Humans of PayU: The Power of Personal Stories

Like all courageous humans, every one of our PayUneers has a story. Our Humans of PayU initiative encouraged employees across the company to share their personal stories – the results have been overwhelming.

2020 changed it all. Locked up inside our homes and outside of our comfort zones, this year has given us all an opportunity to ask those questions lying below the surface of daily business.


Who are we in times of crisis? What do we do to make a difference? What do we do to support one another? Who are the ones around us, how can we best be there for them?


So we took a step back and a look around our workplace. Countless words in lengthy email threads. Posts in Workplace groups. Smiling faces on yet the next call, some familiar, others rather new.



Getting to know each other: Humans of PayU

We at PayU believe that companies don’t do things, people do. So we asked ourselves about who our ‘people’ really are. How well do we really know our PayUneers? At PayU we aim to provide employees with quite a few learning opportunities, but are we taking the opportunity to learn from them? What can we take away from their experiences? What can we learn from their stories?


This is how our Humans of PayU initiative came to life. Here the spotlight falls on the human part of our professional beings. We asked employees from all around the company to share their stories and the impact has been incredible.

The impact of sharing personal stories with our colleagues

At first this might sound as a highly unprofessional thing to do. The workplace is often seen as the last place to open up and share tales about failures; anxieties; and challenges; personal or professional ups and downs. What if one is perceived as weak or as arrogant? What if the story crosses the feared border between business and private, and there is no coming back?


If there is one good thing about 2020, it is that it freed us from those borders. This year clearly showed us that what always has ‘worked’ in the past will not necessarily work in the future. And if there are two things that truly matter, and can reliably support us in moving ahead, its trust and connection.


This is precisely what sharing personal stories and revealing our human side does: it builds trust and connection. Knowing our teammates better is key to communication and crucial to conflict prevention. Opening up as well as active listening foster a company culture of safety and support. Allowing our true identities into the workplace enables us to feel more like ourselves, allowing our authentic potential to grow and evolve. We believe this is good for us not only as human beings, but also as employees and ultimately as a company.

The power of storytelling in the workplace

Stories are crucial to human life. We rely on them to define our world. They also are crucial to the culture of companies. Through storytelling we create identity, we set goals, we bond into achieving them. It guides us though problem-solving and helps us develop relationships – between our colleagues as well as on behalf of our company as a whole.


Through sharing our personal stories, we help to establish a common bond through common experience. We’ve all felt loss and longing; had moments of despair and hardship; of success and excitement. Storytelling creates strong bonds and helps us get an authentic understanding of ourselves. In hearing the stories of our colleagues, we see our own strengths and weaknesses reflected back to us.


We provide one another with support, inspiration and create a safety net: something invaluable in times of crisis. It supports us in widening our own horizons and provides us with new perspectives on life and career. A deeper understanding of those who sit across from us is the backbone of strong, thriving teams.

Humans of PayU: Lessons learned

The true company story is made of all the stories of its employees. The mission and vision of company truly come to life and make a difference when lived by those who show up at work each day.


PayU’s vision is to create a world without financial borders where everyone can prosper. The borders our PayUneers have crossed throughout their lives are truly inspiring.


What we learned from the stories told


  • Authentic, human leadership and trust can change lives
  • Believing in and following passion is key to a fulfilled life
  • Giving up is not an option. Opening to support and asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.
  • “What we save, saves us” – giving from our time, energy and efforts, being there for others, sharing what we have is crucial to being human
  • Challenges, hardships bring out our highest potential and are here to help us grow
  • Being in control is not everything, finding the strength to navigate through uncertainty is


Like any living being, culture is not static.  It must be seeded and nourished one day; allowed to grow and flourish on its own the next.


Humans of PayU is just one example of how we have tried to foster a culture of Openness, Collaboration, and Courage at PayU – particularly in this one-of-a-kind year.


Below are excerpts from a handful of the many stories shared throughout our Humans of PayU initiative.

Humans of PayU