How to Build Resilience at Work: Six Practical Tips for Cultivating Resilient Employees

by | Nov 7, 2023

The three indicators of resilience in the workplace

According to AON’s Rising Resilient report, there are three key indicators of workforce resilience:

  1. A fundamental sense of security at work.
    Employees who feel secure in their roles and within the company are better equipped to handle workplace stress and uncertainty.
  2. A strong sense of belonging with the employer.
    A strong sense of belonging to a team or organisation fosters emotional wellbeing and supports resilience.
  3. The adaptability and motivation needed to reach one’s full potential.
    Employees who believe they have the opportunity to grow and achieve their goals are more likely to exhibit emotional resilience.

The report continues by outlining that while 80% of employers agree that wellbeing is beneficial for their organisation in the long run, findings show that only 30% of employees feel fully resilient and able to take on life’s challenges. 

This low percentage of resilience in the workplace is a cause for concern particularly when there is such a high percentage of employers who already realise the long-term value of higher standards of workplace wellbeing. Without emotional resilience, employees may struggle to approach their work with a solution-oriented mindset, affecting productivity, autonomy, and teamwork, and employers may struggle to achieve company milestones when experiencing reduced productivity, employee autonomy and internal conflict. 

The benefits of building resilience in the workplace

In the current climate, employees must navigate a variety of internal (company-based) and external (outside of company control) circumstances that require them to have some level of emotional resilience. Employees with high emotional resilience will continue to do well even when faced with internal factors affecting their approach to and performance at work, such as company setbacks, failure, tight deadlines and periods of long working hours. These same employees will likely fare better when external factors threaten to impact their general wellbeing, such as in moments of national economic uncertainty, or during global health crises (like the Cost-of-Living Crisis and COVID-19).

A problem-solving mindset

Emotionally resilient workers possess a mindset that equips them to conquer the numerous internal and external challenges that can disrupt their personal and professional lives. This mindset extends beyond simply overcoming individual setbacks; it permeates their approach to problem-solving in diverse scenarios. Thanks to their innate drive to seek solutions, emotionally resilient individuals are adept at managing conflicts and facilitating a collaborative and supportive work environment. 

Their ability to navigate and resolve conflicts not only reduces tension within the workplace but also cultivates positive team dynamics. These individuals often act as mediators, helping teams to work through disagreements and differences constructively. In turn, this fosters a more cohesive and harmonious atmosphere, contributing to an overall organisational culture characterised by teamwork, cooperation, and mutual support. In essence, the resilience of these individuals serves as a cornerstone for nurturing a workplace environment where employees can thrive both personally and professionally.

Open to innovation and change

In addition to their solution-oriented mindset, emotionally resilient individuals possess a remarkable capacity for innovation and adaptability. Their inclination to explore new ideas and navigate through ambiguous situations makes them invaluable in dynamic and fast-paced environments. These individuals are not averse to taking calculated risks, understanding that innovation often necessitates venturing into uncharted territory. They maintain a steadfast determination to drive change and creativity, even in the face of setbacks. 

This resilience in the face of adversity empowers them to thrive in rapidly evolving landscapes and uncertain times. It’s through their openness to change and innovation, combined with their ability to learn and rebound from setbacks, that emotionally resilient individuals play a pivotal role in helping organisations navigate modern challenges. Their ability to maintain a forward-thinking approach is instrumental in fostering a culture of adaptability and continuous improvement within the workplace.

Mental health support

Emotionally resilient employees have a profound impact on promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Their readiness to seek out and make the most of mental health support services sets a positive example and encourages their peers to prioritise their own mental health. This proactive stance not only benefits individuals by addressing mental health concerns promptly but also fosters a culture of organisational wellbeing. 

This attitude helps to de-stigmatise psychological ill health by dispelling the notion that seeking help is a sign of weakness, which cultivates a more open and accepting environment for mental health discussions. Likewise, such employees contribute to the development of comprehensive support systems and improved programmes within the organisation, leading to higher retention rates, increased job satisfaction, enhanced productivity, and a reduction in mental health-related challenges.

To summarise, building resilience in the workplace encourages consistent employee performance during times of internal and external challenge. It fosters a culture of learning, innovation, and support, which serve to propel overall organisational success and resilience. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in maintaining employee mental health and wellbeing, (which is an increasingly evident component of productive and thriving workforces). 

The Role of HR Managers and CEOs

As a CEO or HR manager, you may not be directly responsible for your employees’ emotions or emotional reactions, but you are certainly affected by their levels of emotional resilience. To ensure the success and wellbeing of your company, it is crucial to consider implementing supportive measures to help your employees become emotionally stronger and more robust. 

How to Build Resilience at Work: Six Practical Tips

  1. Emotional resilience training: provide emotional resilience training to both management and all employees. This training can equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to manage stress and emotional reactions effectively. Visit our website to view our training on workplace resilience.
  1. Access to resources: offer access to resources that employees can use outside of the workplace to build their emotional and mental resilience. This can include mindfulness programmes and meditation apps, which have been shown to be effective in enhancing emotional wellbeing. 
  1. Emotional wellbeing check-ins: establish a practice of regular emotional wellbeing check-ins between employees and their line managers. These check-ins provide a platform for discussing the tools and techniques used to build resilience, and they can also serve as an opportunity for providing ongoing support.
  1. Paid mental health days: consider offering a few mental health days off each year, with pay. Allowing employees to use these days when needed can be a valuable way to support their overall wellbeing.
  1. Access to counselling: provide access to free counselling services and resources. This not only supports employees who may be struggling but also reduces the stigma around seeking help for emotional challenges.
  1. Open discussion meetings: create and facilitate an open discussion meeting each month, where employees can be honest about their thoughts and feelings, both personally and professionally. This practice can foster a sense of belonging and encourage emotional expression.

A resilient workforce is a strong and successful one…

…but building workforce resilience is not an overnight process. It requires dedication and constant effort, both on the part of the employee and the employer. As a CEO or HR manager, you play a vital role in creating a work environment that nurtures this skill. By implementing the tips provided in this article, you can improve the emotional wellbeing of your workforce and reach the full potential of your company.

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