When first onboarding a new hire, what do you hope to instill in them? A sense of belonging to your company culture? A quick adoption of the skills they need to get the job done? A passion for the field and a commitment to good work? These are all laudable principles, but often they’re more expected from the start than taught.

Organizations need to commit to real teaching and perhaps most importantly, they need to train employees how to learn. If you find someone who can’t seem to get over their mistakes, can you teach them to get back up again?

Learning Through Failure

Most on-the-job training comes in two forms: shadowing someone else while they work and learning by doing. It’s entirely possible to learn a skill simply by performing it over and over, but what many people attempting to pick up something new (or learn the ins and outs of a job) don’t realize is that learning is more about rectifying the mistakes than basking in the glow of your accomplishments. It’s why taking risks is important to growing as a company, but companies are becoming increasingly risk-averse, steering back any attempts towards something new back to the status quo.

This stressful environment has led to a workforce that can’t stand failure, and it’s making the workplace a bad place to be. A recent survey from Morneau Shepell revealed that 98% of physicians believe that the workplace is generally making employees less healthy. When employees have to be perfect in every aspect of their job, when they can’t afford to make mistakes, they will eventually plateau for fear of trying new things and failing, and eventually lose productivity due to health issues.

Why Resilience is Key

Resilience allows us to recover from our failures, which then allows us to learn from our mistakes. Once we identify why we committed an error or where we’ve faltered, we’re more likely to fix that mistake. If we’re not resilient, we dwell on our failures and dread making more mistakes, inhibiting our growth. Kathleen Barton, a professional speaker and career coach, has talked about how resilience can lead to better decision-making, since resilient people are more aware of what they can and cannot change:

"Resilient people focus their energy on those events that they have influence over, rather than situations beyond their control. They accept circumstances that cannot be changed. Entrepreneur Tim Baumgartner, an independent sales rep who sold electronics to Circuit City, was blind-sided when the company filed for bankruptcy. Within months, however, he launched an online consumer electronics store. 'Whining and complaining about how you find yourself here doesn’t help,' Baumgartner says. 'I’ve refocused my energy on the start-up."

Developing Resilience

Companies want to make workers more productive, and training employees to roll with the punches is an important step towards reaching that goal. If employees aren’t taught to be open about their shortcomings, they will begin to hide and misattribute them, and feeling as though they are more inept than they really are, leading to employees feeling like they’re impostors.

There are already tons of initiatives to promote employee resilience, so there is proof that everyone can learn to get better from their mistakes. Resilience starts with culture; let your people know that it’s okay to fail, that new ideas don’t always workout, but are necessary in order for businesses to grow. This will help them make the right mistakes, turn them into successes later on, and learn the value of resilience.

Bio: Sean Pomeroy

While selling other companies software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter, applicant tracking system and Cyber Train, learning management system. Want to see what Visibility Software has to offer? Take a demo now.

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Tweet me at @VisSoft

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