Employee Development

Resilience Training: Empower Employees to Overcome Challenges

Stressed out woman at her desk.

Every employee is going to encounter challenges at work, whether it’s butting heads with a coworker, struggling with their workload, running into a problem, making a mistake, or not getting that promotion. You can’t eliminate these challenges, but you can develop resilience within your employees to help them navigate and overcome these challenges. 

Resilience is the ability to bounce back when encountering tough life situations. Resilience is tested when stress factors arise or when there is a tragedy. Resilience is a key element in an employee’s overall well-being. 

While certain factors might make some more resilient than others, resilience isn’t a trait that only some people possess. Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone willing to can develop.  

What is Resilience Training?

Employers are starting to realize the need for services and support that encourage mental health and well-being, like training to improve resilience in their employees. Resilience training can come in many forms, such as simulations, online training lessons, group-based training, one-on-one training, or a combination.  

Resilience training in the workplace may focus on areas such as: overcoming interpersonal challenges, managing emotions, coping with work-related stress, dealing with difficult people, improving communication skills, successfully taking on new challenges, guarding against burnout, remaining calm, improving sleep, and physical well-being.  

There are many ways to increase resilience. Some of those include having a good support system, maintaining positive relationships, having a good self-image, and having a positive attitude

Other factors that contribute to resilience include: 

  • High self-confidence and self-esteem 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Managing emotions and impulses well 
  • Communication skills 
  • Ability to accept unwanted change 
  • Setting realistic goals 

Those who develop resilience tend to cope much better with life and could be happier than those who aren’t resilient.

BizLibrary’s extensive and modern content library includes topics such as those mentioned above for improving your employees’ resilience. Check out the following previews of sample lessons:

Benefits of Resilience Training

When employers address workplace stress and mental health, they start building resilient workforces, which provides the following benefits:

  • Resilience is associated with greater job satisfaction, work happiness, organizational commitment, and employee engagement.
  • Raising resilience in employees contributes to improved self-esteem, a sense of control over life events, sense of purpose in life, and improved interpersonal relationships among employees.
  • Employers reap the rewards of increased productivity.
  • Increased resilience is especially effective for positive mental health and subjective well-being outcomes like stress, burnout, anxiety, and mood.

Ways L&D Professionals Can Coach Employees into Improving Resilience

Mindfulness Training: This mental training practice teaches individuals to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm their mind and body. This training usually requires exercises to get employees into a state of flow. Examples of these exercises are:

  • 1-Minute Mindfulness: In 60 seconds your mindset can be completely reset. Doing a one-minute meditation can be effective to increase an employee’s resilience as it allows them to take a break, step away from what they’re doing, breathe, and recharge.
  • 3-Minute Breathing Space: This exercise shifts attention, checks in, and encourages employees to move on. There are three steps to this practice:
    • Attend to what is. The first step invites attending broadly to one’s experience, noting it, but without the need to change what is being observed.
    • Focus on the breath. The second step narrows the field of attention to a single, pointed focus on the breath in the body.
    • Attend to the body. The third step widens attention again to include the body as a whole and any sensations that are present.

Think Positive Thoughts: When employees are going through a hard time in their life, chances are they have a lot of negative thoughts crossing their minds. A critical step in resilience is not thinking so negatively. Encourage employees to change negative thoughts into constructive, positive ones. The best way to do this is to catch oneself in a negative thought, think “why am I thinking like that?” and change it into something positive.

A great way to change a negative thought into a positive one is to think of something as a challenge one wishes to overcome instead of a threat which causes undue stress.

Set Goals: Employees can break down a goal into smaller pieces. When each smaller piece is accomplished it is a win. These bite-sized chunks result in faster wins and an overall sense of achievement.

Improve Health: We all need to eat well, sleep well, drink water, and exercise. A healthy body creates a healthy mind and exercise is a great way to take a break and destress.

For more info on How to Prevent Burnout and Build a Resilient Culture, view our webinar with Stella Grizont.

Understanding Employees

Resilient employees make resilient organizations. Employees who feel supported and motivated overcome obstacles. Take the time to learn what is impacting employees’ health and well-being in your organization. Figure out what your organization will need to implement to improve resilience and reduce stress.

A great way to determine stressors is to ask employees to complete anonymous work satisfaction surveys. Once you’ve collected the data and know the impact of these stressors, you can develop a plan for building resilience and present this along with survey results to your leadership team. 

Leadership Buy-In

A learning and development initiative focusing on building a more resilient workplace requires leadership buy-in. Employees are more likely to participate if leaders are actively participating in and promoting the training initiative.

Encourage leaders to lead by example by taking time for exercise or blocking out time once during the work week for self-development. If leaders are not on-board, share with them the aforementioned employee workplace satisfaction results to strengthen your case.

Work Environment

Companies should consider wellness programs that give employees a variety of choices, so they can pick activities that appeal to them. It is also crucial that managers encourage wellness initiatives and their use. For example, managers can ask their staff to reserve one hour per week during working hours to focus on their own wellness. Managers need to model this behavior so that employees feel encouraged to do so as well.

Provide access to services and support to maintain good physical and mental health. To improve the work environment consider:

  • Yoga at lunch
  • Discounted or free memberships to gyms for employees
  • Once a month bring your pet to work day
  • Reward good work
  • Allow autonomy, and let individuals do their jobs
  • Be mindful of work expectations and allow flexible schedules

These services and support could reduce stress and anxiety, creating more resilient employees.

A Resilient Culture

When launching a resilience training program, make a company-wide statement showing support for mental health and resilience. Promote an open and trusting management style, and ensure managers know the importance of addressing the mental well-being of the staff to help ingrain a focus on wellness in your organization’s workplace culture.

While individuals can’t always control what happens or how much work there is to do, an organization can develop core inner skills in their employees, so that they will  be more resilient and resourceful in times of high pressure.

BizLibrary’s online learning content can help your company deliver a successful learning program to develop resilience skills in your employees – learn more about The BizLibrary Collection here!

For more on building resilience in the workplace, view our ebook on how to start a mental health initiative in your organization, the support you can give through L&D, why it’s so important, and how your leaders can help.

Training & Development Industry Researcher | Caroline researches and writes about the impacts of employee learning on organizations and individuals. She looks at L&D and HR issues and industry trends and helps them understand how to create better training programs that grow their employees and their business.