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Exploring company responsibility for employee resilience and well-being

Everyone is a part of the culture and responsible for that culture.

Exploring company responsibility for employee resilience and well-being
[Flamingo Images/Adobe Stock]

Everyone knows businesses and organizations are continually evolving, which often makes workplaces stressful and challenging. Some individuals seem to thrive in the trials and difficulties. Why? They possess a quality known as resilience.

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Resilience describes the ability and capacity with which one handles difficulties in life—bouncing back, carrying on, and exhibiting toughness in light of adversity. It is also known as the ability to control emotions and thoughts and being adaptable enough to view difficult situations as opportunities rather than adversities.

While most people can ascertain those who are resilient, the challenge comes in identifying where their resilience comes from. Is it instinctive, or is it a trait they have learned during their lives? Resilience is a trait like well-being that can and should be developed, particularly in the workplace.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RESILIENCE IN BUSINESS

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Resilience provides a positive outlook and a proactive approach. Together, outlook and approach can enhance motivation, encourage problem-solving skills, and make challenges appear more amenable. Resilient individuals are fulfilled as they overcome obstacles and grow. On the other side, those who lack resilience often feel vulnerable and exposed, susceptible to setbacks in the workplace. Understanding the difference shines a light on the importance of employee resilience and well-being in company success.

A resilient team—motivated, focused, and able to face challenges positively—benefits a business. Resilience is closely correlated with overall well-being among employees. Greater resilience and improved well-being mean enhanced performance as well as other significant benefits. Resilient employees are better equipped at handling challenges and are not afraid to give or receive support. They have greater communication skills and can boast better relationships with their colleagues. Resilient individuals also are better organized, able to effectively manage their time, and have no fear of taking on challenges. They are also open to learning and development opportunities.

SHOULD A COMPANY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR EMPLOYEE RESILIENCE?

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Knowing the significance and the benefits of resilience, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s the why and the how.

A recent article (registration required) in the Harvard Business Review posed questions regarding resilience, so let’s dive deeper and find the drivers in question. The article included a survey regarding what employees see as the biggest drain on resilience in the workplace. The top three results: 75% said managing difficult relationships and workplace politics, 70% stated the volume of work stretched them to the limit, and 60% cited feelings of personal criticism. While it sounds overwhelming, when you break it down, it becomes manageable and promises a significant impact on company culture and productivity.

• Managing Difficult Relationships and Workplace Politics. Managing difficult relationships and workplace politics begins by recognizing everyone is a part of the culture and responsible for that culture. Empowering teams with practical tools to provide feedback, get curious, and effectively confront issues can result in enriched relationships with everyone around them. Healthy relationships don’t just happen; they must be developed, whether it manifests as building true connections, connecting with a mentor, or tackling a toxic relationship. Feedback can go a long way, especially alongside mindfulness regarding other viewpoints and expressing a genuine interest in others. A mentor can serve to develop resilience in others as they support growth and demonstrate their resilience.

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• Heavy Workloads. Heavy workloads can be improved using tried and true delegation models alongside proven and effective conversation tools, negotiating priorities and deadlines to achieve alignment and release stress among team members. Developing resilience supports the inner drive needed for enhanced productivity and success and helps avoid feelings of being overwhelmed. Effective goal-setting can also ensure the team agrees and everyone believes the project and the timeline are doable. Encouraging a growth mindset is also a powerful element in encountering the unexpected and promotes critical thinking, adaptability, accountability, and openness to change, innovation, and improvement.

• Feeling Criticism as Personal Attacks. Taking criticism as personal attacks can be alleviated with training regarding how to give and receive appropriate feedback. It should never be a monologue but a conversation about observed behaviors with a discussion of actual happenings. Clear techniques can be applied to avoid criticism and move everyone toward desired behaviors. Promoting emotional well-being is crucial in the management of emotions, thoughts, and feelings and in viewing one another in healthy and realistic ways. Resilience is also developed by giving and receiving feedback, identifying strengths and areas for improvement, and genuine self-reflection. The result is a newfound forward focus on opportunities, growth, and success.

Resilience and adaptability are among the top skills sought after by learning and development leaders in today’s workforce. While seemingly daunting, with careful consideration, an organization and its leaders can do a great deal to help improve employee resilience and well-being and have a positive impact now and in the future. A resilient workforce is a motivated workforce, with team members who work well together and can overcome challenging times, leading companies and organizations to success.

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Edward Beltran is the CEO of Fierce Conversations, an entrepreneur, and an avid cyclist.

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