Building resilient workforces

By Carolyn Taylor, International SOS

Whatever the challenge, employees with greater resilience have developed strategies to handle and manage stress and adapt quickly to find solutions (photo: International SOS)

International SOS’ head of mental health, resilience and wellbeing, Carolyn Taylor explores below how organisations and employers can build a workforce resilience that will not only future proof your company, but support employees and colleagues against the long-term effects of the crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most impactful influences on the global workplace in recent years. Not since the advent of PCs and the introduction of the internet and email, have organisations from every sector felt such a dramatic change in the way they work.

Coronavirus, unmatched in scale and impact, has revolutionised the workforce, changing work patterns and forcing employees to adopt and adapt at the flick of a switch. With employees slowly returning to work, employers need a new playbook as the pre-covid and “new normal” worlds collide and reshape both life at work and at home.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future for your workforce. Failure to do so could result in a backwards step in workforce wellbeing, and in turn limit productivity and weaken your business.

Why do you want a resilient worker?
In every company, there are employees who seem to sail through rough times. When the going gets tough, they’re the epitome of tough, and they get going. These people are resilient, and their resilience allows them to thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from any situation. Whether that be a rescheduled offshore rota, a frustrating co-worker, or a global pandemic, those with greater resilience have developed strategies to handle and manage stress and adapt quickly to find solutions.

Greater emphasis on stress management, in turn breeds more physically healthy employees. The positive emotions that accompany a resilient attitude have been linked to boost immune systems and help them work better.

Increased productivity stems both from a resilient person’s ability to more easily bounce back, meaning they are less likely to suffer from illness, use fewer days of sick leave and are more likely to be effective in the workplace.

In addition to their physical health, resilience is also known to be a huge benefit for mental health. As people who can sometime, it seems, breeze through difficult times, this doesn’t mean the difficult times don’t exist. But it does mean, that those who deal with stress and anxiety better, have developed ways to handle setbacks well, instead of feeling overwhelmed and challenged.

Their ability to remain unfazed and find a way through a difficult time also sets these types of workers up to be ready and willing to learn new skills or take on new roles when required. A hugely important and beneficial trait to display when organisations are experiencing periods of change.

How do you teach or develop resilience?
Resilience is a key skill which people can develop and learn, especially with the support of companies, employers and colleagues.

International SOS offers a bespoke service that can help foster resilience in your workplace, building a stronger workforce and better productivity.

With packages available to the suit the needs of any organisation, this, although not exhaustive, can take the form of:

  • Psycho-social mapping/stress auditing.
  • Two or one day accredited Mental Health First Aid Training with on-going support for the trainees.
  • Half day mental health awareness training.
  • A “Hearts and Minds” programme to understand the connection between mental and physical ill health.
  • Training managers to help them understand how to manage their teams.
  • Training from one hour – two days on all aspects of building resilience and managing change, including such subjects as:
    – Having difficult conversations,
    – Time management,
    – Stress vs pressure,
    – Change management.

All training can be conducted remotely, or classroom style. In addition, Carolyn and her team are all offshore trained and can offer this service both off and onshore.

Resilient employees can be a key component in the strength of your organisation. They manage illness better, maintain productivity and operate with mental toughness that can raise the bar across your workforce. A true asset to any company, every company should explore ways to nurture a resilient workforce.

For anyone interested in finding out more about International SOS’ healthcare solutions and how they can support your mental health wellbeing please contact Claire Westbrook-Keir, International SOS client relationships director: claire.westbrook@internationalsos.com.

Carolyn Taylor, head of mental health, resilience and wellbeing at International SOSCarolyn Taylor is head of mental health, resilience and wellbeing at International SOS.

International SOS is a trusted partner to the oil and gas industry.

With a robust heritage of over 40 years’ experience in providing offshore and occupational health services,
SOS International supports its clients to reduce risk, increase efficiency and fulfil strict legislative requirements.