In Search of Resilience

A good employee wants to be resilient, and it’s important for your organization’s leaders to promote resilience in your workers.

The American Institute of Stress reported 40% of people said they feel extremely stressed at work.

Many of us understand the hard-hitting demands a job can place on us. Throw a pandemic into the mix and resilience becomes as essential as the air we breathe. Between juggling personal demands, difficult clients, and tight deadlines, we find ourselves on the brink of a meltdown.

Uncertainty and more setbacks will be inevitable. To keep employees safe, it’s important to boost resilience among them. If you own a business, it’s crucial to support and build a flexible team. In the quick guide below, we’ll show you what workplace resilience is and how to look for it. Keep reading for help on how to develop a bullet-proof team.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from severe setbacks, extreme pressure, and stress. No matter what the day throws at them, someone with high resilience is able to get back up after being knocked down

Their resilience should shine through when handed difficult tasks, taking last-minute turns of directions in projects, or when dealing with an unhappy customer.

How to Find Employees With Resilience


There are several key factors to identify when recruiting someone with high workplace resilience. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as conducting a thorough interview.

Communication Skills

Whenever things are tense within the workplace, your employees should still be maintaining strong, effective communication. Those who don’t have high resilience may resort to shutting down or lashing out at those around them

When interviewing potential employees, ask them about their communication skills, especially during times of high stress. Ask for examples of how they’ve implemented effective communication into their own work experience. Watch their body language and eye contact. Listen to the words they use and their tone and pace.

You may also provide pre-employment tests that include self-control, self-confidence, and goal focus. Have everyone interviewing read the scenarios and write out how they would respond in each scenario

If you want to take up the interviewing process up a notch, plan a few role-play scenarios. Use an example of a difficult client or complex problem you’ve recently encountered. Observe and listen. Focus on the candidate’s response, not the answer. Remember, you’re assessing their ability to bounce back, not tell you what you want to hear.


Problem-Solving Skills

As a business owner, hire employees with excellent problem-solving skills. Every workplace comes with unpredictability they’ll have to work through. You don’t want to be stuck with someone who freezes in the face of trouble.

You may also use pre-employment tests and roleplay to gauge the problem-solving skills of an individual. Ask them to provide specific examples of how they’ve overcome challenges in past jobs.

To make things fun, play a game that includes problem-solving and quick thinking. Create a mini escape room within your office area for individuals to work through. Observe how they work through challenges and how they communicate with teammates.

Building Workplace Resilience

As important as finding new employees with resilience, you should be helping build resilience in current employees. Current studies indicate that as many as 50 percent of employees are merely coping. Many are walking life’s tightrope, on the brink of falling off. This is an opportunity to help them help themselves. There are a number of ways to do this.

Start by focusing on making sure they have the emotional and team support they need. Employees are more likely to be more resilient in a workplace that values their contributions and protects their well-being.

If someone feels as if their work is going unnoticed, they’ll be discouraged from working through uncomfortable challenges. Make sure to personally congratulate employees when they hit goals and support them when they don’t.


Use Mistakes as Teaching Moments

None of us are perfect people or perfect employees. We all make mistakes. You don’t need to lower your standards and accept errors, but it’s important to use mistakes as teaching moments.

Mistakes can be upsetting, especially for the business owner. Some mistakes cost you money and maybe even a customer. But it’s important to refrain from immediately jumping to accusations and anger. Calmly point out what the mistake was, and ask them why they think it happened.

Once the mistake is identified, talk with your employee (privately) about how repeating the mistake can be avoided in the future. You may also offer additional training or an opportunity to shadow a more experienced employee.

Act as an Example


Don’t expect employees to handle stress well if you aren’t able to handle stress well yourself. Act as an example for your employees. Never allow yourself to resort to rage and poor communication if you encounter an issue. It’s okay to be disappointed, stern, and assertive but always treat those around you with respect and dignity.

Remain humble and open to ideas other than your own. Workplaces with a collaborative spirit are more resilient against stress and major changes. Encourage others to help you if you’re feeling burdened with a task.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Along the same lines as building a resilient workplace, don’t forget to have some fun. Plan some time to celebrate the wins after projects are completed and problems are addressed.

Having fun can be as simple as hosting a happy hour (even virtually) or you can planning a group trip to a local attraction. Providing opportunities for people to connect out of work builds trust and communication between members.

Building a Culture of Resilience

Building a culture of resilience within the workplace starts with you. Act as an example, and work hard to create a team with a growth mindset.

Hire new employees who demonstrate grit, mental flexibility, strong communication, problem-solving, and creative skills. Congratulate and encourage your current employees as they successfully deal with obstacles. Use mistakes as enriching teaching experiences.

Are you ready to boost resilience in your workforce? Is your team gritty and resilient enough to grow and thrive in the next waves of normal? AQPlus under the leadership of Ira S Wolfe is the leader in building adaptability. Contact us today with any questions.

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation.

First things first: what does grit even mean? You’ve probably heard the advice “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” attributed to coach Kunte Rockne. That quote captures the essence of grit.  The character trait of grit often refers to passion, the consistency of interest, and perseverance, the ability to endure tough times.

For instance, we’ve all experienced setbacks. They could range from struggling to learn a new skill, recovering from an injury, losing a job, or even bankruptcy.

What Does Grit Look Like?

People with high levels of Grit are confident in achieving long-term goals. They are often described as ‘determined’ and ‘hard workers’. No-pain-no-gain might be the grit motto. Gritty people tend to keep going until the work is done. They take pride in finishing what they start. Their mental focus and emotional stamina are very high. They don’t let short-term gains, negative feedback, or hectic schedules deter them. People with high grit are not discouraged easily; they see setbacks and obstacles as challenges that can be overcome with commitment and hard work. Grit, however, is not always a good thing. Gritty people are often so focused on their goals that they get blinded-sided by outside influences and have blind spots when it comes to alternative ideas. 

People with low levels of grit give up quickly. Setbacks and obstacles easily discourage them. When change happens they can find it difficult to stay on course with long-term goals. They flee at the first sign of trouble and often blame others. They start a lot of projects but get discouraged easily. 

How Grit Can Help Your Business

Why is grit something you need to look for when hiring and developing employees? The future of work is full of opportunity but the journey will be anything but certain. Perseverance and passion will be needed in abundance. These are some scenarios where employees with grit become a beneficial trait for your company.

They Understand That Good Things Take Time

Millennials have often been criticized for their need for instant gratification. While it might be true for some of them, grit had to be part of this generation’s makeup. Now in their 30s and 40s, they have endured school shootings, 9/11 terrorism, and the Great Recession…and they are now growing and thriving. It’s only human to get frustrated when we don’t see the instant rewards from our work. Contributing to a project day in and day out, and not getting recognition or confronting bureaucratic idiocy, is disheartening. Many employees may be tempted to just quit.

If your employee has grit, however, they know good things take time. Setbacks are not failures, but part of the journey.  When personal interests align with goals, it’s easier to persevere and feel that your efforts will be rewarded. People with grit stay and push through.