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HR Strategies for Building Symbiotic Teams

HR & Compliance

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Updated on:
March 15, 2024
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Updated on :

March 15, 2024
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HR Strategies for Building Symbiotic Teams


The work ethos of the new age is defined by a sense of wellness, belonging, and purpose. Against this backdrop, companies and leaders that prioritize personal development and strive to create a culture of inclusivity find themselves better positioned to attract and retain talent.

We have seen plenty of examples of organizational leaders stepping in to accommodate their teams during the pandemic, ensuring that their contributions to the organization are not at the expense of personal health. This creates trust, which is the core element of any symbiotic relationship, giving them an edge over their competitors. These leaders seem to operate on the tenet of "give and you shall receive."

How do they incorporate practices to nurture a symbiotic relationship?

The Case For "Purpose"

Maslow's need hierarchy has already laid the foundation for psychological perceptions of different needs to be a vital source of motivation, compelling human beings to do the things they do. In theory, the hierarchy starts with basic physiological aspects – the stuff of survival – and terminates at the apex need – the need for self-actualization. The need for self-actualization is at the top for a reason. Unlike the rest of the list, there is no saturation point for self-actualization. There’s another word for describing this instinct – purpose.

A Mckinsey study found that about 70 percent of people say they define their purpose through work. In fact, millennials are more likely to see their work as their life calling. The same study also highlights the importance of aligning personal purpose with organizational purpose. It increases the likelihood of employees feeling they’re fulfilling their purpose at work five and a half times. What this presents is an opportunity for leaders to engage their workers.

Organizations today should draft their purpose statement with care. Building an authentic organizational purpose requires spending time reflecting on the impact the company has on the world. It does not necessarily have to be a big splash campaign to change the world. Even ripples can significantly impact employee involvement if you can find ways to align their personal goals with the purpose statement.

Creating a dialogue with your remote team on how they define their purpose and how they attach to the organization can be a starting point. Remote employees will feel more connected and included in the big picture with these conversations. Purpose is organic; it is about finding the areas where employees feel passionate, energized, and creative. This can benefit the organization by opening up new avenues of action that can fuel growth.

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How To Build Growth Teams

1. Avoid Micro-Management

A symbiotic relationship is also characterized by a degree of independence and trust. When you micro-manage and constantly look over your employee's shoulder, you leave little room for innovation. Besides, it can be tiring for both the team member and the leader. Shifting from an input focus, where you are merely clocking the hours, to an output focus, where you measure success by the work accomplished, is essential to integrate into the remote work world.

2. Set Clear Goals

A study by Mckinsey shows that when leaders invest more time crafting clear goals and clarifying strategies, they can depend more on their teams to execute decisions accordingly. To build a competent growth team, leaders need first to build strong foundations of policy. Leaders find themselves intervening in decision-making when there is a lack of clarity on broad enterprise goals and strategies. Good decision-makers end up making bad decisions in this scenario. Leaders need to define and articulate their strategy accurately.

3. Train Your Team

Couple coherent policies with adequate training, and you can count on your team to surpass the performance standards. Coaching with remote teams can be adjusted to meet the goal. In fact, resilient organizational leaders have engaged 73% more in micro interactions (meetings that lasted less than 15 minutes with the result of an explicit action or decision) over the pandemic.

4. Better Collaboration With Cross-Functional Teams

Another driver for growth could be working within a cross-silo team. Organizations that have performed well over the pandemic are found to have increased their reliance on networks of small, empowered, cross-functional teams. By investing in team-building activities, they can make these teams operational. By providing opportunities for collaboration and learning, this boosts employee morale while achieving organizational objectives.

Remote Work Culture: Finding The Right Balance

A key challenge for remote leaders is integrating teams that are spread across the world. Culture can be a barrier, but it can also be an enabler for out-of-the-box thinking. Laying down ground rules for interaction and workflows is a must.

Creating trust can take time within cross-cultural teams, and it should be pursued consciously by engaging team members in relationship-building activities. Huddles can be used to share and explore personal cultures while helping teammates understand each other better. If teammates are not forthcoming when they encounter an obstacle, it can indicate low trust levels—checking in on them and enquiring after their well-being is crucial.

Remote work misses out on watercooler conversations, which play an essential role in bonding. These interactions can, however, be synthetically created by applications that incorporate micro-interactions prompts. However, leaders should ensure that the digital volume does not turn into a stressor itself. Deploying consistent rules, rituals & protocols for engagement can help teammates find work-life balance with remote work.

The Future is All Remote

Building a relationship with your teams is an ongoing effort and requires a mindset shift. Hearing from fellow professionals in HR can help you augment your approach to team building within the remote environment. To get insights and pick the minds of thought leaders, join us at Skuad's virtual event – All Remote: Building a new world work culture – where we have a segment exploring the dynamics of HR leadership in remote teams: HR Round Table on 19th August, 2021.

Register today on www.allremote.club to book your front-row seat at the All Remote Virtual Conference.

About the author

Catalina Wang is a Human Resource Consultant. She manages recruitment, onboarding, and contract administration staffing for many organizations and remote teams. She’s passionate about efficient HR management and the impact of tech on hiring practices.

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