Five strategies to build resilience


We’ve all heard the term resilience but what does it really mean?

Broadly speaking, resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ from life’s challenges. iHR Business Psychologist Steven Booker describes resilience as the ability to handle a stressful personal or work experience without it having a long lasting negative effect.

Can workplaces impact resilience?

There are many different factors that can effect a staff member’s resilience in the workplace. Here’s a few examples:

  • Lack of job certainty and job security – This is a significant issue at the moment. The increased casualisation of the workforce, ongoing redundancies and lack of job security has a big impact on a staff member’s resilience.
  • Workplace culture – A negative culture where office politics is allowed to breed, staff feel unsupported, bullying goes unresolved, or there are perceptions of unfairness can lead to stress and mental health risks.
  • Lacking a clear understanding of your role and goals – A deficient or not up to date job description or a lack of clear goals and objectives can impact a staff member’s confidence and ability to perform.

“Resilience and stress are like a bucket filled with water. The water is stressful events. The bucket is our ability to handle it, i.e. our resilience. The bigger the bucket, the more stress we can handle. There are ways to let water out of the bucket. These are coping and self-care mechanisms that build resilience and reduce stress, so the bucket does not overflow.” Steven said.

The good news is, there are many ways to improve resilience and well-being. Here are five strategies to help build and maintain resilience both in the workplace and beyond:

A good support network
It’s so important for staff to have a trusted support network of friends, family and/or co-workers to whom they can express their frustrations and concerns to. Keeping things bottled up means they will continue to fester.

Have a plan

Company wellbeing programs should ideally include a Resilience Management Plan designed to support staff to develop and manage their personal resilience.

Resources and staff incentives

Organisations can support staff by providing simple things like free fruit or discounted exercise vouchers to promote a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to provide an Employee Assistance Program. Businesses also need to make sure any matters that may be high risk, such as investigating claims of bullying, are followed up on immediately.

Exercise, diet and sleep
Cardio exercise is one of the best ways to regulate mood and help with stresses and anxiety. Even a short walk each day is beneficial. A balanced diet also contributes to a good mood. So does a good night’s sleep! Meditation and turning off electronic devices can also be very helpful.

Don’t forget to have fun

Making time to do fun things each week has a really positive impact on your mental health!

How to Build a Resilience Management Plan

iHR’s program, Resilience – From Surviving to Thriving, will give you the tools to build a Resilience Management Plan. Our Psychologist guides participants through the development of their plan, enabling real-time practice of these tools and strategies.