VensureHR | Coffee Talk Webinar
Enhancing Employee Experience: Nurturing Symbiotic Relationships in the Workplace
July 11, 2023
Abraham Gonzales-Pollick Good afternoon, everyone, or good morning to some of you. Thank you for joining our Coffee Talk today. Today’s topic, we’re going to be talking about enhancing the employee experience through nurturing symbiotic relationships in the workplace. We’ve invited our Associate Vice President of Client Development, Beatrice Runyan, to be our facilitator today, and presenter Beatrice comes to us with 25 years of experience. She’s worked in multiple industries across the U.S. and has been a facilitator on many HR topics and business acumen training as well as leadership development. We’re so super excited to have her in and learn from her regarding this topic. So, Bea, I’d like to pass the mic over to you.
Beatrice Runyan Great, thank you, Abraham, I appreciate the introduction. Good afternoon, everyone, happy Tuesday, hope everyone’s having a great day. I’m really excited to talk to you about the topic today. We’re going to be talking about enhancing the employee experience, and we’re going to look at some different things about uncovering what employees need to hear from their employer, as well as cultivating symbiotic relationships, and we’ll discuss a lot more what symbiotic relationships actually mean. And so, we want to highlight the importance of creating a rewarding experience for the employees, as well as emphasizing the significance of understanding and meeting those employee’s needs. So as employees, they bring forth not only their talents, their skills, and their time, they’re seeking not only professional growth, but they also want to have a rewarding experience within their organization. And so, we’ll look at some strategies to proactively address any potential shortcomings, also establish that symbiotic relationship with the employees.
So, the first thing we’re going to talk about is how to uncover what employees need from their employers, and the first thing you want to look at is open communication. You really want to foster that communication and establish a culture of the communication where the employees feel comfortable sharing both their needs, their concerns, and their ideas. And you also want to encourage regular check ins between employees and managers to discuss things like their progress, any challenges they may be having, also, any potential areas for improvement. So, one-on-ones are a great way to do that. You also want to create opportunities for dialog and collaboration, both within their team as well as across departments and across the organization, and then you also want to foster trust. Trust is really the foundation of any symbiotic relationship. And you want to encourage transparency, you want to be transparent, have the open communication, and also have the integrity within the organization, and you can help to build trust by demonstrating integrity within the organization, but by also honoring commitments. The delivering on those commitments, making sure you’re honoring and respecting someone’s confidentiality where it’s appropriate, and also being very consistent in your actions and your decisions.
You also want to listen and observe. Active listening is really important during meetings, whether it’s a meeting or it’s an informal conversation or any type of team interaction. Actively listen and make sure that all the employees feel like they have your full attention. You also want to pay attention to any nonverbal cues, any suggestions they may have, or any concerns they may bring up. You also want to observe if there’s any patterns or themes that emerge from conversations or if the same topics are coming up over and over again, that there may be a pattern. If you’re hearing the same things from multiple employees, that will help you gain a deeper understanding of their needs and, also, their expectations. You also want to support their professional growth, demonstrate a genuine interest in the employee’s professional development, and be able to provide some opportunities for learning and advancement. You can do that through training programs, you can have a mentorship program in place, and also by setting career paths for your employees. And then you want to support the employees in achieving their goals and aspirations and help support that. Helping support that will also help enhance their commitment and their loyalty back to the organization.
Another thing you want to do is you want to encourage collaboration. You want to find ways for employees to work together that they can share their knowledge. Because when employees come to an organization, they bring with them knowledge and experience from other organizations that while that may benefit their current organization and you want to look for ways that they can contribute and unique skills that they have, and perspectives that they may have, coming from their perspective versus someone else’s perspective. You also want to foster teamwork. You can do that through cross-functional projects when it’s appropriate, group problem solving. Sometimes, you know, brainstorming sessions, problem solving sessions can be very beneficial, also, during some type of team building activity, especially if it’s a newer team or you have a lot of new people on that team, help to develop that team and build that team. And then you also want to recognize and appreciate the employees regularly and acknowledge their contributions. And you also want to celebrate any achievements and milestones: anniversaries, things of that nature, and exceptional performance is always great to recognize, all of that. And then you want to recognize their efforts in meaningful ways that matter to them. Not how it matters to you, but what matters to them. So, find out how employees want to be recognized. Some employees love having public recognition. Others don’t feel comfortable with that, and they’d rather have a private acknowledgment, just one-on-one with their supervisor or manager. So, it’s important to find out how they want to be recognized and what matters to them to make them feel valued and motivated.
And the next we’re going to talk a little about symbiotic relationships. A symbiotic relationship in the workplace is a combination of where you see the interactions between the employer, the employee, and then what the business objectives are. So, in a very basic definition of what symbiosis is, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. So, over the next few slides, we’re going to discuss how we can start to foster a symbiotic relationship in an organization. And this is an ongoing process because you want to continually see, assess, and adapt strategies based on the evolving needs and the dynamics within the organization. And so, by investing in these relationships, you’re going to help foster a very supportive and engaging work environment. So, some of the ways that you can help foster this symbiotic relationship is you want to lead with what we call a diverse mindset. And some of the things you want to look at is challenging unconscious biases. So, we all have unconscious biases. But you want to make everyone aware that these exist, that they may exist, and you want to encourage the individuals to not only reflect on their own biases, but also work towards trying to mitigate the impact of those biases and be more aware and cognizant that they may be unconsciously biased towards some other employees. You also want to provide training and resources to help individuals to recognize and, also, address any biases that they may have.
And the next is you want to foster psychological safety. So, you want to create a safe space. So, individuals should feel comfortable expressing ideas that they may have or any opinions that they may have without fear of any judgment or any negative consequences, as long as they’re doing it in a proactive and respectful way, that there’s not going to be anything negative for someone expressing ideas or opinions that they have. And you want to encourage open communication, and you want to encourage that everyone’s voice is heard, and that they’re valued during discussions and any decision-making as much as possible where you can allow employees to have a say in the decisions that are being made. The more that the employees will have that buy-in to the final decision, you also want to embrace inclusion and you want to create that inclusive background where everyone feels valued and respected. So regardless of their background, or their identity, their perspective. So, you know, inclusion can mean different things to different people. So, you can be inclusive, whether it’s in regard to race or ethnicity, to gender, to disability, to veteran status. There’s a lot of different ways that you can create an inclusive environment, and you should also seek to actively seek out and welcome those diverse voices and perspectives because everyone brings a different perspective, and the more open that you can be with the different perspectives that employees bring to the table, the better it will make the organization.
And then you also want to cultivate cultural competence. And by that, you want to educate yourself and your team about different cultures, different values, different perspectives, and also encourage that open dialog. Because if someone generally has a question about something or someone’s different background, as long as it’s done in a respectful way, then the more you can learn about different employee’s backgrounds and experiences that will make the organization, and it’ll also help to build empathy and understanding. And again, that will create a more inclusive and effective leadership as well. And then you also want to regularly evaluate the impact of these different mindsets within your organization. You want to enhance the range of skills, experiences, and perspectives, and that will create a mix of backgrounds and disciplines and expertise that you have not only within your team but within the larger organization as a whole, and encourage that diverse thinking and be open to innovation. And then you also, last but not least, you want to lead by example. You want to model inclusive behaviors. If people see that leadership is, you know, saying “Walk the walk, talk the talk,” if leadership is doing these things, are leading by example, being inclusive, being open to having conversations, to having dialog and making sure that employees feel that they’re heard and respected and appreciated in their organization. If the employees see that the leadership is doing that, then they will follow suit.
And you also lead by example by seeking out different perspectives, going and asking, you know, other’s perspectives on things. And again, listen, actively listen to help understand different viewpoints. Because a lot of times I think we all, you know, contend to be guilty of this, is that, you know, we will be listening to someone, but then doing five other things, doing something on the computer, doing whatever else the case may be, and that person may feel like they’re not truly being heard because the other party is not truly actively listening. So really, one employee is speaking with you or coming to you with an idea or a concern or whatever it may be, making sure that you are actively listening to what they have to say, that they feel that you are giving them your full attention. And then you also want to embrace that feedback. Sometimes we don’t always like feedback, especially if it’s negative or something that contradicts how we may view something. But we should all be open to embracing the feedback, not saying you have to take and use all the feedback, but be open to that feedback and be respectful of the different perspectives or viewpoints that other employees may have and at least acknowledge and thank them for providing that feedback. And then leaders also should show a willingness to learn and grow. You know, it’s always great. The more you can learn and continue learning throughout your career, whether it’s trainings, webinars, taking classes, different things, having that willingness to learn and grow I think is very well received by the employees to see that you’re not being stagnant. You’re also willing to expand. You’re asking them to train and to grow and develop. And the leaders should be willing to do that as well.
And then, so if you’ve seen throughout the presentation, there’s a QR code. Raise your hand by using the QR code if you would like to learn more about Vensure. You can scan that QR code, there’s some information to fill out and we will make sure to reach back out to you to answer anything that you may have, if you want to learn more about Vensure. And then part two, which is coming up on July 27th at 12 pm Eastern Time, is another Coffee Talk, and this is going to be part two, sort of continuing on with this conversation. And we’ll be talking more about developing organizations and how to cultivate and celebrate talent. So now I will open the floor up, if anyone has any questions, you can drop them in the Q&A. Abraham, do we have any questions?
Abraham Gonzales-Pollick Hi Bea, thank you so much for taking us through this content, it is so insightful. We think about building symbiotic relationships, and some of the tools that you’ve provided, it’s really just one step, but it’s one idea out of so many. So, thank you for the content. We don’t have any questions that have come through in the Q&A for today’s session, but that doesn’t mean that our participants can’t scan our QR code and learn more or ask questions there and we can respond back. I want to thank everyone for joining us today and our session. Please be on the lookout for our next Coffee Talk and I hope everyone has a great month. Thank you.
Beatrice Runyan Great, thank you.