March 17, 2022

7 ways to help your employees build resilience

In the era of the “Great Resignation” and a volatile job market, there’s one thing that employers cannot afford—and that’s unhappy employees. Having disengaged people on your teams isn’t only bad for office morale; it also incurs a high cost for companies—upwards of $550 billion a year in the United States

And to top it off, they’re more likely to leave. The risk of attrition is real. 

The cost of replacing employees who head for greener pastures can cost a company 33% of one year of an entry-level employee’s salary—a hefty fee, indeed, due to recruitment fees and the opportunity cost of leaving a crucial role vacant.

So it’s in everyone’s interest to keep employees happy. How can smart organizations diminish employee turnover and keep their people more engaged? It starts with finding ways to help employees become more resilient—an effort that serves companies’ interests and those of the employees themselves. 

Here are seven ways to do that:

  1. Reassess before structuring goals

Setting realistic goals is deeply important to keeping employees engaged and motivated. Baseline goals should remain achievable and reasonable. When company heads make “stretch goals” the baseline, it leaves employees feeling demoralized and anxious when these goals aren’t achieved. A key to creating resilient employees is to keep projects reasonable and achievable, which leads to higher employee confidence levels.

“Clarity is kindness.”

Ancient HR proverb
  1. Be intentional about performance conversations.

It’s an understandable inclination to want to tell employees about areas where they could improve during performance conversations. Do so carefully: to build resilience, it’s important to keep conversations away from a correctional tone. Instead, reframe the conversation to discuss challenges, areas where an employee might need support, and individual goals. Gather information, know your success metrics, and deliver your feedback with intentionality. This helps employees gain confidence and self-efficacy and become more resilient.

  1. Create a safe environment

Authority is important, but maintaining an overly hierarchical and rigid power structure in the office only alienates employees; it also makes them anxious about asking for help when they need it, for fear they may “fall off the ladder” or receive blame. Employees gain resilience from knowing that they can ask—for help, answers, and advice on how best to get something done. So it’s vital to build a “conversation culture” in your organization. Only then can true teamwork thrive.

Separate studies show that both employees (64%) and employers (75%) agree that teamwork boosts engagement. Source: Queens University of Charlotte and Harvard Business Review
  1. Get vulnerable

In 2011, Denzel Washington gave a now-famous commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania, in which he told the new graduates to “fall forward”—that failures line the path to all great successes. Rather than being afraid of failure, resilient employees embrace a growth mindset, secure in knowing that they can accomplish difficult tasks—even when setbacks occur.

  1. Personalize the support you provide.

Who are your employees, anyway? Taking the time to understand them personally and engage in dialogue regarding their goals, challenges, fears, and insights goes a long way towards helping them be resilient. Each employee brings unique strengths and needs. Nurturing resilient employees involves being in tune with these differences so that individuals can be well-supported, have their needs met, and know that they are valued.

  1. Make it all equitable.

Employees actively search for empowering environments; conversely, they are repelled from environments in which they feel they are treated unfairly. Managing employees equitably involves empowering people by:

  • Rewarding them for their hard work.
  • Supporting them in getting what they need.
  • Treating them fairly in internal processes.

Resilient employees are secure in the knowledge that their workplace is fair and can advocate for themselves. Because a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone doesn’t work.

  1. Offer company-wide coaching.

Everyone needs support, training, and tools to improve–not just the folks in the C-suite. Democratizing coaching means ensuring that employees at all levels get help and support to succeed in the workplace. Coaching drives engagement; it makes people feel valued, boosts motivation, and encourages productivity. The idea that it’s only for certain “super important people” is outdated, and resilient employees at all levels can benefit from coaching to help them become the best versions of themselves. 

7 Benefits of Employee Coaching

#1 Improved communication skills
#2 Enhanced organizational awareness
#3 Increased self-confidence and motivation
#4 Forming an action plan toward achieving goals
#5 Reduced workplace stress
#6 Boost in self-awareness
#7 Greater engagement and sense of empowerment

While some companies may be hesitant to invest resources in coaching, particularly during the pandemic and when turnover is at a high, the reality is that this makes creating happy, resilient employees even more vital. 

Working with employees to build resilience helps hedge against “exit risks” and keeps them engaged and productive; in short, it is one prong in a multi-prong solution to today’s workforce challenges and pays dividends down the line.

Interested in learning more about how you can help your employees become more resilient? Check out our latest guide, and get in touch.

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