A guide to workforce resilience – why is it a critical issue for businesses?


Employees are a crucial part of a business. They make up the heart of an organisation. But, if this workforce is lacking in resilience, the business will be too.

Non-resilient employees are 27% more likely to have trouble concentrating and 39% less likely to have good energy levels, which can impact their productivity, according to Aon’s Rising Resilient report.

Alternatively, an increase in resilience can directly translate into profit growth for businesses.

A resilient workforce can also increase loyalty to a company, reducing the burden of high staff turnover, as over 90% (93%) of resilient employees say they want to remain with their current employer for the foreseeable future.

With over 40% of employees worldwide planning to leave their jobs this year, fostering resilient employees could help reduce the burden of the great resignation.

In the current backdrop of a volatile business environment, where complex global issues are stretching businesses and people, organisations need to have the agility to bounce back in order to push through and move forward.

But, Aon’s Rising Resilient report found that just 30% of employees identify as being resilient.

While it presents a challenge for businesses to build this number up, it also presents an opportunity for employers to stand out from others.

So, what makes a resilient workforce, and what can leaders be doing to improve their employee and business resilience?

A resilient workforce is one that can withstand the unpredictability of adverse events and come out the other side stronger.

There are several factors that contribute to this. These include work-life balance, which often goes hand in hand with flexible working. But also, career development, good benefits, compensation and recognition.

Together, these make up a sustainable working life. One where employees feel they belong, are accepted and appreciated, where they can develop skills and ultimately withstand difficult events.

Employers can assess where their workforce is resilient through data and talking to their employees.

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Data can help to identify where the gaps are and therefore where the impact of changes could most be felt, while initiatives like focus groups, workshops, one-to-one sessions and surveys can help to connect with employees and find out what is needed or wanted.

This data and insight gathering should include topics such as financial wellbeing, physical and mental health, development of future skills, assessing adaptability of employees as well as developing capability.

Second, organisations should be developing and delivering initiatives that target the areas of concern, where employees are least resilient or least supported.

A range of different programmes can be designed with inclusivity in mind so that different employees are catered to, but they should try to avoid a ‘more is more’ approach. Tailored wellbeing programmes can be more effective against KPIs than a more general programme.

Once the initiatives have been developed, it’s then key for organisations to evaluate how these programmes are doing. Are they making an impact, are they meeting those initial targets and engaging people?

If the feedback is that they are not successful, then it’s important to review this and alter the programme – or scrap it altogether – and instead put in place something that works better.

Ultimately, the economic and geopolitical situation will continue to cause disruption to businesses over the next few years, meaning companies need to be ready for anything. But focusing on employee resilience presents businesses with the opportunity to boost their performance and create a more sustainable future, despite the hurdles they face along the way.

Aon’s Human Sustainability Index (HSI) measures wellbeing, resilience and sustainability at the individual, team and organisational level. To find out more, click here.

If you would like to find out how Aon can help your business deliver benefits that support a resilient workforce, click here.



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