Workplace Resilience Program pilot study demonstrates measurable and meaningful impacts on participant wellbeing and resilience

Results of a PeopleSense by Altius pilot study indicate an evidence-based resilience program can have a measurable and perceived impact on employees’ overall wellbeing and resilience. This has further implications for industries and roles with high levels of job stress, and may lead to savings and benefits across an organisation.

In 2016, PeopleSense by Altius developed an eight-module Workplace Resilience Program based on current evidence and research about resilience and workplace mental health initiatives. Resilience programs are widely available by consulting groups in Australia, and research indicates that these have been implemented with varying degrees of success and measurable impact (e.g. Abbott et al., 2009; Grant, Green & Rynsaardt, 2010; Liossis, Schochet, Millear & Biggs, 2009).

Specific modules in the PeopleSense by Altius Workplace Resilience Program include: Psychoeducation around Resilience and Locus of Control; Optimism and Explanatory Styles; Seligman’s Theories on Character Strengths and Virtues; The Importance of Social Connectedness and Key Relationships; Cognitive Restructuring (reframing challenging events and ‘disasters’); Gratitude and Mindfulness.

In line with literature indicating the health benefits of workplace health interventions, particularly those that use a cognitive-behavioural framework (Goldgruber & Ahrens, 2009) the program was designed to use adult learning principles and what we know about memory to deliver valuable information and practical strategies in a way that participants can remember and apply to both their personal and work lives. The program was delivered in one hour modules facilitated by registered psychologists.

Findings: Resilience Program Demonstrates Meaningful Impact

The PeopleSense by Altius pilot study demonstrated that it had a meaningful and measurable impact on the overall wellbeing and resilience levels of those who attended. Participants also identified which aspects of the program they found most helpful and all reported positive changes to the way they approached challenges in both their work and personal lives.

The results, highlighted by stringent statistical analyses, indicate that across the duration of the program, participants showed:

  • A statistically significant reduction in Depression scores (large effect size)
  • A statistically significant reduction in Anxiety scores (medium effect size)
  • A statistically significant reduction in Stress scores (large effect size)
  • A statistically significant increase in mean scores on the Brief Resilience Scale (large effect size)

Research indicates that employees in manual labour or ‘blue collar’ industries, while not typically perceived as being in ‘high stress roles’, may actually experience significant levels of environmental stress. This can be impacted by a perceived lack of control over their work, job insecurity, long shifts together with physiological symptoms such as higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). Unhelpful coping styles including excessive drinking or smoking, and a tendency to withdraw from important social connections, can further increase the presence of psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress in this population. Those in a middle management role within these industries are also faced with additional challenges due to more stressful tasks associated with their roles.

On an organisational level, the PeopleSense Workplace Resilience Program has the potential to provide measurable and meaningful changes in employees’ ability to cope with the stress of working in a challenging and changing environment, as well as moderate the impact of personal and everyday life stressors on their ability to cope and ‘bounce back’.

To discuss Workplace Resilience Programs and how a program can be tailored to suit your needs, please contact us.