Resilience in the Workplace

Resilience: The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.
American Psychological Association

At HumanOS we think of it as a capacity to recover from challenging times – combining a long-term growth mindset, an adaptability to navigate emotional distress, allowing life’s beauty and fragility to sit hand in hand, letting go of what is out one’s control and understanding that the answer is in daily intentional efforts, resilience is a continuous process.

When reading the latest resilience reports it appears the data shows resilience is continuing to fall, especially in younger generations. Those under 30 are now “significantly lower” in resilience than any other age group and young females (aged 18-25) report the lowest levels of all with their wellbeing nearly 10% lower than the general working population (The Resilience Institute, 2023).

Working hard

As more heart-breaking news reaches headlines causing so many of us to question humanity, still emerging from a global pandemic, amid a cost of living crisis, attempting to manage the uncertainty of geopolitical unrest, not to mention all our challenges, it is no surprise that the statistics are cause for concern. It is, for this reason, that it has become one of our most discussed topics at HumanOS as we focus our efforts on working with individuals and organisations to support them through challenging times, showing them methods and tools that not only protect them from the negative impacts of life’s more challenging moments but how these moments provide them with the pathway to the best version of themselves.

For companies to perform (or even survive) in this highly unstable era, they need structural solutions that not only manage costs for them but also build resilience and drive long-term value for both their people and their performance.

We have summarised our key findings from the recent research below:

  • Resilient employees were 42% less likely to want to leave their current employer
  • Young males aged 18-25 are the least likely to build strong relationships and access support
  • People aged 46-55 report the highest levels of resilience
  • 14% of an individual’s wellbeing can be accounted for by their Line Manager – support and role model good practice around resilience and wellbeing is key
  • Directors and Executives rate themselves highest on all aspects of psychological and social resilience (20% higher on their inner drive and tendency to think flexibly compared to non-managers)
  • Remote workers report higher resilience than office or site-based workers
  • Remote workers also report higher energy levels than office, site-based and hybrid workers.
  • Hybrid workers score highest for the strength of their relationships compared to office or site-based workers.
  • Those working in Science and pharmaceuticals have all industries’ highest levels of resilience and wellbeing.
  • People working in Law have the lowest resilience followed by Health & Social Care, Media & Publishing and Retail.
  • Individuals in Marketing and sales, HR and Strategy report the highest levels of resilience.

(The Wellbeing and Resilience Report 2023*)

When looking at the data we must state there is a huge difference between reporting feeling resilient and being resilient (there tends to be about 20% variance in these two things alone) so it is important to consider what are the components of resilience and how do you foster for these within the workplace to ensure people don’t only feel resilient, they also act in a resilient way?

At HumanOS we use the 6 Pillar Model (Schwartz, 2016):

  1. Growth Mindset
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Connections
  4. Self-Expression
  5. Embodiment & Mindful Processing
  6. Choice & Control

For example, we know having strong relationships is a significant factor in resilience therefore although remote workers report the highest levels of resilience, hybrid workers score the highest on their relationships so when looking at “Pillar 3 – Connections” we may want to emphasise our flexible-working strategies to improve chances of improving relationships and therefore resilience.

Individuals can take steps to support and bolster their resilience to stress and challenges but when most people spend the majority of their time at work the organisation (and its management/leaders) have a crucial role to play in supporting employee wellbeing. So amidst all this uncertainty does it look like to proactively support the resilience and thus the wellbeing on their individuals?

At a high level when looking to improve the resilience of your teams, our HumanOS advice would be:

Managers / Organisation:

  • Line Manager support is essential – this is a point we come back to time and time again no matter what the topic. Leaders have to lead by example and role modelling is key.
  • Create an environment of trust and psychological safety – this is not something that can be done overnight and again needs to be led by example from the top down by leadership and management (build inclusive teams where employees are given the space to express their differences, they feel heard and they believe in what the business says).
  • Foster a culture of open communication to identify and address bottlenecks. High volume of work is the greatest area of concern across all sectors – taking adequate rest and providing resources and training to enhance efficiency and optimise workflows is key.
  • Keeping pressures in check and showing care through regular check-ins – individuals feeling undervalued is a large factor impacting resilience and one that is easy to overcome.
  • Diversity – Ensure everyone is seen, heard and feels safe to have a voice. Diverse and innovative companies are 30% more innovative and have increased revenue compared to non-diverse workforces (Levine, 2020).
  • Share knowledge & Purpose: Lack of strategic direction is a huge area of concern for employees – help them to understand how their role contributes to what the bigger picture is – this enhances their sense of purpose at work.
  • Train your managers – ensure they have the correct skills and support to support others (especially as we see more organisations transition from skill-based promotions to people-based promotions). One week, tick-box courses are not enough here, this has to be regular and intentional.
  • Share re-assurance: Change fatigue is a thing (and it impacts thinking flexibly which is one of the least developed areas of resilience). Reassure your teams and proactively work on lifting their moods.

Training / Education:

  • Educate – offer workshops / small group sessions around resilience and give employees space to actively participate in the education and skills required.
  • Help individuals to reframe the situation – where challenges or setbacks arise, provide training (workshops/programmes) in topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Growth Mindset and Self-Belief. Having an open and optimistic mindset is one of the least developed areas of resilience and training in this area is key.
  • Networking / mentoring opportunities – for shift / remote workers to help strengthen their relationships.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to specialise – in tasks and projects that align with their strengths and interests – let them do what they enjoy where they can!
  • Provide opportunities for cross-department working to strengthen relationships, and increase empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by other teams.
  • Include psychological resilience initiatives – support employees to have greater personal control.

The Individual:

  • Encourage employees to spend some days in the workplace where possible to strengthen working relationships.
  • Also encourage employees to use their time outside of work, not working and ensure they take their annual leave! Taking time to spend time with loved ones improves their lives both inside and outside of work.
  • Having a sense of personal control has a huge impact on wellbeing – gives individuals the freedom to make decisions and build working environments/routines that work for them as well
  • Promote balance and set boundaries to prevent fatigue and burnout. Again, role modelling will be key here.
  • Reward individuals for prioritising their health, not just their business performance (they are two sides of the same coin).

The evidence is growing and highlighting the important role organisations take in supporting the resilience and wellbeing of their employees and how fundamental it is to an employee’s wellbeing and performance. In writing this article, we hope that organisations will use the information to have more conversations and create inclusive programmes of support with a focus on a human-centred approach to create healthy, supportive and flourishing workplace cultures for all.

For individual advice and strategies, our Psychological Therapist Olivia has designed this week’s newsletter which you can sign up for here.

For our users if this is something you think you need more specific help with speak to Olivia here.

If you would like more advice as an organisation contact Bianca here.

Bianca, Co-Founder @ HumanOS

 

Levine, S.R. (2020). Diversity Confirmed To Boost Innovation And Financial Results. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2020/01/15/diversity-confirmed-to-boost-innovation-and-financial-results/.

Schwartz, A. (2016). 6 Pillars of Resilience | Dr. Arielle Schwartz. [online] Arielle Schwartz, PhD. Available at: https://drarielleschwartz.com/6-pillars-of-resilience-dr-arielle-schwartz/.

The Resilience Institute (2023). 2023 Global Resilience Report. [online] Available at: https://uploadsssl.webflow.com/6401d6e94c5eb83503433470/646f2544ff2584555f3fc5b3_2023 Global Resilience Report.pdf [Accessed 16 Oct. 2023].

The Wellbeing Project (2023). The Wraw Wellbeing and Resilience Report 2023. [online] info.thewellbeingproject.co.uk. Available at: https://info.thewellbeingproject.co.uk/the-wellbeing-and-resilience-report-2023 [Accessed 16 Oct. 2023].

**The Wraw Wellbeing and Resilience Report 2023, collected data from nearly 5,000 individuals globally over the last year, allowing us to assess the physical, psychological and social resilience of different demographics and highlighted many key resilience statistics.