Employee Resilience: An Emerging Challenge for HRM


Employee resilience is a relatively new aspect of human resources management. Nevertheless, its topicality is increasing nowadays due to the continuous changes in working environments. According to Bardoel et al. (2014), the increasing interest in employee resilience is predetermined by the fact that the world faces the global financing crisis. Because of this, organizations start paying attention and appreciate resilient individuals. Human resources managers aim at providing employee resilience practices that enhance worker’s ability to overcome stresses, and environmental uncertainty, and dynamism.

The importance of the concept of employee resilience

Employee resilience is a term used to define the worker’s aptitude to cope with stressful and challenging situations successfully and stay calm in various cases. This concept includes the preparedness to tackle conflicts, adverse circumstances, and rapid changes. The notion of employee resilience is becoming necessary because of the global financing crisis that has led to numerous changes in companies’ performances. The employee resilience concept is based on two theoretical foundations. Understanding these foundations assists in realizing the significance of employee resilience.

Positive psychology presupposes that workers who have encouraging organizational behavior are more likely to display good results. Organizational behavior comes from the so-called “psychological capital”, which includes the obtaining of the self-confidence that is necessary for task accomplishments, being optimistic, and overcoming stressful situations.

The second theoretical foundation is the conservation of resources theory. The founders of this theory explain the importance of change management. They also introduce the idea that employee resilience can be altered and used for two primary purposes: stress resistance and adaptation to changes. Taking into consideration this theory, three types of resources influence employee resilience. Changing or stressful situations can impede the employee’s general performance. That is why it is of the great importance of improving staff resilience (Bardoel et al. 2014).

Benefits of the HRM practices that enhance employee resilience

Taking into account the findings presented in two theories, human resources managers employ a variety of practices that improve employee resilience. These methods include the promotion of social support at work, development training, flexible working hours, and systems of rewards, benefits, diversity management, safety and health programs, and systems for managing the crisis.

All these practices aim at increasing the employee’s feeling of self-confidence, the importance of the company. The training can be designed to teach workers how to adapt to changes and stay calm in conflict situations. Besides, when the employee knows that hard work will be rewarded generously, he or she is more likely to develop resilience on his or her own. Also, social support and good health and safety programs promote employee’s commitment. Such improvements are directly connected to the company’s performance.

Environmental uncertainty and dynamism and their relation to the employee resilience

Environmental dynamism concerns possible unexpected changes in the company. It may be technological innovations or rapid changes in the market that impede the revenue. Environmental uncertainty is the result of dynamism, and it refers to the individual’s feeling of stress or nervousness due to the changes in the organization. Stress, in its turn, may lead to weak employee resilience. That is why the company should provide the workforce with guarantees concerning health and safety and conduct various practices to reduce the risk of adverse performance and personal burnouts.


Bardoel, E, Pettit, T, Cieri, H & McMillan, L 2014, ‘Employee resilience: an emerging challenge for HRM’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 279-297.