A Turning Point Story: What It Takes to Be an Employee Focussed Employer

It Starts From a Place Of Empathy. Listening To and Caring About Your Workforce 

A Turning Point Story: What It Takes to Be an Employee Focussed Employer It Starts From a Place Of Empathy. Listening To and Caring About Your Workforce WorkLife Lessons Through Real-Life Stories
WorkLife Lessons Through Real-Life Stories

A WorkLife Lesson: Alfred’s Story: A Tale of False Pride and Egotism 

Alfred is the founding director of a Fulfilment Centre for e-commerce sellers. With locations throughout Europe, the company serves its clients’ customers worldwide. 

He founded the company on what he believed were fair principles for everyone – to create good jobs that people could live off – to pay people a good wage in return for good work. 

The company quickly grew their client base and, with it, their workforce. Being known to pay well, there was never a problem in recruiting people. But there was a problem retaining people. This wasn’t immediately obvious because, as Alfred came to learn, as he had established the company during the economic downturn that followed the financial crisis of 2007-2008 when people were losing their jobs when they secured a new job, they hung on to it for dear life. And during the ensuing years after the financial crash, when the economy was slow to get moving again, once again, people were holding on to their jobs. 

This led Alfred to the false assumption that all was good with his company and his workforce. Except it wasn’t, as he was about to discover. 

Slowly at first, as the economy recovered, people started to move on from the company. As numbers began to build, Alfred asked Human Resources to carry out exit interviews to try to get to the bottom of why people were leaving. He knew they were being paid a higher wage than they would receive elsewhere. Surely a good wage in return for good work was a fair principle for everyone. A principle that stood the test of time – except as he was about to learn it didn’t.

Alfred came to learn that the crux of the reason as to why people were leaving for lower wages was because they felt the higher wage was a payoff for the blood, sweat, and (oftentimes) tears that came with the ‘good’ work required of them. Yes, the company paid higher wages, but labour productivity was so aggressive that the culture inside the warehouses was very poor. 

These words from one of the exit interviews both summed up for Alfred why people were leaving and shocked him too.

“I felt being paid a higher wage was a trade-off for being appreciated, supported and respected for the work I do.”


In this lesson, you will learn how these words served as a turning point for Alfred. 

You will learn how these words of wisdom from his grandfather, “The solution to any problem starts with really listening, really caring and having empathy,” gave him what he needed to begin to turn things around for his company, the people who worked there, and ultimately himself.

In this lesson’sWorkLife Learning Assignment, you will learn to understand what’s happening within and around you when changes occur that have a negative impact on your WorkLife.

In this lesson’s Continuous WorkLife Learning Assignment, you will learn to navigate the ups and downs of your WorkLife during times of uncertainty to manage your wellbeing.

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Published by Carmel O' Reilly

I'm Carmel O’ Reilly. I'm a writer and learning practitioner. My books and learning resources are designed to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning. As founder of School of WorkLife, my guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.