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How To Build A Resilient Workforce

Baili Bigham
Baili Bigham

With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the economy, it’s safe to say that employees are stressed. The sudden changes and added pressures at work can prevent employees from doing their best work. When this happens, business suffers. 

The best way to help your people stay healthy and your business intact during a crisis is by building resilience. Resilient workforces have the ability to bounce back when setbacks occur and continue making positive changes even after issues are resolved. But the first step to encouraging resilience in your employees is to understand what’s holding them back.

The top issues on employees’ minds right now

To coach your people to become more resilient, it’s important to know how they’re feeling and empathize with their struggles. 15Five recommends taking an ongoing pulse check of your employees through weekly check-ins and engagement surveys to learn their unique pain points. But to look more broadly, here are the top three issues that most employees are dealing with today.

1. Burnout

Employees, especially those working remotely, are struggling to set boundaries between their personal life and their work. And with so much at stake, their motivations may not be stemming from personal growth, but rather, a fear of losing their jobs. Allowing work hours to bleed into evenings and weekends is a fast track to employee burnout. And burnout can be detrimental to a business.

Over 62% of people are currently experiencing burnout at work, and 76% of employees experience burnout at least sometimes. Not only is an overworked employee likely to make more mistakes, they’re also more stressed, depressed, and can account for a large portion of employee turnover.

2. Lack of clarity

When will we go back to the office? What will it look like when we do? Is my job safe? Will my company survive the economic downturn? These are all questions that your employees have likely asked themselves over the last six months. While you may not have concrete answers to satisfy their problems, you can overcommunicate the things that you do know. Even a small amount of reassurance can help employees regain a sense of control. 

3. Emotional support 

We’re all dealing with an unsettling amount of stress, and we’re all processing that stress differently. Maybe you’ve noticed that some of your coworkers are acting differently, or even a shift in your own attitude. Instead of allowing frustrations to boil over, understand that your people could be dealing with more than they can handle at home and approach situations with kindness and positive intent.

Training your workforce to become more resilient

Resilience is a learned behavior. Not a fixed personality trait. And the best way to teach your people how to become more resilient is by modeling the type of behavior you wish to see emulated. Here are some unique characteristics of a resilient workforce that you can begin practicing today.

Resilient individuals use positivity as a mechanism for overcoming obstacles.“They [resilient people] shift the label of failure of something negative to something helpful instead. With feedback and motivation, we can each work to get better and ‘fail forward,’” says

Growth oriented
In addition to maintaining a positive attitude, resilient individuals also have a growth mindset. People with this mindset adopt a continuous love of learning and believe that everyone is capable of growing their skills and overcoming their current challenges.

High trust
The process of building trust starts with vulnerability, according to research by Harvard Business School professor, Jeff Polzer. Sharing how you feel with employees can encourage more open communication and create highly collaborative and engaged work environments. 

Meaningful work
Connecting your employees’ work to the company’s purpose creates a deep sense of belonging. When your people feel that their work is meaningful, they’re more likely to persist and go above and beyond to accomplish their goals.

When leaders help their people become resilient and overcome their unique issues, organizations can speed up the rate at which they recover from the pandemic’s impact. Learn more about how you can create a more resilient organization in our webinar with Josh Bersin, Managing Performance During a Crisis: Time for a Big Reset.

Baili Bigham is the Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge-reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco. 

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