Building resilience, happiness and wellbeing in your workplace

By Bibi Martin, founder of BM Interim Management, with over 10 years of expertise in the SME industry.

How can I ask my employee to take care of customers if I am not asking him to take care of his own health? - is the question we should all be asking ourselves as managers and directors.

For decades, employers have been focusing on employee engagement in the attempt to help people feel happy, competent and satisfied in their roles. Employee engagement strategies are however just part of the story. Evidence shows that improving well-being at work helps people be more creative, more loyal, more productive and provide better customer satisfaction. Improving well-being at work requires more rounded approach that focuses on helping employees to:

  • Strengthen their personal resources i.e. health, resilience, optimism, self-esteem
  • Flourish and take pride in their roles within the organisational system
  • Generate good functioning, both as individuals and in collaboration with their colleagues
  • Have a positive overall experience of work i.e. happiness, joy, contentment

One route to take is to build resilience, happiness and wellness in your workplace by taking the following steps:

Step 1: Create an open environment for employees to learn about their own well-being and share the ideas with their colleagues.

Step 2: Help each employee identify how change affects them positively.

Step 3: Develop ideas for improving happiness and well-being at work. For example, have brainstorming sessions with your team about what you could do that would help improve your employees.

Step 4: Identify and assess how the organisational system e.g. material conditions, work and productivity, income levels and stability etc. interacts with employee's personal resources e.g. autonomy, competence, feeling safe and secure, connected with others to create happiness at work. Do this for every employee.

Step 5: Create an action plan to close the gaps on an individual and organisational level.

Here are some ideas and examples of what you can do to build resilience, wellness and happiness in your organisation:

  • Create resilience by enabling employees to cope with pressure or managing pressure points out of their roles.
  • Introduce flexible working hours to minimise the level of interruptions and aid work-life balance.
  • Re-evaluate salary distribution among employees to maximise overall organisational well-being.
  • Ensure your staff is aware of what they need to do to make their jobs secure. Job security is linked to higher job satisfaction.
  • Increase staff morale and performance by helping your employees in control of their role.
  • Practice participative management style to strengthening well-being at work.
  • Creating a safe working environment, free of abuse and a sense of the social value of the work of the organisation to increase employees' feelings of job satisfaction.
  • Design the roles to suit employee's strengths. This will increase employee happiness, strengthen their expertise and make them really committed.
  • Create opportunities for employees to connect and improve relationships - with a particular focus on relationships with their managers - and encourage positive feelings to improve both job and life satisfaction.

Thank you for your comments. There may be a short delay in this going live on the blog page as we moderate the comments added to our blogs.

  • Hi there,

    I agree with Sat. Great read - thank you. We also re-tweeted the link.

    Kind regards,


  • Very Nice article, we re-tweeted the link to it at - hope you don't mind

    Kind regards


  • This is a fantastic article Thomas and spot on in how an organisation can create a more resilient workforce. We spend such a lot of time in work so for a person to gain fulfilment, feel happier in their environment and have a sense of purpose and belonging to something is so vitally important to our lives.

    We at The Resilience Programme have managed to reduce stress related absenteeism to 0% for three years running with a pharmaceutical company and although we would like to say how marvellous we are, it is actually down to three things that the organisation committed to:-

    1. ALL the Senior and Middle Management and Team Leaders went through the programme.

    This sent a strong message of 'we are doing this as one big team'. Not the 'Us and Them' mentality.

    2. The psychological tools were simple and yet highly effective which meant they were passed on to those employees who were non-management.  HR commented that the culture of the site had become more resilient.

    3. Granny was right when she said ''Practice Makes Perfect!'' The organisation allowed us to provide Support Groups where managers could share their challenges and seek solution from their counterparts, one to one coaching and further short seminars.

    The parent company is now going to run the programme for the HR Teams as they recognise that these people are the Carers and often have to deal with change and challenge earlier on so resilience will come in very handy.

    I will definitely be sharing your article Thomas if you don't mind and crediting you and the CIPD.