If you missed our webinar Resiliency Training for Non-Profit Teams on November 16, 2021, we’ve got your back—the recording is now live.
Non-profit organizations often have limited staff and need to work lean. Faced with scrutiny over administrative costs, staff need to do more with less. Budgetary pressures can pose significant challenges for employee retention, and those staff members who do remain often experience high levels of stress. According to a recent Qualtrics study, mental health issues have doubled in the last nine months in organizations.
With high rates of burnout and attrition at organizations, staff often find it hard to dig in and discover their own resiliency. Our founder, Leah Chang CEO and Lead Instructional Designer & Learning Strategist Leah Chang sat down with Debbie Pearmain, Senior HR Consultant and Coach, to host this 49-minute webinar on skill building for resiliency.
Here are the learning objectives we covered in the session:
What is resiliency?
The modern definition for resiliency is “Advancing despite adversity.” It’s the capacity to bounce back from tough situations and to become even stronger as a result. When people are resilient, they are able to stay positive and focus on what they need to do.
The dandelion is a great example of resiliency. Sure, most of us aren’t big fans of dandelions on our lawn, but you have to admit, they sure are tough. And they keep coming back!
What are signs of resiliency?
What does resiliency look like, sound like and feel like? Many phrases nicely sum up the concept of resiliency:
Not only are resilient people persistent and gritty; they also tend to be optimistic. They tend to smile. They appreciate everything that happens, even if it’s challenging, and especially if they can learn from it. They enjoy problem solving. If they feel stuck, they find a way to climb out of their rut. They don’t let themselves be defined by setbacks. And at the end of the day, they feel gratitude.
Another key characteristic of resilient people is empathy. When you have resiliency, you have compassion for yourself and others. Resilient people recognize other people’s efforts and appreciate them.
On the flipside, people who lack resiliency may struggle at work and in their personal lives. You may have observed signs in your employees such as:
The 6 domains of resiliency
Looking at your team, which domains do you think are strongest? Which could use improvement?
Why this matters, and the role of VUCA
Our world is a VUCA world! In other words, it’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Change happens quickly and unpredictably. We need to be agile to stay aware of trends and issues, as well as complex cause-and-effect relationships and the confusion that results. And we have to get comfortable with ambiguity, whether it comes from misunderstandings, new information or fast-changing conditions.
Key skills for dealing with this VUCA world are:
How can non-profits support resiliency?
It starts with skill development. Organizations can invest in their employees’ resiliency by providing them support systems and giving them the tools to thrive. They can cultivate a healthy workplace culture, embrace a vision/values statement, develop policies that enhance wellbeing, and recognize employees both when they’re doing well and when they’re struggling.
For some organizations, training may be the answer. Learning consultants look at analytics and to determine how an organization can build capacity over time.
Instructional designers use a framework called Bloom’s Taxonomy to measure organizational learning. At the lowest level of the taxonomy, learning tasks are simple (e.g., remembering.) Going up the taxonomy, learning gets more complex and demanding. Learners understand, then apply what they’ve learned; from there they analyze, evaluate, and create solutions of their own.
Where does resiliency fit in the taxonomy? It’s at the highest level: extremely complex. This means it takes time to build; it’s not a one-time event. Learning professionals can support organizations with a program to build resiliency for individuals and the organization as a whole.
Keys to learning resiliency
A provincial organization rolled out resiliency training to 350 employees. It set up consistent language, job aids, operational events, and leader/team meetings. The roll-out was successful, but something was missing – coaching.
Coaching (peer-to-peer, external, between leaders) can be a key element in an organization’s journey toward resiliency.
Additional tips for building resiliency
Summary: Training for resiliency in non-profit teams
A key message for organizations is that it’s important to seek out experts who specialize in supporting non-profits. Leaders are often working flat-out, and it’s hard to do this off the side of a desk. Finding the right supports can make the difference between struggling to keep employees engaged and present – and having a resilient team.
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Leah Chang is a learning consultant with 17+ years of experience designing online and classroom learning. In her spare time she goes on self-propelled travel adventures and tries to grow vegetables.