The ROI of resilience – How to Get Senior Leadership Buy-in

Business case for resilience
Your essential guide to how helping people live better lives can and does impact the bottom line. The right resilience programme brings benefits both at a financial and human level.
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Why is leadership support important for resilience

Without the active support of key decision-makers, the task of building a genuinely resilient workplace is nearly impossible.

Successful resilience strategies start with the C-Suite championing resilient behaviour and skills across the entire company. As custodians of wellbeing, productivity and performance, they need to know how investing in robust resilience programmes adds value. They need clarity on how investing in people and their skillsets can and does impact the bottom line.

Change the narrative around resilience

Some business leaders view resilience as a deficit, only required when people need to bounce back. They confuse resilience with mental toughness and the ability to keep pushing through adversity.

Instead, try to reverse their perspective to view resilience as an asset. We define resilience as the ability to respond and adapt to change positively. Or at a very human level, how we think, feel and behave at any given moment. Challenge them to think about how change can be positive as well as negative. A sudden surge in new customers requires people to respond and adapt. It requires resilience.

Developing resilience will add value, productivity and fresh perspectives to their team and support their business goals.

Link investing in resilience to every other L&D initiative

The answer to the question “why invest in any training?” is simple. You invest in any training because you expect a return on that investment. It’s the same as investing in anything else.

So, whether you’re:

  • Investigating the benefits of resilience training to make a decision yourself OR
  • hoping to present vital statistics to convince leaders,

This article will help you learn the key benefits that lead to a return and transformation in your people and your organisation and give you the information and numbers you need to gain buy-in from senior leadership.

Promote the link between resilience and growth

Organisations that invest in resilience seek ways to create a more agile and employee-centric organisation. They realise that the bottleneck for growth is not technology, rather the human factors of thinking, feeling and relationships. They realise that people need broader resources and tools to engage with their work and expand their skillset. It’s a philosophy that believes that when people have the skills and habits to perform and grow, the whole organisation benefits. So, it should be no surprise that one of the top reasons to invest in resilience training is to upskill your workforce. The next question should be, “how does training impact performance?” Let’s look at some studies that cover training in general. Research conducted by Bersin & Associates demonstrated that companies with a strong learning culture are 37% more productive than their peers that don’t value learning. And this research issued by the CIPD reveals that high performing learning organisations, on average, are seeing a 24% increase in productivity and performance as a result of learning done well. And now let’s consider some of the outcomes we have achieved working with our clients.

This case study from our work with an international bank shows a 5% increase in engagement alongside a 7% increase in productivity. The Chief Operating Officer summed up the impact as:

“Putting our teams through the programme has been transformative and resulted in improved engagement levels across our business. We have seen a marked increase in employees telling us that they feel more able to deal with everyday stresses, both in the workplace & in their personal lives, as well as a rise in productivity & collaboration.”

 

The project also achieved The External Learning Solution of the Year Award in The Learning & Performance Institute’s 2020 Learning Awards for both “business impact and “value for money”. According to the Learning & Performance Institute, the award is” the highest accolade you can receive in workplace learning and development.”

Learning Awards Winner

And this case study from our work with local government highlights over achievement in targets, a £500k financial saving in year one and a public sector award for transformation.

“Challenging targets were overachieved by 10% and we saw improvements in engagement levels, talent retention, employee satisfaction and wellbeing. This equates to a financial saving of over £500k per annum in tangible terms and we moved from the worst-performing Borough in London to second-best, achieving Beacon Status.” 

– Director of Business

These are the benefits we would highlight as central to any training programmes. Effective training not only improves profitability but should also bring a new factor into the workplace – something that was missing or untapped potential. For example, that could be increased agility or the ability to recover from setbacks without losing productivity, lowering churn, or increasing engagement.

Profitability = revenue - expenses

So far, we’ve examined the benefits of resilience training in terms of increased revenue, but the equation for profitability is not one-sided. It includes two inputs:

Profitability = revenue – expenses

Whilst resilience training is capable of having profound effects on revenue, it can also reduce expenses. The most obvious and typical example of this is employee turnover.

Employee turnover is expensive for several reasons:

  • When someone leaves, so does the tacit knowledge they’ve built in their time working with you.
  • Client relationships and potential revenue streams get disrupted and slowed.
  • Internal projects get interrupted and delayed.
  • Their productivity and their impact have to be covered until a replacement is in the role.
  • The opportunity cost of organisational hours spent in advertising for, interviewing, onboarding and training their replacement.
  • You have to wait for a replacement to earn enough experience to match the lost employee’s productivity.

Put into perspective just how expensive employee turnover is:

Some studies suggest that for employees under $25k, the cost to replace is 20% of salary. In the same survey for employees over £75k, that percentage can rise to a staggering 213%.

Other studies show that when employees believe they are invested in through training, they are 70% more likely to be loyal to their existing organisation. This data is particularly pertinent for Millenials, many of whom are now moving into more senior positions.

Gallup also tells us that 87% of Millenials say development opportunities are “very important” to them in their roles. Training opportunities are something employees actively seek.

Our clients generally agree that the cost of replacing sits between 50% and 100% of salary and benefits. Most interesting is the hidden attrition risk that we discover in our resilience training. On average we find that 12% of people agree that the programme stopped them from leaving the organisation when they were considering it.

This case study shows how we achieved a 35% year on year reduction in voluntary attrition in a group of one hundred leaders.

Explain the hefty costs of not taking presenteeism seriously

Presenteeism (lost productivity that occurs when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace) and leavism (working during holidays or time off) can damage individuals and organisational health. They can also be a sign of a toxic environment. Both behaviours can very quickly leave people feeling fatigued, struggling with morale and impair cognitive functioning.

When an employee shows up for work despite being injured, stressed, or ill, presenteeism can cost the employer in a few different ways:

  1. There is a productivity gap between employees struggling mentally, emotionally, socially, and a healthy and happy one.
  2. A struggling and stressed employee is more prone to make mistakes, lose focus.
  3. There is also the possibility that an employee is prolonging their illness or condition by attempting to work through it rather than resting or addressing it.
  4. A physically sick employee can spread it to other workers resulting in more presenteeism and absenteeism.

Simply put, presenteeism costs employers money. The UK government’s Thriving at Work report estimated that presenteeism costs employers in the UK between £17bn and £26bn every year. Organisations miss out on the chance to boost their productivity by failing to prioritise their employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing.

The three key takeouts for senior leader buy-in to the ROI of resilience

  1. Resilience training is a transformative driver of revenue and a people-focused way to reduce expense.
  2. From upskilling employees to help them drive productivity and wellbeing, building an attractive and engaging culture, resilience training is a catalyst for change for many organisations.
  3. It accelerates organisational growth and change by unlocking the stuck, creating opportunities from obstacles and optimises performance, collaboration, and decision making at all levels.

Maximising Your Return On Investment

When senior leadership have clarity around resilience and the value it adds to business, it is time to move from the what to the how.

In house vs outsourced learning & development

Investing in resilience training is a smart decision in itself, with plenty of methods to choose from how you implement and deliver training.

In-house development and delivery can seem like a cost-effective approach and for good reasons.

  • More control over the development process — In-house L&D involves developers who have a solid understanding of organisational needs and an employee interest in the final program outcome.
  • Update content conveniently — Amendments to content can be fast and easy with an in-house L&D team. Solution generation can be more efficient because developers know the challenges the organisation is facing first-hand.
  • Manage costs more effectively — L&D performed in-house is often already incorporated into the organisation’s budget.
  • The internet – Places like YouTube and Google deliver masses of information.
  • Your LMS – It’s easy to invest in a curated set of online videos with scripts written by subject matter experts.

In-house isn't the answer

When resilience training comes from the in-house L&D team, it may be cheaper, but it’s more costly. Here’s why:

Access to experts: Building resilience requires people to explore and understand their thinking, feelings and behaviour. It’s a task best left to people who do it day in day out with a track record of success.

Anything less leaves people knowing WHAT they should be doing but not HOW to do it. This disconnect between expectation and delivery creates dissatisfaction with learning & development as needs are highlighted by the business and not met by the solution’s perceived owners.

Lack of measurement: Developing resilience in your people should have a clear and tangible output. That output should link directly to a business outcome. For example, if you’ve identified a need to build resilience in your leaders when you’ve met that need, where would you see the outcome? Failing to do that means less investment in the future and/or budgets prioritised to those functions able to measure and demonstrate business impact.

Reputation: In our experience, the Human Resources team aim to be crucial to business success rather than a mandatory cost. A trusted partner is involved in strategic decisions. Offering resilience programmes designed by a well-meaning in-house team works against that aspiration when they lack expertise and a clear ROI derived from measurement of growth and business outcome.

Key take away:
Developing resilience training in-house is not the answer because what seems like the most cost-effective option in the short term can become costly in the midterm.

Getting the most from your investment with a training partner

Facilitator led training is one of the most popular styles and for good reasons. Having an expert on hand drives the experience’s pace, adapts to the participants, and provides examples that resonate with the audience. Facilitator led training can also be done online as well with the various technology available.

However, facilitator-led training does come with some downfalls:

  • If it’s only delivered in person, travel costs can quickly build and availability means scalability is expensive.
  • Content delivery relies on the facilitator, meaning that different departments may experience other content.

Online training, apps, and digital resources offer solutions to the challenges and shortcomings of expert-led delivery. Learning content and resources can be organised into libraries that allow individual learning journeys and technology to provide nudges, reminders, and prompts.

However, they can also come with some downfalls:

  • These solutions all rely on self-directed learning and motivation. Whilst this will appeal to some, creating space in busy diaries is too much of an obstacle for many.
  • Chasing, measuring, and usage can become the HR team’s responsibility, taking up valuable resource that could be spent elsewhere.
  • Many apps, whilst attractive, fail to deliver as they can’t compete for the many attentions people have on their mobile device.

When considering investing in your next learning initiative, consider how that training is delivered not just as a means to provide information but also to deliver a change and ROI.

For example, when we work with our clients, we design our programmes with a mixture of approaches based on their needs. Our experienced facilitator’s favour delivery face-to-face, both in the virtual and the real world, to ensure maximum learning impact. We leverage technology such as apps to support that delivery. Our content, if necessary, can be seamlessly delivered via your or our LMS, making an engaging experience for administrators and learners.

Key takeaway

Resilience training can be an effective way to see transformative learning in your organisation. With the right partner to guide your implementation and ongoing strategy, you will see results in the short term and the long term.

Want to get started?

Get started with a conversation to learn more about our solutions and how we can help you meet your resilience training needs.