4 Ways to Improve Resilience in the Workplace
Posted on October 11, 2018 by Danny Leffel
Resilience is a trait some people have and others don’t. Some naturally slog through a demanding workday without complaint, while others wilt and suffer. Workplaces that are inherently stressful, such as a restaurant or high-volume retailer, can make or break an employee.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. While it may not be possible to change the environment an employee works in, an employer can help employees build resilience by addressing negative aspects of the job and encouraging healthy behaviors on and away from the workplace. Following are four ways an employer can help employees build and maintain resilience in the workplace.
1. Create an Atmosphere of Trust
No one wants to be seen as weak, especially an employee. Many people have the perception that admitting to a personal weakness on the job will eventually lead to termination because employers don’t want to deal with employees who may create frequent absences or not put in their best efforts. What this attitude overlooks is the fact that an employee is going to break regardless of the environment. The issue becomes one of an employee breaking to the point of no return because they feel they can’t confide in management that they’re having an issue with their assigned duties.
When management encourages employees to talk to them about issues they’re having without negative consequences, employees are far more likely to reach out and ask for help. They also feel better about their job and are less likely to leave. There’s a net positive that comes from fostering an atmosphere of trust between management and employees.
2. Manage the Workload
Many companies focus on “running lean,” trying to do more work with fewer people. While this works well on paper, it creates burnout among employees. Management can do a lot to help alleviate the workload, but they may be hampered by the objectives set by upper management. If lower-level managers are asking for more staff to get work done, they should be listened to. Managers know what they risk by asking for more staff, but in order to prevent burnout, there needs to be a meeting of the minds.
Employees are willing to do the work that they’re given, but they can only do it for so long — no matter how resilient they may be. Bringing on more staff to lighten the load shows that upper management is listening and willing to help out in times of need.
3. Encourage People to Think Independently
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging employees to the point that they can barely think for themselves. On the surface, micro-managers and those who use command and control techniques turn employees into robots who don’t think independently. The organization loses out because employees aren’t encouraged to think for themselves.
When people are allowed some room to think for themselves, they find better better methods to perform their duties. When people are given trust that they’ll perform their duties without someone looking over their shoulder, they often find ways to do things more efficiently. And increased efficiency benefits the company in the long run. This builds resilience in employees because they know they aren’t going to be punished for thinking outside of the box to get the work done, even if it wasn’t strictly by the book.
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4. Promote Self Care
Many employees come to work and do little other than perform their duties for the duration of their shift. Over time, employees lose their ability to cope with stress because they don’t have an outlet of some kind. They go home exhausted because they did nothing but work all day long. That’s the core idea of employment, but it doesn’t have to be the only one.
An employer who gets involved in encouraging employees to engage in self-care is an employer who is seen as looking to help employees reduce workplace stress levels. It creates a positive atmosphere and employees feel like they have more energy to give to their duties.
Self-care can come in the form of telling people to stop what they’re doing and stretch for a few minutes, take a brief walk outside, or just sit down and get off their feet for a few minutes outside of a break period. Finding ways to incorporate rest periods in jobs where people are constantly active helps employees manage stress and stay fresh throughout their shift.
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