The resilience building employer
In a context of increased business transformation linked to automation and the introduction of AI, our Careers of Tomorrow research predicted more remote working, freelancing, informal learning, and the need to access untapped talent pools. Over the past few months the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated these trends, and challenged us with the future today.
During this period, everyone has had to cope with the pressure and demands that have come with unexpected change. Whilst some people are thriving and growing with the challenge, others are working at full capacity and run the risk of burn out, and others are suffering due to lack of purpose and financial uncertainty. This is why the topic of personal resilience seems so newly relevant.
In this roundtable our provocateur Birgit Baldauf, Learning and Career Development Manager, Europe, for Marriott International, shared her experience of creating strategies to promote employee resilience and wellbeing. We also discussed the importance of resilience building not only in the context of coping with change, but also developing the agility needed to succeed in the future.
What better time than now, as our resilience has never been more tested, to consider how best to handle the human impact of disruption? Our thinking on how to create the right environment and culture to foster resilience is expanding in real time, as the pandemic has accelerated and shifted approaches to taking care of people.
Part 1: Insight
The theme of managing your personal energy to foster resilience was the thread running through our conversation with a group of HR leaders committed to best practice on wellbeing. We heard about a range of innovative resilience-building initiatives:
- Recognising resilience as a foundational value for individuals, managers and the whole organisation.
- A digital app to support energy choices and equip managers to support team members.
- Elevated levels of communication with leaders connecting more frequently and personally via virtual channels.
- Sprint teams exploring the future of work, including the role of collaborative working.
Part 2: Innovation
Our provocateur was Birgit Baldauf, Learning and Career Development Manager for Marriott, Europe. Her passion and experience-based insights deepened our understanding of what it is to be a resilience building employer.
Building on earlier discussion, Birgit unpicked the concept of resilience as a meta-competency that underpins our ability to survive and thrive through disruption. She introduced the key resilience skills, traits and behaviours captured in the central image.
The benefits of individual and organisational resilience – happier, healthier, and more agile, flexible and committed people and teams – make for a strong business case.
Birgit recommended an integrated strategy that embeds resilience as a key feature of company culture and the work environment focused on:
- Company Values
- Role models.
Marriott’s ‘Put People First’ is a great example of a holistic wellbeing programme, and they have evolved it to meet current employee needs. For example, addressing the economic uncertainty caused by disruption to the hospitality sector, their recruiting team developed a platform for furloughed associates to find opportunities for part time work elsewhere.
Part 3: Impact
The need to equip people for the post-pandemic world highlighted the link between resilience and career building skills. Future career journeys are likely to be unpredictable and people will need to be resilient and adaptable to manage them.
Final takeaways from the group included:
- The importance of building manager capability to have conversations that put people first, and pay attention to employee wellbeing in a virtual environment.
- If satisfying careers are central to employee wellbeing and productivity, ensuring they’re central to the post-Covid HR agenda.
- Influencing senior leaders to be resilience and wellbeing advocates and role models.
- Recognising that resilience is a process not a switch.
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