Five point plan to boost SME resilience

15 March 2017

  • Half of Brits agree having a low level of resilience can adversely affect performance at work, according to new research from AXA PPP healthcare.*
  • Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) want to be more resilient and only 15 per cent rate the UK population’s general level of resilience as high.
  • To help address this, AXA PPP healthcare has set out a five point plan to help SME managers and their employees boost resilience so they’re better prepared to face life’s challenges.

Motivation (56 per cent), responding to change (51 per cent) and workplace performance (50 per cent) are the three things people think are most likely to be adversely affected by having low levels of resilience, according to new research by AXA PPP healthcare.*

Conversely, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents to the healthcare company’s poll say they want to be more resilient (defined as the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to keep going in the face of tough demands and difficult circumstances**), chiefly because they think it would help in their day to day life and relationships (29 per cent) and at work (20 per cent) and because they fear for the future (20 per cent).

The findings also show that there’s plenty of room for improvement as only 15 per cent of respondents rated the UK population’s general level of resilience as high, compared with 42 per cent who scored it as low.***

Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments: “Bolstering your resilience is a smart move. It can give you an inner strength and confidence to deal successfully with the constant challenges and changes of modern working life. Better still, it’s not rocket science and the behaviours and ‘can do’ attitude that are needed are well understood and, for those who are willing to make the effort, quite readily achievable. It just takes time and practice – for example, taking time to reflect and focus on your priorities in your home and working life can help to ensure a satisfactory work-life balance and, in turn, equip you with a powerful psychological reservoir you can draw upon to enable you to bend rather than break when confronted by adversity.”

Five point plan to boost resilience:

1. Work on your Emotional Intelligence – being able to identify and manage your own (and colleagues’) emotions can help you to build a well-functioning team. Well-honed interpersonal skills are beneficial for seeing things more objectively and understanding and respecting different views. In addition, recognising how you deal with pressure – and being open and talking about it – can help you prepare for stressful situations more effectively.

2. Stay energised – a physically or mentally demanding lifestyle can leave you feeling drained, especially if you don’t counter-balance it by getting sufficient, good quality sleep. A good night’s sleep often requires daytime investment, however, so try taking a lunch break away from your workplace, take a short brisk walk in daylight hours, stay hydrated and curb caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening to help improve your levels of alertness during the day and quality of sleep when the day is done. Modelling this approach to your employees and enabling more positive behaviours will help boost their engagement and motivation and create a positive, supportive team environment – factors that can help your business to thrive.

3. Nurture relationships – having a solid support network of family, friends, colleagues and ‘fellow travellers’ – those in business or in your life upon whom you can call – can go a long way when you’re facing awkward or difficult situations. And, more broadly, team-based socialising can help to build a collaborative, supportive business culture that can give you and your employees confidence to embrace change.

4. Keep your perspective – when your attitude towards something is balanced and rational it can support your resilience as it helps you to have a clear view and see the bigger picture. Stepping back – both mentally and physically – from a challenging situation can help you to identify and focus on what you have control over so you can set realistic goals rather than focus on things you can’t influence. As a part of maintaining a healthy perspective, manage your work and home boundaries by, for example, leaving emails alone outside of working hours – and encouraging your team to do the same.

5. Prioritise and play to your strengths – having a clear sense of purpose for yourself and for your business is key to developing and maintaining a positive outlook. This includes understanding what matters to you most. Reflect on success and capitalise on it by asking if there are valuable insights when it comes to playing to your own – or your employees’ – strengths and how you might develop further.


For more information on building resilience visit AXA PPP’s Business Health Centre.

In February 2017 AXA PPP healthcare launched a campaign to highlight the importance of resilience and things we can all do to strengthen our ability to bounce back and thrive in the face of adversity. It’s encouraging Brits to take small but effective steps to boost their resilience by joining in a range of 4 week #TRYit challenges, such as walking 30 minutes a day to see how it affects their energy and mental wellbeing. To sign up to the challenges and learn more about resilience visit and join the conversation using #TRYit.


Further information

Notes to editors



Ben Faulkner/John DuBois AXA PPP healthcare press office 01892 612822

About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced private medical insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.        AXA PPP healthcare has been named the Best Healthcare Provider for three years running in the Your Money Awards and, in June 2015, was awarded the prestigious accolade of European Large Contact Centre of the Year at the 2015 European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, followed in September 2015 by the Best Customer Experience accolade in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015.

About AXA

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 107 million clients in 64 countries. In 2016, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 100.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,429 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2016. In 2016 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 8th consecutive year.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare and AXA Ireland. AXA employs over 10,000 staff in the UK. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. 

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.