Why Resiliency is Key to Keeping People, Organizations Thriving

Building business resiliency by putting people first.

In March, UKG opened The UKG Playbook Series by discussing resiliency and how organizations thrive when employees exemplify it. While we believe resiliency is an important topic any time, it’s especially appropriate now, as organizations continue to face economic uncertainty and a possible recession brought on by the pandemic, war, and climate change. Workers are fearful of hardships ahead and are depending on their leaders for guidance.  

That’s why focusing on practices that help you and your employees build resilience in the face of uncertainty is so important. Achieving resiliency requires a new way of looking at operations — one that puts your people’s needs at the center of all your processes and procedures. As your most valued asset, motivated employees who feel included and genuinely cared for are vital when organizations are looking to adapt and thrive in any environment.

Why Resiliency is Key to Keeping People, Organizations Thriving

So, what is resiliency? 

First, it’s important to understand that having resiliency or being resilient is something you possess. It’s a state of being. According to Merriam-Webster, in order to be resilient you must be “…able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” 

Cecily is currently witnessing the very definition of resilience while teaching a filmmaking class as an adjunct professor in the Department of Communicative Linguistics and Translation at Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine. 

Each week, her students find time in their lives under extreme wartime conditions to attend class via Zoom.  They are resilient against power outages and the deafening alarms warning of missile strikes. They are motivated and empowered by their desire to get an education and to be – even for a couple of hours – in a positive environment. There is a unified mental toughness in the students and the professors teaching them, along with a drive grounded in the desire to learn despite the situation. 

The point of this example is that to achieve resilience, you must withstand your current situation, work to create/maintain a welcoming environment, and have an open mind to new possibilities. These students prove that with resilience -- even under extreme conditions -- it’s possible to sustain learning and growth. 

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Examples of resilience in your life

Think about it. Have you been through something difficult and recovered quickly?  It’s easy for most of us to identify that first part since we usually remember difficulty and challenges. Where it gets tricky is the “quickly” part. 

Take a minute to write down how you have shown resiliency at work or in your personal life. Don’t focus on the problem or the stress you felt. Rather, describe the action you took to overcome it and how effective you were. This analysis is the key to understanding your personal style for building resiliency.

How people drive resiliency

Resiliency largely happens at the individual level, so building business resiliency largely depends on a people-centered management approach. It requires a fresh way of looking at operations, one that puts people’s needs at the center of all your processes. Employees who feel included and genuinely cared for are necessary to any organization looking to thrive.

Our Resiliency Playbook goes into detail (including worksheets!) showing how organizations can build resiliency by building a people-centric culture. Here are three tips to get you started.  

1. Emphasize talent development 
Businesses are still in a talent deficit, thanks to the Great Resignation. Use this opportunity to develop talent internally and discover new talent from unexpected places within. Engage innovation and a growth mindset to build ongoing resiliency. 

  • Focus on opportunities for employee development and advancement (actualization and fulfillment). 
  • Work on strengthening and enhancing existing skills – not just building new ones.
  • Nurture long-term employee retention and loyalty, which benefits the organization and strengthens business resiliency. 

2. Focus on company culture and work/life balance 

  • Develop in-person and remote work options. Create procedures across your organization that promote and support an employee continuum of needs. Offer in-person, remote, and hybrid work options to employees while considering what is the best and most pragmatic for specific teams. 
  • Enhance work flexibility. Childcare, caregiving for other family members, and selfcare do not fit into a rigid schedule. Allowing employees the flexibility to take care of their life with peace of mind promotes loyalty and increases productivity.
  • Implement autonomous shift swapping. Designed for frontline workers, this extension of work flexibility builds resilience organically. Workers feel trusted and gain peace of mind when they can adjust their schedules. It can also let employees discreetly work more hours when needed without the burden of going through management. Shift swapping is a huge benefit for frontline workers, who traditionally have the least flexibility and lowest compensation. 
  • Embrace discomfort. Resiliency is built by facing and overcoming challenges. While most of us try to avoid discomfort at all costs. Facing it is a requirement to becoming resilient. Importantly, do not shy away from difficult conversations, or what Brene Brown calls a rumble. These are opportunities -- often unappreciated in the moment -- for uniting and growing with the outcome being greater resiliency. 

3. Integrate real-time AI guidance into your data
Just four years ago, artificial intelligence (AI) anxiety about “the robots are going to take over.” Now, HR leaders are using AI to get hard-to-find insights for:

  • Building trust and transparency. 
  • Targeting productivity and engagement. 
  • Analyzing employee language to reveal sentiment on important topics. This helps strike the balance between what you need and what employees need.  
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Put people first

At the end of the day, your organization’s people are undoubtedly a great asset. Investing in people-centric processes and procedures that make them front and center is an important way to build business resiliency. With resiliency your organization can thrive no matter the economic environment. 

Watch The Resilient Mindset: A Tactical Approach to Business Success. In Chas Field’s first installment of The UKG Playbook Series, you’ll learn how to start a resiliency action plan that focuses on what truly matters — your people.

Download the UKG Resiliency Playbook, your one-stop-place for insights, worksheets, and more about creating a people-centric culture in your organization. 

Read Resilience: From the Personal to the Organizational to learn the seven characteristics of resilient people and how these traits can be applied to the workplace.