Resilience in an era of relentless change

Neil Hughes
insight featured image
As businesses navigate technological disruptions, economic fluctuations, and global crises, leaders must prioritise investing in resilience.

Researchers define resilience as the ability to adapt to change positively, recover from difficulties and persist in facing challenges. 

The pace of change in business today is relentless, and for business leaders, resilience is a more crucial attribute than ever. Organisations need leaders capable of staying focused, consistent, and inclusive under pressure. Building a resilient workforce will enable organisations to navigate change more effectively, sustaining competitive advantage, growth and long-term success.

Best practice suggests a number of key areas of focus for leaders and organisations to consider, such as:

Prioritising wellbeing and mental health 

According to a 2023 survey by the CIPD, 76% of UK employees reported that mental health support at work directly contributes to their overall job satisfaction. Mental health is foundational to resilience. Business leaders should strive to create a supportive environment that prioritises mental health through comprehensive wellness programmes. 

This includes providing access to mental health professionals and resilience tools to support employees in managing stress and adapting to change. Encouraging open conversations about mental health can foster a culture where employees feel safe and supported. 

Fostering a resilient and inclusive team culture

Resilience should be embedded within the organisational culture. Leaders must foster a workplace culture that encourages collaboration, open communication, and psychological safety, where small wins are recognised, feedback is encouraged and acted upon, and failures are seen as learning opportunities rather than setbacks. 

Creating an inclusive culture where diverse perspectives are valued can enhance problem-solving and innovation. Regular team-building activities, training focused on resilience, and creating a safe space for employees to voice their concerns can significantly boost team morale and cohesion. A recent IMD report indicated that organisations with strong resilience programmes report a 20% increase in employee engagement and a 25% reduction in absenteeism.

Investing in continuous learning and development

Continuous learning is critical to building a resilient workforce. By investing in ongoing training and development programmes, leaders can equip employees with the skills needed to adapt to new challenges. Offering opportunities for professional growth helps employees stay current and confident in their roles. Encouraging a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities for learning, can foster resilience and innovation. 

Role modelling resilience and self-care

To lead effectively, business leaders need to invest in their own wellbeing and resilience. Resilient leaders are those who continuously learn, adapt, and maintain their physical and mental health. This involves regular training, seeking coaching or mentorship, and embracing a growth mindset. 

Leaders who prioritise self-care practices such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness activities can manage stress more effectively, maintaining mental agility. A recent Gallup survey showed that 63% of UK employees reported that their wellbeing improved significantly when their leaders actively supported resilience-building initiatives.

Leaders play a critical role in modelling resilience and those leaders who prioritise resilience not only enhance their capacity to grow and move forward in the face of adversity but also inspire their teams to do the same. 

Whilst building resilience involves effort, commitment and time, it is clear that it can be the protective layer required to equip leaders, their teams and organisations to face the challenges of the ever-changing landscape of work.