9 steps to building your resilient workplace culture

Posted in News on 19th June 2019

1. Enable your employees to recognise the difference between good stress and bad stress


Recognise this response to a stressful event?

So will most of your employees.
But will they recognise this response to a potentially stressful event?

Success Cycle
We find that most people feel elevated and enlightened when they realise that there is such a thing as good stress, the kind that keeps them focused and motivated, and this leads to them sniffing it out.

We kid you not. People actually like to be positively stretched – and not just in the yoga studio – at work too. Show them what the success cycle looks like, versus the survival cycle, and they’ll be right on it. They might fall off a few times, but with the right support they’ll soon be positively stretching their boundaries and you will see visible signs of improved performance.

So, the best way to start embedding a resilient workplace culture is to educate your employees about good stress and bad stress.


2. Look at resilience, recognise resilient role models and define your organisation’s own version of resilience

If you’re going to embed resilience into your workplace culture, you and your employees really need to know what it looks like. So, ask them for their definitions and to share stories of when they experienced resilience in the workplace.

Create your own definition of resilience.

At elbowroom we define resilience as:

“Having the strength and mental capacity to deal effectively and calmly with challenges and setbacks.”

We also give our team an emotional first aid kit[NH1] to enable them to step back, think about good stress and bad stress and explore ways to reframe stressful situations, to feel more in control of the controllables.

Remember – it’s all about controlling the controllables.


3. Burn bright but don’t burn out

As described above, with the right culture and support in place, people feel safer and better able to stretch themselves. Let them. Let them shine bright. Celebrate their light. But do not allow them to burn out.

With the previous measure in place, you’re halfway there.

Teach them about well-fillers and well-drillers and let them know that there is a process in place to support them when they begin to feel that there are no controllables and their well is draining.


4. Open up people’s hearts and minds by ‘showing’ them that you are investing in building resilient, positive well-being focussed culture

Our definition of culture here at elbowroom is “the way we do things around here”. Ensure your vision of your resilient culture is embedded in everything you do. We’re not just talking your values, mission and vision statement. We’re talking team building events, yoga at lunchtime, mindfulness at brunchtime, healthy eating and living initiatives and running workshops around managing energy, as well as time.


5. Work on communicating your positive well-being and resilience initiatives to the workforce

Celebrate stories of employees who are on the success cycle in your internal newsletter.

Have team discussions about the strengths of individual members, what are their well-fillers and drillers? How can they recognise and make the best use of the dynamics?

Whatever you do, brand it & share it!


6. Recruit for resilience

Creating a culture of resilience and positive well-being will attract top talent too. Especially if you’ve got step five in place.
As we say above – brand the shit out of everything – especially your recruitment collateral:

Create and share short employee wellness testimonial videos
Promote the perks – away days (at elbowroom escape, perhaps …)
Blog about your internal social network on your external site
Promote your training pathways

And don’t forget to ask the right questions in your interviews – e.g. “Describe a time you overcame a setback at work or in your personal life”.


7. Onboard your leadership team

Of course, none of this will happen if you haven’t got buy-in from your leadership team. So, hey, you know what to do, don’t you?
Send them to the elbowroom ‘Resilience Retreat – Thrive with Optimum Performance’ course!


8. Onboard your selves

Remember to look after yourselves too. Develop your own self-care plan.

Here are a few ideas to ponder:

  • Eat well, sleep well, play well
  • Know your strengths and those of your team and use them
  • Identify and practice productive habits
  • Learn to label when your mind goes into self-limiting behaviour mode
  • Recognise when you’re catastrophising, breathe and change your response
  • Ask for help when you need to
  • Practice small random acts of kindness
  • Keep a gratitude journal


9. Make the time and the space available for your teams to absorb all this stuff

Give them elbow room at elbowroom!

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