March 03, 2022

Why is resilience so important in the workplace?

Work can be stressful. There. We said it.

We’re entering our third year of the global pandemic, which has altered the entire workplace experience. We’re also in the midst of the Great Resignation. If and when employees lose colleagues, some are then spread too thin covering said losses. Somehow additional responsibilities might creep into our workload.

Then there are evergreen personal workplace issues: anxiety about job security, conflicts with co-workers, burnout. All in all, it can be a messy situation.

That’s why smart people leaders are realizing that there’s a critical skill their employees need to build–one that’s even more important than nailing the latest reporting metric or coding language. That skill is resilience: a combination of grit, perseverance, and optimism in the face of challenges, as well as an elastic ability to recover from setbacks or difficulties. 

Resilience is an emotional skill, and it’s a teachable one. Companies are realizing the vital role resilience plays in so many areas:

Prioritizing employee well-being

It’s an acknowledged truth that happy employees are productive ones. Unfortunately, burnout is occurring across all industries at unprecedentedly high levels. Over half of employees surveyed by Indeed.com reported experiencing burnout, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this issue–particularly in the fields of healthcare and customer service. 

Read more: How to build resilience and drive performance

Making robust investment in employee well-being is an important first step to combat the burnout epidemic. In fact, data show that these investments have been paying off for years, even before the pandemic. A focus on resilience must be part of that equation, helping employees restore feelings of control, self-esteem, and purpose.

Supporting employee flexibility

In our dynamic work situation, it’s important to support employees through change. The pandemic has yielded increased digitization and automation, which has in many cases required employees to fundamentally alter the way they work. Understandably, these types of changes can be very stressful for employees, leading to anxiety and, in some cases, resistance to change.

Helping employees to gain flexibility can offer them more comfort with necessary shifts. A resilient mindset will help your people bounce back from leadership changes, operational adjustments, or even the headache of having to learn to navigate certain communication platforms

Improving learning and upskilling

Not surprisingly, resilient employees have better experiences absorbing new information; having a resilient mindset allows individuals to mitigate the frustrations associated with steep learning curves.

Particularly as employers are finding it imperative to upskill and reskill their people in order to remain competitive in changing markets, it becomes important to foster resilience, so that these efforts don’t come with a heavy “pain tax.” Ultimately, employees who can gain new skills are more satisfied and engaged as a result. Even the art of goal-setting is a skill worth honing to help build workplace resilience.

Facilitating teamwork

Resilient employees are secure in the knowledge that they are not alone and that they have others supporting their efforts and working towards common goals. They experience positive workplace relationships with strong communication and are adept team players. With many experts viewing teamwork as the single most important driver of a productive workplace, company heads are realizing how essential it is to get their people working together cohesively. 

Having a resilient team that works well together has the added benefit of diminishing conflicts in the workplace, as well as keeping employees motivated and engaged–even while completing difficult or stressful tasks. 

Creating an engaged workforce

The connection between engagement and resilience is well-documented; numerous studies and surveys have shown that folks who can weather challenging situations at work are better able to remain engaged and enthusiastic. As a result, these employees are top performers who contribute meaningfully, whatever the current initiative. 

Resilient employees are also tenacious; engaged and motivated personnel are far more likely to stay put, as opposed to becoming so disengaged and joining the Great Resignation. Companies that want to retain top talent are therefore realizing how crucial it is to develop resilience in order to keep their people in place.

The last word

The world of work is experiencing a lot of upheaval. To paraphrase Rocky Balboa, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows […] and I don’t care how tough you are–it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently…unless you and your people learn the valuable skill of resilience.” We’re pretty sure he was thinking that last part, anyway.

(By the way, Rocky’s tough-guy rhetoric aside, investing in your team’s resilience doesn’t mean ignoring the power you have to bring more “sunshine and rainbows” into the workplace. A systemic approach includes identifying and removing unnecessary obstacles, challenges, and threats from your work environment.)

Fostering resilience in the workplace is one of those all-too-rare initiatives that is a net win for everyone–your company, your team, and individual employees’ mental and emotional health. 
Interested in learning more about how democratized coaching for employees can significantly build resilience in your workplace? We’re excited to talk to you about it.

And we welcome you to dive deeper into helping your employees build their resilience.

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