Connection through conflict with Kimberly Bringas

Conflict isn't always a bad thing.

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Welcome to New World of Work: a podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce. In each episode, we’ll hear from some of the world’s best and brightest people and culture experts on the cutting-edge topics HR professionals are most interested in today, explored through a global lens.

Episode description

The shift to remote work has brought on a brand new set of challenges for people operations professionals as they experiment with new tools, approaches and methods to keep teams happy and communication in constant flow. On this episode of New World of Work, Rhys sits down with Kimberly Bringas, Leadership Development Partner Lead at Drizly, to discuss the best ways to approach difficult conversations and conflicts while working remotely. In her role, Kimberly works with leadership to identify development opportunities as their teams scale, and coaches leadership on their pain points and growth opportunities. During the episode, Rhys and Kimberly discuss strategies for recognizing, understanding and diffusing conflict while working remotely.

Episode transcript

Rhys: Welcome to New World of Work: a podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce. 

I’m Rhys Black, Head of Remote at Oyster, a global people operations platform making it easier than ever to build a brilliant team on an international scale.

On New World of Work, we’ll hear from some of the world’s best and brightest people and culture experts on cutting-edge topics that people operations professionals need to hear today, all through a global lens. 

Join us as we navigate this new world of work together and learn more about each other along the way. 

From terminations to internal conflicts, the workplace has always been rife with, shall we say, less than pleasant conversations. 

Add a global pandemic and the shift to a completely remote workforce to the mix, and you’re bound to run into a communication breakdown or two.

Navigating this new world of work is full of unanticipated challenges that are stretching companies beyond their limits. 

The shift to remote work has given people operations professionals a run for their money as they experiment with new tools, approaches and methods to keep teams happy and communication in constant flow. 

Today on New World of Work, I’m sitting down with Kimberly Bringas, Leadership Development Partner Lead at Drizly to discuss the best ways to approach difficult conversations and conflicts while working remotely. 

In her role, Kimberly works with leadership to identify development opportunities as their teams scale. She also coaches leadership on their pain points and growth opportunities to ensure they’re maximizing their potential as leaders. 

To kick off the interview, Kimberly shared more about Drizly, her role within the organization and her experiences with remote work throughout her career.

Kimberly: Drizly is a third party, platform based business model that enables alcohol commerce by connecting established brick and mortar retailers with consumers. But in short, basically, we act as a connection point between consumers and their local liquor stores to be able to get beer, wine and spirits delivered to their home in under 60 under 60 Minutes.

Drizly's current head count, last I checked a few days ago, I was 321, so, definitely over that three hundred mark. Or we're not that scrappy little startup anymore. We are definitely now in our sustainable growth stage.

My experience really has just been in tech. My entire career has been in tech for over 10 years now, which is crazy to think about. Some times that I've, you know, been on this journey and I've been in people operations the entire time, but I've definitely pivoted along the way. So I actually started as an office manager, pivoted into ops, ended up finding some good footing in H.R.. And then with Drizly, I was able to move into the org development space and specifically focus on leadership development.

I've been doing the hashtag remote life for over seven years now. And I happened upon it in my last company at Olark. I actually wasn't looking to be remote. I just really connected with the culture. The team, the leaders were really fantastic. I just, you know, it was just a perk at the time. I had no idea I would end up just becoming this remote advocate and specifically at Drizly, when we say remote first, really, we're looking at giving people the flexibility to work in the most engaging environment for them. So we do have two offices. There's going to be an office rollout because we are still trying to adhere to safety protocols and keep everybody safe. But we are moving towards a hybrid model, so we're going to have a mix of office and remote and essentially giving folks the flexibility and the autonomy to choose which environment works for them. So that's 100 percent remote. Great. If that's also going into an office some of the time and that's available to you. Great. A big part of it, though, especially on the people operations side, is while we say yes, flexibility you like, choose what works for you. It's also working with our leaders to ensure that we are steady employees up for success. So that's everything from the policies that we roll out, our best practices that we share. Just ensuring that folks have the resources that they need to actually do remote well.

Rhys: By moving towards a hybrid working model, Drizly is empowering their team to make their own choices about where and how they want to work. As someone who has been working remotely for seven years, Kimberly was no stranger to the lifestyle when the pandemic hit, but she explained that the switch to working from home was somewhat of a culture shock for some members of the team.

Like it did for most companies and individuals across the globe, the pandemic brought about a whole slew of changes to the status quo for Drizly. As a result, Kimberly was presented with several new challenges to work through in her role and an even greater need to think outside the box.

Kimberly: We're definitely still in the pandemic. It hasn't gone away. But where it Drizly was prior to the pandemic is they were actually very office focused. So very strong office culture. We have our headquarters in Boston. We also have another office in Denver. And the pandemic, just so many other companies through Drizly Enduro for setting. It wasn't initially part of our long term strategy, but as we were in it and recognized and leveraged a lot of the benefits of remote first, it became part of our long term strategy to be remote first. So it's quite the change.

Culture is an interesting piece and how remote first changes culture it can. It happens in a myriad of ways now for Drizly, since we were very office focused, moving to that remote first mentality, it was changing essentially the way that we work. So before there was this idea of like, let's get everybody in a room, let's all have a meeting. And when, especially when I first joined about a year ago, it was very, very meeting heavy to the point where I just it was a big shock for me because my last company was very async for it and typically for remote first companies. That's a big part of it is having great async practices. Drizly was getting there, but it wasn't quite there yet. And so there was a lot of intentionality of frankly questioning in the way that we were doing work because just because something served us when we were in the office or served us, you know, as also another big shift we were moving from, you know, scrappy startup to sustainable growth company. A big part of that was challenging the way that we work. And just because something got us to a certain stage, was it still serving us? And so one of the things I was super surprised, well, surprised and delighted by was when I first joined, when I started asking these questions around how are we thinking about this room with a remote first lens? Are these practices serving us? How can we change and evolve things? I was very these questions were very welcomed, both by the people team that I partnered with and also my leaders. So there was a genuine curiosity and a genuine willingness to engage with me on some of these hard questions. And so it actually led to some, some pretty significant changes.

A big challenge was my leaders even understanding how to partner with me. And so when you're moving from, you know, that scrappy startup to sustainable growth company and also at the time, Drizly was growing super fast. So we were in a very fortunate position when the pandemic hit that we experienced a huge demand for our services, which means we needed to add headcount, we needed to add it fast and we are still growing pretty rapidly. And I really give the Drizly team a lot of credit in terms of where they were making their investments, and a big investment they made was actually in the people team. So rollout and a leadership development partner, the fact there's three of us versus just one. And this role usually comes in around, you know, the 500 to 1000 person marker they were planning for the future. So a big challenge kind of right off the bat of engaging my peers was establishing that trust and rapport to really then challenge the ways that they were thinking. So that was everything from, you know, how are you growing your skill set as a leader? What are the areas that you want to develop and how can you show up well for your team, especially since you are experiencing, you know, significant changes as a company because in order for the teams to be able to thrive, they need their leaders to show up well. So a big part of my role coming in is coaching our leaders on thinking about what is the team you have currently, where do they need to evolve? How do we get there? How do we set them up with opportunities so they're feeling anchored in their role, excited about their work, and they actually seem to see long term career progression for themselves. So making that investment in my role and also just in general, growing up the people team, we've had quite a few folks like we brought our H.R. department. We continue to grow out to alienate a people analyst. We're investing in the future. And essentially they invested in the department that supports and invests in the rest of the company.

One of the big challenges that came up on the tech team side was around shifting mentality from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset means is when you're in that startup mode, you're just trying to keep the lights on, you're trying to keep people paid. And so kind of your tactics of how you approach your work is in that scrappy mentality. You're focused on what we don't have these things. So we're going to have to make decisions like hard decisions this way or we're going to have to put our resources here, but not here. Moving to that sustainable growth company now, it's moving towards that abundance mindset. What do we have? What is that or disposable? What resources do we have? How do we leverage that? So for some of our leaders that have been here, you know, for a good chunk of Grizzlies, you know, life time that can be kind of a painful switch of, you know, how do we do that? And then also, when there's a whole bunch of change happening in a big part of it, too was coaching my leaders on which their teams because sometimes what can happen when there's a lot of change is leaders want to be there for their team. They want to be open, they want to, you know, have the door open for conversations. But sometimes what can end up happening is a lot of venting and venting, while it's really great, feels good in the moment. Like I got that off my chest. It feels, you know, so great. It's not good for the person on the receiving end of it. It's actually a very deep, energizing space to be in. And also, it kind of gives the person a little bit of a pass to not actually address the conflict itself. So big part of it was working with my leaders of how do you pivot that conversation from, you know, just kind of giving people space to air out their frustrations to, OK, let's unpack that a little bit. Let's kind of get to the root of like, what's really behind this and help them? I like to call it unpack their own brain. So by modeling those behaviors in our coaching sessions and then teaching them how to do that with their own teams, then they're shifting the expectation to teams of yes, conflict is something that's normal. It's going to happen. We're going to have it. But once we kind of get through the layers of it, we actually need to pivot and actually move towards action. And so just that in itself is an incredibly big shift to move from that space of, oh, I give people space to like, tell me what's on their mind to, they tell me what's on their mind, but then I help them figure out how to redirect and pivot and move forward.

Rhys: Unpacking your brain sounds like something we could all do more often. Shifting our perception of conflict from a problem to a normal part of work life sounds like a subtle yet powerful reframe that would instantly help to diffuse the stress of a conflict situation.

Very often, it’s not the situation at hand that’s the problem—it’s the way we’re perceiving it internally. This is why Kimberly suggests viewing conflict as an opportunity to bond with others and learn more about our co-workers on a personal level. 

She shared a few more helpful tips for approaching conflict while working remotely, or in any working environment.

Kimberly: Seeing conflict as an opportunity was actually a very recent, all recent professional development for myself. So I actually used to be very conflict averse. I didn't like conflict. You don't want to engage with it. It made me super nervous. But over time, I realized, especially with the roles that I was choosing to be in, this was a big part of when I pivoted into H.R. is I need to engage with tough conversations. It's important not to let these things fester and get out of control. And so when I started shifting my mentality, I started seeing it as an opportunity because when I did have, you know, in-depth conversations with folks, I learned a lot about them because the core root of conflict is just a difference of perspective. And one of my neighbors said something to me once, which has really stuck with me. And he said, sometimes I forget people are as complex as I am. And when we impact that a little bit, what it really came down to was we have super rich histories or we have a plethora of experiences, interactions, people that have come in and out of our lives. And sometimes it's easy to come into a conversation leading with. Our own experiences and forgetting somebody else has an entirely rich experience of their own. So it essentially conflict does is you're getting a sense of like there's a disconnect here of some sort and being curious and wanting to actually explore because a lot of times we lead with our own experiences. So we assume we know what the in-person other person's intention is, what you know, and a lot of things were wrong. I know I've been wrong many times going into a conflict, thinking somebody is thinking, feeling, perceiving something a certain way and have been completely just wrong. And it gave me the opportunity to learn about them and learn about their perspective, their experiences that led them to whatever that conclusion was. And by providing that space with curiosity, then the person is welcomed into the conversation and it moves from this feeling of like, I need to win. I need to like, have the upper hand on this person to I want to meet this person where they're at. I want to learn about them. I want to engage because as human beings, that's what we Wylie's survived as a species for as long as we have. Because we value connection, we need each other. And conflict is a way to remember like, oh, folks can come from things from different angle. But that doesn't mean we can't come together and talk to each other and learn from each other as well. So once I started shifting that in a weird way, I almost get a little excited when I have a conflict where I'm like, Oh, this person? And I don't agree. I wonder why and wanting to like, dig in with that person, it just becomes much more energizing for everybody involved.

I think in general, conflict is hard because we're never taught to be good at it. I mean, if you think of all your years of schooling, how many conflict courses did you take? Maybe you had a here are, you know, we co-create like the rules for a classroom, but kind of beyond that being able to engage and learn how to have conflict while not something we come across. So then all those years, you never learn really anything and then you're thrown into a work space with folks. It's kind of like you're already set up to fail. And then what essentially remote did is it wasn't that remote caused these conflicts. It just made the conflicts that much harder. So I think of it in terms of if you were to put someone in a car who has never driven before and say, drive the car, that's kind of like your baseline conflict skills. And then as this person is trying to figure out how to drive the car, it starts raining. So that would be like the pandemic level switch to remote first. So essentially, if folks are not even set up to engage with conflict and then there's just all of these additional tensions from a wrote that one of the biggest things I tell folks is the reason it feels hard is because it is and sometimes just being able to normalize. Like not to say it's an excuse to not want to be better at engaging with conflict. But if you're feeling like this is very difficult and uncomfortable, it's because really there weren't the pieces set up to put you in a place to be successful.

The general thoughts of like addressing conflict, whether that's in affairs in a remote setting is pretty similar. So kind of the baseline is active listening. So especially when you're in a people operations role in order to actually gain traction with someone is having them feel heard and not just feel heard, understood. Now you don't necessarily need to agree with their point of view, but it's very important that at a baseline somebody feels like, Oh, Kim really understands where I'm coming from. She understands kind of the core thing that's bothering me. And then from there, which I think is the stuff that gets missed a lot is not not just listening, but also being able to actively check your own ego. Ego is this very interesting thing that actually prevents us from really hearing someone. Because, for instance, if you know I'm coming from a space of, you know what? I feel like this person doesn't think I'm very competent in my role. They don't think I'm really smart to begin with. I'm going to put it, I'm going to put a color in on anything they say. So I'm bringing that into the conversation. Their actions, what they're doing may actually have no intention at all of doing that, but I'm already thinking, Oh, I need, I need to get my defenses up. So it's being able to ask yourself, like, what baggage are you potentially bringing into this conversation with someone that could be preventing me from actually hearing them? And then the other thing is just being able to agree on the problem. A lot of times I find it so fascinating, especially when I would mediate discussions and people were clearly talking past each other. Is, can you actually agree on the problem? You want to solve our problems that you're seeing and the ones that are always found the most funny or what I called aggressively agreeing where they were essentially saying the same thing, but essentially but saying it different enough where it sounded like two different problems. So that's kind of a big one, too, because if you can't agree on the problem you jointly want to solve, then you're going to want to solve for different things or you're not going to actually move forward. And then kind of circling back to just seeing the conflict as an opportunity like this is an opportunity for me to problem solve with somebody else. We can we are in this together. So instead of it being like a me versus the other person, it's this is a partnership. We can move towards something together. But if we're not hearing each other, we're letting our egos get in the way. We can't even agree on the thing we want to solve. Then that opportunity is going to be lost.

Rhys: Active listening is one of Kimberly’s keys to helping team members feel seen, heard and understood. 

But taking a step back, how can we as people operations professionals know when it’s appropriate to step in and help to manage a conflict at all? Is it always the role of people operations to get involved and diffuse conflict, or are there some situations where it’s better to hang back and allow the team to resolve it themselves?

Kimberly: It's a fine tuning process to figure out. When do you get involved? When do you let folks kind of handle things on their own? I would say in general, it's always a good thing for the parties to try to talk to each other first, because one of the first questions I usually ask if someone's coming to me for a coaching session or potential mediation is I usually with what have you tried? Because what you don't want to happen in a people ops role is kind of people seeing you as like the the middle person to go to that's going to solve their problems, you know, for them. And so essentially, I'll lead with what did you try, you know, what conversation have and what was the result and kind of talk them through that because if you're not putting at least a little bit of offer on the beginning, you're not as invested in actually solving the conflict with the problem or with the other person. And so by kind of leading with what have you tried? OK, now that didn't seem to work, let's kind of talk through some other strategies and then point them back to the other person because at the end of the day, I don't want to be kind of playing telephone. Do you remember that game where somebody whispers something in your ear? You whisper it to the next person, you know, five people down? The message is completely different. I think that's a real skill of a seasoned people operations person of knowing when to come in when the coach went to guide, but then also when to pull back and direct the parties back towards each other because at the end of the day, they need to solve that problem together. You're just more of a guy to help get that conversation started or help them sort of remove some of those blockers that might be getting in the way.

So those big changes mean moving to remote first. That takes a whole new set of skills to be able to do conflict well, just being a high growth company, still. We are adding a lot of people every single day and then also the change of the making and investment in the people team. So on the Landis side. Our land team shout out to them. They're doing amazing work with. They really helped put into place was the foundational elements that would allow us to address conflict. Well, so we have what's called the DLP, our Drizly leadership principles, which are essentially a guiding and common language of what we expect out of people and their behaviors. And then this was paired with trainings. So we have everything from having they've implemented manager training, which actually touches on these pieces of, you know, how to engage well in one on ones, how to have difficult conversations. But then we also add trainings called difficult conversations and open that up to the rest of the team. So having those foundational pieces that common language, the training and then third part was the leadership development partner role, which is my role of actually working with leaders on that. So it's a multi-pronged approach that a big reason why I was able to happen as they made investments in the expertize of the people team to actually be able to grow that function. We're not 100 percent of the way there yet. And also, I'd like to point out you never solve conflict like it's never going to go away. If anything, our intentionality is being able to put in the common language the foundational pieces, the training and the ongoing touchpoints to help people grow that skillset over time because it's just something that takes time to develop. It's no different than any other skill learning a new language, learning to play a sport, it just takes time. But having kind of those different elements in place enables folks to actually be set up to do it well.

Essentially, I have ongoing coaching sessions with our leaders and a big part of our session is tell me what's going on with their teams. Tell me what you're you're struggling with. And initially, it was me doing a lot of the asking, and now it's more that we have that establish rapport. They actually reach out to me more proactively to say, Hey, this thing is going on. I need to unpack my brain here. So it's first helping them figure out what story you're telling yourself about this conflict. And sometimes I respectfully need to challenge the reality of like, what if this wasn't true? What if this actually wasn't that person's intention? What if you know, really, this is the best route to go down? Let's let's kind of grapple with that a little bit. And a big part, too, is especially if they're bringing me specific conflicts and engaging with other people is the reinforcement. There is never a right time to address that conflict because usually when if you were like, Oh, it's just not the right time, I it's not a good time to have this discussion, and I'm like, That's more of a procrastination tactic, likely what this is. You're just uncomfortable having those conversations. So a big focus of of my role is getting my leaders comfortable with that so that they can model really good behaviors for their teams.

Rhys: In addition to these tips and insights, Kimberly also shared a concept called the six core triggers, or “hooks,” which can help us understand how conflict starts and why people feel threatened by certain situations.

Kimberly: I had the pleasure of working with Mark Barela. He is an amazing mediator. He introduced me to the concept of the six core triggers, or they're also called hooks. And just to make sure I give credit where credit is due, he actually got this this concept from Dr. Lenski and Dr. Sela team and hope I'm seeing those names correctly. And essentially what it is is it's the six core pieces that people find threatening when they're in a conflict. So it's their emotional response. And the reason they feel very powerful is they're tied to values. So the six core triggers are competence when you perceive someone is questioning your intelligence or your skill set. Inclusion when someone appears to be excluding you in some way, that could be from a group, an event, a committee and maybe even implies that you're maybe not a good teammate. There is a autonomy when somebody appears to be trying to control you kind of impose their will on you, threaten your feeling of self-reliance status when you perceive someone threatening your tangible assets. So that could be your power, your position, your decision-making ability, reliability. When someone perceives someone is questioning your trustworthiness, your dependability and then integrity when someone appears to be questioning your morals or your ethics. And these are very these have very strong reaction. But what's really interesting is I did an exercise of some of my leaders where I had the rank, these of which ones would bother them the most and which ones would bother them the least. And then when we shared those lists, what was super fascinating was how much variation there was of what people tend to care about. And so this added a really interesting kind of lens to this idea as well, because a core of the frustration is you may be seeing in some of these actions as dismissive that something is really, really bothering you, but they don't seem to have the same level of urgency. But what actually might be is they don't hold that value as strongly as you do. So that's always something to keep in mind, too. Is, again, we all have our own rich histories remembering and tracking. If you're bringing in your own perceptions, experience, ideas and values into a situation and forgetting the other person is doing the same thing.

Kimberly: I would say some common themes that I would see, as is Drizly, really cares about collaboration, really cares about working well together. So the inclusion one definitely would come up. Somebody said say something as plainly as I feel like my inclusion trigger is happening right now. Wasn't that black and white, but more along the lines of some of the behaviors? So, for instance, Drizly used to be very meeting heavy, so it was a let's get in the room like, let's all talk this out. That doesn't exactly gel with a remote first setting that can actually cause a lot of tensions because video call fatigue is very real. It takes a whole different level of attention to be on a video versus in person or just very different settings. So but the reason even though most folks felt like they had too many meetings, they also resisted letting go of some of those meetings because they were afraid of losing important information that would be covered during that call. So then it became this question of, OK, we want this feeling of inclusion having this many meetings as training. What are some of the async practices we could create that would give folks the feeling that they were getting the information they need to do their jobs, make the decisions and then have them feel okay stepping away from that. And so one of the experiments we tried, which was kind of a mixed bag, but we had a meeting, detox and audit week. And so for a week, we asked folks as much as possible cancel as many meetings as you can just to sort of challenge the idea of like, do I really need this meeting space? Could this be replaced with async practices? Now I say mixed bag because a lot of folks tried it out. They actually liked having less meetings. I mean, who wouldn't? But the one thing that was missed a little bit was the intentionality of going into that week of what long term is do we actually want to create? So that was sort of the mixed bag. Some teams did it. Some, you know, some didn't. I'd like to try the experiment again at some point kind of having that learning in mind, but kind of that core root of what that conflict was was folks feeling like. I don't want to feel like going on in the South and to honor that of absolutely, we need to give you the information you need to do your job well, make decisions, connect well with others at the same time. Are there ways we could be leveraging other tools, other spaces that are not having you in, you know, three, four or five six hours worth of meetings every day? [00:32:13][135.0]

So you're actually kind of a remote training that I did for my tech leaders, and it was kind of an experiment just to see because I'd run something like this when I was at Olark and kind of changed up some of that. But what I think it did was give some common language. So even though they're not saying these words, if I were to bring them up like, Oh, it kind of sounds like you're feeling like your economy is being a little bit threatened, like you're not feeling like you have Decision-Making capabilities having that language, I call it naming the thing like, if you can name the thing that's bothering you would have the word of like, Yes, absolutely. I was not feeling included or, you know, my confidence, like, it seems like this person doesn't think I know what I'm doing. And so we may not even just use those words like status and reliability per se. But more importantly, the thing that came out of it was that concept of let's name the thing that's bothering you. Because every time I've had a coaching session and I've even had this with with my own coach shout out to Scott, it bravely is by having somebody help you put words to what's bothering you if it stops being this like, you know, ambiguous kind of feeling and it's more concrete, you're like, Oh, this is what's bothering me. And once you get to that stage, then you're actually able to move towards. All right, now that I know what the thing is, that's bothering me, what can I actually do? And then that becomes an interesting stage two of like, is there something I can do or is this something that's not in my control? It's not in my power. I don't have decision making here. For instance, can I just come to terms with the fact that even though this bothers me, this is not my decision. Make on, I need to trust the other person to make that decision. So that's always the interesting thing to have, like even though you can get to a conclusion of what's bothering you. It also is that stage of then engaging with Do I actually have control and power to actually do something here? And sometimes the answer is no. And being able to be OK with inaction as well.

Rhys: Identifying the problem at hand, and coming to terms with your feelings about it, can be a huge step forward in resolving conflicts at work, or in any situation. Once it comes to the surface, it can be much easier to come up with a plan without being clouded by all-consuming emotions.

Working remotely can make it somewhat more difficult to open up to your colleagues, and have these candid conversations. Kimberly had some tips for managing miscommunications and being more intentional about the way we interact with our co-workers online.

Kimberly: Human beings are so fascinated in terms of communication is there's always room for miscommunication. Things getting lost in translation. Being a remote first company really requires you to be a lot more proactive and also just anticipating that miscommunications can happen. So one of the biggest shifts that you know we've been making is leveraging async, but it's also the skill building of understand when to switch between mediums. So for instance, I have this thing that I call, I'll say loosely, the rule of 15 that if I'm in slack trying to get an answer or someone and we exchange 15 lines of slack and it doesn't seem like we're getting anywhere, I'm like, Maybe this is actually a call. Or sometimes like, I had a leader reach out to me yesterday about getting some framings of how to address something that came up in one of his one on ones. I realized very quickly I'm like, I have seven questions or just so many questions to ask this person. So I say, Hey, is there any way you know you can actually hop on and hop on a call instead? Like, I've so many questions, I think it would just be much more better time management to actually talk about this versus trying to exchange this on Slack. So a lot of intentionality and also a lot of just noticing like I'm not making any headway here, like we need to maybe change shifts in tactic and sometimes it's the tool itself. And the other piece is just understanding that it's going to take time to learn these tools. But if you were kind of getting a gut feeling like something's off, just ask like, for instance, if somebody was on a video call and normally they're, you know, really engaged in like giving ideas. But they were really quiet, just being able to say, like, Hey, I kind of noticed you're a bit quiet in the meeting. Is everything OK? And you know, it could be something as simple as I just was really tired and have my morning cup of coffee. I just wasn't engaged. Or it could be something like, Hey, I was up with, you know, my daily until 2:00 in the morning like I had to. I'm having a really hard time concentrating. You don't really know what the answer is unless you ask. So that's where a lot of that intentionality comes into play and just checking in on each other as well, because a lot of times in a remote setting, one of the one of the things that I mean, it was there even before the pandemic. Is that feeling of being siloed, feeling a sense of loneliness, not connecting. So finding kind of those small ways to connect to and a big thing is just small check ins along the way can be incredibly powerful.

Kimberly: If I were to narrow it down for what my vision for the Drizly team in terms of addressing conflict, there's kind of two big pieces that myself I'm focusing on, as well as as the people team is a culture of healthy conflict and continuous feedback. So what that means is healthy conflict is you're seeing conflict as that opportunity. But a big part of conflict is that continuous feedback. So seeing our conflict as a way to connect, to engage you, talk with folks and then also just get feedback along the way, both positive and constructive, constructive where it feels just normal. This is something that I'm starting to to do a little bit more because also in a remote setting, what can happen is that feedback can get lost like you have a million Google Docs like, I mean, I have coaching sessions with quite a few leaders and I have just information in all different, different spaces. So it's sometimes finding ways to create kind of like a one stop shop where that feedback in that information lives so people can reference back to it as well. Because the more you're able to give each other feedback, engage more regularly with conflict. Essentially, what is it? What it does is create a more innovative and collaborative work environment. And I will say, you know, Drizly has a lot of great things going and going for it. But really, if we're wanting to fully leverage the remote first model, those two pieces of just culture of healthy conflict and continuous feedback are going to be critical to our success.

Kimberly: Specifically, we are working on IS. Data analysis and storytelling, so we have an amazing people analyst Tricia shot out sheet, we call our data queen and she has put together some great foundational data sets for us and we're starting to go. We're now going to be moving on to our third TBR. So quarterly business reports where we are continuously leveraging data to help create narratives for our leaders because sure, you can throw data at people, but giving some context or giving some lenses give them giving them a story to actually humanizing the data is important. And then a big part of why that is critical is we are growing still substantially. We're adding headcount every single day and we don't want to lose some of those narratives along the way, and data can be a really good way to do that. I will say I don't see data as like the be all end, all truth. It just gives us an indication of where to pay attention to. So being able to continue those pieces, but then also work with our leaders to consistently set actions in accordance to what this data is telling us. So, for instance, we have a great place to work. We do that. I think it runs in the summertime and then we have we do a follow up six months later. We have those data sets. I don't think we've been fully leveraging them the best of our capacities. So that's kind of the next stage of we have this data, we've created this cadence. We're engaging with our leaders, you know, now kind of how are we going to leverage that data to and see it action that's really going to have meaningful change. And one of the biggest things that has recently happened is the LDP's and our R&D team have formed to make our org development team. So we started for working with each other kind of ad hoc and like would reach out when when we wanted, you know, support or some insights from each other. But now that we're on a team being able to kind of leverage both sides like that, the these have this great kind of overarching view of our organizations. And L.A. is building all these amazing programs, training courses. Being able to kind of put those two together are 2022. Planning is coming up and I'm very excited to see how to work more more closely with that group on Typekit.

Rhys: Kimberly’s view of conflict in the workplace has inspired me to reflect on my daily interactions and see things in a new light, and I hope it did the same for you. 

Here are a few key takeaways that really stood out to me from the information she shared:

  • The daily frustrations we encounter at work aren’t necessarily all bad. Making a simple mindset switch to reframe conflict as an opportunity, instead of a disturbance, can help us all find a more positive approach to resolution, and understand one another on a deeper level.
  • Creating a culture of continuous feedback is key in a remote work environment, or in any working environment, for that matter. The more we encourage one another to engage in an ongoing dialogue based in honesty, the more innovative and collaborative we’ll all be at work.
  • Finding small ways to connect with your co-workers, especially while working remotely, can be a powerful way to show empathy and sensitivity towards others. You’ll rarely regret checking in with a colleague to see how they’re doing, and it can truly be a powerful yet simple tool for building authentic connections.

Thank you for listening to New World of Work, the podcast exploring the new frontier of the modern workforce through an international lens. We hope this episode served to expand your horizons and open your mind to a new perspective.

Be sure to subscribe, rate and review the podcast so we can reach more listeners.

I’m your host, Rhys Black. See you next time.

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