How to build the resilience of your workforce

Wednesday September 30, 2020

Resilience is often described as the ability to bounce back from adversity.

Because of this, picturing resilience in the workplace pre-2020 may have conjured up stereotypical examples of jobs that require just that. Think police responders, the armed forces in action or A&E doctors, to name a few.

Whilst it’s true that bouncing back can be an example of resilient behaviour, there are other ways in which resilience manifests itself in the workplace.

Recognising and developing resilient behaviours can help employees to be better equipped to handle life’s challenges and adapt to sudden change.

The events of this year have highlighted this more than ever. They have shown that resilience at work is not just needed for those on the front line, but that it’s beneficial to every employee, in every business, no matter their role.

Why are some people more resilient than others?

Considering your workforce for a second, and how employees react to high pressured situations like the pandemic, you may think that some are just more resilient than others.

And that may be true due to a number of factors.

Some people have learnt resilience early on in life because of their upbringing, experiences and close personal relationships. They may exhibit a tougher exterior or be even-tempered under pressure.

Those who have not faced the same challenges in life could take a little longer to reach an even keel. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t.

Busting the resilience myth

A misconception of resilience is that it is a personality trait. You either have it or you don’t.

The danger with this is that if someone is made to believe that they are not resilient, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This disbelief in one’s own abilities to cope with challenging circumstances can be debilitating and prevent personal growth.

On the contrary, someone who is repeatedly told that they are tough and resilient may begin to think that they always must be, or extrapolate it to believe they lack the emotional ability to connect with others.

Both scenarios can be limiting for employees and troublesome in the workplace.

How to become more resilient

We often talk about how mental health is just as important as physical health. Everyone has it and needs to take care of it. Likewise, anyone can develop resilience, as long as they have the tools and support in place to do so.

Think of resilience as a muscle, getting stronger over time through commitment and dedication.

With muscles, targeted exercises are required for the best results. And applying the wrong type of pressure can actually do more harm than good.

The same can be said for resilience so we would advise seeking professional HR advice before putting resilience to the test in your business.

Building a resilient workforce

Building the resilience of your workforce has many great benefits, for them and for your business.

Employees can learn to be happier, healthier, more confident, and productive when faced with sudden changes.

You may also find that teams become better connected and more successful when able to collectively face challenges head on.

This year has shown just how quickly everything can change, and how resilience can help teams and businesses to adapt. If you would like to discuss ways in which you can work on resilience within your workforce, give us a call. We offer specific eLearning training as well as bespoke consultancy and can find a solution to benefit your business.

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