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Resilient Employees

Resilient Employees

Until recently, resilience was defined as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and to keep going in the face of adversity.

Typically, events that required employee resilience were those that were significant in scale.

Examples include those events that are out of our control, such as the Twin Towers destruction, the challenges of overcoming the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and natural catastrophes such as a hurricane or flood.  Also included would be those events in our business world, such as the fear of making business mistakes and the stress to keep up with the accelerating pace of competition.

New research, however, tells us that the greatest need for employee resilience is caused by their co-workers.

Resilient Employees

The biggest drain on employee resilience was “managing difficult people or office politics at work.” That was followed closely by stress brought on by overwork and by having to withstand personal criticism.

Need for Employee Resilience

First, resilient employees are more productive. This increase in productivity stems both from a resilient employee’s ability to bounce back (meaning they use fewer days of sick leave) as well as from the employee’s ability to perform when they aren’t feeling 100% physically healthy.

Second, they also have a better state of mental health. Even though some people sail through difficult times seemingly unscathed, that doesn’t mean the difficult times don’t exist. Resilient employees have developed ways to handle setbacks and stress well, instead of folding.

Third, resilient employees also tend to be ready and willing to learn new skills or take on new roles. This allows them to maintain an attitude of flexibility and openness to corporate changes and improvements.

Lastly, resilient employees also perform better under pressure. They aren’t easily fazed and will always find a way to focus and do more with less when the situation calls for it. Resiliency is a trait that allows employees to keep a steady head even if the world around them is a bit shaky.

Teaching Employee Resilience

Here are several ways to teach resilience.

  • Lead by example and build resilience at the leadership level. The resilience of the management team will resonate among employees.
  • Foster a sense of purpose by encouraging employees to find meaning in the work they do. When employees can see how their role in the company makes in the world, they’ll be more invested.
  • Promote a sense of control and confidence among all employees. Employees who feel in control of their work are more resilient because they’ve learned to take ownership and exhibit pride in their work.
  • Manage change to ensure the entire company views change as a welcome challenge, rather than an unwelcome roadblock.
  • Encourage connections among employees. Social support can foster a resilient corporate environment by providing employees with a group of people who can build them up when times are tough.
  • Value a sense of humor. Employees who laugh through challenging circumstances are usually much better off—they can glide through challenges without being broken down.
  • Provide opportunities for learning and professional development. It’s crucial that, on a regular basis, employees are taught and reminded of the best ways to embrace change and manage difficult situations.
  • Be optimistic and use positive messaging. A positive environment is one that begs for resilience.
  • Encourage flexibility and adaptability. If it’s not an option to crumble under pressure, many employees will start to get creative and find a way to push through challenging situations.
  • Maintain healthy habits, both physically and mentally. Resilience represents the all-encompassing view of health the world has adopted.

The Bible

Ecclesiastes 7:14 says

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

Christians have an advantage in the ability to find meaning in adversity. In fact, the Christian understanding of adversity is quite nuanced. There are entire books of the Bible (Job, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and, most of all, the Psalms) that, with the Holy Spirit’s help, guide believers through tough times.

While there are many ways to approach the stress present in most workplaces, the best way to build resilience is to listen to Scripture and let the Holy Spirit guide you to having peace at work.