Resilience in the Workplace

There are many things to consider when dealing with transitional periods in the workplace – from getting the communications right, to working with employees to help them find their next career.  However, possibly one of the more important aspects is ensuring the people who are at the coalface, managing and supporting their teams, receive the tools they need to enable them to do this effectively.  The importance of resilience at these times should not be underestimated, so I asked Jo Clancy, our Business Change Consultant, to explain a bit more about it and the training we can provide.

What is resilience? Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with change, stress and uncertainty. Psychologists believe that people with high levels of resilience are better able to handle challenging conditions and adapt to new situations. Dealing with change or loss is an inevitable part of life, but resilience provides the ability to bounce back from any setback or change with a positive attitude and approach.

Why is it important to have resilience?  Resilience is particularly important when you are going through any period of change, be it positive or negative, in your personal life or working life.  It ensures coping strategies are in place to smooth the transition.

When redundancies are in the offing, people are not just at risk of losing their job and therefore their income, but also losing their self-worth, confidence and trust.  They become very vulnerable.  They may have trouble identifying the distinction between the job and the person, and probably won’t ‘hear’ the messages they are being told properly.  They will go through many emotions – or stages – and the training we provide helps them identify these and deal with them.

What are the different stages associated with change?  There are seven stages associated with change.  These are shock, denial, resistance, acceptance, testing, understanding and finally integration.

Why is it important that managers know and understand these stages? If you understand how people will feel and think at each of these stages, you are better positioned to understand and support them.  Also, you are better placed to identify and manage your own reactions and ensure they do not adversely affect the messages you are giving to your team.

What else does the ‘Resilience for Change’ training provide?  As well as recognising the stages, resilience training helps people develop coping strategies, from talking to people and sharing how it makes them feel, through to releasing negative energy thorough sport for example.  Everybody is different, so there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the training. Rather it highlights dangers and signposts people towards developing their own personal coping mechanisms.