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.
The experience of working with Sitka was really enjoyable. It was like talking to a friend who knew all the answers to my future career.
Sitka took the time to ‘deep dive’ all of the information pertinent to the role and the person specification, visiting the offices to gain real insight into the culture and working environment. The only tough part was deciding which of the 3 capable candidates to hire.
Trying to find a new role can be quite a daunting experiencing, however what I found working with Karen is that her enthusiasm is infectious. Karen listened to what I had to say and we had a long and productive conversation about what I wanted and whether the role was right for me.
The recruitment process was a very smooth one with constant, non-intrusive updates. We benefited greatly from a personalised visit to our business, ensuring the right candidates were sourced for us. We received an excellent service.
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.
The whole recruitment process, led by Karen, was a really engaging and positive experience. I can honestly say it was the best interview I have ever had!