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How to grow employee resilience

How to grow employee resilience to take on new challenges and why it’s essential

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Even if you’re doing everything you can to look after your staff’s wellbeing while keeping them engaged, sometimes the stress can just pile up. Sometimes, things just go unexpectedly wrong, like 2020 as a whole. That’s why it’s really important for managers to help build employee resilience to new challenges in the workplace.

What is resilience, and why does it matter?

Resilience is basically the ability to tolerate stressful situations or challenges, and to function effectively while doing so. While managers have a duty of care to protect their staff from undue stress or personal risk, you’re by no means a perfect shield, and you simply can’t be everywhere at once. So you’ll need to build employee resilience to new challenges to ensure they can cope with the demands of the workplace.

Whether it’s down to nature or nurture, the fact is that some people just have a more resilient disposition than others. But the good news is that resilience is still a skill like any other, which means you can improve at it.

Multitasking can often do more harm than good

When we’re snowed under with things that need doing, there can be a strong temptation to try and do everything at once. But if you’re stressing out about your workload, multitasking can actually be counter-productive. According to the American Psychological Association, “context switching” (suddenly changing from one task to a functionally different one) can reduce productivity by up to 40%. 

So if someone has a lot of different responsibilities to manage, their best bet is to allot times in the day to do different things. Ensuring employee resilience to new challenges can be as simple as making sure they don’t bite off more than they can chew.

Encourage staff to treat new challenges as a learning process

The fact that your team are in the world of work with school behind them doesn’t mean they stop learning. In fact, emphasising continued education in the workplace should be a high priority for your business. Not only does helping your employees to develop professionally inspire loyalty to your organisation, but it also boosts employee resilience to new challenges by giving them the tools to overcome obstacles independently.

Additionally, teaching your staff to view challenging situations as a learning process can help make those challenges less stressful to begin with. After all, knowing you can learn from an experience reinforces the idea that even if things go wrong, you’ll be able to do better next time.

As a manager, you’ll play a key role in the professional development of your employees. A good manager serves as a mentor to their team, giving them the benefit of their experience. To do this, you’ll need to provide them with feedback which goes beyond a traditional 1:1 performance review. You’ll need a way of providing feedback on a more regular basis between reviews, such as with our employee check-in system. This also gives employees the opportunity to bring problems to your attention so you can help them overcome issues in the most effective way.

Provide access to mental health support

Building employee resilience to new challenges is all well and good, but it’s important to remember that resilience is not the same as invulnerability. No matter how tough you think you are, everyone has their breaking point.

Providing access to mental health resources is essential for making sure that workplace stress doesn’t spiral out into more pervasive mental health issues. Unfortunately, many people still struggle to seek help with their mental wellbeing due to the old-fashioned stigma around mental health that’s been challenged in recent years.

If employers and managers can lead the charge on better mental wellbeing from the top down, then it has the potential to drastically increase resilience in the workplace. If workers have the emotional intelligence to be able to protect their own mental health, then they’ll be much better insulated from the stress of new challenges in the workplace.

How social connections make us more resilient

Even by itself, isolation can be incredibly stressful. Many of us have learned this the hard way over the last several months. As a result, feeling socially isolated reduces our ability to tolerate additional stressors. In a time when remote work has risen to previously unprecedented levels, this makes it very difficult to boost employee resilience to new challenges.

A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, titled Fostering Social Connection in the Workplace, found that 61% of CEOs who reported feelings of loneliness also reported that it negatively impacted their performance, rising to 70% for first-time CEOs.

Social wellbeing is important for overcoming workplace stress because of the friends and colleagues who effectively help you share the burden. These are people you can go to for help, advice, or just a good old-fashioned rant over lunch.

So it’s in your best interests as a manager to encourage social bonds between members of your team, whether it’s organising optional out-of-work social events, or just letting them have a bit of a natter at the beginning of the weekly group meeting. Reinforcing this social connection becomes even more vital if you’re managing a remote team, and you’ll want a consistent schedule for group video stand-ups to emulate the face-to-face conversations they’re missing out on.

So those are our two cents on improving employee resilience to new challenges. We write about a range of topics every week, from the onboarding process to employee turnover. To learn more about protecting employee wellbeing, or to find out what Weekly10’s platform can do for your business, check out our blog today!

Did you know that Weekly10’s performance and feedback tools include dynamic meeting templates? So you can build your very own evidence-driven exit interviews at the click of a few buttons.

Head of People Science