“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.” – Dean Becker
The life of professionals has become increasingly stressful and rife with more and tough situations than before. The importance of resilience at work has therefore become more significant than before, as this trait allows people to maintain their balance and composure in and out of their workplace. Stress and overloaded working hours are throwing people off-balance resulting in being ill both physically and mentally, thereby increasing absenteeism which in turn causes loss of valuable man-hours and a drop in productivity. Even if people do come in to office, their resilience at work is not at a desired level and hence they are unable to perform to their optimum. Resilience at work and out helps people to use their capabilities and potential to the maximum which is what any company needs to succeed. Resilient people are able to cope with change of any kind, deal with crisis better and overall have a positive effect on their co-workers and the work environment.
We have discussed in several previous expositions the importance of a happy workplace, great leadership and a work force that works cohesively and effectively. Companies are slowly but steadily understanding the value of building a happy workforce that is able to deal with setbacks, positive change that would require a shift in mind-set without causing discomfort and any other situations that demand composure and strength. Resilience at work and anywhere else is probably the antidote to many a problem – evident from the quote above. Problems and issues are an inextricable part of work and personal life – resilience at work and out, will determine whether one succeeds or fails.
We will focus on resilience at work. It is the duty and responsibility of every employer to ensure that they are able to create a happy work environment and build a work force that is able to deal with stress when it does strike. When the workplace is happy, resilience at work and out, becomes easier to cultivate. Employees with high resilience are able to tackle problems better such that there is no drop in creativity, work output and customer service. If every tough situation were to throw people off-balance, the company would not be able to survive for long as the time to recover from such setbacks would increase with time.
Resilience at work does not mean that the setbacks and problems will not occur – it just means that the people with this trait would not be beaten by them. Resilience at work and out of it, provides people with a coping mechanism and a ‘shield’ that allows them to stand tall in the face of crisis and predicaments. The physical and psychological distress experienced by resilient people and companies is a lot lower than those who have not consciously inculcated this positive trait. Resilience at work is built when companies care for their employees and support them both in their jobs and home life. The policies and procedures of the company would be such that employees are assured of the company’s understand, especially if they experience upheavals in their personal lives – like the loss of a loved one, divorce and other such emotionally stressful situations. When employees feel cared for, they would do more than is required of them when the company faces problems. Resilience at work is a win-win situation for both the company and the employees.
Resilience at work allows people to garner strength and overcome issues that even they didn’t think were possible to defeat. Such a workforce moves the company towards success and sustainable growth. So how can companies build resilience at work? Do you believe that your company and its workforce are resilient? A study conducted with working people revealed that 75% believed that the biggest cause of loss of resilience for them was difficult co-workers and or workplace rife with politics and stress. Others said that their resilience was put to the test by work overload and criticism without it being constructive or work related. These results clearly show that companies that want to build resilience at work must take serious note of these factors and do whatever it takes to eliminate them.
At the hiring stage, recruiters can look for people that seem to be inherently resilient – this would be reflected in the manner that they may have handled challenges at work, the outcomes of the way they managed. In addition, in order to build a culture of resilience at work, hire people who may have voluntarily attended courses or programs on resilience. Resilience at work and out of it thankfully is a skill that can be learned and enhanced. Encourage your employees to volunteer for such programs and build the skills that are required for resilience at work. Employees who are mentally stronger are able to support and garner cooperation from their co-workers and families. Such support is critical to the enhancement of resilience at work and outside.
If businesses expect to gain more with lesser resources, they must be able to attract, retain and motivate their employees such that they are able to manage the expectations from their jobs and from the management. There would be times when these expectations increase and be seemingly over the top, but it is in these ‘tough’ times that resilience at work is needed the most. Another survey conducted for a large number of managers revealed that being happy, satisfied and recognized in their jobs resulted in higher levels of resilience at work. Many companies are still lagging behind and are unable to achieve the optimum levels of resilience amongst their employees and top management.
A company’s leadership and culture would also contribute to the faith, conviction of purpose and trust that the employees have in the company. These factors bring about motivation and a resolution to help the company succeed – all this adds to the resilience at work. Employees are able to deal more effectively with day to day pressures and demands, thereby lowering the chances of repeated and large problems. Resilience at work is a self-motivator and conversely being motivated builds resilience, contributing consistently to the success and sustainable growth of the company.
Resilience at work also translates to happy employees – which according to a survey means that, these happy staff members are at least 50% more effective at work and the percentage of sick days taken by them are also lower. It is surprising therefore to note that not all companies are thinking about building resilience at work – through whatever means possible despite its many benefits.
Building resilience at work is not enough though – just like any other business aspect, it must be sustained too. How can resilience at work be maintained to a level that it is effective? Companies must be cognizant of the fact that employees feel more valued and important when they are shown respect, are trusted and their contribution is considered invaluable. During the year and especially during the performance appraisals, focus must be on what went well as opposed to only criticizing what didn’t work. This kind of ‘appraisal’ builds a sense of security which is essential to sustain resilience at work.
Building resilience at work has a number of aspects and there are many more methods to do so. See what works for your company and its employees – because a motivated and resilient work force and company are no longer a choice – they are a necessity and will help a company to withstand crisis and other onslaughts of the business world.