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Date: 16/03/2017

AXA PPP Healthcare talk about the importance of building resilience in the workplace to help your business to thrive in a competitive environment.

Our ability to recover from setbacks and deal with change – also known as our resilience – is an essential skill for employees and managers, alike. And, with half of the respondents in AXA PPP healthcare’s research* recognising a low level of resilience can adversely affect work performance, it’s an awareness that shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.

Leading a business through change can be really tough and things certainly won’t always go to plan. Having the inner resource to assess a situation, look at what’s needed and take appropriate positive action, can help when everyone is looking to you to steer the way.

Developing and strengthening your own resilience and encouraging your employees to do the same will ensure your business can adapt to change and stay positive in the face of uncertainty. How a business copes when things don’t go to plan dictates its ability not only to survive, but thrive in a competitive environment.

Resilience is about never giving up and trying new things, even if you fall over, it’s about getting back up and learning from your mistakes. Failing is a chance to do better next time – this is something every successful business owner understands.

A high level of resilience isn’t something we’re necessarily born with, although we certainly all have it! Like any set of skills, resilient behaviours, traits and beliefs can be strengthened and developed, it just takes some practice. There are small things you can do as a manager to boost your own resilience and, in turn, help employees to do the same, so you’re better placed to deal with work demands.

- Stay energised – small steps such as taking a lunch break away from the desk, a short brisk walk in daylight hours, staying hydrated and curbing caffeine intake in the afternoon can all help improve levels of alertness and quality of sleep.

- Keep your perspective – a considered and reasonable approach can help employees to see the bigger picture, recognise that mistakes are part of life and find solutions when they’re dealing with a problem. Encouraging them to step back (mentally and physically) from a challenging situation can help them to identify and focus on what they have control over, enabling them to set realistic goals rather than focus on things they can’t influence.

- Prioritise and play to employees’ strengths – It’s important for employees to take time to relax and think about their purpose both at work and outside to help them develop goals based on their values and strengths. This may be about their development within their current role, their career or even their life outside of work. Asking them about the tasks they enjoy most in their role and seeing if there are opportunities to increase these without having a negative impact on their other responsibilities can be a good way of opening this conversation.

- Nurture professional relationships – Having a workplace support network helps employees feel connected and valued. This is important when they’re facing awkward or difficult situations because they know where to find support and advice. Having a mentor within or outside of your organisation may help them to develop their problem-solving or coaching skills – either as the mentor or the mentee. Team-based activities can help to build a collaborative, supportive culture that can give employees confidence to embrace change.

- Help employees work on their Emotional Intelligence – Being able to identify and manage their own emotions, as well as identify others’, can help employees see things objectively and respect different views. Emotional Intelligence can also help to build well-functioning teams, as interpersonal skills can help employees to connect well with others.

Encouraging and supporting your employees to develop and build their resilience can help you to put your business in the right place to stay competitive and thrive both now and well into the future.

*AXA PPP healthcare research of 2000 UK adults, conducted online in January 2017 by research company Vitreous World.

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