Building resilience in your organisation

Photo courtesy of mripp(CC Attribution)

Before we talk about this, we need to get to the bottom of what resilience is. It’s a hot-topic at the minute in loads of organisations as more-and-more workplaces are making it a real area of focus.

There’s probably a good reason why they’re choosing to do this, as stress at work is often given as the main reason why employees don’t like their jobs. Organisations are waking up to the fact they need to build resilience in their people to help them deal with the tough demands of modern life, both in and out of the workplace.

So let’s get to the bottom of what resilience is. In a nutshell, it’s how well you adapt when faced with severe adversity, trauma or stress. Or to put it another way, how good you are ‘bouncing-back’ from things like family and personal problems, or major changes at work. Everyone deals with these things differently and has their own level of resilience. Some will naturally cope better than others.

But there are ways you can build resilience in your organisation. Doing this will help your workforce perform well under pressure and maintain their levels of wellbeing. So what can you do in your organisation to build this into your culture?

One of the most important things you can do is to create open, honest lines of communication between everyone in the organisation. If people are feeling stressed or unhappy about something and are scared to open their mouth, it’ll just make the situation worse. If they feel free to talk about it, things will improve. Even if you can’t necessarily help, having a conversation – even if it’s only a small chat – can really make a difference.

Showing you care helps build resilience too. Forming genuine relationships where a person’s wellbeing is seen as something that matters has a direct effect on resilience. We’re not saying you have to be bosom buddies with your employees, but making them feel important and having things in place when their circumstances change is a must. Don’t stop there though – create an environment in your whole organisation where everyone feels like this and looks out for everyone else.

Think about empowering people too. A sure way to generate resilience is by getting everyone involved, particularly if you’re going through any period of change or uncertainty. Simply asking ‘What do you think?’ to someone is a brilliant way to build resilience as people will feel really involved in decision making.

Encourage positivity in the workplace wherever possible. People are there to work, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a laugh occasionally. Don’t shy away from keeping spirits up as it helps reduce stress and makes people feel better, so they’ll be able to cope with the tough times. Exercise also reduces stress too, so make sure people get out at lunchtime whenever they can. A simple stroll around the block or neighbourhood, or trip to town could be enough.

Creating the right balance when people are outside of work is important in resilience too. Having a culture where they can escape from emails, deadlines and phone calls when they leave the workplace means they’ll be more relaxed, sleep better and develop stronger resilience. Enjoying family life and downtime with friends is just as important as the hours spent at work, so make sure you’re encouraging your people to do this.

The other thing you need to remember is you’re also required by law to assess the risk of stress-related ill health which arises from work activities, and take action to manage and control that risk.  The more proactive you are in promoting a culture of wellbeing the better chance you have of helping people who work with you, and yourself to build resilience. 

There’s no magic formula to follow, or golden rule guaranteed to bring results. However, the things we’ve mentioned are simple wins you can easily implement to make resilience a hot-topic in your organisation – for all the right reasons.

Have you downloaded our white paper on Universal Credit yet?