“Resilience” has been one of those terms gaining in prominence in business (just like disruption or agility), as companies find ways to gain an advantage and make themselves adaptable for a constantly-changing environment, whether it is the impact of Brexit or new legislation.

What is resilience?

Put simply, resilience is about toughness and the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Individuals, teams and companies which are resilient have the ability to “bounce back” effortlessly no matter what is thrown at them. With the ever-increasing pace of change, resilience is becoming an ever more important feature for a business to demonstrate as a means of ensuring it not only survives, but thrives.

Building a resilient HR team is all about creating an environment where individually and collectively your team will thrive and continue to move forward, regardless of what circumstances are thrust upon them. Resilience brings strength to a team and demonstrates the reliability and ability to overcome obstacles without being fazed.

Here are three strategies to make your team more resilient:

1. Set a mission and purpose for your team

Companies that have a strong mission and purpose benefit from greater focus, which makes them more resilient to setbacks and more likely to succeed. Developing a mission specifically for your HR team gives everyone a purpose to strive for.

A shared purpose can give the team the strength to stay its course and not be knocked off-course by problems which arise unexpectedly or having to deal with constant day-to-day interuptions, which often drain motivation.

While your wider organisation may have its mission or purpose statement – by pulling that focus back to your team, you offer a vision for your team to work towards. Ideally, this will be connected to the organisational goal and/or support the business or financial aims of the organisation. The key element is that the team mission and purpose has to distill the value the team brings (your own ‘value proposition’ – there you go…another buzz phrase!) to the goals of the organisation. It shines a light on the importance of the HR team in helping achieve the bigger business aims. And, importantly, it allows you and your team to communicate to the wider organisation how valuable your part is in the process.

For example, most companies have a profit or revenue goal for the year. Taken on its own it can seem disconnected from most people’s day-to-day jobs. By setting a mission and purpose within the team, this provides that valuable connection between what you do and how that will facilitate the company hitting its goal.

2. Tackle common challenges head-on

Resilience is as much about effectiveness and being able to continue to do your job, despite the circumstances.

Rarely can teams control the circumstances around them. Any HR team within an organisation of any size can quite easily find themselves swamped by ER issues and constantly putting out fires. This can seriously damage team morale and motivation if constant fire-fighting becomes a feature of daily work life. While you cannot control what lands on your or your team’s desk, you can take steps to tackle the most common frustrations so your team handles these more effectively.

You may have already done an audit around the volume and types of challenges you face on a daily basis. Identifying these challenges is the first step to removing them.

For example, we’ve worked with a number of HR teams who were constantly firefighting ER issues to the exclusion of projects which had the power to transform their organisation. The HR leaders and their teams found it hugely frustrating when this never-ending challenge stretched them. When we started working with them to provide unlimited, fixed-price access to our practising employment lawyers for day-to-day operational advice, they found their own knowledge improving rapidly, thanks to the close personal relationships formed with their legal advisors. Furthermore, the savings they made by switching from a traditional law firm service model, to our subscription pricing model gave them the resources to implement projects previously put on hold due to budgetary constraints. These also helped reduce day-to-day issues.

As the above example shows, greater resilience can be built by empowering your team to take ownership and develop their knowledge, so they feel more able to cope with whatever is given to them.

3. Communicate and appreciate

You already understand the importance of employee engagement and making employees feel valued and engaged in the work they’re doing to keep them productive, motivated and happy. Setting a team mission or purpose is one step to sharpening that belief in the impact you’re having as a team.

The next step is to constantly communicate and share this. Celebrate the impact your team is having and regularly communicate this within the team as well as through the organisation when opportunities arise. As an HR leader, your team will appreciate seeing you go out there and share your team’s vision and their contribution. Beyond your company, there may be other opportunities to share your success stories, either through industry awards or profiles.

Communication and sharing will produce two outcomes, both of which will build resilience.

Firstly, it promotes positivity and proactivity. Secondly, it strengthens the resolve of the team by reinforcing their shared purpose. The more the team sees itself in terms of a collective being… rather than a collection of individuals, the team becomes more resilient to challenges thrown at them.

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