Shawnee Love • June 20, 2019
Last week, we discussed the importance of building your people’s resiliency and gave a few suggestions associated with how to do that within the work. This week, I thought I would go one step further and talk about other methods of resiliency building which bosses can model and/or mentor into their people.
Other methods employers can help their people become more resilient fall under the categories of:
Please note, while there are other categories under which you can build resiliency, I am sticking to that which employers have the most connection to. E.g., unless you are a religious organization, you probably aren’t going to weigh in much on spiritual wellness even though that is another category of wellness and thus resiliency building for many people. Additionally, for purposes of this blog, I am connecting the dots between resiliency and wellness. That is, if you are “healthy” in the areas above, your resiliency will be higher.
Without further ado, let’s look at these ways bosses can positively influence employees’ resiliency (and thereby enhance their employees ability to be productive, meet challenges, and handle life’s ups and downs):
Employers can influence resiliency by ensuring employees feel financially secure. Specifically, they can ensure employees have confidence in job security (presuming it is secure) by paying on time and fairly, and also by offering support for long term financial security through a retirement savings plan or even providing access to a financial counselor as a perk.
Bosses can support physical wellness by encouraging employees to take breaks (breaks positively impacts mental wellness too). Health initiatives (often encouraged by group benefits programs as well) such as taking the stairs and quitting smoking, and lunch and learns which teach healthy sleep and healthy eating patterns are also excellent ways to support resilience from the perspective of employees’ physical well being. Also consider Steve Jobs’ approach of inviting people to “walking meetings”, or organizing team outings, team volunteering, and/or team fundraising activities which often incorporate movement and thus enhance physical resiliency.
Ensuring employees take breaks supports mental wellness as well as physical wellness as noted above. In practice, this means not only are you allowing time in the day and managing workload enough that people feel they can take breaks, but you are also ensuring that employees who take breaks are not perceived as less hardworking or committed to the organization in the eyes of others. You can also build mental resiliency by offering employees as much autonomy as possible (e.g., discretion regarding order of work and/or how to do the job), consulting employees on things that affect them (e.g., in advance of implementing changes), and keeping an eye on workload and work time such that employees don’t become overwhelmed and exhausted. Promoting a positive culture and stamping out toxic behaviours like gossip, backstabbing, and bullying further support employees’ mental health.
As it relates to emotional health, the biggest way I encourage bosses to help employees is by listening and showing they care. You don’t have to be a therapist, but a few minutes of authentic conversation, particularly about non-work stuff, can go a long way towards building employees’ sense of connection and belonging which not only results in increased engagement but also in their ability to handle what life throws at them, i.e., resiliency.
Leaders can build resiliency socially by offering opportunities to collaborate and meet. A nice workstation, comfortable chairs arranged in groups, and an excellent lunch room (coupled with the time to take lunch) can be effective. Additionally, fun team activities and events (e.g., company BBQ’s, potluck lunches, recognition events, etc.), as well as entering teams into races or fundraisers supporting causes or charities build social wellness as well. (Team fundraising has the added benefit of building connections in the community, i.e., broadening social networks and support.)
Beyond these types of initiatives at work, leaders can also model / share their own resiliency building activities which gives employees additional tools in their toolkits and has the added benefit of showing employees their vulnerable, human side. Knowing managers are people to builds the relationship which further improves resiliency.
Pretty much anything at work that builds connections and camaraderie, increases the senses of belonging and security, and feels positive and supportive to employees will contribute to resiliency and pay dividends in your workplace. We’d love to hear your examples too. Please share by commenting.