A DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH TO BUILDING RESILIENCE
Empowering individuals and organisations to take early action on stress
Unhealthy levels of stress leaves people feeling overwhelmed, disengaged and exhausted, compromising individual and organisational resilience to grow and evolve through challenges. Stress is often the main reason for organisational ineffectiveness, high staff turnover and has caused numerous business failures through a lack of recognition and management of its damaging impact. Getting proper data on stress to hone in on hotspots and inform remedial action is a critical first step to mitigating risk from burnout and building resilience.
THE BURNOUT CHALLENGE
Resilience is the antidote to burnout & enables people to thrive through challenges
The detrimental impacts of stress are now so well researched, the World Health Organisation have officially listed it in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
Burnout doesn’t happen overnight; there are clear warning signs which can be measured.
Signs manifest through shifts in one’s attitude, emotions, cognitive capacity, behaviours and physical health.
We believe actively managing resilience is critical for success – stress must be measured and its impact openly analysed as the first step to improvement.
Progressive employers are using scientific measurement tools to quantify and identify stress in the organisation, putting focused programmes in place to mitigate risk and tackle the root causes.
One such proven tool is AURA. AURA stands for Austen Resilience Assessment, reflecting the usage of the more positive term “resilience” as an antidote to ‘stress’. The tool has as its basis an online questionnaire for individuals in the organisation to complete much akin to the well used approaches to assessing engagement. It uses modern psychological approaches to rank resilience on a well-defined continuum from ‘Crisis’ through to “Resilient’. AURA’s rigorous yet practical reporting against an evidence-based framework enables individuals, teams and organisations to pinpoint resilience risks and take preventative remedial actions.
A rigorous yet practical approach is essential
Our proprietary tool ‘AURA’ was developed in 2015 based on a comprehensive scientific research project. The assessment model provides a framework to measure and manage resilience.
AURA provides individuals, teams and organisations with a resilience index and stress profiles, enabling them to identify burnout hotspots and pinpoint specific issues that are roadblocks to resilience. This sets a baseline for improvement and informs focused remedial actions.
AURA’s resilience index is an important business metric that should be integrated into any management system.
Senior management commitment and proper implementation is essential, we support organisations with communications, action planning workshops and follow up interventions to address issues that surface. Individuals are provided with a personalised feedback report and access to an evidence-based library of resilience tools to help them cultivate healthy practices over the long-term.
Click here to read our full white paper which sets out the business case for measuring and managing resilience.
The starting point may depend on what you already have in place, but broadly we can help in the following ways:
Many resilience or wellbeing programmes fail due to a lack of consideration of the complex nature of stress, appreciation of root causes or failure to create safe channels for disclosure. Here are some fundamentals for success.
Resilience coaching – building awareness is the first step to improvement
Our resilience coaching approach draws on AURA’s resilience assessment to build awareness of issues that affecting wellbeing and performance. When tackling complex and sensitive issues around stress and mental health, having objective data insights into issues provides a platform for constructive discussions. Bookings are kept fully confidential.
Resilience coaching is beneficial for everyone – just like physical fitness, our mental fitness can always be improved so we can thrive and flourish when new challenges come along.
Resilience coaching aligns with pre-existing mental health services to provide a preventative, holistic approach. Those in need of therapy for mental ill health would be signposted to appropriate support.
Embedding Resilience – empower employees through the right tools, education and awareness aligned to needs
Following an AURA assessment, a focused programme to embed resilience is needed. This could involve a spectrum of interventions depending on;
the current level of workforce resilience -is it a case of moving from languishing to surviving, or surviving to thriving?
the workforce stress profile – which pillar of resilience needs building as a priority? E.g. emotional resilience, physical resilience?
are there hotspots that need addressing? E.g. Are middle managers straining more than most? If so, how can the organisation support them?
AURA’s practical resilience toolkit
AURA has a carefully constructed toolkit of resources to empower individuals and managers in channelling the assessment insights into action. There is an online digital resources library full of evidence-based practices based on positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness. Furthermore, there is a comprehensive toolkit of line manager resources to help them have practical conversations and foster healthier working environments. See below for examples.
We also partner with a number of specialists who can deliver tailored wellness interventions. See our Partners page for details.
AURA’s resilience toolkit – examples
AURA’s toolkit include a digital resilience resources hub, action planning templates, coaching tools, personal resilience toolkits, game based learning activities and more. Below are some examples.
Personal resilience action planners – designed to help employees hone in on 1-2 actions and tools that will have a meaningful impact on building their resilience. We have a range of action planning tools to appeal to people’s different styles.
Resilience resources online library – this is a collection of practical resources for individuals to explore as they build their personal resilience skills. There are over 95 resources comprising tools, practice tips, videos, articles, podcasts, contact points for therapists, coaches or other service providers and more. We recognise people have different needs and is carefully developed to empower individuals to manage their resilience on an ongoing basis. The library is added to all the time.
AURA Personal Resilience Toolkit cards – a portable set of cards to support building a personal resilience strategy. Include simple reminder cards of the 5 dimensions of resilience, 40 practical tools and tactics for building resilience, an action planner template and more.
These are also a great tool for managers / coaches.
AURA’s Thriving Thursday – we recognise habits are hard to change and despite having the best intentions to invest time in our own learning, this gets pushes down the priority list. To help with this, we send out a short weekly email with 2 practical tips and 1 tool to nudge resilience. This is totally optional and available once completed an AURA assessment.
For teams and managers
‘Resilience Manager’ competencies – based on real world research and evidence, we have identified the critical behaviours and skills for managing team resilience. They are described in simple and applicable language.
AURA ‘Coaching Toolkit’ cards – these are a practical tool to support managers in having resilience coaching conversations. Underpinned by the AURA Resilience Coaching Conversation model, the cards serve as an ‘in the moment’ aid, providing example language, powerful questions and behavioural tips to enable impactful conversations.
On a personal level, it is about having the skills and mindset to thrive and flourish during difficult times. As the positive psychologist Chris Peterson described it very simply, its about being able to ‘struggle well’. Resilience is not about letting difficulties slide off you like teflon – its about facing up to challenges and move through them, learning and growing along the way.
On an organisational level, its about the capacity to adapt positively to difficult situations, having the people, systems and support in place to respond quickly and ‘bend not break’.
Resilience is the ability to navigate challenges and grow stronger from the experience. In other words, bouncing back better.
Being resilient does not mean that people don’t experience stress, emotional upheaval and suffering. They simply have the skills and tools to respond effectively and minimise the impact on their wellbeing. Some people equate resilience with mental toughness or letting difficult events slide off you like teflon, but demonstrating resilience includes working through emotional pain, struggling and saying no when needed.
Resilience is not a trampoline, where you’re down one moment and up the next. It’s more like climbing a mountain without a trail map. It takes time, strength, and help from people around you, and you’ll likely experience setbacks along the way. But eventually you reach the top and look back at how far you’ve come.
To a certain degree, stress is good as it energises us and uplifts our performance. It also brings teams together. However, undue stress or stress that accumulates over time without proper recovery can lead to burnout.
Resilience is the antidote to burnout.
On an individual level, resilience is important because it gives people the strength needed to process and overcome hardship. Those lacking resilience can easily get overwhelmed, often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms and can become withdrawn or burnt out. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.
For teams and organisations, collective resilience enables the business to respond to and recover quickly from adverse situations, coming back stronger and faster than the competition. Research shows that resilience drives performance, engagement, retention, innovation and customer satisfaction as some examples.
More compelling for organisations is the cost of inaction. Having employees who are burning out, thinking rigidly, feeling anxious, overwhelmed and exhausted is not a recipe for productivity. Recent data from a Deloitte study in 2020 shows a significant rise in ‘presenteeism’ and estimates the cost of poor mental health to UK businesses £45 billion per year. Organisations must also consider the incredibly damaging impact on their brand of a suicide, rogue employee and other disastrous lapses in employee judgement that hit the headlines.
Senior leadership sponsorship and involvement. There needs to be visible endorsement right up to Board level.
- Reducing the stigma through awareness campaigns such as #This is me where people share personal stories of mental health challenges
- Training managers in having open conversations around sensitive or difficult issues – giving them practical tools and a language to initiate such discussions
- Confidential questionnaires like AURA are a safe way of surfacing issues. Implemented in the right way, many employees especially in Asian cultures feel more comfortable disclosing in this way as opposed to a direct conversation.