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The Necessity of Adaptability: Boost Your Career by Embracing Change

Abraham Mendieta | May 9, 2024

The only constant in life is change, and that includes the workplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed the way many of us work. And while we can’t predict what comes next, we can learn to embrace the unknown and navigate uncertainty with confidence.

After all, Aon research revealed resilient employees are nearly twice as likely to be motivated and, therefore, productive. Resilience at work increases employees’ enthusiasm by 45%, energy by 39% and concentration by 27%.

But how does one become more resilient? Let’s first explore the origins of adaptability, the stressors of the modern-day employee and the importance of finding an organization that supports workers through the ebbs and flows of everyday life.

What is adaptability?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines adaptability as “an ability or willingness to change in order to suit different conditions.” Coincidentally, its example sentence reads: “Adaptability is a necessary quality in an ever-changing work environment.”

Of course, many of the changes we face in the workplace are outside our control. Say you’ve spent a significant amount of time and effort on a project, only for leadership to decide on a last-minute change of direction.

While you can’t change their decision, you can choose your response. Will you lament the time and effort lost? Or will you take the change in stride and look at it as a learning opportunity?

Remember, there can be no progress — and most importantly, no growth — without change. Whether you’re in the office or out in the world, adaptability is necessary for success.

Resiliency increases motivation and productivity

Resiliency, like adaptability, is a skill that helps us bounce back from setbacks.

And while setbacks and failure are inevitable, it takes resiliency to respond and continue moving forward. In fact, 86% of employees who are resilient say they are highly motivated, while just 44% who aren’t resilient say they are highly motivated, according to the same Aon study.

But resiliency doesn’t just increase motivation and productivity. The research showed resiliency also impacts workers’ confidence and satisfaction levels, increasing by 32% and 44%, respectively.

The data makes it clear: Adaptable employees are more resilient, motivated, productive and, in turn, more satisfied with their work.

Different types of workplace stress

Workplace stress can be, well, just that: stressful. But challenges at work help us increase our resilience and, ultimately, find fulfillment and motivation.

A study published in Scientific Reports identified two types of stress in the workplace:

  • Distress is caused by harmful stimuli.
  • Eustress, or positive stress, is caused by healthy, euphoric stimuli and creates a sense of fulfillment and achievement.

Employees of positive-stress companies tended to describe high-growth and collaborative workplaces, proving that positive stress can help propel your career forward.

How to increase resiliency and adaptability

Now that we know the positive effects of stress and resiliency, how can we find opportunities to increase both to become more adaptable? Here are a few tips:

  • Build healthy relationships at work by joining an employee resource group (ERG) or finding an office bestie.
  • Connect to the company’s purpose and identify a deeper why behind your work.
  • Prioritize your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, moving more and talking with a certified counselor.
  • Set realistic goals and work toward them. This kind of positive stress offers a chance for fulfillment.

A culture that cares

According to Aon, resilient employees have a sense of security and belonging and the ability to reach their potential.

The report found resiliency rises in organizations with broad health and wellness programs, underscoring the importance of finding a workplace that supports employees through all phases of life.

Companies like Paycom center their culture on employee empowerment, offering a holistic benefits package and training and upskilling opportunities to ensure all employees are prepared for and cared for through change.

Ready to join a supportive and fulfilling workplace? Apply to Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Abraham Mendieta
Abraham Mendieta
As an employer brand marketer, Abraham Mendieta helps the recruiting teams engage top talent and increase brand awareness. Mendieta is a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned degrees in both sociology and advertising. His efforts on Paycom’s employer brand team include company culture; careers; and diversity, equity and inclusion. Outside work, Abraham enjoys reading, going to the gym, spending time outdoors and hanging out with his family and friends.