Workplace Resilience: 7 Ways to Support Your Team to Bounce Back
September 5, 2022
We spend 81,396 hours working in our lifetime. The only thing we spend more time apart from working is sleeping. Yet, three out of every five employees feel emotionally detached at work, and another 19 percent are downright miserable.
Employees who feel unable to manage difficulties at work are more likely to experience reduced motivation, poor performance, and increased absenteeism.
But with new technology, evolving team structures, and a rise in remote work, your workforce needs resilience skills to survive in an ever-changing environment.
Discover why resilient employees are essential, along with seven effective strategies for building resilience in the workplace.
What is workplace resilience?
Workforce resilience is about how employees navigate constantly-changing priorities, adapt to different environments, and recover quickly from setbacks-often using those difficulties as learning opportunities.
Workplace stressors are inevitable in today’s climate. Some employees cope with change and stress well, while others may struggle. Stress levels have increased since the COVID-19 outbreak, costing American employers up to $187 billion annually.
Why is workplace resilience important?
Resilient people are essential to any workforce. Those who’ve undergone change or difficulty come out stronger at the other end.
Let’s put that into practice and say that next month; your entire team is moving to a new location in another part of the city. Next month, a new manager is starting at your organization. To top it off, the CEO has announced cutting the workforce by 20 percent.
How do your employees react? Do they become overwhelmed, dwell on problems, or use unhealthy coping mechanisms? Or do they embrace change and challenges with optimism and enthusiasm?
Resilient employees tend to:
- Look for opportunities in problems. Some problems are unavoidable but disguised as opportunities. Resilient employees look to turn negatives into positives.
- Learn from mistakes. Resilient employees admit when they’ve made mistakes. They’re willing to learn and implement measures to prevent them from happening again.
- Have a positive attitude. Taking feedback from managers can be challenging for some team members. Resilient employees listen to feedback constructively and take the initiative by improving their skills.
- Overcome problems. Resilient people admit when they need help and see this positively. Staff who feel overwhelmed with their workload or unsure how to tackle a problem ask for help before waiting for problems to escalate.
How to build workplace resilience
As the past couple of years has confirmed, challenging situations are often beyond our control. But it’s much easier to be resilient in an environment where employees trust their managers.
So, how can you create a resilient workplace that helps employees feel supported? Here are seven techniques to try.
Have a support system
Employees need support from their managers and colleagues to enjoy their job. Yet only 33 percent of employees are thriving in their overall well-being.
A great support system allows employees to feel confident in sharing new ideas. They’ll also find it easier to own up to problems or share any difficulties they face.
Good employee support strategies include:
- Keep team members in the loop. Some 80 percent of employees feel stressed because of poor communication. The more informed employees are, the more likely they are to engage in conversations and take the necessary action to improve.
- Give employees rewarding and challenging work. Studies show that 43 percent of people think a meaningful job or employment is the most significant source of happiness. Give them autonomy over their responsibilities to make work more rewarding.
- Offer reasonable assistance. In most situations, it’s clear what to do for an employee going through personal trauma–a few days of leave to sort it out, request extended leave time, or adjust a schedule. Avoid going overboard to meet an employee’s needs. Keep to what you can reasonably offer without damaging your business.
- Develop an employee-peer-support program. Employees facing challenges with their physical or mental health may find it easier to talk to an understanding peer than their manager. A peer support program can build a sense of belonging and increase employee performance.
- Access to employee well-being initiatives. Employees rate well-being programs more valuable than ever. Ensure all employees know they can access professional support- such as counseling or physiotherapy- in times of need.
Lead by example
Leading by example is a vital management skill that combines what you say and do. If you’re asking employees to make savings and they see you also reducing costs, for example, they’ll respect that you’re making sacrifices. They’ll be more willing to make those same sacrifices themselves.
Great leaders also resolve conflict quickly by demonstrating their resilience skills. Tackle any disagreements reasonably soon as they happen and set a positive example for your employees.
Get involved with tasks and gain a snapshot of employee challenges. Then, determine ways to make their work easier-such as implementing new technology to automate everyday tasks or providing additional learning opportunities to upskill your team.
Take decisive action
Leaders are faced with a constant deluge of information, making decision-making more difficult. Getting lost in evaluating and deciding on the right move can impact achieving goals and building employee confidence.
For example, delaying a decision to change a procedure can result in an employee’s lack of knowledge in dealing with customer complaints. As a result, employees feel unconfident and need more time to tackle issues.
Decisiveness, however, shows employees you are in control. Remain calm under pressure, embrace uncertainty, and demonstrate that even if you make an error of judgment, you’re focused and not afraid to take action when needed.
That said, no one is perfect. Showing employees you make mistakes and learn from them boosts your professional credibility. You’ll build employee resilience by taking decisive action and demonstrating it’s OK to make mistakes.
Maintain hope and positivity
Although hope and positivity are not always guaranteed success, a great leader will take the slightest amount of hope to chip away at problems.
Build resilience skills by focusing on your team’s strengths. For example, if one employee is confident speaking to people, realign responsibilities, so less-confident team members (such as new hires) can see a positive example before taking on the responsibility themselves. Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5 percent greater productivity.
Either way, support employees to remain hopeful and optimistic during challenging times. Allow them to practice their resilience. With consistency, these skills will become habits.
Offer opportunities to grow and develop
Opportunities to learn and grow is the top driver of excellent work culture. Plus, employees who feel that their skills are not being put to good use are 10x more likely to be looking for a new job than those who do. When employees learn, they gain further understanding, increasing resilience to adversity. This helps them develop individually and empathize with those around them who may have different skills or experiences.
Create a learning culture by:
- Providing resilience training. This can be offered individually or to a whole team or organization. Help employees look forward to future challenges and provide them with coping mechanisms.
- Implementing learning circles. Use previous mistakes as learning opportunities. Gather colleagues to unpack previous errors and encourage them to develop solutions.
- Use one-to-one meetings with employees. Individual meetings can offer a safe and supportive space to discuss work and personal issues affecting employee performance.
Developing empathy amongst the workforce is essential to surviving and thriving in any business. It builds a genuine curiosity about others in a team, which drives a desire to teach and learn.
Develop health and safety policies
Robust health and safety policies create a safe working environment and positive culture. In addition, they ensure that employees, clients, and contractors’ health, safety, and welfare are always maintained.
But they’re not just paper policies; well-being in the workplace is closely linked to resilience. Studies show that feeling cared for protects us from stress and promotes resilience.
Ensure employees know company policies, such as a parental leave policy. Soon-to-be parents will reduce ambiguity around managing work around a child’s illness.
Other policies such as health and safety or stress management demonstrate a commitment to support, recognize and acknowledge the signs of stress. Inform your team on well-being issues, the procedure to escalate the problems if needed, and what resources are available should they need additional help.
Review your environment
Workplace bullying can be a significant issue for employee unhappiness and turnover. Not only is it linked to lower levels of employee engagement and enthusiasm, but in some instances, a bullying colleague or manager could be causing your best employees to quit.
Look at your environment. Does anyone appear to be unhappy? Is anyone ever smiling? Do employees share ideas and suggestions for improvement? If people typically seem bleak, you can assume the work environment isn’t great.
Involving employees in decision-making is a starting point for improvement. Ask for feedback and invite them to suggest new ideas. The more they practice sharing their ideas, the more likely they bounce back when things don’t go to plan.
Similarly, create a resilient work environment by encouraging teams to work together through out-of-work get-togethers, quizzes, or shared lunches. They will remain engaged in their task longer than those going solo.
Michael Alexis, CEO of teambuilding.com, recommends following the eight percent rule. He says, “For example, you could follow the eight percent rule, which states that eight percent of the time in any team meeting should be spent on fun social games and activities. A few icebreaker questions a week or a quick trivia session can go a long way to connecting your people, which in turn boosts resiliency as employees know they have a support network to fall back on.”
Take action and help your workforce recover from challenges
Uncertainty and change are inevitable in today’s climate. So put these practices into place and create an environment that makes it easier for your employees to be resilient.
Fundamentally, the best and most successful organizations are those that ensure employees feel supported through difficult times consistently and genuinely.
With WorkRamp, you can create a culture of learning and support employees to become more resilient. Contact us to request a personalized demo.
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