Now that we’ve explored both engagement and resilience in the last few weeks, let’s dive into the connection that these two vital constructs share with each other. Studies have shown that resilience is positively related to workplace engagement, meaning that employees who possess and demonstrate resilience are more likely to be engaged in their jobs. Further, employees who are engaged tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction, perform better than their disengaged counterparts, and are less likely to burnout. Resilience is a key aspect of engagement, because it helps individuals rebound from negative events. For example, a poor performance review or an unexpected change in a project can figuratively derail the employee’s momentum, thereby resulting in disengagement and reduced performance. However, resilience helps this employee bounce back from potential disengagement and either retain or recapture motivation, confidence, and enjoyment with, in this example, the unruly project.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, resilience is actually a skill, meaning that it can be learned and strengthened through training, practice, cultural restructuring, and many other efforts. This goes without saying that some individuals are predisposed to innately demonstrate higher levels of resilience. However, as with all skills, resilience can be developed.
How can I improve resilience in the office?
While improving resilience is oftentimes challenging, it can be accomplished through time, effort, and dedication. Specifically, problem-solving, developing strong social networks, and being comfortable with improvisation are attributes that all contribute towards developing greater resiliency. Below are a few tips for improving employee resilience within the workplace.
- Implement or foster an organizational culture of problem-solving, continual improvement, and excellence. Employees of organizations that possess these qualities tend to perceive negative events in a more development-focused light and are more apt take action to resolve issues. Further, by perpetuating a problem-solving mindset, employees are more likely to look for solutions instead of focus on what went wrong. Lastly, a high-performance culture of excellence motivates personnel to do their absolute best. Through hard work individuals tend to find success, which has been shown to lead to future accomplishments, and stronger resilience when desired outcomes are not reached.
- Incorporate team-building activities during large-scale meetings. Quarterly or bi-annual meetings are a great time for colleagues to get to know each other. Rarely in an office does each individual work with every employee during the year, so it can be difficult to create a close and comfortable network of peers. Therefore, during large-scale meetings, allow time for employees to get together (preferably in pairs or groups of individuals who typically do not work with each other) and complete tasks that require teamwork, coordination, and (hopefully) a little laughter to break the ice. Through building professional relationships across the office, employees are expanding their social networks, thereby strengthening a key factor of resilience. As an added benefit, these activities break up the sometimes-tedious string of presentations and help re-engage personnel.
- Host internal trainings or activities to enhance improvisation skills. Improvising is very much a developed skill, meaning that it is important to practice it. While few individuals are innately born with the ability to “think on their feet”, most require training and opportunities to practice. Therefore, offering employees periodic training on improvisation facilitates the develop of this skill. Also, similar to team-building activities, training on improvising can be highly fun and entertaining, and is generally well-received by employees.
Resilience is a highly important cognitive skill for individuals facing adversity, and is associated with numerous positive outcomes including high engagement, which in turn is related to high performance, happy and satisfied personnel, and reduced burnout. Therefore, it is worth dedicating time and resources towards developing resilience amongst your workforce.
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Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology, 87(2), 268.
Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., González-Romá, V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurement of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of Happiness studies, 3(1), 71-92.
About the Author: FMPer Stephen is originally from Southern California and loved the beach/”shredding the gnar” (surfing) while growing up. Stephen made his way to the DC area to obtain his Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University. When he’s not busy being a Human Capital Consultant, he enjoys traveling (notable favorites are Seattle and Thailand), hiking (he will be backpacking in Glacier National Park this summer), working out, cooking new foods, and playing softball.