Resilience is the Key Metric for Retention

Presented by Vanessa Goryl, Outcomes Director at AbilityMap

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Presented by

Vanessa Goryl

Vanessa Goryl

Outcomes Director


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Webinar Overview

People are tired, stressed and scared.

Resilience – or lack of it – costs businesses a lot of money and causes a lot of human grief, especially when it causes burnout and affects employee well-being.  What if there was a way to discover the capacity for resilience in people? And what if you could find this “resilience gap” in your people and those you’re looking to hire so that you can help them find the roles that work for their strengths?

In this critical and timely webinar, AbilityMap’s Outcomes Director, Vanessa Goryl, will walk you through this now-vital “soft” skill, demonstrating how it can be measured and quantified within an organisation. She will also explore the connection between resilience in your people, and overall business productivity. 

In this 30-minute webinar, we will:

  • Show how data-driven insights can be central to understanding your people
  • Identifying individuals or groups of people who will benefit from additional support when presented with significant change.
  • Through technology, demonstrate how to place the resilience lens on potential candidates
  • Discuss HR’s ongoing role in championing good change management and enabling next gen human assessment

At a time when change is critical to avoid disruption, and yet 45 per cent of HR leaders report that employees are fatigued from change, being able to identify the key components that are essential to resilience will be central to preparing organisations for what is to come. 

Well, good morning and welcome to today’s webinar: Resilience, the Key Metric for Retention. My name’s Vanessa Goral and I’m the Outcomes Director at Ability Map. I can see from those of you who’ve joined, we have some of our clients in the audience and some who’ve joined us via special invite from our co-founders, Kevin Chandler and Mike Erland.

So welcome everybody. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we virtually meet today and pay my respects to their elders past, present, and emerging. And today I join you from the GuriNgai and Darug lands. Today’s webinar explores the topic of resilience and how important it is for you as individuals and as employers.

I’ll also take you through our recently released released resilience profile and walk you through how our technology can help identify who has the capacity for resilience, and importantly, identify those who don’t, so you can provide the support they need, where it’s needed most.

The concept of resilience has been everywhere in social media lately, and for very good reasons. Globally, there are big forces at play that are affecting our employees both professionally and personally and as a result, we are seeing increased rates of burnout, employee stress, and a mind shift with things like the Great resignation and moving to a four day working week.

Organisations are grappling with challenging economic conditions, increasing turnover as well as skill shortages. And we as employers now have a legislative responsibility to protect our employees’ wellbeing. There are further pressures on Australian organisations as well to disclose and publish the gender pay gap data.

There’s more of a focus on discrimination. Having open pay discussions and a lot happening in workplace relations such as the Secure Jobs Better Pay. what was previously implicit in the health and safety legislation is now explicit.

So what exactly does resilience mean? Well, it’s the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in life. It’s not always possible to prevent stressful or adverse situations, and in fact, being resilient doesn’t mean you don’t experience stress. Quite the opposite. It’s the ability to work through emotional pain and suffering and adjust despite life’s downturns.

Research has found that humans can cope with short bursts of stress, and there’s even some who suggest that some stress is good for productivity, but it’s the relentless, repeated exposure to stress in our lives that wears down our resilience and our capacity to bounce back.

Taking time out to recuperate is a really important component of maintaining resilience, and what we are finding is that with pressures being felt outside the workplace, such as rising interest rates, the increasing cost of living, and let’s throw in a global pandemic for good measure, employees aren’t able to completely recuperate from the stress of the workday.

And we are seeing more and more stress related leave and burnout. So why does this matter? Why does this matter to organisations? Well, there’s a few reasons. During that pandemic that must not be named when some parts of Australia were in lockdown attention really turned to employee wellbeing. As employees increasingly reached out to employee assistance programs and there were other signs emerging indicating that people weren’t coping.

In 2022, Safe Work Australia introduced a responsibility of employers to manage psychosocial hazards at work, and for the first time made mental injury prevention as important as physical injury prevention. Safe work Australia also introduced a compliance framework to identify, assess and control risks of psychosocial hazards aimed at limiting controlling and preventing exposure to risks where possible.

Does that sound familiar to anybody who has had experience with the work health safety legislation? It sounds very similar to the physical harm prevention. This is still quite reactive though, but there are some who’ve identified a proactive approach towards employee wellbeing, including resilience that can play hand in hand with the reactive and preventative measures of the legislation.

The Future of Work Institute at Curtin University is one example. They’ve added a third tier that shifts the dial from compliance and proactively promoting wellness. Their third tier promotes thriving through strength-based development, high quality work connections, and diversity and inclusion. So let’s go right back to our question from the beginning of this webinar.

What would change if your employees were more resilient and better able to cope with change and uncertainty? I’d like to share with you three non-legislative reasons why it makes good business sense to care about the resilience of your employees.

The first reason, Is retention. When employees feel happy in their role and supported by their organisation, they’re likely to stay longer, which is good for team dynamics, employee engagement, business continuity, productivity, reducing employee costs. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can range from 50 to 200% of the employee’s annual salary.

If employees are working in especially high stress, high risk, or dangerous environments such as the emergency services, insurance, call centers, debt collection, air traffic control mining, or other environments where employees are repeatedly exposed to stress in their work, it would take a very particular individual to thrive in such an environment and actually enjoy their job.

And the more of these people we can find, the lower our turnover becomes.

Another reason why resilience matters is productivity resilient employees who were empowered by their organisation to take the required time to recuperate between episodes of high stress, have more energy, they’re better equipped to cope when working through stressful times. This results in less burnout, reduced sick leave, both for stress and stress related illness, less pressure on colleagues and better outcomes for stakeholders, clients, patients, customers. The result is increased productivity as well as happier, healthier employees.

And the third reason that a resilient workforce makes good business sense is agility. A resilient workforce is better able to cope with change, whether this is organisational, like a merger, an acquisition, or restructure, technological, I mean, good luck keeping up with the pace of change there, or structural like working in an industry with little control over the day-to-day operations.

Take for example, a call center in an insurance company. One day you’re going to be helping people who’ve just lost their house and all of their possessions in a flood. But the next day you could be helping someone who’s just lost their farm machinery and all of their livestock in a bush fire.

Emotions will run high as these communities are impacted for weeks or months during the height of an emergency crisis, and employees are encouraged to answer the next call with a customer focus. If your organisation is navigating through a merger or an acquisition, there’s a lot of change for the two entities involved that are being merged, of course, but there’s a lot of uncertainty to cope with as an employee going through that.

Organisations can’t afford to stand still because, well, the world doesn’t stand still. So a resilient workforce will help you adapt quickly to uncertain and challenging times.

Now, I realised as I was researching this topic that it can all sound a little bit doom and gloom, but there is also some good news in here, and it’s a little bit more than just telling people to, you know, always look on the bright side of life. So the good news here is that we really can strengthen our capacity to deal with these challenges that life throws at us, including work stress.

And with the help of technology, we can pinpoint our employees natural capacity for resilience so that we as employers can identify who will more likely cope and who might struggle when faced with significant upheaval and uncertainty. What I wanna take you through now is the resilience profile that we have a defined at AbilityMap and how our clients are using our technology to help make better hiring decisions and providing the support their employees need.

At AbilityMap, our organisational psychologists have researched this area extensively and from their findings, identified eight behavioural attributes that make up a profile of resilience. I don’t know about you, but the two out of that list that jump out as the kind of obvious ones coping with pressure, which is the ability to remain calm under stress, or in very difficult situations, and adapting to change, which is the sort of person who’s open to new ideas and concepts and really enjoys the prospect and process of change. But let’s take a look at some of those other ones. Accepting responsibility. This is the sort of person who maintains ethical principles, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Displaying initiative. One of the behavioural attributes is that they apply original thinking in approaching job responsibilities and are strongly motivated to improve processes, methods, systems, or services, which means they can recommend positive improvements to aspects of work that may be a source of stress. Working with teams, they’re a good team player and they’re driven to work well with others, and they’ll work hard to maximise the success of the group

Operating independently. These people are self-reliant and confident in their ability to cope, no matter what the circumstances. So I guess what we’re really saying is that this profile of resilience reflects a person who can face change and uncertainty with enthusiasm., consistency and optimism. They inspire their colleagues and employees to embrace the challenges with them and recommend other ways of working where aspects of work or job design are a source of stress.

I could go on and on about this all day because I kind of love this stuff. It’s the kind of person I am. if you do wanna read the full details of this profile, it’s available through our free system tour, which you can register for on our website, which is why I’ve added the url up there as well. So I will leave that with you to explore.

So, knowing what skills are required for building resilience means we can now measure who has it naturally and who may need additional support or skills development. Which brings me to the next part of our webinar today, and that is our system demonstration. I’m going to share with you some scenarios from two different organisations and show how our technology can help identify the resilience gap.

Before I jump in though, for those of you not familiar with AbilityMap, I just want to give you a bit of an understanding of what we are, what we do, because not everybody on here has, has joined into the AbilityMap ecosystem. So essentially we are a capability assessment platform that assesses both individuals and organisations to define what organisations need.

And align that with what people have. People are assessed against all 31 capabilities of our framework, which includes behavioural and cognitive capabilities, and this allows us to view their results through multiple lenses from the one assessment. Okay, so welcome to AbilityMap everybody. The first company we are going to look at is a sales team undergoing a restructure. And the second company that we are going to look at is in cyber. So the first one being the sales team. We’ll go and have a look at our sales team in here.

So this team is a very high performing team with strong alignment between the individuals and the needs of the role. And the way that we can see that in AbilityMap is that pie chart on the right hand side with the big blue and the green sections show that we have a large proportion of our employees in this team who are either highly capable or capable when their strengths are compared with what’s needed for this role of a salesperson.

Unfortunately, this sales company has to close their sales function operating out of Victoria, and in their case, remote working is not an option. So what we want to do is see what we can do to find other roles in the organisation for these individuals, and understand the resilience gap in the Victorian team so we can tailor our approach to sharing this news.

So this is our team here that you can see. We have a New South Wales team, a Victoria team, and a Queensland team, and they’re all quite strong when we compare them against the requirements we’ve set up for this particular role. But if we now go across and have a look at them through the resilience lens, we start to see a different picture.

And if we’re focusing on our Victorian team, this is where we really want to explore. So while it might be appropriate looking at this to handle such a transition in New South Wales with maybe a team briefing in a formal letter, because when we look at their ratings for resilience, they’re quite high.

Lots of blues, lots of greens. But what we can see from the Victorian team’s results is that their capacity to adapt to this news is quite low. Requires a more personal touch. So perhaps rather than a group session and a letter, one-on-one career conversations may be better received. So let’s take a look at how that might go.

Let’s have a look first up at Roxanne. So if we start looking at her in comparison with the other roles of our organisation. We can start to see where she actually has a very strong fit and we can see that she has a strong fit as a sales manager and more than that strong fit as a hybrid work environment leader.

And we actually happen to have, for this organisation a job available at the moment in New South Wales, which is a full remote role. And when we look at the candidates who we’ve been reviewing for this particular role, we’re getting a lot of people who perhaps aren’t extremely suited to this role, but Roxanne has a real strength in this area, and it’d be worth opening the conversation to see if she’s ready to move into a sales manager role.

If we go and have a look at, let’s see, we could go in and have a look at Harry as an example and see what other roles he may suit better, and it turns out that he’s actually got quite an aptitude to become a data scientist. Now, conveniently, this sales company has also wanted to run a project to interrogate their immense sales data.

And this might be an area that this person may be interested in re-skilling into to stay with the organisation and capitalise on the knowledge they have of this organisation and the industry. So it would be worth opening the conversation to see if this person might be interested in working on such a project.

If we also take a look at Pam, another colleague in the team, and we have a look at Pam’s match to all of these different roles as well. She’s quite strong against the project leader and what a surprise if we are looking at running a data interrogation project into our sales data, Pam and Harry have worked together for a couple of years, they’re great teammates. Maybe they’d like to partner up and run this project together out of Victoria. No relocation. They can stay in the industry and they can capitalise on their knowledge in the organisation.

So by taking these steps, we’ve used the technology to assess the risk of the changes and the impact to our employees. We’ve taken some steps to minimise the psychosocial impact on those employees, and we’ve likely avoided some regrettable turnover and even improved productivity by redeploying great employees already familiar with our company into roles where they can play to their strengths and add value to the organisation.

Just as an aside, these profiles, the sales one and the resilience one are available freely through our profile library, if you wish to sign up to that free tour.

So the next company I’d like to take you through is a cyber company. This is one that has a really large cybersecurity team. I’ll just open up the cyber team in here.

So for any of you in the industry or anybody who’s been noticing anything on social media lately, cyber professionals are almost impossible to find in the market. And this particular team is under pressure to continue to deliver for their clients. The team has just lost one of their leaders to a competitor and their most experienced team leader has just taken parental leave.

The company has a very strong learning culture, so what they wanted to do was identify where to target some skills development where it’s needed most to bolster the resilience of their team whilst two key team members are gone.

Looking across the team, the overall capacity for resilience is very strong. You can see that in that pie chart across the right hand side. But what AbilityMap allows you to do is drill down by any grouping you like, and in this example, we’ve gone down by role, to see where the gaps are. And as you can see, the analysts overall are a pretty resilient bunch. They’re likely to cope well under pressure, responding to the challenges of their role.

But the group that caught my attention was the team leaders. These are the people to whom the analysts will come when clients are unhappy or when something really big is going on and they need clear direction and guidance to get through some tough situations. So by looking at this group of team leaders, not only can we see where they have strengths to cope, but also identify gaps and we can do this down at the individual level.

And we can start to tailor our approach with each individual. So it allows us to anticipate where these individuals may struggle with the intense demands of the job, especially in the absence of the support from their more senior colleagues. This organisation can now have a genuine conversation with these individuals in a proactive way to strengthen their individual resilience and be aware of the areas where they may need to lean on more senior leaders for additional support.

So by preempting the possible challenges for these team leaders, we’ve assessed and mitigated the risk and we are promoting thriving through the data insights that our technology brings. So that brings me to the conclusion of our demo for today. So I’d like to thank you very much for joining us for this webinar.

We’ve had some really great questions coming in through the chat, and I think what I’ll do is actually pick those up in a follow-up video for you all, which we’ll share with you after today’s event. I hope you all learned something from today and I truly hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you again.

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