5 Tips to boost employee resilience

5 Tips to boost employee resilience

People often think that you need to be “born resilient”, when in fact, people are MADE resilient.

As we navigate significant change, employees inevitably find themselves taking on more and facing new challenges that can truly test a person’s tenacity. What’s interesting though is that some people not only comfortably ride out these waves of difficulty, but they even find success in them.

How do these people manage to make the most out of a bad situation? What prevents them from feeling personally affected when things don’t go the way they want or expect?

Resilience in the workplace is key to surviving and even thriving amidst adversity, challenge and change.

Most of us can identify a resilient person, but we might struggle to pin down exactly what makes them resilient. Is it their positivity? Well, it’s not as simple as that. It’s not the positivity that makes them resilient – it’s actually the other way around. Resilience enables a positive approach to work and outlook on life, which in turn enables better problem-solving and helps to maintain motivation.

It’s not just a reactive skill that switches on when a person faces challenges, however. It also enables a proactive approach to daily life. Resilient people have a logic-orientated mindset. They see challenging situations as opportunities, not personal threats. They are self-aware and able to regulate their thoughts and emotions.

Lack of resilience in teams can have a devastating impact on performance, wellbeing and productivity.

Here are five things you can start doing right now to build resilience in your team:

  1. Give feedback – routinely

A person can only effectively develop their resilience with self-reflection. They may not be aware that they lack resilience because nobody has ever highlighted their behaviour when faced with challenges, and the impact this has. Giving and receiving feedback in the workplace should be routine, not just reserved for an annual performance review.

Ask yourself – when was the last time you made time as a manager to give someone meaningful feedback on their strengths and areas for development? Many managers fall into ‘task mode’ during busy periods, however this is the time where feedback really matters.

The more you do this, the more that people will get in the habit of identifying their own strengths and weaknesses. They will learn how to focus on success and opportunities for growth. As a result, they’ll feel like nothing can stop them.

  1. Foster a future focus

Looking towards the future is a fundamental way to keep moving forward constructively and smoothly. Creating a vision of what will be different/better as a result of navigating challenging times provides an incentive for people and teams to develop their resilience.

  1. Ask yourself the 3 Magic Questions

When people need to produce more with less, its time to look at what work is critical and what could be reduced or done differently. It’s all about prioritising..”


 The 3 magic questions can help make these decisions:

  1. What are we doing that could be done differently?
    What can be trimmed from work products or processes? Fancy PowerPoint decks? Superfluous surveys & forms? Perfection may be a luxury that you can’t afford right now. Examine what aspects of processes, meetings, and documentation can be removed or streamlined. Allow employees to make tradeoff decisions around what they can accomplish given competing demands of home and work, and allow less than perfect work products. Allow employees to drop the ball rather than drop out of the workforce.
  2. What are we doing that we shouldn’t be doing at all?
  3. What are we not doing that we need to do?


  1. Promote a growth mindset

When you hear employees focusing on issues, problems, or feeling that they are the victim, empower them to think in the positive, not the negative. Don’t take on their issues, encourage and collaborate with them. Instead of taking on their issues and problems, ask what the solution is. Engage other team members/stakeholders where relevant. A problem shared is a problem halved!

Two key areas you should look to develop – both in yourself and others –  is critical thinking and accountability. As a manager or senior member of staff, leading by example is an effective way to promote this in your team. Critical thinking requires stopping and thinking logically, rather than being swayed by emotions. It also means being open to admitting you don’t know everything and can ask questions to learn more.

  1. Develop healthy relationships.

Processes don’t drive performance, people do. People need healthy work relationships to enable them to build personal resilience. This one will take time, and the above tips will help, but start today. The end result is feeling better understood, supported, and inspired by others, so it’s worth the effort.

Three areas you should focus on at work are addressing toxic relationships, building genuine connections, and finding or becoming a role model or mentor.

If there are people who bring you and others down at work, think about what can be done. Often, people don’t fully realise what they’re doing and how it affects others until someone else challenges it. Feedback can help with this.

Building genuine connections is as simple as expressing real interest in others, including their differences, and being mindful of their views and values. Check in on employee wellbeing regularly. A simple ‘How’s things?’ can go a long way. Opening up your mind to how others live expands your own perceptions and can lead to fulfilling relationships in ways you never even expected.

Resilience isn’t achievable overnight, but it is something that you should cultivate in your workplace. With the mindset and abilities that resilience brings, people can remain motivated, work well with others, and ride out times of difficulty and change. A resilient workforce can lead your business to successes that are often unattainable to those who struggle with natural challenges.