Fireside Chat - Resilience and Employee Wellbeing

Our fifth Fireside Chat on Friday 24 April focused on resilience and employee wellbeing. Looking after ourselves and supporting fellow colleagues and team members can be challenging at the best of times, but it is even more crucial now as we live with uncertainty, concerns for loved ones, isolation, new patterns of working, and worry about the future.

Karin Mueller, Founder of Liebfrog Coaching and ICRS Board Director, outlined the difference between wellbeing and resilience. ‘At its core, resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed. It is our ability to deal with adversity and pick ourselves up after setbacks. Meanwhile, wellbeing is the term we use to describe our overall physical and mental health which is naturally influenced by a number of factors, many of which we can’t control. Now more than ever, promoting wellbeing and helping developing resilience is a shared responsibility.  Everyone has a role to play!’

Organisations should provide infrastructure, practical advice and resources to help employees take care of themselves and their wellbeing. Employees in return, should not be afraid to use such resources and ask for help when they need it.

The biggest burden falls on line managers, who need to look after themselves as well as their teams, while also ensuring performance levels are sustained. Here are some thoughts on where to start: First and foremost, they should lead by example: talking about their own feelings and struggles and building deeper connections with their team are key. It’s easy to forget how much all those small everyday interactions during a day in the office contribute to our wellbeing and sense of connection. In times of virtual work, we need to be more intentional and proactive and reach out.

As much anxiety comes from uncertainty, managers should remember to communicate more regularly. Messages should be clear, authentic and honest, aimed at providing transparency where possible while avoiding ‘toxic positivity’ which can be just as demoralising as ‘toxic negativity.’

We were reminded too of those who are living with domestic abuse and the importance of organisations providing information on where to get help in their overall wellbeing messages and in a non-targeted way.

On the brighter side, our new ways of working have led to unprecedented investment in technology and tailored interventions that have changed our working patterns and methods overnight. Looking forward, these could pave the way for a more inclusive working environment in the future, particularly for those who have suffered workplace disadvantages due to disability. If we get this right, it is a unique opportunity for organisations to make long-lasting improvements to their ways of working that promote wellbeing for all.

Our next Fireside Chat on 1 May will focus on Trust in Business in a post-Covid world and feature Andrew Wilson, Executive Director, Purpose at Edelman and ICRS Board Director. In the meantime, you can find all the resources shared by our members on our Covid-19 resource area.

If you have thoughts on how the ICRS can support you, please email info@icrs.info. We’re encouraging our members to share examples of how they’re responding to the pandemic so be sure that you’re also a member of our members-only LinkedIn Group, The Exchange Online.