There’s no doubt we are all still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and how swiftly we had to adjust to manage such rapid and drastic changes. For some, this pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities, while others have shown they are adaptable and resilient. Resilient organizations can thrive through the good times and the bad.

What is resiliency?

First, let’s define resiliency. McKinsey describes being resilient as “an organization’s ability to keep generating economic profit through cyclical and structural changes in supply and demand.” An article defines resiliency as “the DNA that enables the company to better anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to ever increasing market disruptions, shifts in customer preferences and challenging competitor tactics that can knock a business off its hinges.” We can see that the need for resiliency is not just when there is a pandemic, it’s when there is any kind of change that can catch your organization off-guard, negatively impacted profits and therefore, your employees. So how can you build resilient teams that recover from setbacks with ease?

7 ways to build resilient employees and teams

Keep in mind that teams are made up of individuals, so an individual employee’s resilience is integral to the resilience of their team’s and that of the organization as a whole. How do individuals and teams’ function and what role do they play in your organization’s resilience? What we’ve learned is engagement plays a central role in building strong teams. According to Gallup, when your employees are not engaged, you are at a disadvantage and are less able to bounce back when challenges arise. Here is how to improve employee engagement to minimize stress and improve performance.

  • 1

    Equip employees with skills and education

    Do your employees have access to training to build their skill sets so they have more to offer a project or a team? Education empowers employees so they feel like they can do their best. Providing opportunities for them to learn new skills could help close gaps in a struggling team. Part of this is ensuring employees have the right equipment and resource to get work done.

  • 2

    Instill a sense of purpose

    Your organization should have an overarching mission that gives your employees a sense of purpose. A shared sense of purpose, at an organizational and at a team level, can remind your employees why their work matters, especially when things get tough. Make sure employees know the impact their efforts make and how they and their work fit into the bigger picture. Additionally, you want your employees to know that what they do affects their coworkers. Encourage a culture of respect for the work of other’s and remind them of the power of their collective efforts and performance.

  • 3

    Set fair and clear expectations

    We recommend setting goals and expectations at an individual and team level, so employees always have something to work towards. This also allows employees to work independently. When things change, managers should help employees reestablish priorities when necessary. Goals provide a way for them to measure their progress. Being able to see how far they’ve come on a project can boost confidence and morale.

  • 4

    Maintain strong lines of communication

    Communication is always important. Train your managers to be preventative and proactive with your employees. This requires openness and trust. Your employees should always know where they stand with managers and within the organization, and they should know if they should be expecting any changes in the organization due to outside factors.

  • 5

    Build an internal support system

    Is your organization structured to provide employees and teams support and guidance when they need it? This could come in the form of an employee assistance program (EAP) or be as surveys or employee forums that allow employees to provide feedback regularly. Right now, most employers and their employees feel physically isolated, but try to be aware of ways you can encourage your employees to react and create their own support systems with coworkers and friends in the organization.

  • 6

    Recognize effort and good work

    Recognition helps power your employees and teams through complex and long tasks. How you acknowledge excellence might look different now that so many of us are working from home, but you can find meaningful ways to acknowledge hard work on an individual and team level.

  • 7

    Don’t sweep issues under the rug

    Pay attention to problems that arise over and over again. Repeatedly putting out the same fires kills morale and wastes time. Work to uncover the underlying, persistent issues that frustrate your employees. What processes can be changed and what procedures can be put in place to prevent it from them from happening again?

When you prioritize employee engagement and well-being, you can improve your organization’s ability to perform in the face of volatility and uncertainty.