Determining Resilience in the Workplace [8 Key Factors]

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The difficulties of life are facts that we often have to come face to face with. When it comes to work, sometimes stress, anxiety, and frustration begin to creep in, creating difficult (and often toxic) situations.

However, the workplaces that show resilience are the ones that get through these challenges with grace and mindfulness for each individual employee. They come out on the other side stronger, while the businesses who aren’t resilient may not make it out at all.

This idea of resiliency and sustainability is what I want to touch on in today’s article. I’ll talk about some of the ways you can determine whether or not your office is resilient, as well as give a few tips for how to improve perseverance and integrity over time.

What is Resilience in the Workplace?

As you might imagine, in an office or professional setting, resilient employees are willing and able to face challenges head-on. Not only are they able to problem-solve in the face of adversity, they also feel supported by their colleagues and like they can trust one another to get through the difficult periods.

Additionally, there should be an inherent level of respect between individuals. While they may not necessarily get along all the time, they should feel like they’re heard and valued, even on their hardest days.

What are some of the key features of a resilient workplace? How do you know that your office will make it through even the most challenging moments? Here are a few things to look for:

1. Motivation

Do employees take pride in their work? Do they feel like what they’re doing is making a difference? A lack of motivation can raise stress levels through the roof when times get hard. People may start to see their job as an exercise in futility if there aren’t any returns on their tasks.

Make an effort to compliment your co-workers on a job well done whenever they accomplish a new task or execute a difficult project. The recognition should be as specific as possible. For instance, congratulating a job well done on an aspect of a project, rather than a blanket statement. 

Letting employees know why they did a great job with something helps show the values of the office, plus gives meaning to the tasks they are completing. If values and purpose are aligned to the task requested, people are more motivated to do and do it well.

2. Integrity

Office gossip and people not following through on their promises can erode a lot of trust within the workplace, diminishing resilience, as well as overall productivity. If employees feel like they’re always turned against each other, they won’t feel supported or safe at work.

Gossip exists when talk is not shared with the person being talked about. Feedback is given to the recipient, and when shared with others, it is gossip, which does not contribute to a positive atmosphere. 

Often, holding people accountable for their words and actions starts at the very top. If you’re able to speak to managers and human resource representatives about integrity issues within the office, they may be able to implement guidelines for keeping people in check.

3. Reliability

There should be a strong level of trust between employees. If someone says they will complete a task by the end of the day, they should be able to do so, or at least give advanced notice if they will need more time.

Again, if this is an issue within your organization, it may be time to go to your supervisors. Taking time to set new expectations and deadlines may be in order.

4. Corporate Social Responsibility

What kind of community outreach is your company a part of? Are employees encouraged to volunteer or otherwise be an involved community member? It may not seem directly related to resilience, but businesses with a corporate social responsibility plan tend to see 57% more effort from employees with 87% less likely to leave, as compared to “disengaged” employees.

People tend to be naturally inclined to help others, particularly those that need them within the community. Having volunteer days or running a donation program helps show employees that their work is contributing to a bigger purpose. 

Plus, volunteer days can help employees see one another in a different light, encouraging understanding and a new way through which to bond.

5. Attentively Listening

It’s necessary in any relationship, but attentive listening is absolutely imperative within the workplace. First, individuals need to be able to listen and collaborate in order to get jobs done correctly and efficiently. However, it’s also important for making people feel like their voices are heard.

When they are talking, make an effort to really, truly understand what they’re saying. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask others for help when you need it. Overall, it will help create a more connected workplace culture.

6. Respectful Disagreements

Co-workers aren’t always going to get along. The solution to this is not avoiding conflict altogether, but rather learning how to disagree more effectively. Going back to attentive listening, opposing parties should try to learn more about the other person’s point of view while doing their best to speak calmly and respectfully when it’s their turn. 

There may not always be a 50-50 resolution or a clear solution that seems completely fair, but respect and integrity must still be maintained. What they said needed to be said and should be understood even if not agreed upon. It’s these characteristics that will help foster resilience in the long run.

7. Work-Life Integration

Have you noticed a lot of people getting burned out at your job? Are employees regularly expected to put in extra long hours in order to meet unrealistic expectations? Are you consistently receiving calls and notifications from co-workers throughout the night? If so, it’s time for a change.

Employees can’t perform their best when all they ever do is work. Sure, they may be productive and help check boxes. They will also be sick more often, less creative, and may struggle more with their mental health.

Make sure that your workplace has clear boundaries when it comes to work time. The time you get away is essential for your overall success, both in and out of your job. Your colleagues and bosses should be able to understand.

8. Compassion

When someone is having a tough day at work, do individuals stand by them and offer support? Is criticism given and received in a way that’s mindful of the other person’s feelings? How often is a person nervous about approaching a fellow colleague for fear of being misunderstood and berated for asking a question? These could all be signs that your office needs help with compassion.

People need to feel both emotionally and physically safe at work in order to perform their best. If they aren’t treated compassionately, particularly during the hard times, there’s a good chance that they will leave and resilience will diminish.

Always speak kindly and respectfully to others in the office, and don’t be afraid to ask for the same treatment in return if someone crosses a boundary. If anyone is having a difficult day, let them know you’re there and would be happy to talk with them if and when they need it. Remember, if these things are not happening, it’s easy for resentment to start creeping in.

Putting It All Together

Workplace resilience will look different depending on your profession, the field of work you’re in, as well as a host of other factors. However, these few components can help mold your business into one that is sustainable both now and well into the future.

I would love to further this discussion and hear what you are struggling with or doing that is working. Set up a time to continue this conversation with me.