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The impacts of Covid, lockdown and Brexit mean most organisations are having to cope with more change, increased uncertainty and bigger challenges than ever before.  This has resulted in a higher pressure, more stressful work environment for many people. 

The ability of organisations to hire Resilient individuals, ie those people that are able to overcome challenges and recover from setbacks, is more important than ever.  Research shows that more Resilient employees:  

  • Can better manage stress and are less likely to feel defeated when faced with a challenge 
  • Miss less work and are more connected to their job, colleagues, and organisation aims 
  • Are less likely to leave their current job 
  • Are more satisfied and engaged at work. 

Here we look at some ways to make sure your next hire has the Resilience they need to be successful. 

Understand the issues 

The challenges that your new employee is going to face will be specific to their role.  For example, the particular customers, type of work, company culture, targets and support available will all impact on the types of challenges that they may need to overcome and the potential sources of stress they will face. 

Individuals each find different situations stressful and different problems unsurmountable.   They will have their own coping mechanisms and tactics they employ when faced with challenges to remain effective, particularly when placed under pressure.  Some people are better able to cope in particular situations than others, so a problem that may be really stressful for one person, may be seen, positively and, as an exciting challenge by someone else.    

Therefore, identifying the candidates that are best able to thrive in your specific environment is going to be key. 

Consider the role you are recruiting, what are the actual challenges that fall part of the role holder’s accountability? What may prove problematic to someone new into the role? What can you learn from the current team members, recent resignations or your existing managers that will help you to understand what the difficulties really are?  It may be useful to use this exercise as an opportunity to review the Job Description, particularly, if it’s not been updated since the beginning of 2020.  Has the job changed?  Does the description reflect the realities and let someone joining know what to expect?   

Consider how the attitude and approach of current team members (ie their behaviours, traits and the tactics they employ) helps or hinders individuals to remain composed, effective and able to overcome challenges. 

Assess for situationally resilient individuals 

Once you have identified what is likely to increase someone’s ability to overcome challenges and recover from setbacks in your specific environment, seek out candidates that are well able to demonstrate these Resilience Attributes when under pressure or faced with challenge and adversity.  

A well designed, structured assessment will allow you to identify the Resilience Attributes that an individual prefers to, and is capable of, employing when under pressure. For example, well considered behavioural, strengths-based or hypothetical (scenario based) interview questions may all elicit good evidence, as will appropriately employed psychometric questionnaires or behavioural simulation exercises.  

However, if used in isolation, an evaluation of Resilience is not enough to base a selection decision on. So this assessment should form part of broader selection process where you are evaluating the capability and potential across a range of assessment criteria.  By taking a structured approach, you can incorporate Resilience into a broader assessment framework and ensure that it is given the consideration it requires in the final decision.     

It is important that, during this process, you resist the temptation to be too restrictive.  It is extremely unlikely that there are only one or two effective ways for someone to be resilient so don’t look to create drones.  Seek to establish where the individual draws their resilience from and consider how effective this would be in this particular role and environment.  Use this as a way to increase, rather than limit, diversity of approach and thinking in the team.  

Evaluate the process against real outcomes 

As with any assessment process, evaluation is key.  Review the impact the selection process has had on new starters.  Typically, data around: new starter retention, probation, absenteeism, performance, engagement, diversity and operational KPIs can provide insight into whether the new process is increasing resilience.  

For more information on how we can assist you in hiring resilient talent and our Assessment Services, contact James Crichton, Head of Assessment on james.crichton@omnirms.com