Saturday, 14 May 2011

Developing organisational and individual resilience

A combination of individual and organisational resilience is needed in today's tough economic environment if employees and the organisations they work for are to compete and prosper. This is the key message from a new guide, Developing Resilience, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The guide has been developed in recognition that both private and public sector organisations are continuing to operate in challenging environments following the financial crisis of 2008, with pressure to reduce and manage costs or restructure to improve competiveness and efficiency. Employees are also under increasing pressure in the workplace as a result of downsizing, pay freezes, job insecurity and rising inflation eroding wellbeing and standards of living.

The guide, which is based on a literature review of the evidence, sets out the interventions that support individual and organisational resilience:

Individual resilience can be supported by:
• Cognitive behavioural therapy which enables individuals to see life and problems from a more positive perspective
• Coping skills underpinned by social support, relaxation, nutrition and exercise
• Adapting job demands for the individual, for example, by adjustments to reward, level
of decision-making control and working hours
Organisational resilience can be enhanced by:
• Developing organisational cultures that are underpinned by ethical behaviour which engenders trust
• A focus on developing leaders that support employee engagement and wellbeing
• Adapting job design to support employee resilience
• Risk assessment using employee surveys to identify satisfaction or dissatisfaction with job demands, roles, relationships, level of support, level of autonomy or involvement in change

Ben Willmott, Senior Public Policy Adviser, CIPD, says: "Organisations face ongoing pressure to reduce or manage costs and in many cases to restructure to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Against this background, organisations need to remain agile which will depend on their ability to bring their people with them and support their wellbeing. This guide highlights what leaders need to focus on to build the organisational and individual resilience to compete and grow in tough times."

The guide's author, Emma Donaldson-Feilder of the wellbeing consultancy, Affinity Health at Work, comments: "Resilience is now recognised as an important factor in the workplace. In the increasingly and endlessly turbulent context of today's working world, the resilience of both individuals and organisations becomes paramount in order to survive and thrive."

Louise Aston, Workwell Director, BITC, comments: "Taking a proactive, holistic and strategic approach to building organisational resilience, by creating the right conditions for the whole person to flourish in the workplace, is mission critical for driving sustained performance."

Dr Luise Vassie, Executive Director of Policy for IOSH, comments: "This guide recognises that ensuring health and safety at work increasingly requires employers to focus on supporting the psychological wellbeing of their staff. This will give employees the resilience to perform under increasing pressure and against a background of constant change."

Business in the Community stands for responsible business. They are a business-led charity with a growing membership of 850 companies, from large multinational household names to small local businesses and public sector organisations. They advise, support and challenge our members to create a sustainable future for people and the planet and to improve business performance. Their members work with us to define what responsibility looks like in the workplace, marketplace, community and the environment - and we share what we learn about driving performance through responsible business practice.

IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. With more than 39,000 members in 85 countries, they are the world's biggest professional health and safety organisation. They set standards, and support, develop and connect their members with resources, guidance, events and training. We're the voice of the profession, and campaign on issues that affect millions of working people. IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registered charity with international NGO status.

Source: CIPD

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