The Importance of Building Resilience at Work

Increase Productivity, Engagement, and Performance

Technology has made it easier to stay connected with work, which means employees often find it harder to detach at the end of the workday. In addition, an increasingly demanding working culture has generated high levels of stress and anxiety in workers, which can interfere with performance, and even with their mental and physical health.

PSI understands how increased Resilience can help employees perform better at work as well as deal more effectively with pressure and adapt positively to change. That’s why we developed the Resilience Questionnaire, based on scientific research, and now used with over 10,000 individuals in 93 countries, to help organizations build resilience in the workplace.

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What is Resilience?

Resilience in the workplace is defined by PSI as an individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenge, and change in order to achieve peak performance at work.

Resilience is not a fixed attribute, but a set of skills and attitudes which can be learned, built upon, and honed. These skills can be applied to a variety of settings, to enhance the individual’s capacity to adapt in a positive manner to challenges and threats. Highly resilient employees are able to reframe setbacks into opportunities to develop and learn new skills and continue to perform at a high level when under pressure.

Employees discussing the importance of resilience in the workplace

Benefits of Building Resilience in Your Workplace

Resilience supports the individual employee, however organizational resilience also offers huge benefits for the business. A resilient workforce is more effective and more productive over a long period of time as employees are more likely to be healthy, engaged, and feel valued. As such, they are also more likely to be personally invested in the goals and objectives of the business and more able to support each other to achieve success, regardless of challenges and pressures1.

Increasing Productivity

Changes and challenges to working practices, such as prolonged lone working, can harm productivity. Highly resilient employees, who have greater capacity to adapt positively to such challenges, are much more able to keep focused even in times of crisis and uncertainty.

Research has shown that good leaders motivate their employees by modeling positive behaviors and setting good examples by transferring a sense of responsibility to the long-term goals of the individual and organization2. As such, highly resilient leaders can promote resilience and productivity amongst their team. Building workplace resilience can therefore directly and positively impact the productivity of the workforce as a whole.

Improving Engagement and Retention

Presenteeism, resulting in reduced engagement, is a well recorded effect of poor resilience in a workforce3. Resilient people are generally more optimistic and more likely to seek support when required, so they’re more likely to be engaged at work, interact with their colleagues, and are less likely to be overwhelmed with pressures, as they feel more able to discuss their concerns.

Highly resilient employees are much more likely to stay at their organizations4. Investing in building employee resilience in the workplace can therefore have a direct impact on lowering staff turnover.

Avoiding Health Issues

Low resilience in the workplace has been linked to mental health issues such as stress and burnout, which can then also lead to poor physical health, increased sick leave, absenteeism, and high employee turnover.
Studies have found that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year5. Presenteeism, where productivity and engagement are negatively impacted by poor mental health, but the individual feels compelled to remain at work or may not be unwell enough to be absent is an unfortunate contributor to these costs6.

Employers can see a 500% return on investment for every £1 spent5 on methods to improve the mental health and build the resilience of their employees. Keeping employees healthy and resilient to change means they can focus on their work, and, in turn, be more productive.

How to Build Resilience in Employees

At PSI, we have developed the Resilience Model which looks at eight core areas and helps understand an individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenges, and changes in respect of their ability to perform at the optimum level.

Self Belief

The extent to which an individual has confidence in their ability to address problems and obstacles that they encounter.


The extent to which an individual believes that they will experience good outcomes in life, and the way in which they explain setbacks that they experience.

Purposeful Direction

The extent to which an individual has clear goals that they are committed to achieving.


The extent to which an individual is willing to adapt their behavior and approach in response to changing circumstances.


The extent to which an individual perceives they are capable of finding solutions to problems that they encounter.

Challenge Orientation

The extent to which an individual enjoys experiences which challenge them and perceives stretching situations as opportunities to learn and develop.

Emotion Regulation

The extent to which an individual is able to remain calm and in control of their emotions in stressful situations.

Support Seeking

The extent to which an individual is willing to ask others for help and support when dealing with difficult situations.

The Resilience Questionnaire

The Resilience Questionnaire allows for quantitative measurement of the eight core areas to assess an individual’s resilience. Strategies aligned to each area can then be implemented to help develop and increase the individual’s capacity to deal with pressures and challenges.

The questionnaire generates a feedback report providing a summary of the individual’s results in relation to each core component of resilience, together with options on how they can develop each one.

“The Resilience Questionnaire offers an informative and well constructed insight into how an individual will be able to demonstrate resilience. The eight elements which form the structure cover a very useful range of behavior which can be developed.”

Sam Hardwick, Lafarge Aggregates Ltd.

Learn more about the PSI Resilience Questionnaire

Help Your Employees Become More Resilient

Get in touch with one of our experts today to discuss how we can build strong development programs for your employees and help them be more resilient at work.

Help your workforce become more resilient, so they can thrive, experience greater wellbeing, and be productive at work.

  1. Why Team Resilience is the new Employee Engagement – Karlyn Borysenko (
  2. Download: The Effects of Resilience on Productivity Under Authentic Leadership (
  3. The Association of Employee Engagement at Work With Health Risks and Presenteeism – Burton et al (
  4. The Effects of Emotional Intelligence and Resilience – Belén Bande et al (
  5. Mental Health and Employers; Refreshing the Case for Investment (
  6. ‘Presenteeism’ and ‘Leavism’: Bad for Workers, Bad for Business (
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Learn More About Resilience at Work

On-demand Webinar: Resilience, the Key to Thriving During Challenge and Change

During this session, our speakers discuss what resilience means for your organization in today’s complex environment and how you can enable your employees to thrive.

White Paper: How to Become a Resilient Leader

How can resilience support today’s leaders? This white paper explains what is resilience and how it impacts leadership; and covers how to develop resilience in leaders.

Building Resilience And Well-Being In Your Organization

To support you in the current climate, we’ve pulled together a selection of complimentary services that we believe will help you, and your teams, uphold resilience and well-being.