The resilient bounce back stronger

February 24, 2021 - 4 min read
Organizations and individuals have faced disruption and stress in unimaginable ways. But, on the other side of this, we can come out stronger.

Resilience is tightly coupled with personal agility and adaptability. More resilient individuals are better able to adapt their thinking in response to new information or stressors, rapidly address challenges, and are more creative and innovative at work. It’s likely for these reasons that since the pandemic began we have seen this benefit to well-being for those with high resilience: they bounce back even stronger. 

What the data says

Since the pandemic began, BetterUp has been tracking member well-being. We’ve seen the dips and rises across the year in response to national events (read more here). Our Labs team recently sliced the trend line data for well-being in a unique way: comparing those with the highest resilience to those with low resilience. Two unique insights emerged from this data view.

  1. The resilient have had higher overall well-being throughout the pandemic by 6% on average
  2. When the resilient took a hit to well-being, the size of the rebound was bigger by 1.2x

Based on BetterUp’s research, the resilient tend to be more regulated in emotions, self-compassionate, and willing to change course when necessary. It may be that we see higher well-being and stronger recovery lines for this group because of less intense emotional strain when facing setbacks and a willingness or openness to adapt and learn from change. The ultimate result is that the resilient stay productive even through uncertainty. During the pandemic, we’ve seen those low in resilience take significant hits to productivity levels, whereas those with high resilience have actually grown in productivity by 5%. 

But the value of resilience isn’t just important to individuals. On teams, individuals who have a team leader with high resilience report their entire work teams as more agile by 15% and higher performing by 31% compared to those on teams with a low resilience leader. 

Why it matters

Global pandemics create disruption and stress in ways many of us have never faced before. But, on the other side of this, organizations can come out stronger. The need for resilience at all levels of an organization is critical to help front line employees, managers, and senior leaders bounce back from adversity and allow them the mental and emotional space to care for themselves so they can then think strategically.

We know that organizations that focus on building resilience in critical roles have success because when you have teams led by highly resilient leaders, they model and teach the habits and behaviors that create that exaggerated bounce-back effect. As Maya Angelou once said, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”


Published February 24, 2021

Erin Eatough, PhD

Sr. Insights Manager

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