We live in a fast-paced society, with a culture that allows for everything we need to be at our fingertips with ease of access. In the economic global space, this requires employees to have strong employee resilience, to work hard to meet tight deadlines, manage work relationships, and be constantly connected via mobile devices even when away from the office environment.

Such a pace is encouraged which can be beneficial in terms of productivity, however this can lead to a high-risk in employee mental health difficulties. Some common examples are workplace stress and burn-out which poses as a recognizable threat for your workforce. One of the ways to tackle this type of workplace related distress in employees is to build their resilience which is a key element in individual well-being. It is this key strategy that will allow your workforce to navigate through the challenges they experience in the work environment and personal lives in order to have strong employee resilience.

What is Resilience & How does it Impact the Workplace?

As human beings we will experience twists and turns in life, from daily challenges at work/home to a traumatic event that may have a more long-lasting impact. The can vary from news such as the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident or an unforeseen natural disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic. All which has an impact on ones personal and work life, all which are examples of where resilience can be a useful tool.

Psychology defines resilience as the process of adapting well when faced with adversity, trauma, threats and/or sources of stress. It exists in the process of a person being able to bounce back and thrive after major challenges. Being resilient does not mean that a person will not experience difficulty or distress. More often the path to building resilience involves going through emotional distress, and it is in this time that the individual can learn and develop their actions, thoughts and behaviours from being mindful and aware. Resilience is associated with greater job satisfaction, work happiness, organizational commitment and employee engagement. Raising resilience in employees contribute to an improved self-esteem, sense of control over life events, a sense of purpose in life and improved employee interpersonal relationships.

Tips for Employers

Understanding your employees is a vital factor in the workplace, as people who feel supported, motivated and equipped have the best recourses to overcome obstacles and distractions. Resilience is about authenticity, resilient employees work in accordance with their strengths and values, allowing them to be the best version of themselves at work.

A tool to consider is resilience training, that specifically targets multiple stages of resilience. Components such as overcoming interpersonal challenges, managing one’s emotions, guarding against burnout, how to remain calm in conflict situations when dealing with difficult people, and improving sleeping habits.

Tips on How to Build Resilience

Focusing on the four core components: connection, wellness, healthy thinking and meaning, allow the individual to feel empowered, to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences.

Building your connections: Prioritize your relationships/ join a support group

The turmoil of a traumatic event can sometimes force an individual to isolate themselves. It can be beneficial amidst difficulties to have a support system of empathetic and understanding people who can remind the individual that they are not alone. This action, in addition to connecting with trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, will support the skill of resilience. Joining a social/ religious group and being active in such civic groups/communities can also help the individual reclaim hope and be a source of joy and purpose.

Foster Wellness: Take Care of your body/ Practice Mindfulness/ Avoid negative outlets

Self-care is a popularized word; however, it is also a proven practice for building resilience and improving mental health as a whole. Stress can be both physically and emotionally taxing, thus self-care can be practiced in many ways such as maintaining positive lifestyle choices like proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration and exercise can strengthen your body’s response in adapting to stress and reduce the toll of emotions related to depression/ anxiety.

Practicing mindfulness in the form of journaling, yoga and other spiritual practices can also be beneficial in building healthy mental connections which can prime employees to deal with situations that require resilience. Mindfulness can also help ruminate on positive aspects of life and recall the things you are grateful for even during trials. In such times negative outlets can be tempting to numb the stress however one should focus on giving your body the resources to manage stress rather than seeking to eliminate the feelings.

Find Purpose: Help Others/ Be proactive/ Move toward your goals

Volunteering in outreach programs or supporting a friend in a time of need fosters a sense of purpose, self-worth and connection with others in a tangible way which can be empowering and find growth in one’s resilience. Fostering self-discovery in troubling times and figuring out how you can improve your situation can be vital in dealing with trials. Healthy distractions such as developing and actualising short term goals with regular work enables a sense of accomplishment even if small, moves one toward things you aim to accomplish. This mindset contributes to a positive reframing in thought by way of optimism. Where trying to visualise what you want as appose to worrying about what you fear, may allow one to feel better in subtle ways that allows for the resilience needed to deal with difficult situations.

Seeking Help

Seeking help is crucial in building your resilience, especially when individuals get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the path to resilience and wellness. A licensed mental health professional can best assist people in this regard with strategies on how to move forward and, in most instances one can seek this help through (EAP) employee assistance programs. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your journey and can seek support from family and trusted professionals.