By Rachel Brauner and Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D.
Workforce resilience is used to describe a work environment in which employees can better adapt to adverse situations, manage stress, and retain motivation (Center for Strategies & International Studies, 2022). Employers are facing a burnout crisis brought on by the pandemic—with employees reporting mental health declines, challenges meeting basic needs, and feeling exhausted (Harvard Business Review, 2021). These feelings drive absenteeism in the workplace with around 63 percent of employees more likely to call in sick if they are feeling burnt out (Gallup, 2018).
In the past few years, service providers have also faced professional and personal challenges that have tested workforce resilience, all while the need to provide quality service to military families remains. It is important, therefore as 2022 ends and we begin a new year that may bring additional challenges, we pre-plan and determine ways in which to boost workforce resilience.
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that:
- Self-care to boost workforce resilience is not selfish.
- We have continued serving military families effectively, so something has worked.
- We can add to our resilience toolbox by assessing- What worked? What didn’t work? What can still work? And, what needs to change or be discarded?
10 Tips to Boost Workforce Resilience
- Have an internal locus of control – take responsibility for our own actions including self-care.
- Get up and go to work (even at home) every morning no matter how bad the previous day/news was.
- Increase chances for success by setting obtainable professional goals.
- Analyze – consider pros and cons, make decisions days ahead, think of what ifs, always arrive or log in, or be prepared an hour ahead so that we troubleshoot less.
- Make plans and take concrete steps – for instance, plan to attend professional development six months ahead.
- Be patient and give plans time to work even though we rebel against that virtue.
- Take stay-cations or mental health days off.
- Note the stories or anecdotes of clients that have happy endings.
- Utilize where possible the help of a peer support group (composed of fellow service providers for instance).
- Identify and utilize resources within the organization such as Employee Assistance Programs that provide affordable professional care to the employee.