Human Capital Services: The Resilience Part of the Equation
By Siddharth Ashvin Shah, M.D., M.P.H.,
Founder and CEO

As the pace of life accelerates, and as people know more than ever about what works for them (and what doesn’t), there are substantial changes in how we relate to human capital.  Success and profitability are intimately linked not only to the quantifiable elements of hiring good staff, but also the deeper equation by which staff can thrive in a particular workplace.  Greenleaf has operationalized thriving as a way of being, or simply “wellbeing.” 

This is not to be mistaken for workplace wellness, a positive trend that emphasizes physical fitness and relaxation techniques.  Operationalizing wellbeing requires a blended calculation in which Wellbeing = Resilience + Integration. Let’s look at the resilience part of the equation deeper in this article.        

In a recent business conversation with the leadership of FMP Consulting, a cutting edge management and strategic consulting firm in the Washington, DC area, we discussed productive resiliency, a human capital quality that makes the difference between mission success and costly breakdowns. 

In its human capital work, FMP Consulting has seen how clients do not adequately invest in training new and existing staff to cope with the necessary stresses of the job.  And, clearly, personal life stress manifests in the workplace. So why not have a training solution that equips staff to deal with stress toxicity, whether those stresses are occupational or personal?

The data continues to pour in supporting that a lack of productive resiliency is a substantial business risk.  Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report found people are working more hours, and problems of financial and mental stress seem to be at a peak.” [1]  And so it is no surprise that 84% of respondents told Deloitte they need to rethink their workforce experience to improve productivity.

Human capital services require a far more methodical and practical pathway so that resilience becomes the way we work.  Many resiliency trainings are overfocused on the features of resiliency. These trainings are actually informational sessions that paint a picture of what resiliency looks like without providing the how — the behavior change methodology to make resilience real and thereby reduce breakdowns.  In order to achieve productive resiliency, we owe the workforce learning opportunities that are phased to develop true, working competencies of resiliency. 

Greenleaf Integrative’s methodology defines the three core competencies as A-R-L (™): awareness, regulation and leadership. In our work with our clients, we help them build these competencies in their employees and teams, ensuring A-R-L (™) also gets baked into their organization’s culture and operational work-flows.

When productive resiliency is injected into human capital services, we are shaping resilient, cross-functional teams capable of responding to breakdowns and getting ahead of disruptions.  The stress of breakdowns and disruptions often cause teams to unravel or work in suboptimal ways. Imagine a workforce that can see relevant data for what it is, regulate themselves in the face of challenges and do the right thing when it counts.  There you have it: awareness, regulation and leadership in action. When resiliency is encouraged and supported, workers feel empowered to push their own performance and take the right risks.

In 2014 and 2015, Greenleaf Integrative provided a gap analysis for Human Capital Talent Management (HCTM) division of US Agency for International Development (USAID).  The 9/11 attacks, Benghazi tragedy and resultant international security trends had drastically changed the way USAID conducted operations and implemented their mission. We worked side by side with several program managers, the HR professionals and hundreds of staff to synthesize an updated approach to human capital. 

Our findings were consistent with Deloitte’s: leader development is key. Both established and emerging leaders crave ways to operationalize workforce resiliency. We also found that many staff were suffering from significant symptoms of toxic quantities and qualities of stress, leading to profiles more consistent with trauma.

In response, we brought forward a model of productive resiliency for USAID’s staffing and talent management.  The lofty objective? To maintain and develop a high-performing workforce that was dedicated to the mission and simultaneously mitigating unacceptable risks. 

Such a result involved redesigning performance management systems in which resiliency competencies were seen as a true job skill that an individual or team could demonstrate.  It resonated powerfully. USAID managers embraced productive resiliency as their way to adapt to their ever-changing challenges.

When an organization invests in resiliency, its trust and connection with its workforce grows exponentially.  This is essential to any organization that wants to get the job done without depleting its talent or suffering preventable breakdowns.  To make human capital a holistic, sustainable business way of being, look for our next article which will focus on the “Integration Part of the Equation.”

[1] Volini, A. (2019, April 11). Introduction: Leading the Social Enterprise — Reinvent with a Human Focus. Retrieved from