Employee Spotlight Ayleen Kaladzhyan

BUILDING POSITIVE WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS

In the landscape of business development, the answers that business owners seek to obtain sustainable success lies not only in the financial strategies and cutting-edge innovations it showcases but also in the cultivation and curation of meaningful relationships. While a large part of business development is about expanding the company’s market presence, it also embodies a multifaceted approach focused on fostering growth, driving profitability, and ensuring long-term sustainability. Organizations who take on this element of growing their business form a positive work environment through interpersonal connections that enhance employee’s morale, teamwork, and productivity. MMC’s Business Development Manager, Ayleen Kaladzhyan, shares the essential insights that steer a company towards its objectives while empowering its employees to achieve their full potential.

What is a healthy workplace relationship?

“A healthy workplace relationship refers to the nature of interactions and dynamics among individuals in the workplace. Some key elements that define a healthy workplace relationship consist of: mutual respect, open and effective communication, trust and support, empathy and understanding, conflict resolution, and collaboration and teamwork.”

What are key elements that company leadership should obtain when handling conflicts or disagreements? What role does conflict resolution play in the improvement of the workplace?

“The ability to listen actively, remain neutral, facilitate effective communication, mediate, problem solve and collaborate, follow up with employees and stress accountability.

Conflict resolution in the improving the workplace has a crucial role, because by having strong communication, there is an increased level of satisfaction with employees. The more satisfied an employee is within their workplace, the longer they stay. By having the ability to resolve conflicts, employees feel more innovative and share creative ideas. Finally, the most obvious one, workplace stress is reduced because the employees do not have unresolved issues hanging over their heads through the workday.”

How can employers navigate and utilize different personalities and work styles? Why is it important?

“It is important to appreciate and approach each personality in a way to best assist in developing their growth. By appreciating the diverse talents and approaches employees bring, employers can create a more inclusive and innovative work environment.”

As long as DEI remains a prominent effort in an organization’s development, it is important for individuals in leadership positions to consider the diverse backgrounds and ideals that each employee brings to the organization. In 2022, there were 73,485 workplace discrimination charges in the US, resulting in more than $39 million in damages for victims in federal court. When any conflict festers, whether it is a discrimination case or not, the cost of conflict extends organization-wide, leaving a significant burden to all. That being said, it is crucial for management to tackle these situations at an early stage or implement positive preventative tactics beforehand.

 What does a healthy process of receiving and giving constructive feedback look like? What are things employers should avoid?

A healthy process of receiving constructive feedback should include:

  1. Openness and Receptivity: Employees should approach feedback with an open mind and willingness to learn and grow.
  2. Active Listening: Employees should actively listen to the feedback provided, focusing on understanding the message being conveyed. This includes paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues and seeking clarification when needed.
  3. Embracing a Growth Mindset: Employees should adopt a growth mindset, viewing feedback as a chance to improve their skills and performance. It should be viewed as constructive guidance rather than personal criticism.
  4. Reflect and Ask Questions: Employees can reflect on the feedback received and ask questions to gain a deeper understanding.
  5. Appreciation and Gratitude: Employees should express gratitude to the person providing the feedback, recognizing their effort in helping them grow. Constructive feedback builds positive relationships and encourages ongoing feedback exchanges.
  6. Specificity and Clarity: Employers should provide specific and clear feedback which focuses on the employee’s behaviors, actions or outcomes. Vague feedback can be unclear and have no positive outcome.
  7. Timeliness: The feedback should be provided in a timely manner. If an employer observes a behavior or situation, it is critical to address is as soon as possible.
  8. Focus on Behaviors Not Personalities: Feedback should be behaviors or action focused rather than attacking an individual’s personality or character. This helps the feedback to remain constructive and avoids personalizing the criticism.
  9. Offer Solutions and Support: Employers should offer suggestions or solutions for improvement and provide support in achieving the desired changes. This helps employees understand the path forward and feel supported in their growth journey.

Things Employers Should Avoid:

  1. Harsh Criticism and Personal Attacks
  2. Failing to Provide Context: Employers should provide context for feedback, helping employees understand the reasoning behind it. The context helps the employees see the bigger picture.
  3. Ignoring Individual Differences: Employers should recognize that individuals may respond differently to feedback. Providing feedback without considering individual differences in learning styles personalities, or experiences can hinder its effectiveness.
  4. Lack of Follow-up Support: Employers should follow up on feedback discussions and provide ongoing support and resources to help employees implement changes. Neglecting to provide ongoing guidance can undermine the impact of the initial feedback.
  5. Neglecting to Seek Feedback: Employers should be actively seeking feedback from their employees, creating a culture of open communication and continuous improvement.

Feedback should be a two-way street, allowing both employees and employers to provide input.

How do social events and team building exercises contribute to overall successful relationship dynamics.

“Social Events and team building exercises contribute to overall successful relationship dynamics by allowing team members opportunities to connect on a personal level, foster trust, enhance communication, and promote a positive work environment.”

According to Edleman’s Trust Barometer, 1 in 3 people do not trust their employer. To exercise trust, employers might consider activities like blindfolded obstacle courses or group problem solving activities. This encourages teams to rely on each other. Hosting a company-wide picnic, or an annual award ceremony to recognize team achievement is another way to show appreciation for work initiatives made by employees and strengthen company dynamics.

What are the benefits of collaboration projects and how can employers support the momentum of these projects?

“Collaboration projects enhance creativity and innovation, improve problem solving, increase productivity, enhances knowledge sharing and learning, and builds teamwork and communication skills.”

What is active listening and what can employers gain from practicing it? 

“Active listening is a skill that involves focusing and comprehending the speaker’s message. It goes beyond just hearing the words and involves actively engaging with the speaker, both verbally and non- verbally.  To actively listen, one must pay attention, be present, understand and process, demonstrate empathy, and provide nonverbal feedback like nodding, facial expressions, etc.

Employers can gain improved employee engagement, effective problem solving, enhanced communication and collaboration, increased employee loyalty and retention, and enhanced leadership skills by practicing active learning.”

Ayleen’s Final Notes:

“Employees are the backbone of the employer’s organization, and creating a positive work environment and fostering healthy workplace relationships are crucial for their satisfaction, retention, and productivity. By establishing a positive work environment, employers can cultivate a culture that supports and encourages their employees. An open-door policy can make employees feel comfortable approaching their managers, or supervisors with their concerns, ideas, or feedback, and help build trust and transparency. It shows that their voices are valued and appreciated. When employers prioritize creating a positive work environment, fostering healthy workplace relationships, and recognizing and respecting individual differences, employees are more likely to feel satisfied, engaged, and motivated. This, in turn leads to higher level of productivity, longer retention, and overall success for the organization.”