Get Tough: How to Build Workplace Resiliency

Resiliency: why do we want it and how do we get it in the workplace?

Perseverance and resilience green weeds grew in a waterless desert.
Belozorova Elena/Shutterstock

With the growing concern of mental health issues taking its toll on workplaces, HR departments are considering how they can respond. Can HR teach employees to have more grit or greater resiliency to workplace stressors?

What is workplace resiliency? It is the employee’s ability to bounce back or respond to workplace challenges, changes and setbacks.

Ernie Philip a Senior Vice President at Xerox Canada believes workplace resiliency training is key to an organization’s success. Many studies have illustrated that organizations with greater resiliency have lower absenteeism, better engagement and happier workers. According to Ernie Philip: “Resilient people are happier and have higher life-satisfaction.”

Click here to read about workplace resiliency from Ernie Philp’s perspective.

It may be time for HR Departments to consider resiliency training as part of the overall wellness initiatives.

Discussion Questions

  1. Develop a presentation on the components of a workplace resiliency training program.
  2. Imagine your organization has just implemented a resiliency training program. What matrices would you recommend to evaluate the resiliency program?

The ‘David and Goliath’ of Employee Training

In the ring, in the red corner, we have big business who weighs in with the multi-million dollar employee training budgets. In the blue corner, we have small business with their limited training budgets. How do these two contenders stack up? Let’s see what the Canadian federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) has to say.

Click Here to Read the Article

The above “Tale of the Tape” opens up a very real HR issue for small businesses. On-the-Job (OTJ) employee training has the potential to be a significant lost cost for small businesses.

All businesses, whether big or small, can benefit from the transactional and strategic advice of an HR professional.  Are there costs with hiring an HR professional for a small business? Of course there are; however, there are also costs associated with poor employee engagement and high turnover rates – an HR professional can be instrumental in helping the small business improve upon these potential losses.

Small businesses can use the expertise of an HR professional to:

  • Recruit employees with a better fit
  • Evaluate training to improve effectiveness and efficiency
  • Reduce training costs overall

Small businesses need to become more aware of the what as HR professional can do to evaluate and impove the true costs associated with employee training.

Discussion Question:

  1. Create a short presentation to deliver at a convention of small business owners.  Your presentation should illustrate the importance of on-the-job training and how an HR professional can help improve training and reduce associated costs.

Leaders Loving Learning!

Off-the-job training is not just for those at the start of their careers.  Recently, the Queen’s School of Business and FEI Canada implemented a program for senior financial executives called the Leadership Beyond Finance Program.

Source: StockPhotosLV/Shutterstock
Source: StockPhotosLV/Shutterstock

Click here to read about the Leadership Beyond Finance Program.

Even though the program is one that falls into the ‘off-the-job’ training category, it calls upon real-life situations and shared learning taken from ‘on-the-job’ leadership experiences.  All too often leaders have to go through very painful and public work related experiences that, if not handled correctly, will lead to disastrous results.  We have all seen or heard of organizational leaders who are put to the test in unsafe and unwelcoming waters with little opportunity to go back and fix mistakes made along the way.

This program offers a wonderful opportunity to share those painfully learned lessons through the experiences of others and, hopefully, alter the leadership approach for those leaders in the program to achieve better results.

In our studies about employee training and development, it is evident that the best learning takes place in safe, welcoming environments that provide an opportunity to practice what is learned before it is applied.

Effective leadership is definitely something that requires lots of practice and will continue to offer multiple learning opportunities along the way!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Identify three traditional off the job training techniques described in the article.
  2. Why do leaders need to learn to listen?
  3. How would Human Resources Professionals benefit from this type of leadership program?
  4. Identify one personal leadership skill that you wish you had an opportunity to practice before having to use it in a workplace setting.

Executive Coaching – Benefit or Not?

Can executive coaching be an effective on-the-job development tool?  Yes!

Executive coaching has been around for a long time and is often used as an On-the-Job (OTJ) training and development method. Yet, many organizations have not taken the time to explore the executive coaching topic in great detail.

Let’s take a quick journey through the myths and research surrounding executive coaching. First, the myths. In the following article from Human Resources Director, Volume 3.04, they succinctly outline some coaching myths, including:

  • Coaching is for remedial help
  • Coaching is only for those that lack specific skills
  • To be a good executive coach, the coach had to be an executive

Click here to read the full article 

Because of the above myths, many executives see coaching as a weakness rather than a benefit. In reality, coaching can help them reach greater inner and outer potential.

Let’s add some research to the myth busting.  The Ivey Business Journal identified the benefits of executive coaching, as follows:

  • Continuous one-on-one attention
  • Expanded thinking through dialogue with a curious outsider
  • Self-awareness, including blind spots
  • Personal accountability for development
  • Just-in-time learning

Click here to read the full article

Two of my personal favourite benefits are, personal accountability, and just-in-time learning. Coaching can benefit all employees within an organization while greatly assisting some of the most expensive company assets – Executives.

The next time you receive push back when coaching is suggested, use the information in these two articles as positive ammunition for coaching.

Discussion Question

  1. You have been asked to develop a proposal to introduce an executive coaching program. What arguments will you present to get your organization to support this kind of training initiative?