Employers must start investing more in ‘resilience training’ for their workers, according to a workplace psychologist and academic.
Cary Cooper, who is a professor of organisational psychology and workplace expert, told Facilitate that he agreed with recent research by global services firm Aon that said employees are “twice as motivated and productive if they’re resilient”.
At the moment, due to the pandemic, the Aon research states that only 30 per cent of employees are currently resilient, showing “fragility of organisations”.
But the research says concentration, enthusiasm and energy are "positively impacted by resilience".
UK employees also have lower perceived health status compared with the wider EMEA region. About 57 per cent of non-resilient employees in EMEA believe that they are healthier, compared with 49 per cent of UK employees.
Aon collected the report’s data during March 2020 amid the backdrop of the global novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, from 2,500 survey participants in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Professor Cooper, who has authored a book, Building Resilience for Success: A Resource for Managers and Organizations', said being resilient consisted of being adaptable, seeking social support, having a certain amount of self-confidence and a sense of purpose and he says: "You can train people to be more resilient."
He has even built a psychometric test on resilience for employers.
He said: “HR directors were telling Robertson Cooper (Cooper'’s Manchester University-linked spin-off research consultancy) they needed more training on individual resilience to enhance productivity to make them more adaptable. They wanted to give [their employees] more skills."
He said at a time where businesses were not just faced with Covid-19 but also the prospect of a huge recession as well as Brexit, it was more vital than ever for companies to know how to foster resilient employees.
He says resilience is a part of wellbeing and "wellbeing is a growth area". He added: "Companies see this as a bottom-line issue... The leading cause of sickness absence pre-Covid was stress – 57 per cent of all long-term sickness absence, according to the Health and Safety Executive was stress, anxiety and depression."
He said: "That's a big cost to the company in terms of burnout, poor performance, productivity. So how do you enhance your productivity, how do you minimise your stress or stress-related ill health? What you do is create the right kind of culture and that's why health and wellbeing has become very very, very significant."