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The challenges of the past year have threatened people’s physical and psychological well-being, both personally and professionally. But if business leaders and their teams are able to better discern where they currently stand in terms of their own physical and mental health, they will be better able to determine which actions to take to survive and ultimately thrive through current and future challenges.
My colleagues and I at the ADP Research Institute recently finished conducting a global study of resilience and engagement, looking at levels of both across 25 countries in 2020. We surveyed a minimum of 1,000 people per country, for a total of over 26,000 participants. Our hope in conducting this research was twofold: first, to help leaders become more engaged and resilient in their own lives, despite the deeply unsettling events of the past year; and second, to identify ways that leaders can build engagement and resilience in their employees.
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Before we dive in, it’s important to note that we define engagement as the emotional state of mind that causes people to do their best work sustainably, and resilience as the capacity of an individual to withstand, bounce back from, and work through challenging circumstances or events. Our validated survey instrument enabled us to calculate which employees were fully engaged — highly committed and willing to give their all to their team and organization. Fully engaged employees are dedicated to an organization’s purpose, certain in their definition of excellence, confident in the support of their teammates, and excited by their organization’s future. In contrast, we designated those employees who were not fully engaged as “just coming to work.”
Similarly, through the 10 items that measure and predict resilience, we were able to identify highly resilient employees who demonstrated agency and the ability to compartmentalize, felt psychologically safe, and demonstrated trust in their leaders’ abilities to anticipate the future, communicate, and follow through on commitments.1 Those employees who were not highly resilient were designated as vulnerable. (See “The Relationship Between Engagement and Resilience” for more details on how engagement and resilience are correlated.)
1. You can see the eight engagement questions on p. 6 of ADP Research Institute’s “Global Workplace Study 2020.”