The exploration of resilience that I’ve been involved in for over a year has thrown up some interesting questions from different quarters. One question that I’m often asked by those with more than a passing interest in recruiting people is whether you can recruit for resilience.
The answer is complicated because people are complicated. Psychological and emotional well-being are impacted by so many different factors that it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s certainly not possible to pinpoint at the recruitment stage what might lead an individual to feel less resilient at some future date in some unforeseen circumstance.
One of the best approaches that an organisation can take at recruitment stage is to try to ensure that any recruit, as well as having the ability to carry out the functions of the role, is also actually interested in doing the main tasks involved in the job and feels like they might have some fun in doing so. A good fit is going to have a major impact on that person’s well-being over time and should provide an important pillar to support resilience when other factors are having a negative effect.
Different personalities suit different roles and you probably wouldn’t employ someone who has an introversion preference and a laid back attitude in a dynamic, pro-active sales role. If you did then you would need to prepare yourself for a lack of resilience on their part when it comes to doing what you expect them to do.
When it comes to general well-being, to a certain extent the question of recruiting for resilience misses the point. There is a good chance that we will all have times when our resilience is challenged and at those times an important factor in whether we adapt well and maintain a sense of balance will be the support that we receive, both at work and at home.
Fortunately more and more firms are engaging with the idea of supporting well-being in the work place and implementing strategies that are likely to keep their staff both motivated and feeling buoyant, even during difficult times. As well as focusing on improving the working conditions for employees many firms also pro-actively engage in implementing well-being programmes.
Such programmes hopefully provide employees with a variety of tools and techniques to enable them to work to enhance their own resilience. My recent research project has suggested that there is no particular cure-all for a lack of resilience and finding the right approach is a very personal journey; not one that can be imposed by somebody else.
There is no point, for example, in just providing mindfulness classes, which whilst useful to many, aren’t going to be for everyone. In fact author Tony Robbins makes the point that for him it’s a waste of time thinking of nothing. Instead he practices a priming ritual, which is a ten to thirty minute morning practice that puts him in a prime state for the day. Tony doesn’t meditate but instead focuses. He focuses on experiencing gratitude, and “three to thrive,” which are three things he wants to make happen in his life. Tony’s technique is not for everyone but it works for him, and that’s the point. Mindfulness is one option among many that might prove to be useful approaches for someone trying to enhance their well-being.
What employers might choose to do is to provide training for their employees that explores different ways of handling stress. Within this training there should be some tools that those participating in the programme can immediately implement and practice, along with some signposting to other approaches that might require some external support, such as counselling.
In conclusion, recruiting for resilience is not really possible, but the right job fit is going to help. And I would suggest that employers who continue to care about the well-being of their staff, whatever stage they’re at in their career will, in turn, be rewarded by a more engaged, motivated and resilient team.
If you really want to start to understand your own resilience or the resilience of your team talk to me about resilience coaching. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message.
I’ll be running a ‘Surviving Stress in the Workplace’ workshop at The HR Department in Kenilworth, Warwickshire on 9th November for those who would like to develop their own resilience. For further information call Molly on 01926 353 131 or email email@example.com