Is resilience more important than intelligence or longer hours spent at work?

Many people believe that the key to succeed in one’s career is intelligence, longer hours at work or willingness to take on additional responsibilities. Whilst this is true to a certain extent, the advent of technology and the disruptions of organisational change, have definitely made success more heavily reliant on an individual’s ability to recognise and cope with varying stressors at work. In recent years, resilience has become a growing focus for employers. According to a survey conducted by Conduent HR Services, 22% of companies already have resilience programs in place whilst 28% are planning to offer them.

This follows research which indicates an employee’s welfare does not only relate to a healthy diet and exercise – it also relates to stress management, i.e. how can one be resilient and in the right mind-set to tackle both internal and external challenges. It is important for organisations to establish strategies that enable their employees to recognise triggers during times of adversity and regulate their emotions in order to be able to think clearly and optimise their performance.

Why the need for resilience?

Everyone has different stress triggers. However a quarter of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, as indicated by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is mainly due to employees constantly staying “switched on” and running the likelihood of burnout. In fact, results from the Global Corporate Challenge received from 1.5 million employees across 4,500 companies globally, shed light that 75% of the workforce experience moderate to high levels of stress with 36% specifically reporting they are extremely stressed at work. It is therefore more relevant than ever for employees to build resilience skills to effectively navigate through the stressors at work. As stress has a direct correlation with employee well-being and productivity, it is therefore crucial to address this issue in every business.

In order to build resilience skills in today’s contemporary work environment, one should learn how to identify, understand and manage stress triggers – i.e. factors that lead to feelings of being overwhelmed at work. This is where an organisation can help its people by helping them manage conflicting schedules and supporting them through transparent communication channels.

Becoming resilient is a skill and it requires quite a bit of effort to master. In a study published by PwC, companies that established a resilience program and a mentally healthy workplace can actually return $2.30 for every dollar spent. This takes the form of lower absenteeism, lower health care costs, decreased turnover and higher productivity.

How can companies help their people become resilient?

At the corporate level, companies can foster resilience within their workforce by using the following tips:

·        Be present and exercise mindfulness 

Mindfulness is a tool that can enhance overall well-being. This can be achieved through small exercises such as proactively bringing your attention back to the task at hand when your mind is wandering off. You can also set yourself a clear intention for the day and ensure that this has been completed before heading home.

·         Instead of multi-tasking, try compartmentalising your tasks

Whilst it is impossible to decrease the amount of information we receive, we can compartmentalise our cognitive tasks to optimise the way we process that information. In doing so, it becomes less stressful to switch to the next task as it is easier to process information with a lesser cognitive load.

·         Pay attention to your energy reserves

In order to maximise your productivity, it is important to know when your energy is at its peak – when you can be the most focused and alert. In doing so, you can plan your day better to optimise your performance at work. To replenish your energy levels, one suggestion would be to go to the gym during your lunch break to purposely detach yourself from work. This will help you re-energise once you are back at your desk.

·        Have the ability to assess your emotions in a neutral manner

In order to manage your stressors better, we will advise not to suppress feelings of stress – instead try and observe the situation as a third person. In doing so, you will be able to resolve problems without letting emotions overwhelm you. Having this mental agility will enable your response to adversity and be more flexible and adaptable as you will be able to switch your perspective on the issue accordingly.

·        Be a resilient leader

It is important to show how resilient you are to your team. Having a leader that exhibits clear indications of stress may further affect the team morale. According to Forbes, it is important for the management team to demonstrate resilience through emotional strength and professionalism when facing adversity such as organisational restructuring. It is also crucial for leaders to portray change as something positive – rather than a roadblock. If you are a leader, it is therefore better to adopt a culture that supports change. You can do so by providing leadership training or problem-solving workshops to your employees so they can learn how to better manage conflict and other difficult situations.

The good news?

The good news is anyone can learn to be more resilient by learning more about the behaviours and skills associated with it. We are also here to help! Our team of career specialists can help place you with organisations that will be a good fit to your skills and experience whilst providing the right support for your career. If you wish to discuss how to build a resilient team or simply becoming more resilient at work, feel free to contact us for a confidential discussion. You can also follow us on LinkedIn to learn more about what we do.

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