ali khan
Ali Khan
Published On
December 14, 2023
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6 Steps to create a resilient workforce

In the midst of the pandemic, millions were laid off overnight and many were left scrambling to keep their jobs. We’ve all experienced times at work where the pressure was on, the clock was ticking and our backs were up against the wall.

In our view, a resilient workforce is one that takes these uncomfortable and unpredictable scenarios and turns them into an environment where they can prosper.

It’s definitely easier said than done.

So the million-dollar question is how do you create this “resilient workforce?”

How to build a resilient workforce

  1. Consider anonymous communication

The distance between employees and leadership has grown.

We’ve replaced bumping into each other by the water cooler, having great debates over lunch and friendly conversations with agenda-focused Zoom meetings! 

Across the board, with less authentic relationships being built, the leadership team becomes less approachable and employees are less likely to voice their challenges.

That’s why it's important to give your team the option to share anonymous feedback virtually and make it easy for leadership to respond to those suggestions with anonymous conversations. 

We recommend using this tool.

The goal is to make feedback accessible and safe so you can pick up on problems early, resolve them, and build a more engaged and resilient workforce by showing that you value their opinions and that you’re listening!

  1. A toolbox for cultural values

Young, old, small or big - all companies suffer from the same challenge.

They build these ambitious cultural pillars and let their recruitment teams dangle these values in front of new applicants. As they join, their cultural values take a backseat and slowly fade into the background. How often have you thought “our company's credo or values is just a bunch of words and no action”.

When high-pressure environments arise, they can easily dismantle company culture and make teams feel hopeless, lonely, and limit collaboration

That’s why it’s important to reinforce your cultural values, discuss them frequently in meetings, share examples of where they’ve been successful, and always iteratively improve on them. 

So when adversity strikes, your team knows they have the right resources in their toolbox for support. 

  1. Help employees navigate through disruptive times.

Sometimes we’re so consumed with the business operations plan during a crisis, that we forget to think about the people implementing the plan.  It should be obvious, but if the people aren’t’ well supported the plan (no matter how well thought out) isn’t going to succeed.

Next time there’s a crisis in the workplace, it’s important to understand how each individual may need different amounts of support during this change management process. Remember, people, come to work with different histories, contexts, fears, desires, etc. You can almost never implement a “once size fits all” approach.

For example, during the pandemic, some people were without childcare and were juggling parenthood and work-life at the same time from the same place. Some companies should be responsive enough to run “50-minute meetings” to give parents 10 minutes back at the end of every hour.

  1. Promote an inner drive

We’ve all been in projects which were exciting at first, but then dragged on, became repetitive, and time-consuming. 

Being a part of the leadership team, we know that self-drive is a natural remedy to this situation.

How do you promote self-drive?

One way is to set effective goals for your team. 

Making an objective reality and giving your team a clear goal helps them manage their motivation and momentum during the project. It’s easy to get discouraged when the goals are almost impossible to attain or if it’s obvious leadership is steering in the wrong direction.

When thinking about appropriate goals, we recommend using the SMART framework. It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

  1. Listen & react with anonymous pulse surveys

To have a resilient workforce you need to find challenges early so you can fix things before it’s too late. Employee engagement is an important factor to this matter as well. Competitive advantage is when you listen and react, this way you can build resistance.

We’ve all fallen into the trap of sending out an infinite list of questions, getting lost in hoards of data, and wondering what actionable outcomes to take. They not only affect our mental health, but physical health as well.

On the employee side, it’s no different. “Oh great! Another survey” said no employee ever.  This does affect the emotional support of your team and their personal well being as well.

Surveys are not meant for leadership teams to collect millions of data points. They’re meant to help identify challenges so leadership can offer solutions for the in office as well as the remote working team. To tangible improvements can be made. When this done right you can

The technique companies are using is anonymous pulse surveys that work for in person office teams or remote teams.

  • This allows the team to send out short bursts of surveys (1-3 questions every 1-2 weeks). 
  • They make it easy to answer by asking questions about where their team works.
    E.g. (Slack or MS teams)
  • When receiving results, don’t just analyze them, hop into an anonymous conversation with the 5% of users who said they don’t like that new policy.

The key to a resilient workforce is to actively listen and react to your team’s feedback. This will help you avoid possible stressful situations during different challenging times. Your team will have the right skillset when on the flip side they will have new ideas ready for everything, top down solutions.
Find challenges early before they take their toll on your workforce!

  1. Provide outside support

A resilient team means a robust support system. 

We know how important life coaches and therapists are in our personal lives but what about our work life? Considering we spend on average 40-60 hours per week in front of our laptops, companies should consider offering outside coaching to their team.

Sony Music is a great example of a company that has an open culture and low stigma around mental health. They knew the pandemic took its toll on their employees so they gave their team access to apps like Ginger to provide them with outside support.

Don’t think about this support system as a cost you need to minimize. Think about it as an investment into your team to reduce burnout, increase engagement, and drive growth.

Build a crisis-resilient workforce… It will pay off.

Being resilient isn’t something we can demand from our teams. 

It’s up to us to create an environment that prepares them for turbulent times.

If you’ve created an approachable leadership team that instills your cultural values, sets clear goals, and provides equitable support, then your team will have the right tools to thrive in a high-pressure environment. 

Send leadership a question or feedback anonymously!
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More Articles From Ali Khan

Ali is a co-founder of Wrenly known for his innovative thinking and exceptional drive to create value for every Wrenly customer. His dedication, mentorship, and leadership skills have not only shaped various careers but have also made him an invaluable asset to the Wrenly team.

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