Developing resilience in your team.

In the workforce, resilience can be defined as a measure of our ability to thrive in the face of difficult situations and to learn after setbacks. According to a Regus Group survey, over half of the global workforce (53 per cent) reported being closer to burning out than they were five years ago. Burnt out teams are not able to successfully manage their daily work, let alone long-term projects, which is a serious issue for the profitability of the whole organisation.

There is a wide range of benefits for building employee resilience, ranging from improved optimism, self-efficacy, increased job satisfaction, improved goal attainment and productivity. The benefits of building employee resilience are manyfold and they happen within teams that are well looked after. Depending on the size of your organisation, consider these tips when establishing resilient teams in your business: 

Accommodate the personal limitations of your employees

Being attuned to your team’s aspirations and personal limitations such as parental or carer commitments outside of work will significantly improve employee morale. Imagine walking into work clouded with the stress of being unable to take time off to attend to family affairs. While stress naturally occurs in the workplace, its threat to employee health and productivity will heighten if it’s left unchecked. Employers can create resilient teams by building an environment where employees aren’t unnecessarily encumbered but clear headed in order to perform stronger. This may be in the form of early leave for childcare pickups or mental health days.

Ensure employees have the relevant tools to work

Employees can be easily disillusioned when brought to a standstill by a complex problem. This can raise feelings of helplessness and may undermine confidence in their ability. Leaders can shore up resilience by equipping their teams with up to date learning opportunities and encouraging self-driven education. A University of New South Wales survey of 5,600 people across 77 organisations found that; “the single greatest influence on profitability and productivity within an organisation is the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognising their people; welcoming feedback, including criticism; and fostering co-operation among staff.” Employers that dedicate resources to employee development will experience less turnover and are more likely to know how to support the company. This statement is especially true for millennials. Retaining key employees allows a company to build longevity in working relationships.

Build trust within teams and a community in your organisation

The dream will only work when the team works. Establishing a culture of trust and open communication allows employees to work through stress and adversity knowing that their colleagues have their backs. Touching base through face to face interactions instead of back and forth emails can inspire community interactions to bridge departments and leads to supportive networks throughout an organisation. These relationships can be informal social support systems that, according to experts, increase your teams’ resilience.

Recognising great work  

No workplace is without its day to day challenges, so it’s important to recognise when employees excel in their role. Recognition communicates company gratitude and also incentivises employees to continue doing great work, cementing resilience within the company culture. A 2015 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey on engagement and job satisfaction discovered that 75 percent of employees feel their importance to an organisation is their main source of commitment to the business. This recognition can be communicated through monetary bonuses or other forms of appreciation to raise employee engagement. An actionable step you may also consider taking is to encourage happy clients to email their team or specific team members to express their gratitude to others.

Bringing social into the workplace 

Sharing the wins and the positive resolution of shortcomings is best shared with the whole company. Utilising a preferred enterprise social networking (ESN) system such as Workplace by Facebook can facilitate this for small to large organisations. One Weber Shandwick study discovered that social media is essential to employee engagement and employees with socially-encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales at 72 percent, than employees whose employers aren’t socially encouraging at 48 percent. 

The added benefit of utilising social media tools includes streamlining collaboration and multimedia sharing, all within the familiarity of social media interfaces employees may already use. On the offline side of things, offering activities outside of work to reward and allow employees to establish informal and diverse internal connections within the team and company is essentially sorting out two birds with one stone.  

Key takeaways 

  • Equipping employees with updated skills and encouraging self driven education will shore up struggling teams. 
  • Resilient teams excelling in their roles requires recognition to continue tackling complex problems.
  • Open communication and internal mechanisms of support can reinvigorate disheartened employees and teams who are dealing with complex tasks 

No doubt, employee well-being plays a crucial role in an organisation’s ability to successfully build resilient teams. It follows that proactive measures taken by colleagues and employers alike are necessary to reduce employee burnouts which are proven to be costly both for team morale and the company. Nurturing your team’s resilience starts with recognising their contribution and bolstering enthusiasm to continue to do not only good, but great work. 

Tim Newham 
Queensland General Manager - HR Partners 


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