As topics on company environments, management styles and leadership behavior continue to dominate America’s headlines, some might wonder what’s really behind the trends and attitudes we’re seeing in the U.S. workforce. While media commentators and labor experts try to give their best assessments on the possible factors that motivate employees as they ponder their career paths, one consideration that always seems to surface to the top of the list is workplace culture.
For Texas resident and American Medical Response (AMR) employee, Michael Flores, that subject became all too personal on December 12, 2021. That’s when Flores, a communications manager at AMR’s Arlington division, was attending the company’s regional summit in Frisco. Flores, who’s worked for AMR, a member of Global Medical Response’s (GMR) family of solutions since early 2019, is epileptic, and on that Sunday, he experienced a seizure.
“I don’t really remember too much about what happened, except that I could hear a lot of voices. Some were saying, ‘Michael, you had a seizure. You’re going to be okay. Don’t worry,’” recalls Flores.
After that, the only thing Flores remembers is waking up in a hospital room, gripped by fear over the possibility that his sudden illness left an impression of weakness or ineptitude among members of his leadership.
“I had a dislocated shoulder, so I was still in pain, but my real concern was whether I had a job or not,” says Flores, who admits his anxiety stems from an experience with a previous employer. The memory was so vivid that it took every ounce of courage for Flores to check his email after returning home from the hospital. But when he did, he was pleasantly surprised.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had email after email from members of my leadership, sending me messages of concern. Some were asking if they could help me. I even had missed calls from leaders, some of whom I’ve never even met, checking on me to see how I was doing. Even my wife told me how people had been texting her to make sure we were both okay and asking if we needed anything. I never experienced this type of kindness from any company I worked for previously,” says Flores.
He goes on to say that his wife, who is expecting the couple’s first child and near her due date, was driven to the hospital from their home by one of his leaders. “We live on a farm in Johnson County, so it was a long drive to pick her up and take her to the hospital where I was admitted. So, for that individual to selflessly do that… words can’t describe my gratitude,” he says.
In all, Flores says more than 40 leaders reached out to him, expressing support, and one of them included Steve Dralle, GMR’s Regional President, South Region, who gave Flores another reason to smile when he invited him to the company’s next summit.
“Like almost every leader in this organization, I have worked as a practicing paramedic and have been in EMS for many years. One thing I know from my professional and personal experience is people are intensely embarrassed when they fall or suffer a medical emergency in public and particularly among their peers, says Dralle. “That’s why I wanted to make sure Michael didn’t believe he had suffered a negative career event because of having to leave the meeting, and that he is included in future meetings of this type, so he gets access to the leadership team.”
As for Flores, he, too, is looking forward to attending future meetings with his leaders, who he credits for going above and beyond the call of duty to help him and his wife.
“I’ve been in this industry for a long time. I’ve seen a lot. I know the mission, vision and corporate principles of my company, but there’s something about a personal experience that words will never fully convey. There’s a lot of talk about corporate culture these days, and frankly, a lot of it gets lost because some people don’t always live up to their words,” he says. Today, I can tell you that’s not the case for the leaders I experienced at GMR. They jumped in to help me in my time of need. They walk the talk. Where are you going to find that in today’s society?”