Career Resilience

Why Career Resilience Matters; and What You Can Do About It

With the “layoff” headlines circulating, it seems as though everyone has shifted into maximum tactical mode. Our priorities concerning talent have suddenly shifted from an emphasis on growth to cutting back. HR teams are focused on retention for now, but the atmosphere certainly feels considerably different than normal—don’t you agree?

That was the beginning of a recent conversation I had with Larry McAlister, founder of The Corporate Humanist Consultancy and #1 international bestselling author of “The Power to Transform – A Field Guide to Building a Human-Centered, Tech-Enabled Work Culture.”  We asked each other, how do we rebuild trust and where do you start rebuilding it?  It was the moment we started talking about career resilience, growth mindset, and using advances in work technology to enable benefits for organizations, teams and individuals.

“It seems these concepts of career resiliency and growth mindset go together,” said Larry, “it is the ability to bounce back, to take risks and learn something new.  Technology can help people discover new opportunities.  We are in the golden age of technology and here is one of the benefits of it.”

Before we dive into the technology, we thought it would be helpful to define career resilience, address what HR leaders can do to focus on it, and explore how it can benefit organizations, teams and individuals alike. We also want to engage the community in this discussion on definitions and actions.

What Is Career Resilience?

We define career resilience as the ability to adapt to change in one’s professional life. It includes being able to adjust quickly to changes in the job market or industry, being open to learning new skills, and having the confidence to take risks when necessary. It means being able to bounce back from challenges and apply lessons learned to future experiences.

It is different than career development or career promotions. “It is important to have a focus on career development, as oftentimes pulse surveys reveal a low score in that category,” shares Larry, “but that is a narrow definition.  It needs to be bigger than ‘what is my next job and how do I get it?’”  Career resilience brings a great sense of connection to your future and growth opportunities.

“Getting a new job or being promoted is an exciting experience,” shares Larry, “but making the most of it requires more. Feeling supported, connected, and having an increased impact are just a few factors that relate more to career resilience.”

There are many factors that can influence an individual’s level of career resiliency. These include an individual’s attitude towards change, their willingness to learn new skills and take risks, their network of contacts, and the industry they work in.

What HR Leaders are Doing to Support Career Resilience

HR leaders understand the critical importance of career resilience in a challenging job market. There are several steps they can take to make sure their employees are able to weather current and future career changes.

  1. Are people having career conversations with their manager? “It’s incredibly important to have these meaningful conversations as part of our professional life,” shares Larry, “Talking about your career can be immensely helpful to thriving now and in the future.”
  2. Are people taking advantage of re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities?  “It is an opportunity to learn something new,” said Larry, “allowing them to embrace the ever-changing world around us. Not only is this great for mental fitness, but it can also help guide their future career path.”
  3. Are people sharing their uncertainties about the future? “People are feeling overwhelmed, unsure, or deflated by all of the instability,” shared Larry, “it’s important to listen closely to these worries.  Take a few minutes to check in with team members more holistically than asking about progress on objectives.”

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to helping employees develop career resilience. However, by focusing on career conversations, offering re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities and ensuring employees feel comfortable sharing, HR leaders can help position their workforce for success in the uncertain job market.

How Career Resilience Benefits Organizations

Organizations benefit from having career resilient employees in many ways. Those who are more resilient are typically better equipped to handle change. During times of organizational transformation, those who can quickly adapt will be the ones driving progress for the organization as a whole.

“Transformation and change is happening whether you know it or not,” explains Larry, “change is growth and change with a positive ‘I can do this’ is better growth.  The way you handle these changes affects your ability to do it better every time.”

Additionally, greater employee career resilience can lead to more creative problem solving when faced with challenging situations. This helps reduce stress among team members and increases the chances of discovering solutions that are effective and innovative.

How Career Resilience Benefits Teams

Career resilient teams are able to look at obstacles as opportunities for growth instead of roadblocks that must be avoided or circumvented altogether. Individual team members learn to stay focused on their goals even in the face of adversity, which helps keep them motivated and productive during times of difficulty or change.

“Being a leader on a resilient team means you must open the gate for your teammates to succeed,” shared Larry, “Even when times are tough, your team is prepared and willing to tackle any obstacle head-on with courage and determination – because easy isn’t an option. When adversity strikes, our resolve grows stronger amidst the turbulence of challenges.”

Having a career resilient team also encourages collaboration by helping members recognize how their individual contributions contribute to the overall success of the team’s collective efforts. This sense of shared purpose leads to stronger interpersonal relationships within teams which ultimately results in greater productivity.

How Career Resilience Benefits Individuals

Individuals who practice career resilience develop skills that can help them further their careers no matter what industry they’re in or what job they’re doing at any given time.

“People looking to strengthen their career resilience should focus on building up their network of contacts,” shares Larry, “they should strive to maintain a positive attitude towards change while also remaining open-minded about potential opportunities or directions they may take in their career paths.”

Career resilient people are better equipped for navigating complex situations with confidence, making them invaluable assets due to their ability to make decisions quickly even under pressure or chaos. Career resilience also allows individuals to continuously build upon existing skills while learning new ones—a key factor in any professional’s success story.

Summary Ideas

Career resilience is an important skill that all professionals should strive for if they want to achieve long-term success in their field. It has countless benefits, not just for individuals, but also teams and organizations as well, allowing everyone involved to grow together despite any changes happening around them or within them. Whether you’re looking for ways to enhance your own career prospects or you want your organization’s staff members prepared for whatever comes next, developing greater personal career resilience is a necessary skill.

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