Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.
– Psychology Today (Heshmat, 2020)
Living in this Covid-19 era, many businesses have taken a huge toll and are forced to retrench employees and enforce salary cuts to continue their business. The local department store Robinsons were one of the growing list of retailers that had to close down given the business cessations hitting a 10-month high. Topshop, Esprit and Sportslink were also forced to continue their operations online due to their badly affected sales (Tay, 2020). Not to mention, given our fast-paced and competitive culture, many may be more vulnerable to the high stress and facing burn-outs. Resilience is now more important than ever in learning to bounce back when we are met with disappointment, failure and criticism. It is learning to adapt through adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or large amounts of stress.
So why is it so important in the workplace?
There is no consistently perfect employee, teammate or leader. Everyone is bound to receive critical feedback or experience failure at some point in their working life. Given the situation now that many are able to work from home and have to work virtually, there will be new challenges and complexities that will cause a strain in engagement levels. Here are some reasons why organisations should believe in building resilience:
Improves employee’s general well-being
Cutting down on workload could help employees but equipping employees with skills to be resilient directly benefits their psychological wellness through a change of perception when faced with stressors. Happy employees are more engaged and are able to produce good quality performance and thus, profitability or meet their goals.
Innovation and Creativity
To survive, many companies have to constantly innovate which also means that employees need to also sustain while continually improving and upgrading their skills. Employers need to take into account the learning curve when allocating employees with high motivation and ability levels to completely new roles or situations which might affect their morale and resilience. Thus, in such cases, training would be necessary.
An important factor about when one’s resilience is being tested is by strained interpersonal relationships. If leaders are able to recognise typical behaviours that are associated with the lack of resilience, they can encourage employees to re-evaluate their perspective and change the way they might interpret a situation, this might in turn help to prevent negative emotions from stirring among members and improve their dynamics when working together (Gleeson, 2020).
How then does resilience impact the workplace?
In seeking to improve a workplace culture and resilience among employees, employers are able to handle their own work stress better and develop ways to protect against stress. When there are high levels of stress involved, resilience is absolutely necessary. Here are some benefits to improved resilience:
- Better at managing problems
- Ability to set realistic expectations
- Improved communication skills
- Organised and able to manage time well
- Willing to give and receive support from others (Burton, 2020)
Resilience is also correlated to:
- increased job satisfaction
- work happiness
- better employee engagement
- Improved self-esteem
- sense of control over one’s life events (Darley, 2020)
How do you build such resilience?
- Pursue a meaningful goal – Being able to pursue a clear and achievable goal can help one to feel a sense of purpose as to why you may be working hard or staying in this job. This can also prevent one from acting impulsively on their emotions when the going gets tough.
- Challenge assumptions – Resilience requires being creative and flexible. One should not take traditional structures or beliefs as it is. One could consider various perspectives and think critically.
- Strong social network – Being supported by a group of friends or family can definitely help one to cope better if you’re able to share with them your struggles.
- Cultivate a positive mindset – It is easy to focus on the negative when things don’t go your way but it helps if one can see the good in the situation. It doesn’t mean to ignore your problems but rather to be aware that it is temporary and that you’re capable of going through it.
- Courage – It is acting despite the fear. Having courage is having strength to face one’s fears and overcome one’s personal limitations (Heshmet, 2020)
- Understand your employees – People who are supported, encouraged and equipped are in the best environment to overcome problems and distractions ahead.
- Having good leadership – Employees are more likely to be engaged in participating resilience programs when the leaders are involved as well. Leadership is important in setting goals, providing clear direction and allocating resources to improve workplace resilience.
- Creating a resilient culture – Although building culture might have many layers, it is built on the foundations of empowerment, purpose, trust and accountability.
- Seek ways to improve the work environment – Being flexible when possible is important especially when working with employees in both physical and virtual locations. Reward them when they do well. Be reasonable when it comes to work expectations. Allow for flexible schedules (Darley, 2021).
Having to build a resilient taskforce is definitely not easy to achieve, proper planning and execution is essential to meet such a goal. Whether one is an employee or the boss, it would help a lot if both are willing to work towards being resilient in these difficult times especially. As an individual, rather than waiting for things to change around the office, you can start by working on yourself through the little habits in your daily life. Being an employer, recognising the importance of your employees well-being and not only focusing on achieving outcomes.
Camellia Wong, Sara Chiang
Burton, L. (2020, February 14). Resilience in the workplace: Why is it important? Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/resilience-in-the-workplace/
Darley, E. (2021). Resilience: A strong workforce needs it. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from http://workplacementalhealth.org/Mental-Health-Topics/Resilience
Gleeson, B. (2020, November 05). 5 top REASONS resilience at work matters. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2020/11/04/5-top-reasons-resilience-at-work-matters/?sh=682155f069ce
Heshmat, S. (2020, May 11). The 8 key elements of resilience. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/202005/the-8-key-elements-resilience#:~:text=Resilience%20is%20defined%20as%20the,future%20after%20potentially%20traumatic%20events.
Tay, T. (2020, November 01). Retail business closures in Singapore hit 10-MONTH high in September. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/retail-business-closures-hit-10-month-high-in-september