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  • Writer's pictureFelicity Baker

Is Workplace Resilience Training Effective?

Updated: May 16, 2023

In recent years there has been increasing recognition of the important role employee health and wellbeing plays in productivity, engagement and retention. As result, more and more companies are implementing initiatives aimed at protecting and supporting employee wellbeing. But how can organisations be confident that the initiatives they commission will be effective? Here we share our insights into one such initiative and ask ‘Is workplace resilience training really effective?'

Is workplace wellbeing training effective; people laughing at work

Why are workplace wellbeing interventions on the rise?

Official data from the Office for National Statistics shows working days lost to sickness rose recently to their highest level since 2004. These figures have encouraged more employers to look for ways to support their people with the physical and mental health challenges they face.

The connection between good employee wellbeing and a healthy, engaged workforce makes supporting employee health and wellbeing a core business priority for long-term success and sustainability.

The COVID pandemic really brought this to the fore, paving the way for conversations about anxiety and uncertainty in the workplace.

And this unique awakening to the fragility of mental health has had a lasting legacy. Wellbeing interventions are no longer just about showing a ROI. Rather, the focus has shifted to how they can have a sustained positive impact on employee mental health and wellbeing.

For employers looking to boost existing coping skills as well as prevent further problems arising in the future, resilience training is a popular choice. But what impact does workplace resilience training have on employee wellbeing?

Is workplace resilience training effective?

Resilience is often defined as the capacity to survive adversity, and to grow through our experiences. This involves recognising and managing signs and symptoms of stress and putting in place strategies that allow us to adapt and learn.

Resilience training helps participants to embed these skills and strategies, supporting them to manage stress in the moment and also to prevent stress and burnout. As such, resilience training has been increasingly adopted by organisations who really want to make a difference to employee experience and performance.

When embedded within a wider programme of wellbeing support, and fully supported by senior management, resilience training is central to organisational resilience. In a systematic review of workplace resilience training, Robertson et al. (2015) show that it can have a positive impact on personal resilience, employee mental health and subjective well-being. Resilience training was also found to enhance psychosocial functioning and improve performance.

Evaluating the Essential Resilience training programme

Since 2013, we have been delivering resilience training to employees across a wide range of roles and sectors. Based on our published Skills-based Model of Personal Resilience, our Essential Resilience training programme is fully evidence based and routinely evaluated. The data produced from measurements taken pre and post training provide clear insights into its effectiveness.

Evaluation data demonstrates that participants experience significant improvements in resilience and wellbeing following attendance. In fact, 83% of participants showed statistically significant positive change in resilience and 91% positive change in wellbeing 10 weeks following attendance at the training. This shows that improvements made as a result of the training are sustained over several weeks.

These findings support existing research evidence showing that resilience training that is well-designed and evidence-based can lead to improvements in employee wellbeing.

Figure 1: Evaluation of the Essential Resilience training programme

Graph showing workplace resilience training is effective, positive change in resilience and wellbeing scores on measures

How to make positive change sustainable

As clinical psychologists, our practice is firmly rooted in the academic evidence base. As such, our resilience training draws on scientific research and psychological theory to include all the skills and strategies proven to build and maintain resilience. Of equal importance, however, is attending to the factors that promote lasting psychological change.

Just like changing any habit, learning new skills to build resilience or enhance wellbeing takes time and practice. Too often self-improvement training is delivered in a one-off session, without consideration of how participants consolidate and apply their learning. As a result, they quickly return to their old habits and any positive outcomes are short lived.

Our evaluation findings shown in Fig 1. highlight the powerful impact of providing ongoing support to employees following the training event. By sharing post-training resources and information via email, we continue to encourage participants to personalise the skills they have learnt, test them out and overcome barriers to change. This ongoing support motivates participants to continue making positive change beyond the training room, creating a more lasting impact.

In our experience, group or individual resilience coaching further supports sustainability by providing a targeted approach to individual challenges, enhancing the ability of employees to overcome setbacks and continue developing their skills.

Maximising the benefits of resilience training

Overall, the research behind the effectiveness of resilience training in the workplace shows that it can really make a difference to employee wellbeing, resilience and performance.

There are several factors, however that will considerably enhance effectiveness:

  • Training is evidence-based

  • Providers have relevant expertise and training

  • Training is adapted the to the needs of the attendees and organisation

  • Training is of sufficient duration to embed learning and support behaviour change

  • Employers are taking action to create a wider physical and social environment within the workplace that supports wellbeing

  • Managers and leaders are modelling good wellbeing practices and are actively supporting their teams

If you’d like to discuss how our award-winning resilience training programme can help you and your people, get in touch.


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