Resilience is not a personality trait, it is something all employees can improve upon, says Towergate Health & Protection, and this opens up potential for everyone – particularly crucial as we need to adapt to living with Covid-19. Resilience is of benefit to both the employer and to the employee. It is not just about managing stress but giving staff the means to deal with pressure and stop it becoming overwhelming. People who are emotionally well and resilient have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster.
Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health & Protection says: “While defining, building and supporting resilience is not always easy, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that resilience is not a personality trait, it is something that can be taught and learned, something that everyone can takes steps to achieve – and that provides an opportunity for everyone.”
The first step in building resilience is understanding the workforce and having a baseline reading of how resilient employees are and what stresses they deal with in their work and home lives. From here, employers can identify the biggest risk factors and address them.
The company culture also needs to be right in the first place and will need to be one that encourages resilience. It is important to remember that this is not about being able to give employees greater workloads but enabling them to better cope with the work that they are required to do.
Discussions about resilience should start at the interview and induction, and progress from there. It should be made clear that the company wants to help build the resilience of its employees. This dialogue around resilience should be included from the start and the skill should be deemed as important as knowing how to log-on to the company’s systems. Companies that have robust support in improving resilience will fare better in recruiting the best talent.
Ideally a company should provide a range of resources that appeal across the board and can be utilised as required.
Health risk assessments help to build a picture of the workforce’s overall wellbeing. Once this has been established, employers can act upon any risks identified. It is important not only for the employer to understand the resilience of their staff but also for individuals to understand their own resilience.
Mental health first aider training can be a great way to provide support, and it can often be sourced through benefits providers, such as those that provide group risk benefits. Many benefits providers will also offer webinars, apps and hubs for additional support.
Training in stress and resilience enables employees to explore and recognise triggers to stress and gain insight into resilience – what it is and how to develop it – helping them to keep mentally healthy. Withstanding change and disruption is something in which employees can be trained and is especially useful around situations like Covid. Line managers can also receive training on how to lead through change, giving them tools to run a successful organisational change initiative.
There are specific and specialist employee benefits, devices, and methods that can help to guide and coach employees in resilience and the techniques they can utilise. These include apps and tools that provide regular and personalised tips.
There is no one single solution or booster to resilience that will be relevant to every company and workforce. Much will depend on the employee demographics. The industry the business is in will, to some extent, give an indication of some of the typical pressures and stressors. Each individual will deal with stress in different ways and will need different motivators and support. It is vital, therefore, to have solutions that will appeal to as many personalities and demographics as possible and it’s important that employers are prepared to adapt the approach in line with specific requirements.
Debra Clark says: “There is support for resilience within many health and wellbeing benefits. Within our own company we have run webinars on resilience for our staff. We have found that repetition of messages and offering bite-sized information, along with refreshers, is a very useful approach.
“It’s important to remember that resilience is something we all have the ability to learn and build upon, and by doing so it will fulfill our emotional wellness.”