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Building Employee Resilience for Post-Traumatic Growth

As the world began to shut down in response to the 2020 pandemic, our leadership team at Miller saw an opportunity to reassure and connect with our employees while enhancing efforts to build resilient, growth mindsets throughout the company. Building on previous work we had done to address employee personal and professional well-being, we created a 30-minute virtual class to remind people of their own strengths and resilience, and to demonstrate that we can stay connected in the face of extreme pressure and uncertainty. 

The foundation of this class is based on the work of Nicholas Petrie and Derek Roger, Ph.D., co-authors of Work Without Stress: Building a Resilient Mindset for Lasting Success. In order for successful implementation, our company leaders completed pre-work assessments from the Challenge of Change Company that offered insights on how people react during times of adversity. Our Chief Learning Officer became a certified administer of the assessment, enabling her to teach these classes internally and to some of our clients.

Initially, our challenge was to ensure that we listened well to what our employees were experiencing throughout the country, and offer an opportunity to connect. We did this with an online polling app that allowed everyone to express personal concerns in a safe, anonymous way. We then offered evidence-based tools such as noticing our negative thoughts, staying focused on what we can control instead of what we cannot control, and learning to detach and let go.

We believe that our culture of stewardship is what differentiates us in the marketplace: we are motivated to take care of the company and leave it better for future generations, as our predecessors did for us over the past 92 years. One way we are doing this is by creating a “Learning Organization” together, where we focus on both personal and professional growth and routinely talk about our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This foundation has enabled our employees to be open to this paradigm-shifting perspective, which contradicts long-held beliefs about stress and resilience. Many companies in our industry accept stress as a normal part of their work and home life. Our people at Miller are leading the way in accepting the fact that stress leads to shorter, miserable, less productive lives and that by eliminating it, we will have longer, healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

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