Resilience has become increasingly important for individuals, organisations, and society to flourish in the uncertain, risky, turbulent, and ambiguous world we now live in. Resilience is how we adapt well to changes in our environment. It is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity or significant sources of stress. This includes significant life changes, serious health problems, or family/workplace stress. The coronavirus pandemic has presented a challenge for many of us, to our mental health and wellbeing – and it’s important to take active steps to look after ourselves.
How can you build your personal resilience, to help you deal with the current and any future emotional strain?
Overcoming challenges is the best form of learning. 90% of HR decision-makers and line managers believe resilience – the ability to cope with change and uncertainty – is a key attribute of future employees. And we all know the importance of a positive mindset to overcome the most difficult of situations.
How much of an impact does mental health have?
Recognising the importance of good mental health at work has grown in importance over recent years, not just because of the rise in ill mental health as the main cause of sickness absence, but due to the recognition that performance and engagement can be affected by a worker’s state of mind. One employee in five admits to absence that has not been caused by “genuine” ill health!
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about significant life changes and challenges for many people, bringing a unique mix of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing and stressful situations —and that is in part thanks to resilience.
Being resilient does not mean that you won’t experience difficulty or distress, nor is resilience a personality trait that only some people possess. On the contrary, resilience involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that we can all learn and develop.
What other factors can affect resilience?
It’s important to consider someone’s resilience in the context of their individual situation and vulnerabilities – including diagnosed mental health conditions, long-term disabilities/physical conditions, financial situation and relationship issues. Someone’s resilience can also be affected by the bias, stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination of others.
As individuals and an organisation, we, therefore, need to avoid systems that degrade the wellbeing and resilience of marginalised people and groups; being inclusive and offering representation can help.
The challenges of 2020 can have an adverse effect on an individual’s mental state, affect performance and engagement at work, and increase presenteeism. For organisations to survive during difficult conditions, creativity and adaptability are needed. Fear and anxiety limit these capabilities and are potentially catastrophic to the individual and to the organisation.
Why is it so important?
You do not need us to tell you that this year has certainly been a challenging year for everyone. For all those working in HR during the Covid era to say you have been busy would be an understatement! HR is now – more than ever – central to how organisations in the public and the private sector are rethinking their personal practises to build organisational resilience.
Resilience during times of change and when faced with challenges is incredibly important, it enables the following to happen:
- Playing the long game:
Having a clear vision of where you are going, despite uncertain times.
Stabilising the University and finding opportunities amid challenging situations.
- Taking decisive action:
Having the ability to make a decision quickly, even when things are unstable.
Ensuring that things still move forward, and decisions are made for the best of the University.
- Owning the narrative
Seizing the narrative from the start and being transparent to give a clear picture of the future.
Doing what is in the best interest of the University and sharing that.
Sarah Westwood is a Partner, Interim and Search specialist. Please get in contact with her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any of this further.