From Response to Resilience: Helping Your Workforce Find a New Normal

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new global challenges erupt around the world, such as the police brutality protests, your workforce needs unique support. We are settling in to a “;new normal”;, which has some organizations looking forward to a Recovery stage. However, our research suggests that we cannot consider ourselves in a recovery stage with the pandemic still in full play. I believe organizations need to focus less on a premature sense of Recovery and more on establishing Resilience for the long term -; the ability to recover from adversity today and in the days and years to come.

A few months ago, the Achievers Workforce Institute was helping organizations with their initial response using the Critical Event Response Survey and Toolkit. Today, we are moving into the crucial Resilience stage of this ongoing pandemic by launching the Workforce Institute”;s Critical Event Resilience Survey and Toolkit. This next phase survey and toolkit are designed to help you measure and build organizational resilience, a critical component of successfully navigating the ongoing uncertainty and change that we”;re all experiencing today – and that we will be for some time to come.

Why resilience?

As this pandemic continues, organizations are moving out of an initial reactive stage into a period of sustained uncertainty that represents a new normal. In this environment, employees may feel pressure to return to previous levels of productivity, despite still experiencing continual change and uncertainty about the future. Establishing and nurturing organizational resilience -; which is the ability to recover quickly from, and thrive through, adversity -; is key to success during this time.

Many thought leaders right now are talking about moving into the recovery stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, at the Workforce Institute, we believe the terminology and lens of “;recovery”; overlooks the fact that the vast majority of organizations and individuals are not in recovery. Recovery requires certainty about the way forward or a return to the status quo. That is not yet the reality in this pandemic. Given that, we knew that we needed to look for ways to build and support resilience in our organizations, at every level and for every team.

We are, all of us, living in a time of uncertainty and empirical research has long demonstrated that uncertainty breeds stress, mental and physical health challenges, and lower levels of productivity for most people.

With that in mind, the Achievers Workforce Institute embarked on an effort to provide a survey and toolkit to address workplace resilience today. We leveraged current academic and business research on workplace resilience to create tools to support measuring and acting upon this critical lever.

That begs the question – what does resilience look like and how do you measure it? From communication and contact with managers and colleagues, to finding purpose in our work, the Workforce Institute has identified eight key drivers of resilience that you can use to measure resilience with our Critical Event Resilience Survey. These drivers are the key to understanding how your employees are coping -; and how you can help -; during this phase of COVID-19.

Taking action

At Achievers, we”;re not in the survey business, we”;re in the changing the way the world works business. So, after you”;ve surveyed your organization, we know that you need to be able to act on the data you”;ve gathered. To that end we”;ve developed a resilience toolkit that take into consideration all eight resilience drivers and ensures that your managers are empowered to take action – driving resilience and engagement for their teams. Imagine the power of every manager checking in with every employee to make sure they have what they need to thrive during this period of uncertainty. That”;s true organizational transformation.

The physical return to work

Finally, for those organizations that are preparing a return to the physical workplace, we”;ve created a separate and specific Supported Return to Work survey question module that you can use to elicit employee feedback before and during a physical transition. Are your employees feeling safe? Do they have a reliable way to get to work? Can they meet their caretaking responsibilities if no longer working from home? These critical and practical questions will help you identify hotspots so you can better support your employees through a physical return to the workplace. Running it one to two months before your return to the physical workplace will give you clear guidance on how to overcome challenges and identify a path to success.

The Achievers Critical Event Resilience Survey and Toolkit are designed to help you respond to the ongoing uncertainty in today”;s business arena -; and in life overall. Leveraging these tools can help ensure that your employees stay engaged and productive throughout this unprecedented time -; not only by solving new everyday problems but also through the establishment and nurturing of a resilient workplace today and in the weeks, months, and years to come.

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