The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work, possibly forever. Psychologists and researchers state that returning to extremely changed workplace and live with “new normal” presents itself will be even more demanding upon people’s mental well-being. It doesn’t matter how talented or capable we are, we are all being stretched in ways we’ve never been stretched before.
I want to share with you some crucial findings from evidence-based report from BetterUp Labs that represents hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals working across a variety of industries and jobs. They examined the power of resilience to grow stronger in the face of constant change.
is a dynamic capability that needs to be demystified at multiple levels – individual, team and organization.
Resilience is often defined as an individual’s ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience encompasses both our ability to emerge from struggle without harm and also describes the potential for that struggle to catalyze growth. Let’s see why individuals, teams, and organizations alike can benefit greatly from building resilience in our current environment.
As an individual, being resilient requires approaching challenges or setbacks with the appropriate mindset, as well as being skilled in behaviors that help to mitigate disruption. Resilience requires agile thinking and optimism, perseverance through changing contexts, and activation of effective coping strategies.
Groups of people can be characterized in terms of their levels of collective resilience. For example, just as individuals face adversity, teams also bump up against real-world challenges in the workplace. Such challenges could include poor interpersonal interactions, ineffective communications, rapidly-shifting priorities and projects, and weak organizational culture. Whereas less resilient teams might be rattled by such challenges, causing disruption to performance and productivity, resilient teams are able to see these stressors as opportunities to respond, adapt, and grow. Highly-resilient teams also make better assessments of risks that impact their work and more efficiently find solutions.
Organizations can be resilient. Organizational resilience focuses on the process of coping with the adapting to challenges and stressors, while positioning the organization to recover – end even grow. In uncertain or threatening environments, resilience is the key factor to whether an organization is able to move beyond a focus on basic survival to a focus on thriving.
Top three drivers of resilience growth
- Emotional regulation – The extent to which we regulate our emotions to remain calm and collected. The more emotionally stable we are, the better equipped we are to remain resilient and excel when challenges arise.
- Self-compassion – The extent to which we are compassionate towards ourselves, treating ourselves with kindness and empathetic understanding. The more accepting we are of ourselves, the greater life satisfaction and resilience we experience.
- Cognitive agility – The extent to which we adapt and shift our thought processes when doing so leads to more positive outcomes. Learning to make plans while allowing for flexibility is an important skill for mental well-being and productivity.
Resilient individuals innovate and outperform
Employees with greater resilience bring their best selves to their jobs every day. We found that the most resilient employees have almost 20% higher cognitive flexibility and a more robust growth mindset compared to their peers with the lowest resilience. One of the most valuable findings in our study is that the most resilient workers are also the most innovative ones, with 22% higher innovation scores.
This is a crucial finding as organizations seek to adapt and innovate to emerge as market leaders in a post-pandemic world.
Resilient leaders build resilient teams
In the new climate of distributed, remote and asynchronous work, what it means for individuals and teams to work together toward a common goal looks wildly different than it once did. If your organization hopes to remain adaptive and thrive through ongoing and uncertain challenges, it will need to build resilience at the core. And, as the research shows, your managers will need to play a pivotal role in this mission.
In the current environment, frontline managers – even when they cultivate seemingly small, incremental behavior changes – m can have an outsized effect across your organization.
Resilient organizations have stronger financial health
The companies with the highest aggregated resilience scores have had 42% higher annual return on assets and 3.7x higher annual return on equity.
Furthermore, talking about growth in resilience, the organizations that experienced the highest increases in workforce resilience showed higher levels of financial growth in the past year. These companies have had 3.2x greater year-over-year revenue growth and 60% higher five-year revenue growth. In other words, companies that choose to invest in a more resilient workforce experience a greater impact on their organization’s bottom line.
- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, wellbeing across the population has dropped, but highly-resilient individuals have been protected against the worst declines.
- Highly-resilient individuals manage stress by leading a healthy lifestyle, finding meaning and purpose, and by connecting with others. This investment is paying off now with less disruption to work productivity and greater wellbeing.
- Individuals can develop resilience amidst crises when they are actively supported. Increasing emotional regulation, self-compassion, and cognitive agility are the top three drivers of growth in resilience.
Five focus areas to make resilience achievable for any organization
- Promote wellbeing at all levels – Resilience and wellbeing grow together and act as a powerful buffer, or protection, against adversity. Reevaluate your enterprise wellbeing strategy to promote a holistic approach that includes mental, social, emotional, and physical support.
- Foster a culture of resilience through your leaders – Resilient leaders build resilient teams with greater agility and performance, and reduced burnout. Cultivate resilient leaders on the front lines to create a tipping point for change.
- Model after the profile of high resilience – Highly-resilient leaders exhibit a set of hallmark characteristics that are uniquely human. Apply these characteristics across the talent lifecycle to boost resilience in your organization.
- Make change personal – Effective strategies are highly individualized, evidence-based, and driven by data with a longer tail of support than most training programs can provide. Reevaluate your learning and development strategy to enable the one-to-one support that can drive deep and lasting change.
- Take resilience out of the mystery box – Resilience can be reliably measured and indexed. Get an understanding of how resilient your organization is today, and continuously pulse to track growth over time.
Organizations that optimize for human growth will outperform in all aspects of business culture and employee experience. Resilience is a powerful preventative strategy that will increase your organization’s endurance through the uncertain times ahead of us.
Beyond just surviving future disruption, companies that learn how to thrive through crisis will emerge as winners. The level of resiliency in your organization serves as a strong leading indicator of this competitive advantage.
While the business benefits are clear, the greatest advantage for organizations that truly believe in the value of resilience is reaping the benefits of a culture that promotes wellbeing, human development, and a more meaningful life for every employee.
Agnieszka is an energetic multi-lingual trainer, coach and consultant with over 20 years’ international experience in the project management profession. She is a very creative trainer and consultant who uses innovative skills to support clients in designing and delivering leadership skills courses. She has a long experience in working with clients from private, public and academic organisations. Her strong interpersonal and communication skills allow her to build very good relations with clients across all levels and in different languages due to her fluency in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and conversational German and Russian. Agnieszka has delivered successful programmes across Europe, USA, Latin America and Australia. She is Business Coach (ACC ICF) and author of creative program “Leader TANGO – strengths for Life” www.leadertango.com