Human capital must take an active approach to foster resilience to change in employees

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Mamcy Letuka, Head of Human Capital, Altron Managed Solutions.

It goes without saying that the last 18 months or so has been a roller coaster ride, with perhaps more lows than highs. The COVID-19 pandemic – fears for health, personally and for loved ones, coupled with closures that create financial uncertainty and the psychological impact of it all – has had a major impact on everyone’s emotional resilience. Add things like global socio-economic and political trends, local unrest, and restrictive economic conditions and you will find the conditions of major psychological impact.

Employees are not robots; they’re people, and people just can’t turn everything off when they come to work. There is no way to separate “human” from “resources”, and neither should we: our “humanity” is the resource. But that means taking a human approach to people management.

In quantifying people’s abilities, we have looked at IQ for a long time, and in recent times we have broadened it to look at EQ. It’s time we started talking about AQ – “adaptation quotient” – in relation to people: how well can a person adapt to the changes around them? Why is this important? Without a doubt, resilient employees are the foundation of business resilience.

Of course, it’s crucial for businesses to have processes and policies in place that anticipate change and disruption with well-developed business continuity plans and proactive strategies. But ultimately, it’s the people who deploy them effectively, which is why it is necessary to build teams and individuals capable of facing adversity and adapting quickly to challenges. There are countless studies that have shown that volatility in the workplace leads to lower productivity and has an immediate and direct effect on the bottom line.

So who’s responsible for fostering resilience and nurturing employee QA? Leadership must take the lead, but it is HC who must lead the process of helping equip employees to face today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment, personally and professionally. .

To get started, you need a baseline. Consider asking employees to rate their current resilience habits using a “Resilience Wheel” self-assessment. This process asks individuals to rate themselves in the following categories: focus, patterns, energy, emotions, downtime, optimism, and meaning. Most people will have an uneven outcome, but knowing, as an individual and as an organization, where your strengths and weaknesses lie is the place to start.

Once you have that baseline, how you consistently communicate and engage with employees – not just as an HC, but as a business – is important. Authentic and consistent communication from leaders lays the foundation for a resilient workforce, as employees trust leaders who keep them informed and stay abreast of their personal performance.

This is even more important in a remote working world, where employees may not benefit from the support or peer interaction that comes with an office environment. Identify strategies that fill these gaps or amplify the way you talk to employees, like corporate message boards or collaboration apps. Remember to develop a listening strategy as well – communication is a two-way street, after all. Keep track of your employees’ progress through surveys or contribution sessions, communicating to teams how management is responding to these feedback.

This communication strategy is the channel through which you strengthen your corporate culture, allowing employees to connect with your mission, goals and values. Ask yourself: are our values ​​people-centered? Because employees aren’t just a cog in the wheel, help them align with your culture, and this increased understanding will serve as a stabilizing force during crises or times of stress. Be sure to assess policies and expectations against people-centered values ​​and design rewards or recognition programs that further root your employees in your culture.

Beyond that, give your teams tools and resources – not just for business skills, but with training that targets their well-being and ability to cope with diversity. Don’t make the mistake of slowing down these training offers during tough times.

It is also important to ensure that leadership is not left out of the process. Managers at all levels should be equipped to adapt their leadership styles during times of disruption. Leadership needs to make supporting change a priority and treating people uniquely, because one size certainly doesn’t fit all.

“Adapt or die” is a saying often used in business. It may sound hard, but the reality of change is that it can be hard when we are not prepared. SC plays a central role in preparing people (and aligning processes and policies) to create a resilient ecosystem that can outlive the VUCA world we live in. Perhaps, however, the saying is too responsive. Maybe, let’s say instead: Adapt and thrive.

https://www.altronmanagedsolutions.co.za/


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