I told the WeSpire story this week to a group of entrepreneurs. One of the questions asked was: “How, have you stayed so persistent? The answer is resilience.
If WeSpire had a theme song, it would likely be Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. It is a catchy (albeit inane) song from the late 90s. The main line, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never going to keep me down” repeats a total of 26 (!) times.
I thought about that question again when I saw a sobering statistic this week: only 32% of employees are resilient. In the report, workforce resilience consists of three factors: a fundamental sense of security at work; a strong sense of belonging with the employer; and the adaptability and motivation to reach your potential. Resilient employees have more energy, more confidence, more enthusiasm, and better concentration.
The connection between resilient employees and resilient businesses is equally strong. Research shows that companies with highly resilient employees grow three times faster. Resilient managers have employees who are 78% less like to leave the organization.
How to Develop Resilience in Yourself and Others
First, there is a very strong connection between resilience and holistic wellbeing. Holistic wellbeing comprises financial, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Companies with comprehensive, consistent, and well-communicated holistic wellbeing initiatives have a much higher percentage of resilient workers. In particular, mindfulness, stress management, and other related programs can help people keep things in perspective, accept change, and maintain a hopeful outlook in the face of adversity.
In addition, people with a strong sense of purpose and who help others are more resilient. Initiatives that help people, as Simon Sinek says, “find their why” can boost resilience. Programs that range from mentoring and career development to volunteering and giving can boost resilience.
Finally, people with strong social connections are more resilient. The American Psychological Association advises people to focus on relationships and join groups. In the workplace, that could include more formal Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or informal social gatherings. WeSpire’s work to help companies assess and improve psychological safety also directly increases employee’s sense of belonging in the workplace.
Back to the question.
How has WeSpire persisted for ten years, through two pivots, a major partner meltdown and resulting financial crisis, some big misfires and mistakes, and now a pandemic? It comes back to those three factors: mission, wellbeing, and relationships. Our mission of inspiring people to build a better working world has consistently endured from the founding of the company, even if how we fulfill that mission and who is working with us has drastically changed.
As a company devoted to inspiring others to have healthy and sustainable lifestyles, we also try to encourage each other to be well. We offer more formal options like generous parental leave, flexible vacation, and work schedule/location flexibility. Informally, we talk openly about mental health and encourage healthy eating and fitness. Could we do more? Absolutely. Especially now.
Secret to Success
One of the comments I see often about WeSpire relates to relationships and how much people on our team genuinely like each other. We hear “WeSpire is like a family” so often, not only internally but with our customers, too. With this in mind, I do worry about the long term impact of being remote for all this time and the foreseeable future. I miss seeing these fabulous people in real life, as much as I miss seeing my extended family. And, as we grow, how we enhance psychological safety and a sense of belonging for our new additions—both customers and team members—will need to stay top of mind.
I think a lot about what the rest of 2020 and the next ten years have in store for us. And I know there is a secret to successfully navigating whatever the future brings—we must continue to build resilience, in ourselves, in our families, and in our workplaces. I am happy to share that secret with you, so we can be resilient together.
Quote of the Week: Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.Nelson Mandela