Posted: Tuesday 30 September 2014. Author: Capita HR solutions.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli.
IN February, Colm Cooper was injured playing for Dr Croke’s. Cruciate ligament damage and a shattered kneecap meant his season was over. Kerry would be without possibly the finest player of his generation, their talisman, for 2014. Already they were a team in transition. Leaders like Darragh Ó Sé had retired, Tomás followed him. Paul Galvin recommitted briefly, then he too was gone. ‘Gooch’ was to lead the new breed on the pitch. What now for the Kingdom? Three games resulted in three defeats in the National League. The natives were restless and old rivals Tyrone were up next, ready to hammer another nail in.
The rest, as they say, is history. Tyrone humiliated. Division One status secured. Old rivals Cork destroyed in Munster and Sam finally returned to the Kingdom. The production line was intact, the transition managed better than anyone imagined.
How? Through resilience. Resilience is that ability in people to rebound from setbacks, the mental strength to overcome problems, to manage change and face up to challenges; moxie, if you like.
And it’s not just the preserve of the sporting arena; it’s a quality that every business organisation should thoroughly invest in. Businesses exist in a world of change, where everyone expects more for less, where the pressure to survive, let alone succeed, is enormous and where we rely more and more on staff to be adaptable and deal with whatever comes their way.
So for any modern organisation trying to retain a competitive edge; resilience should at the top of the HR agenda.
Resilience is most commonly addressed at personal and organisational levels.
At the individual, personal level, resilience is about developing inner fortitude, about being able to mange whatever obstacles are placed in front of you with a robust and positive attitude. It’s the ability to adapt to change and come back stronger each time. A sense of purpose, value and commitment are key ingredients. As Iain Dowie famously coined it… ‘bouncebackability’.
Every employee will have some innate resilience; the key for HR is to help them develop it further. This is achieved through initiatives that increase self-awareness and self-confidence, that get people used to change in the workplace, that place a focus on employee engagement, wellbeing and support and that provides for flexibility so that staff can bend but not break. It’s done through helping them develop strategies and mechanisms that allow them to respond to pressure and avoid stress (there is a big difference between the two). At an organisational level the concept is similar, however, the focus is on the business as whole. How does it react to change in the market, perhaps to the loss of key contracts? What strategies does it employ to see it through difficult times a recession hits? At this level, HR should be working to address flexibility and adaptability, ensure a change culture is ingrained, making disaster recovery plans, managing capacity planning and facilitating risk management.
Resilience cuts across so many areas within an organisation; employee engagement, wellbeing, absence, performance management, change, problem solving, flexibility learning and development, leadership – it’s crazy that more companies don’t place a bigger focus on it.
What it doesn’t do is prevent problems occurring. It does not avert difficult times or reduce the amount of challenges you have. What it does do is make people (and organisations) better prepared to cope with them and sure as Naomi Wolf once said “obstacles... are developmentally necessary... they teach strategy, patience, critical thinking, resilience and resourcefulness”.