The Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme is edging to an end and the UK unemployment rate has reached its highest level in two years. Personal resilience has become a more sought-after employee trait than ever. So, as a recruitment agency which has built its brand on the fast-growing Sitka spruce, this tree-themed Japanese proverb seemed like a fitting one.
Culturally and personally, we’re not people who dwell on negativity (put it down to our own resilience), but the world of work is an uncertain one for many at the moment. We feel and know that young people in particular have been hard hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Furlough’s replacement, the new Jobs Support Scheme, offers a glimmer of hope. But its requirement that employers must pay at least 33% of wages for work carried out and another 22% on top, in reality makes it likely that many more skilled employees will be made redundant in the coming months.
Resilience to cope with these challenging circumstances, or indeed any change or failure, is especially important if you’re aspiring to a leadership role. The benefits of being flexible and standing strong in the face of difficult circumstances make job seeking candidates extremely appealing to employers. So, it’s an important and very worthwhile skill to have.
But, as we at Sitka know only too well, it’s relevant whatever stage of your career you are at. Four years ago, this month, we set up a business in what was and still is a highly competitive market. Two women, in their 40s, both with families to balance.
Resilience is as vital for us as it is for the candidates we support in looking for a new role. And it’s crucial for managers and leaders to motivate and manage the performance of their employees too. In general, it’s true to say that resilient leaders make for resilient businesses.
While resilience may not be as innate to humans as it is to bamboo, the good news is that it can be developed. Writing on Deloitte Insights, Punit Renjen makes the point that resilience is not a destination but a way of being, a mindset shift. In other words, it’s something that should be continually nurtured throughout your career.
With the right approach, we’ve seen that anyone can learn to bend in the face of adversity, to bounce back from failure – whether real or perceived – and stay grounded, even in the face of a global pandemic.
Firstly, there are several personal steps that can help to build personal resilience. These include:
If your work goals seem like pipedreams right now, you might be heartened by Gareth’s story. In one of our leader Q&As, Gareth Way told us about the first time his career plan went off-script. After ambitioning to become a PE teacher, he was rejected from a PGCE interview and forced to re-evaluate his career options. Today he’s Chief HR Officer at Creditsafe and says the disappointment he felt at that interview helped him develop resilience.
“A role in HR presented me with an opportunity to help people develop the careers they wanted.”
Good role models can also help you to develop personal resilience, whether they come in the form of relatives, colleagues, or mentors. Hannah Heath was made Finance Director of JoJo Maman Bébé before the age of 30 and says: “I had to fight for my role; there was a perception I was too young. But I had already proven I was capable of the job and managed to convince the board I was ready.”
Hannah was fortunate enough to have good role models at home, school and in her early roles with PwC and HBOS, but guidance from impartial mentors, or recruiters like ourselves who offer coaching alongside the recruitment process, can also help to build resilience.
At the end of the day, we can all benefit from improving our resilience and reassuring ourselves that the set-backs Covid-19 has created and will continue to present, are not the be all and end all, but an opportunity to demonstrate adaptability and strength.
If we can develop the resilience to navigate and come out of this challenging time, it’s not only you, our future workforce, who will be resilient. It’s our businesses and economy too.
Sitka took the time to understand me, my experience and my aspirations. Sitka had clearly done the same with their client and was able to put together a good match.
We liked Karen’s personal approach to finding the best candidate. She spoke to them in depth, matching the person to the business and vice versa, rather than just advertising the role to an existing database of job seekers. The process was very efficient and well-communicated from start to finish.
I felt very confident that Sitka would find the right person for our business. They took on board how important our company values were to us. A good range of candidates were provided and they all met the brief. The final choice came down to chemistry.
Karen was extremely helpful throughout the entire process, providing interview tips, personal help, and preparation before my interview. I felt that Karen genuinely wanted me to do well and get the job that I wanted.
My experience of working with Sitka was very professional from start to finish. In particular, I was impressed by the personal touch, being contacted before and after the interview process even if just to say ‘good luck’.
My experience of working with Sitka was absolutely brilliant. I would describe Ita’s approach as professional and caring. I would definitely recommend Sitka to colleagues, friends and family.