Recent reports that Lloyds Banking Group’s Chief Executive has been signed off with stress and ‘extreme fatigue’ re-enforce the need for a resilient workforce to face the challenges in the changing economic climate, and this week A&DC have focused on spreading the word on enhancing resilience.

At the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition this week resilience was a hot topic and two of our experts, Dan Hughes and Ali Shalfrooshan, hosted a seminar on the ‘8 steps to enhance resilience at work’. The session was well attended, but for those who couldn’t make it here’s an overview of what they had to say.

Resilience: The A&DC Definition

We define Resilience as “an individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenge and change in order to achieve peak performance”.  It is a valuable psychological resource which helps employees continue to perform at their best under challenging circumstances. Research has shown that it can have a range of benefits for employees, including more positive and constructive attitudes to difficult situations, reduced perceptions of stress and improved performance.  This is particularly relevant in light of the latest CIPD Employee Outlook survey. With 54% of staff noticing an increase in stress at work as a result of the economic downturn and 42% more staff worried about the future than not worried, it is now increasingly important to develop resilience in your workforce to give them the skills to work through these tough times.

At A&DC we view resilience as a skill that can be learned.  The development of resilience will not only assist individuals in coping with pressure and challenges at work, but it is a ‘life skill’ that will enhance their general wellbeing and ability to cope with a range of challenging life events.

The Eight Key Components of Resilience

Drawing on a range of research conducted in the area of resilience, A&DC have identified eight key components of resilience at work.  These are:

  1. Self Belief – The extent to which an individual has confidence in their ability to address problems and obstacles that they encounter
  2. Optimism – The extent to which an individual believes that they will experience good outcomes in life, and the way in which they explain setbacks that they experience
  3. Purposeful Direction – The extent to which an individual has clear goals that they are committed to achieving
  4. Adaptability – The extent to which an individual is willing to adapt their behaviour and approach in response to changing circumstances
  5. Ingenuity – The extent to which an individual perceives they are capable of finding solutions to problems that they encounter
  6. Challenge Orientation – The extent to which an individual enjoys experiences which challenge them, and perceives stretching situations as opportunities to learn and develop
  7. Emotion Regulation -­ The extent to which an individual is able to remain calm and in control of their emotions in stressful situations
  8. Support Seeking – The extent to which an individual  is willing to ask others for help and support when dealing with difficult situations

Developing Resilience

Each of these aspects of resilience can be developed within individuals using various tools and techniques, for example through learning to manage negative self-talk, understanding your explanatory styles and learning to be optimistic, seeking out mastery experiences and practicing relaxation techniques. Organisations can support their employees and help them develop their resilience through a range of methods, such as workshops, workbooks, one-to-one coaching and mentoring programmes.

It is important to note that this is not just a one off exercise and individuals will need to be continuously supported in their development.  However, in the longer term, this ‘investment’ is likely to create a more flexible, positive workforce, which can help your organisation to make opportunities out of adversity.