Help Your Less Resilient Employees Engage

BY Kathy Crosett
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These days, who can blame employees for feeling stressed and getting discouraged about life in general and their job performance? Managers can help less resilient employees engage and be productive. In the Workplace Resilience Study from ADP, analysts surveyed a pool of over 500 employees to learn more about how to measure this important factor and what managers and leaders can do to make a difference.

Measuring Resilience

When you’re hiring, you should be looking for sales reps who possess great resiliency. In the current economic climate, it helps to have reps who don’t let a lost account get them down. For these people, a loss often means they are one step closer to their next sale. The ADP research reports that about “19% of U.S. workers are highly resilient.”

The rest of us are much more vulnerable to feeling like we can’t deal with what’s happening in our professional lives. For the sales force, this means that after experiencing a series of rejections from prospects or failing to maintain existing accounts, reps start to question whether they are any good at their job. They may wonder if they belong in the sales profession.

The Role of Managers and Senior Leaders

The ADP research shows that what managers do and say can directly impact employee resiliency. In the survey, managers who told team members something important before they needed to know it and who encouraged their direct reports to take risks scored higher in terms of how much employees trusted them. The increased trust translated to a sense of safety on the part of employees. And the safety correlated to more resiliency, which leads to higher engagement and productivity.

Employees are always tracking the actions of senior leadership in their organization. When they believe that their company’s leaders are staying ahead of marketplace development and “do what they say they are going to do,” employees have more trust. That increased trust leads to more resilience.

In addition to the trust factor, researchers linked high resilience to the type of work employees are doing. Some employees love what they do on a daily basis, whether it comes naturally to them or they have to work hard to excel. Not surprisingly, these employees score well for being fully engaged and highly resilient. Employees who are great at what they do, but don’t enjoy the task, are much less likely to be engaged or resilient. If you have used sales skills assessment tests in your organization to determine who to promote, part of the report will indicate the type of job the employee is most suited for in an organization. Use that information to make better decisions about who to promote to which positions in your organizations.

Help Your Less Resilient Employees Engage and be Productive

Part of employee resilience correlates to how much control they feel they have over their daily work. Employees who strongly agree that they "have all the freedom” they need to do their work also fully trust their managers and senior leadership.

In a trust-​filled environment, employees also agree with the following statements:

  • I am able to stay focused on completing my work
  • This past week, I’ve been excited to work every day
  • Things are going to work out

Only 32% of sales managers believe resilience is a key characteristic for sales reps to succeed, scoring far lower than problem solving and confidence. To improve productivity and engagement in this new normal, start screening for resilience in candidates you hope to hire. In addition, audit the work your current sales professionals are currently doing and determine whether a change in responsibility will improve satisfaction, trust and engagement. Communicate frequently with your reps and encourage your company leaders to do the same. Otherwise, your team members will find it hard to stay resilient in the current climate.