The Employee Resilience Research team consists of researchers and postgraduate students from Psychology as well as Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.
Collaborating closely with the Leading and Managing Resilient Organisations research group (LORE), as well as the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR) the team aim to help build a greater understanding of the factors contributing to worker resilience, and of the key outcomes for organisations committed to developing resilient workers, namely engagement, high performance and wellbeing.
The team defines employee resilience as an ability to thrive in a changing environment. This is facilitated by the organisational context, including leadership and organisational culture. Organisations play a key role in how well their employees can adjust and perform under pressure. An added benefit of employee resilience concerns the positive spillover effects. Resilient employees will also be better equipped to handle challenges outside or work, and by facilitating employee resilience, organisations can support community resilience.
The team integrates employee-level information with specific organisational initiatives to create a deeper understanding of whether the processes currently in place effectively support resilience among employees. In addition, they identify areas of intervention to address and facilitate employee resilience. The goal of their research and collaboration with practitioners is to contribute to resilient employees, who are healthy and active contributors to their organisation, as well as in their community.
The Canterbury earthquakes introduced severe and unique challenges to the region, including organisations dealing with the loss of buildings and customers, and employees dealing with relocation, restructuring, and rebuilding. Many of the challenges that were originally prompted by the earthquakes are now part of the everyday life in organisations, resulting in a “new normal” which both managers and employees need to adjust to. The extent to which organisations survive and thrive in these changing circumstances may be partially attributed to organisational resilience, which in turn depends on the organisational ability to learn and adapt, but also on employee engagement. The team believes organisations benefit from incorporating employee resilience in their continuity and contingency plans.
Resilience in organisations and among employees is relevant in any context which introduces challenges and change, and transcends a post-disaster context. They therefore couple rigorous scientific methodologies with practitioner expertise to encourage organisations to capitalise on employee resilience, and guide the process of increasing organisational resilience and performance through staff capabilities.
The Employee Resilience Tool has been developed to measure an employee’s resilience level. The tool can be used for individual self-assessment and organisation-wide employee resilience assessment, as well as cross-sector employee resilience assessments.