Resilience is the ability to take the challenges and changes of life in your stride. It is an individual’s emotional response to a situation, more than the physical and mental strength. By promoting a culture of confidence and learning from failures, HR can enable employees to become resilient individuals.
Building resilience in the workplace can be used as a foundation for sustainable high performance. Awareness around the impact the workplace has on employee mental health has increased and with it, so has conversations around stress and burnout. Many employees wear stress as a badge of honour so it’s critical we move away from this type of thinking. It’s important to make clear the pain of not acting and the gain of building your personal resilience.
For companies, having more employees who are healthy and productively engaged in their work has many benefits such as:
- Less interpersonal friction
- Improved teamwork
- Stronger financial results
This also has a greater impact on the society the company serves, not least because employees are:
- More productive
- Achieve more
- Have better self-esteem
Findings indicate that there are four key areas of HR practice that enable the development of employee resilience if implemented effectively:
- Job Design
- Communication and Information sharing
- Employee benefits (monetary and non-monetary)
- Learning and Development
By using a resilience framework, you can capture the attention of those who are already on the road to burnout and the benefits of taking remedial action and still appeal to those who are performing well and could benefit from taking proactive action by building resilience habits to help them sustain high performance and accelerate their career. Increased resilience contributes to sustainable high performance by improving your ability to handle high pressure yet not become stressed. It can also raise your self-efficacy because you are more consistent with decisions you make and are able to interact with others with less friction.
The ‘Wheel of Resilience’ (Freedom Model) is a simple self-assessment that employees can use to evaluate their current resilience habits. Knowing where they have existing strengths and areas for development typically prompt conversations about sharing best practice and highlights any common areas of need. Organisations should encourage employees to develop resilience across all categories so they are prepared for whatever challenge may arise. To cater for all, suggest a range of practical resilience habits and encourage the individual to select and adapt the implementation of the habit to their current context so it becomes part of how they deliver their day job. Many resilience habits, such as planning your energy rather than your time, are a new way of doing something you have to do so take no extra time.
For resilience practices to become embedded, it’s important for senior management to take the lead and be open about their own resilience practices both inside and outside the office. A degree of honesty reassures others that ‘we’re all in it together’ and the aim is to make progress, not to be perfect. The uptake of resilience practices can be improved if people understand the link between increased resilience and sustainable high performance, are able to tailor their resilience habits to them and see positive role models. Ultimately, for a business to have the best chance of succeeding, resilience should be a priority for employees, HR and senior leaders alike.