As businesses and employees continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, building workplace resilience has never been more important. With remote working becoming the norm for many, businesses need to reconsider their approach sustaining employee engagement, recognition, productivity and innovation in a virtual world.
What is workplace resilience?
Workplace resilience refers to the ability of an organisation and its people to adapt to change and recover from setbacks. Resilience is essential for employee health and wellbeing as well as the growth and profitability of your business.
Why is workplace resilience important?
Workforce resilience ensures business continuity. While employees are ultimately responsible for their health, employers must appreciate the role they can play as an enabler. Resilience is strongly linked to wellbeing and mental health, so a resilient workforce generally means a happier, healthier one.
A resilient workforce is likely to be agile, proactive, able to deal with change and burnout, and highly motivated. As a result, sickness absence and presenteeism will be less of an issue, staff turnover will be lower and attracting new talent will be easier.
Practical tips for building resilience in the workplace in 2021
The pandemic has encouraged businesses who may not have favoured a remote working business model to rethink their operations. Over the last six months, employees have demonstrated that they can be productive and trusted to carry out their jobs, if they have the right support, equipment and leadership. Our tips help businesses to reconsider their approach to best support and motivate a remote workforce and create a sense of community.
- Develop an understanding of workplace resilience
Success relies upon setting clear goals and objectives. How can an organisation and its people build resilience if they don’t have a solid understanding of what it means?
In a nutshell, resilience is about sustaining three wellbeing pillars: social and emotional needs, professional and financial needs, and physical and personal needs. Embed resilience in your workplace culture by training staff and weaving it into your company values, policies and processes. Employees need to understand the practical applications of resilience and how they can demonstrate and utilise it in their everyday working lives. Team building sessions are a great way to foster a culture of resilience and to establish it as the default approach to every aspect of the business.
- Establish a system of employee feedback
Welcoming employee feedback will help you gauge the level of resilience amongst your workforce. This is unlikely to be static or consistent — some people will cope better in some situations than others depending on the nature of the challenge, their skillset and their personal circumstances at the time. Highlighting areas for improvement will help the business to continually build and nurture higher levels of resilience. Feedback should be a two-way communication. Demonstrate that you are listening to your staff and taking action.
- Provide comprehensive and personalised support
It’s likely that your workforce will include at least a handful of people that need some extra support to cope with the unexpected challenges that come their way — especially in the current climate. It’s even more likely that all your employees will need a helping hand at some point in their career.
Investing in a multi-dimensional, hyperpersonal employee benefits programme that delivers the support your people need exactly when they need it, is the key to building workplace resilience. Traditional benefits are no longer equipped to support the healthcare needs of the modern workplace. A more flexible and holistic approach is necessary to help people cope with unexpected health events and challenges to their wellbeing while continuing to be a productive member of the workforce.
- Establish effective communication and support networks
Employees that feel valued and supported by their employer are more likely to be productive, loyal and resilient. Effective communication ensures that people feel listened to and informed about the direction of the company, as well as plans for tackling challenging situations.
Keeping your workforce informed of every change and update across the business is neither practical nor desirable in most workplaces. However, employees must feel that management operates honestly and transparently, keeping them up to date with important company news and sharing information that will impact their ability to do their jobs effectively. This builds trust, and trust fosters resilience.
For example, many employees are anxious about job security amidst the continually evolving impact of COVID-19. Employers that keep their people updated on changes to working practices and plans for the future, while also offering support for those that are struggling, will reap the benefits of a less stressed workforce that is well-placed to adapt to change.
Workplace resilience has always been an essential element of success for organisations across all sectors. As the pandemic continues to disrupt people’s working and home lives, resilience is more important than ever. Building workplace resilience requires an investment of time and resources, but it is an investment that will deliver a fantastic return in the short, medium and long term.