Michal Pawlowski

Current Role: Head of Software Development


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The power of human connection

 

Meet Michal and learn about how the support at Tesco helps him maintain his wellbeing. He shares the importance of connecting on a human level and the value of your voice being heard.

 

“I joined Tesco in November 2021 as the Head of Software Development in the Colleague Transformation Programme. One side of my role involves high-level technical leadership and the other is about people management, bringing in and developing talent. Currently, a large part of my time is taken up with balancing the ratio of contractors and permanent staff here in the Polish Hub. It’s a lot of responsibility and hard work, but I enjoy it.

“I sometimes overanalyse issues to try and figure things out.”

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. Looking back, it probably began, or became apparent, when I was about 11 years old. I’ve lived with it all my life but how it impacts me depends on the circumstances. In the right environment I think it can be helpful, but it can also become a vicious loop. I can be hypersensitive at times too and overanalyse issues to try to figure things out. I’ve been in this industry for a long time, so I know you can’t take things too personally, but because I really care about the work I do, and the people I manage, I can take things really hard and become stressed a lot more than others.

 

I’ve worked in organisations in the past that haven’t been very positive, and I saw so many co-workers suffer because of the pressure and unhealthy environment. As a direct consequence of a previous job, I had to take two months off because I was having neck spasms and my jaw was constantly locking. I couldn’t sleep for months and I’m still recovering from those impacts now.

“The personal touch at Tesco anchors me”

I used to lay awake at night thinking about an email or conversation and simmer over it for hours, getting very little or no sleep. Since working for Tesco, I haven’t had any of the same issues. The difference now is that I can make a check list at the end of the day or week and confidently finish work without worrying about what’s to come.

 

Not only are you valued for your contribution, but you’re also treated like a human being. When I’m communicating with my colleagues and managers, we’ll connect on a human level, not just about the stuff we’re working on. And that personal touch anchors me. So when I get an email from them instructing me to do something, I know how to read the tone and won’t spin out trying to interpret what something means, because we’ve got a personal relationship and that grounds me.

“If I need time off because I’m sick, I’m given the space to rest, recharge and recover.”

From the moment I started at Tesco, my director has supported me. Of course, there is an element of pressure in most jobs, and we all have a lot on our plate, but my manager has never overburdened or pushed me into something I’m not comfortable with. If I’ve needed time off because I’m sick, he’s understanding, giving me the time and space to rest, recharge and recover.

 

I’ve had a few recurring issues with insomnia and physical things like my neck spasms and sciatica, so I’ve had to take a couple of long periods of sick leave. Coming back to work and having to catch up could be stressful, but at Tesco it hasn’t been. The people here are empathetic and so much more interested in how I’m recovering. It’s made a huge difference and I’ve been able to settle back into work a lot quicker because of that support.

“It’s a great feeling to know I can talk honestly about the positive culture here.”

As I work to bring in a huge number of new permanent people to the business, it’s a great feeling to know that I can talk honestly about the positive culture and the support they can expect here. We want to invest in people and encourage development rather than going through endless recruitment cycles.

 

When you work at Tesco, you’ll get so much satisfaction because you’re able to see how your work impacts the end user and the difference you’re making. You can build relationships with colleagues and even when there are disagreements (which can naturally be the case in technology) there’s space to work that stuff out. Plus, you’re valued for the work you do and rewarded fairly for that, which is something I haven’t experienced elsewhere.

“The big difference is that when people talk here, Tesco actually listens.”

What’s really clear is that senior leaders pay attention. When employees are asked for feedback and their opinion on process and policy, it counts. Some companies will send out these anonymous surveys as a tick list exercise, it’s meaningless and nothing changes. But the big difference is that when people talk here, Tesco actually listens.

 

I’ve struggled throughout my life, and I’ve worked hard to get where I am today. We’re all human and we’re all dealing with stuff so we shouldn’t be so quick to make assumptions about people or stereotype them. I really want the best for the people I hire, work with and manage, so it’s important that we can talk and work to understand each other. And thanks to the support Tesco gives me, I’m really optimistic about my future here.”

Everyone’s welcome at Tesco. We’re there for our people, whatever life brings. So we’ll do everything we can to support you. To help make sure you always feel comfortable being yourself at work, and that you’ve got what you need to develop and grow with us.

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