12th January 2024 Elise

In the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of the modern workplace, the ability to bounce back from setbacks, mistakes, failures and disappointments is more crucial than ever.

Employee resilience is the critical skill that can turn challenges into opportunities, setbacks into comebacks, and stress into success, enabling a thriving team. If it is prioritised, and like any other skill it can developed from whatever the start point.

In this blog, we’ll dive into what resilience is, why it’s vital in the workplace, and most importantly, how you can actively build and foster it within your team, with evidence based tools taken from our Thriver mental fitness programme.


What is Resilience?

Resilience is more than just a buzzword—it’s a dynamic skill that empowers individuals to navigate the unpredictable twists and turns of life, at work and home.

In the context of the workplace, employee resilience refers to the capacity to withstand, adapt to, and bounce back from adversity. It’s the mental and emotional armour that helps individuals stay focused, motivated, and productive, even in the face of challenges.

Picture this: A team member faces a project setback, a missed deadline, or even a clash with a colleague.
Resilience is what enables them to objectively respond (rather than a defensive instant reaction), learn from the experience, and apply these learnings to persist and progress.


Why is Resilience Important at Work?

Resilience is a skill most thought leaders agree is critical for success (whatever that looks like to each of us)

Here’s why it matters:

  • Adaptability in the Face of Change: The business landscape is in a constant state of flux. From market trends to technological advancements, change is the only constant. Resilient employees can adapt swiftly to these changes, ensuring that your team remains agile and responsive.
  • Robust Confidence: Being better able to bounce back enables robust confidence to step out of comfort zones with a growth mindset.
  • Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Resilient employees view challenges not as insurmountable obstacles, but as opportunities for growth. This mindset shift fosters creativity and innovation, leading to more effective problem-solving within your team.
  • Improved Mental Fitness: The demands of the workplace can take a toll on mental health. Building resilience helps employees manage stress, reduce burnout, and maintain a positive outlook, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more sustainable work environment.
  • Increased Team Cohesion: Resilient teams are built on trust, communication, and a shared sense of purpose. When team members can bounce back from setbacks together, it strengthens the bonds within the team and fosters a supportive work culture.

Now that we understand the importance of resilience, let’s explore actionable strategies to build and nurture it within your team.


Strategies for Building Employee Resilience:

In the Thriver mental fitness programme, we divide resilience into two sections:

  1. Reactive resilience: Finding a helpful next step in the moment of a challenge.
  2. Proactive resilience: Implementing tools into our working life that builds our mental strength foundation, so when we hit inevitable challenges we’re better equipped to respond.

Many resilience tips and tools are vague, they say what to do without any tangible ‘how’ to implement them. For example, ‘Encourage work-life balance’ or ‘cultivate a growth mindset’, two important topics but where do you start to action meaningful change!

To give you a true start point, we’re going to deep dive into two practical tools, taken from our Thriver programme, you can start implementing today to improve employee resilience.


Reactive Resilience Tool: S.T.O.P.P

In the moment of a challenge or setback we might experience self-limiting beliefs or thoughts that exaggerate the truth.

  • ‘it’s all your fault, you’ll lose your job!’
  • ‘You’re not experienced enough to deal with this’
  •  ‘You might as well give us’


Use S.T.O.P.P to pause catastrophic unhelpful thoughts and focus on facts, by pivoting to a helpful next step.

Work through the acronym steps:

STOP: When you recognise an unhelpful thought, pause.

TAKE A BREATH: Breathe in for 4, hold for 5, breathe out for 6. Repeat this 3 times.

OBSERVE: Ask, is this thought helpful or unhelpful?

PIVOT: Ask, What’s an alternative perspective here? Or, What might I say to a friend that’s experiencing this?

PROCEED: Take your next step with a more helpful thought in the front of your mind.

If you’ve found this helpful and want to discover more evidence-based tools for building employee resilience, take a look at The Thriver programme overview here.


Proactive Resilience: Pre-Mortem

Strengthen the resilience of a project by carrying out a ‘Pre-Mortem’. This tool is part of the proactive resilience toolkit in our Thriver mental fitness programme.

We’ve adapted this tool from stoic philosophy. The ancient stoics use a term called the premeditation of evils, getting our fears out of our heads and objectively analysing them affords us the chance to press on and give us the best opportunity of fulfilling our potential.

Here’s a top line overview of how to use it:

  1. Look 6 months into the future and the project has failed. Now ask, ‘what has caused this failure’
  2. List all potential fail points, no matter how trivial!
  3. Then, for each failure point ask ‘what could I do to prevent this?’ and ‘what could I do to repair this if it did happen’

Once complete you’ve strengthened the resilience of the project, you’ve predicted failure points, reduced the likelihood of them happening and have a plan in place if they do happen.


Everyone has greater fortitude in arriving at a situation for which he has long prepared himself, and hardships that have been anticipated can also be withstood. In contrast, utterly trivial things can terrify people who are not prepared for them. We must see to it that we have not overlooked anything. Because everything is more serious when it is new, constant reflection will ensure that you do not face any trouble as a raw recruit.
– Seneca, Letter 107.4

If you’ve found this helpful and want to discover the full Pre-Mortem approach, take a look at our Thriver programme overview here.


How To Enhance Resilience and Wellbeing In The Workplace


In our recent research with HR leaders we learned that most approaches to employee resilience and wellbeing are reactive, waiting until there’s a problem to find a solution.

This is a bit like waiting until your car has broken down to service it!

Thriver isn’t another wellbeing resource.

It’s a proactive and preventative mental fitness and personal effectiveness programme that provides an evidence-based toolkit to truly support key workplace challenges and enable teams to unlock their potential with enhanced engagement, productivity and effectiveness.

If you see value in building employee resilience, have a look at the Thriver overview here.
If you like what you see, let’s chat. You’re welcome to come and join Thriver and see what you think.

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