Fostering togetherness through committed leadership

“Companies don’t do things. People do.” – as a people-centric business, this is our mantra.

Thriving businesses are fueled by passionate, empowered, and engaged individuals who share the same vision and act as a team. Fostering team spirit is a challenging task whose foundation lies within management and leadership. Leaders being close to their people is the fastest track to making them feel seen and heard, which translates into increased employee satisfaction and enhanced productivity.  



Fostering a culture focused on a positive employee experience

Culture is key – or as the management guru Peter Drucker puts it – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” A robust and appreciative culture is the force that keeps employees gravitating in a company’s orbit and prevents them from alienating.   


The power of togetherness is the haven where an individual can tap into the power of many. Company culture ensures one of the most critical employee needs is fulfilled: the sense of belonging.   


Every business has its recipe for creating and maintaining its culture alive, thriving and appealing. All business cultures have one ingredient in common: engaged and committed leadership. It is the leaders, with their solid and charismatic personalities, who make their teams feel genuinely valued. It is the managers who truly see and hear their employees and strengthen their sense of belonging.   


While this indeed is a great effort, it does pay off – according to an IBM study on The Financial Impact of Positive Employee Experience, “businesses that score in the top 25% on employee experience report double the return on sales” compared to organizations with a lower score. This IBM research gave birth to the “Employee Experience Index” with five dimensions as portrayed below. Leadership and management play a crucial role in these five dimensions.  

Source: IBM Smarter Workforce Institute & Globoforce WorkHuman Analytics and Research Institute, The Financial Impact of Positive Employee Experience Research.

Cultivating a culture of togetherness in the work-from-home era

Strong company culture has always been a business component easier to describe than to fulfill. Now, in the work-from-home era, things have not become easier on this front.   


In its “2021 Work Trend Index: Annual Report,” Microsoft conducted a study with more than 30.000 people in 31 countries, which generated the following striking findings:  


  • Over 70% of employees wish for flexible remote work options to continue.  
  • Over 40% of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year, and 46% say they’re likely to move because they can now work remotely.  
  • 37% of the global workforce says their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this.  


Furthermore, according to the findings of this study, authenticity and human-centricity are in the limelight: “One in five have met their colleagues’ pets or families virtually, and as we cling to each other to get through the year, one in six (17%) have cried in the presence of a colleague this year.”  


The title of Microsoft’s annual report posts a fundamental question: “The Next Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?”   

We at PayU are firm believers in the power of disruption and identify both as supporters of change as well as its active facilitators. This is why we established a digital format of leadership & employees catch-up meetings which are already celebrating their first anniversary.  

Coffee with Mario

While culture is the gravitating force of a company, it is safe to say that in the office, the coffee machine is the gravitating force of its culture. Despite remote-working measures and travel bans, we at PayU refuse to let go of the spirit-lifting charm of the chit-chat over a freshly brewed cup of coffee. So, along with all business-related meetings, we moved our beloved coffee catch-ups from the office kitchens over to Microsoft Teams.  


The format goes on like this – once a week, 15 employees from different teams across the globe join Mario Shiliashki, our CEO of Payments, for a casual meet-up. No agenda, no plan, no strategy – just sharing a cup of coffee while sharing thoughts, impressions, and stories. The exchange of experiences around different coping strategies regarding adaptation to the new normal is perceived as incredibly valuable by both employees and Mario.  


The casualness of the format and the dedicated safe space turn these meetings into true highlights. They enable our PayUneers to tap directly into senior leadership’s inspiration, providing them with refreshing, different perspectives and a better, more profound understanding of PayU’s strategy and vision. While Mario’s presence and commitment are invaluable, the cultural, professional, and personal diversity also empowers the participants to be straightforward, curious, and authentic.  

Togetherness is a two-way street – while our PayUneers feel inspired by our leadership, our leadership gets to tap into the company’s pulse, gain a deep and proper understanding of the employees and feel empowered while empowering.