the most dangerous and uncertain days of the pandemic? How did you reassure them you were doing your best to keep them safe?
  • What are you doing to attract and retain top talent for AT&T, especially in light of the Great Resignation?
  • What were some of the creative methods your team employed during the COVID-19 lockdown to ensure media was still being created?

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Some of the family-friendly benefits that AT&T has recently introduced, and their importance to the company. 
  • What it takes to successfully consolidate workplace cultures in the event of a merger. 
  • The lesson about mobility that Santone wishes she’d learned earlier in her leadership career. 


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