The importance of building a resilient workforce

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The importance of building a resilient workforce


When the Covid-19 pandemic first upended our work routines, businesses of all sizes and scopes were forced to rapidly transition to the “new normal”, as we saw workforce disruption at unprecedented scale and speed. Organizations, facing monumental adjustments, reacted to the challenge in vastly different ways with varying degrees of success. Now, 4+ months later, we can start to analyze what some of the factors that allowed firm’s to adjust on the fly better than others, and more importantly, learn how to prepare for the ongoing challenges that lay ahead. Today I would like to address one key element that has come up repeatedly in our analysis, the development of a resilient workforce; it’s meaning, benefits and how to develop resiliency for sustained success.


Resilience is generally defined as the ability to adapt during, and rebound after adversity. Considering a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of work as a part of daily life, we often think about concepts like flexibility, durability, strength, speed of recovery and buoyancy when thinking about resiliency. However, when contemplating the manifestation of resilience on a large scale across teams and firms we also need to consider how all these pieces fit together to form a cohesive unit.


As many in our current workforce have never faced this type of challenge (economic downturn or otherwise) ascertaining how someone will respond to great adversity until they are faced with it is a cumbersome challenge. Companies that have collectively done well during these past 4+ months did not get here by accident but rather had (and continue to have) fluid protocols encouraging the development of a resilient staff.


First and foremost, it starts at the top, as skilled leaders make resilience a priority, utilizing integral, active and ongoing processes. When surveyed, many leaders and hiring managers, admit to not having “real” policies in place that measure resiliency for potential candidates and as part of their review process for their employees. When firms fail to fully recognize that resiliency is a skill on par with technical abilities, soft skills, communication, etc…., they are sacrificing in a major area with potentially disastrous results.


Adding resiliency questions, assessments, and tests during your interview process is a great step to attracting those that can succeed when all around them is crumbling. Additionally, adding resiliency “exercises” to your contingency plans should be of the upmost importance, as like much else in the workplace, it can be learned, cultivated and honed with proper training. There are many concrete behaviors and skills associated with resiliency. Some key ones include self-awareness, strong attention (stability of focus), ability to let things go (physically, mentally, and emotionally), a sense of security, strong support systems (work and social), and ability to sustain positive emotions among others. Lastly, let’s not overlook compassion. One of the most overlooked aspects of the resilience skill set is the ability to cultivate compassion on all levels, self-compassion and compassion for others.


Of course, like most things it is important to remember however, that a formulaic, one-size-fits-all approach is not for everyone. Your resiliency program must be sincere to get buy in from the necessary stakeholders.


Feel free to reach out directly to discuss this topic further as well as any other questions or concerns regarding the current hiring climate.  I guarantee that in our call together you will leave with 2 or 3 ideas that will greatly impact your ability to find, attract, and procure the top 10-15% of the candidate pool on a consistent basis.









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