We are all living through unique challenges, both personally and professionally. Particularly for those of us who began working remotely for the first time, this has been a significant change to our daily routines.
Although we all may be experiencing adverse conditions, not everyone experiences them the same way. Dale Carnegie research, such as our Resilience White Paper, shows that resilient people, and those who work at organizations with cultures that support resilience, experience lower levels of stress in response to adversity compared with others.
Resilience refers to the ability to “bounce back” from adverse experiences. It is characterized by the capacity to cope, recover and learn. Now more than ever, companies need to build resilience into the foundations of their cultures, especially as dispersed teams become the norm.
Establishing a new work environment and addressing the anxiety that comes with different routines and uncertainty can exact a price on people’s attitudes. Those with a positive mindset and the confidence that they can accomplish their goals will be more resilient than others. Organizations can develop cultures that support that resilience through being transparent and honest about the decisions they make and by ensuring the company’s missions and goals are clear to everyone.
Right now, people want to know if, and when, they will be returning to work in the office and what their company will do to ensure their health and safety. They may want to know if their jobs are secure. Even if there is not a definitive answer to their questions, creating a culture where managers are communicating regularly and honestly about changes, the future and decision-making will help employees feel more positive and confident in their role and responsibilities.
Employees may be hesitant to take risks, express opinions or make independent decisions if they feel it may threaten their job. This may be even more true considering today’s uncertainty. Especially when people are communicating electronically and perhaps less frequently, managers need to be sure they are setting clear expectations while empowering their teams to make decisions and ultimately, making it safe to make mistakes. Creating a psychologically safe environment by encouraging people to take and learn from risks helps to build more resilient and agile teams.
When risk-taking is seen as foundational to an organization’s culture, failure becomes part of the innovation process rather than something that results in a negative outcome. This allows employees to bounce back faster from adversity and learn from the experience, so they can build their personal resilience and be better equipped to respond to future disruptive events.
Make Sure People Have the Skills and Tools to Adapt
With more teams working remotely, employees require the right resources to do their jobs. Are the platforms team members are using effective? Do they keep people connected, organized and productive? Being able to schedule video calls, share ideas on digital platforms and connect with clients using online tools are some ways to support the resilience and effectiveness of remote teams.
Moving into the next phase of work – whatever that may mean – will require effective up-skilling and re-skilling. Some jobs may not return, while other roles may be very different. Critical soft skills including communications, leadership and emotional and social intelligence will be needed for organizations to pivot to new business strategies. Developing strong relationships remotely, critical thinking and problem solving, and effective change management are just some of the skills that support resilience.
Making it a priority to identify and provide resources that enable teams to adapt goes a long way in building a resilient and agile culture. Encouraging risk-taking and building employees’ self-confidence, will help organizations bounce back from today’s crisis and thrive throughout future ones.