Leading a workforce is no small feat. You wear multiple hats and must have the ability to recover quickly from challenges and difficulties, so your workforce remains in sync, supported, and guided.
As an organizational leader, your resilience is tested every single day. Of course, for a strong, healthy and productive organization, the goal is always to help your workforce develop skills that will increase their own, individual resilience.
Remember: Resilient employees make resilient organizations. So whatever state you feel your organization is currently hovering in, you can help shift the mindset significantly and improve the overall culture and wellbeing within your organization.
What is employee resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to adapt and respond positively to difficult events and situations.
Developing an ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned is essential in the workplace, now more than ever. When faced with adversity, change, uncertainty and stress, resilience is the key to rebounding and emerging stronger.
Why Resilience is a Top Skill Needed in Today’s Workplace
Helping your employees learn effective ways of addressing and overcoming the difficulties they will inevitably face is a crucial component to employee retention, productivity and overall well-being.
A confident employee is one who is both self-reliant and self-assured, making informed decisions and actively problem-solving when they are faced with potential setbacks.
COVID-19 has introduced another reason for why resilience is a top skill to learn. Employees have to be able to adjust to new work environments, PPE and social distancing requirements, responsibilities and in many ways adapt the way they work together, whether they're in the office or remote.
As an HR professional and organizational leader, developing this skill within your workforce is essential to their personal growth and the quality of organizational development.
The Benefits of A Resilient Workforce
Overcoming Setbacks in a Professional Setting
It is inevitable that some professional ventures will fail. Perhaps it is the client that got away or the impending deadline that was missed due to extenuating circumstances. Helping your employees learn from these experiences – instead of lambasting them while they are down – is an excellent method of developing personal resilience.
Avoiding Unnecessary Instances of Conflict in the Workplace
Establishing a healthy work environment within your organization requires planning and follow-through. Instances of gossip, personal disagreements, and minor disputes are all a normal part of work life. Teaching your employees to avoid harmful interactions can prevent deep-seeded issues in the culture and create a more supportive environment where employees build each other up, leading to greater personal development and resilience.
Positively Adjusting to New or Changing Work Environments and Conditions
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamic of almost every workplace in 2020, other circumstances like mergers, acquisitions, new management or changing strategic directions can also derail employee productivity and engagement. Resilient employees, with the right leadership and training, can remain productive and engaged in their jobs in the midst of changing work conditions.
5 Ways to Empower Employees to be More Resilient at Work
Encourage Professional Connectivity
Positive and healthy relationships between employees are an important element to a healthy organization. Accepting help and support from work peers is a great way of developing personal resilience and organizational comradery.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces have developed virtual get-togethers as a way for employees to connect even if they're working remotely.
Cleveland Clinic, who still has the majority of their caregivers on-site to take care of patients, created peer-to-peer support groups to provide a space for employees share highs and lows from the day and help prevent burnout.
Challenge Your Employees in a Healthy Way
Resilient individuals learn to view difficult scenarios as a personal challenge – not a paralyzing event. Providing opportunities for your workforce to work through difficult scenarios, and to even fail, allows trust to be built within your organization and resilience to grow within your employees.
Help Your Staff Develop Realistic and Achievable Goals
Fostering increased self-efficacy among your employees will help establish personal resilience. Project and work management structures that establish simple, attainable goals for employees to achieve throughout the course of a normal work week enables them to normalize the feeling of being accomplished and prepares them to mentally handle tougher scenarios that will naturally present themselves.
Provide Educational Resources and Coaching to Improve Resilience
Leverage emotional well-being and stress management coaching programs and even your employee assistance program (EAP) to help your employees build a resilient mindset and reduce workplace depression and anxiety, especially during times of unprecedented stress and uncertainty.
Ready to build or reinforce a healthy and resilient workforce?
Start by implementing a wellness program that focuses on physical and mental health.
Personal health and resilience have a very interconnected relationship. Some of the same pathways to improved resilience and mental health will also improve physical health. For example, regular exercise, getting a good night's sleep, eating a healthy diet and practicing stress management techniques each have physiological and psychological benefits.
By providing employees the tools to improve their physical and emotional health and the skills to achieve a healthy work/life balance, you are ensuring that when illness or emotional distress arrives, they will be prepared to weather the storm and emerge more resilient.
Your wellness initiatives will set the tone for your workforce. By focusing your corporate wellness program on both physical and emotional well-being, you provide the tools for employees to build up their physical and mental toughness, and reduce healthcare costs over the long term.
Learn more about our expanded coaching offerings and new programs from the Cleveland Clinic that were developed specifically to adjust to changing workforce needs brought on by the pandemic.