"I would enthusiastically refer any association with a Board of Directors to KLR Consulting. KLR successfully facilitated a discovery workshop for our Board members. The results have been considerable and consistent with the Board meeting attendance averaging over 90 percent, clearly the highest percentage in a long time. All Board members are now engaged in our activities, and are comfortable as we continually evolve our meeting formats to investigate what works and frankly what doesn't work as well. The Board has already talked of our next development session with KLR Consulting."

Kevin Westlye, Executive Director
Golden Gate Restaurant Association

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Why Should You Develop Flexible, Resilient Employees?

(posted: April 17th, 2023)

When something goes wrong, do you bounce back or fall apart?'

A resilient person has strong coping skills and is able to marshal their available resources, ask for help when needed, and find ways to manage the situation they are facing.

Resilient organizations, similarly, are able to weather the uncertainties and rapid changes that have become the norm in the modern business landscape, and even thrive.

Fostering resilient employees and a culture of resilience is a major element in building resilient organizations.

Why Does Building a Resilient Culture Matter?

Resilient employees = resilient businesses.

Deloitte is clear about how leaders' empathy and awareness affects employee, and ultimately, organizational, resilience. From their study: "CXOs who said their organizations had done very well in cultivating resilient cultures were about three times more likely to say they weathered the events of 2020 well."

Resilience allows individuals to effectively cope with change, stress, and setbacks. It enables employees to bounce back from difficult situations, remain productive, and maintain a positive attitude. This in turn leads to improved job performance, better teamwork, and a more positive work environment.

Gallup studies show that organizations with engaged people are more productive and financially successful, and, critical to the organization's resilience, those employees will also help you fight through crises.

If you expect your employees to perform well, remember: People can’t pour from an empty cup. By supporting their sense of well-being, you are helping them, and by proxy, your business, to better equip themselves to handle unpredictability with greater ease and confidence.

5 Keys to Building a Culture of Resilience

It’s important to make a real effort, and be genuine in your efforts to develop resilience in your people. Choose a couple of ideas and dive into them thoroughly.

1) Support mental & physical wellbeing:' Take an active approach to your people’s wellbeing; recharging through rest, relaxation, pursuit of hobbies and other interests is critical to people’s ability to bounce back from adversity. As an employer, this may include things like reducing or eliminating the “always on” aspect of the job, allowing flexible scheduling, encouraging and rewarding taking time off, and more. This isn’t about “perks” as such; in fact, ask your people what it is they need to feel 100% when they are on the job, and then listen to what they say.

2) Listen & Communicate:' I can’t say this often enough: Listen, actively, and often, to what your people are telling you. Make sure to act on valid feedback as well, so that your people recognize that you are paying attention. Communicate frequently and clearly. This is a corollary to listening. People want to be looped in and feel like they are part of what is going on, whether good or bad.

3) Provide professional development & coaching:' When you help them to upskill and further develop their careers, your people are going to be happier and more loyal to the company. Leaders need to do what they can to support employees by training them in skill sets that benefit their careers and their lives. I recommend both team development and individual coaching for leaders. Per Gallup: "93% of employees said they would stay longer and be more engaged if companies invested in their career through meaningful development."

4) Team retreats:' I'm a big fan of team gatherings that take people out of the office in some way and immerse them in training or skill building or even strategy sessions. It tends to change everyone's perspective and improve focus. Plus, doing something as a group can help with bonding and camaraderie, essential to wellbeing and resilience.

5) Encourage a growth mindset:' This is about believing you can, versus believing you can’t. It may sound a little simplistic on the surface, but developing a growth mindset will help people recognize that failure and adversity aren’t catastrophes, they are just challenges and setbacks that can be surmounted.

For more on engaging and motivating, see this post, and this post on burnout.

For more on growth mindset and how to foster it, see this post.

Resolve to Build Resilience

Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches, “because if you're brittle, you'll break.”

Normal' implies the status quo, that there is a fixed point of reference, but things are always changing, and if we don’t change, we don’t grow.

Challenge Yourself
  • How have you developed your own resilience?
  • What are your tips for building resilient employees?
  • Share an example of a time that your ability to bounce back was critical.
  • Please share your thoughts and additions in the comments below.

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