It’s the environment we create
Your environment plays a big role in whether you can sustain your resilience battery at a high level.
There are many factors that can drain this battery, some quickly, some slowly. One, for sure, is fair treatment. This factor is big in today’s society as you can hear conversations daily on the street, at the store or in your workplace where people have felt they’ve been wronged.
Fair treatment can go so far as being discriminated against in society, in your family or in the workplace. Imagine how draining that is. Wherever you turn, people treat you worse because of your gender, the colour of your skin or your cultural background, to name a few. Even with all the attention devoted to this by workplaces and society, it is still prevalent.
Another yoga class or lunch-and-learn is not going to be the fix if you are dealing with this in the workplace. This is where you can see people become cynical around workplace wellness programs, when it feels the organization is only addressing the surface level. Just the fluff. “How could I focus on my physical health when I am being treated poorly daily?”
This can also relate to a respectful, civil workplace. “Stop being offended” has been preached by book writers like Dr. Wayne Dyer and others. Easier said than done. If you have the feelings of being disrespected daily this, too, leads to a drained resilience battery for most. Many organizations are also recognizing this and are working on it.
For some it is a poster in the coffee room, or even a set of policies but many are struggling with going beyond that. This, unfortunately, can make the situation worse. If you are just doing lip service to the issue people will catch on and now you have an even more drained workforce. This may not be just for the person it is happening to, either. It can also be the people watching it transpire. A toxic environment can have a way of spreading that you do not even think about.
This a two-way pipeline. One way is you, as an individual, knowing what environment you need to stay resilient; then it’s the organization’s responsibility to provide it. Many people are frustrated with organizations that are not stepping up. Unfortunately, you may need to start to practise acceptance when you realize this is not going to change and you need to take on the responsibility to address the environment to sustain your resilience battery. A solution may be switching departments or staying in your department and reporting to someone different. You will need to be part of the solution and just leaving it to the organization might not be possible. Even though there are laws, they can be slow and wishy-washy. You need to address your own needs to live a Q-Life (quality of life).
Individual responsibility is cool and teaching employees what they should be looking for and how to create a resilient environment for themselves is helpful. However, the organization needs to be working on this. Acceptance or not addressing issues in your organization is becoming less and less tolerated. You can be held liable. Moving beyond a poster and policy is where we are. Here are a few ideas.
Fair pay: Is your organization doing market analysis to know the range of salaries or hourly rate for the different positions in their organization? Are your striving to get into the top 50 per cent? Financial health is a critical part of creating a resilient environment.
Structure: Do your people have structure in their day? Do you support them having structure? Limit the surprise change in work days and workloads, and respect your people’s schedules. When people have strong structure in their day and week it keeps their battery charged.
Accountability: When people feel like they are part of a group and they are accountable, their resilience goes up. Positive performance reviews, goal setting, having a vision a person is striving toward is important at work. Positive performance review does not mean it is all peaches and cream, it means that constructive feedback is delivered in a positive, objective way and people also hear about the things they are doing right.
Workload: Burnout is growing like mad in workplaces. Reviews of workloads should occur regularly. Yes, we need to keep the company afloat and everyone needs to pitch in but are we pacing it well. After a crazy busy time, are people given the necessary downtime afterward to recover. This, too, is a critical one.
Remember resilience is more that just mental toughness or having grit. You also need to be in an environment that gives you the resources to be resilient. Next management meeting, consider having a discussion on this. If your team, organization is showing signs of burnout and high levels of stress, look in the mirror; are you providing a resilient environment for your people?
Darren Steeves is the owner of VenduraWellness.com, a company dedicated to improving organizational health one step at a time.