Office Politics – draining employee resilience


CIPDEmployers urged to boost relationship-building and networking skills

Difficult relationships at work and office politics are the biggest energy drain for three quarters of employees, a study has found.

Findings outlined in the report, ‘Tough at the Top? New rules of resilience for women’s leadership success’, showed that 90 per cent of male and female employees believe resilience is key to career success.

Yet only 6 per cent of employees said their organisation aided them in improving their ability to cope with workplace pressures.

In response, the report urged employers to focus on building relationships and networking skills among staff.

Report authors Sarah Bond, from For Business Sake Consulting, and Gillian Shapiro, at Shapiro Consulting, said: “This research confirms what many of us already know – that you need to be resilient to make it to the top.

“Our starting hypothesis was that you needed to be resilient to deal with the volume and pace of work in the pipeline to the top. This is true, but what really surprised us is that it’s relationships at work that, in the end, get people down.”

The findings show that successful people draw on their networks of professional, political and personal relationships to cope with any crises that occur.

Results found more women (71 per cent) than men (64 per cent) wanted to improve their resilience. However, juggling day-to-day life and working responsibilities came relatively low down the list of stressors for men and women. For women, managing office politics was the main energy drain cited by 76 per cent, which compared to 43 per cent who said the main test of their resilience was organising working life and non-work responsibilities.

Alison Robb, group director of people, customer, communication and commercial at Nationwide, said: “This research gets to the core of how important resilience is and how it can be encouraged and nurtured in women and men in different ways. A better understanding of what drives resilience enables us as employers to continue to develop environments in which male and female employees are given equal opportunities to thrive.”

Claire Churchyard, People Management, 11 November 2014

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