He's not the only one pondering the issue. A new study takes a more rigorous, quantitative look at the question of just what employers stand to gain if they were to pay more attention to resilience when hiring and training employees.
The study, conducted by employee stress management firm meQuilibrium, asked 2,000 employees to complete various assessments of their personal resilience, before being quizzed about their stress levels, job performance, and feelings about their employer. The results show that if you want happy, productive employees who stick around, you should probably pay way more attention to employees' grit.
Happier, healthier, and less stressed
Those employees whom tests revealed to be highly resilient were 46 percent less likely to report feeling stressed. They were also happier at work. Compared to those with low resilience, highly resilient workers were four times more likely to say they are highly satisfied with their jobs. Those with low resilience scores, on the other hand, were more likely to have been absent from the office in the previous month, twice as likely to quit in the subsequent six months, and even twice as likely to report a hospital stay in the previous year.
As meQuilibrium points out, employees with less resilience aren't just more likely to be miserable, they're also probably costing you money. "An estimated one million employees miss work each day because of stress--and this costs companies an average of $602 per employee per year," the reports points out. The higher turnover of less resilient workers no doubt adds to these costs.
Train or hire?
The bottom line for meQuilibrium is, predictably, that employers should use a tool like theirs to train for greater resilience. "While stress will always be present, reframing the way we think about stress will minimize its impact. Rather than feeling pressure to eliminate stress from the workplace, business leaders should focus on empowering their employees to better cope with stressful situations," notes the study.
While ensuring employees have all the tools they need to maximize their resilience (mindfulness training, anyone? Or how about just watching this TED talk?), another clear takeaway from this research is that you should probably also pay more attention to grit and resilience when you hire, probing candidates' background to get a sense of how they've handled adversity in the past and how they're likely to handle it going forward. These ten signs of exceptional mental toughness might help.
What questions or techniques do you use to get a sense of a candidate's resilience?