Resilience, defined as the ability to recover and thrive in the face of adversity, is a critical trait for both individuals and organisations.

In the workplace, it empowers employees to adapt positively to stressors and perform well in a range of environments.

Leaders recognise the importance of investing in strategies that reinforce resilience, especially considering the significant impact of stress on the workforce.

Psychological states and traits, supportive relationships, and effective communication are identified as key factors in fostering resilience at work.

Additionally, learning and development interventions play a vital role in enhancing employee resilience.

By creating a safe workplace and prioritising mental well-being, organisations can cultivate a resilient workforce capable of overcoming challenges and achieving sustained success in today’s dynamic work landscape.

What is resilience?

Resilience is an individual’s ability to recover from or stay well in the face of adversity, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

At work this means employees can thrive in high stress environments, and not simply exist in survival mode.

Resilience helps employees adapt, cope, and respond positively to stressors in the workplace.

This thinking can also be applied at an organisational level.

By understanding what causes or motivates our stress levels, leaders can make decisive investments in making their teams more resilient.

The reality of stress

One of the enemies of a resilient workforce is stress.

Almost half the Australian workforce (46%) say their work is suffering as a result of poor mental health, according to the ADP Research Institute’s People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View report.

Even with this in mind, leaders are able to reap the benefits of investing in strategies to protect or reinforce resilience at work.

Reinforcing resilience

According to research from CIPD, some of the strong indicators of resilience in a work environment include:

  • A person’s psychological states and traits, including self-efficacy or confidence, positive affect or emotions, and our sense of coherence.
  • Our relationships, including supportive co-workers or managers and high-quality communication.

In addition, learning and development interventions can also enhance employee resilience, if they are designed and delivered in the right way.

Creating a safe workplace

Safety at work means all staff feel physically and mentally safe in their work environment, wherever that is.

Regardless of how your workforce operates (remotely, in-person or a hybrid) you can implement measures which reinforce resilience such as:

  • Providing access to employee assistance programs – having and promoting the use of professional services such as counselling invests in the mental wellbeing of your employees. This is essential in building individual resilience in changing circumstances.
  • Opening channels for feedback and communication – it could be as simple as an anonymous ‘suggestion box’ accessible through an intranet page, or it could be booking a twice-a-week less formal catch-up with your employee(s) who work remotely, outside of your regular meetings.
  • Dedicating time for team building – just 15-30 minutes a week can make the difference to keep the wider team or teams connected by engaging with each other through a medium outside of email and phone call.

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