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Resilience Training Development and Impact

Resilience Training Development and Impact


Posted by Jan Lawrence

Why In Equilibrium first developed Resilience Training courses

The inspiration to design a resilience skills training course originated from listening to Dr Adrian Chojnacki, Vice President, Employee Health & Performance at Glaxo SmithKline UK (GSK) at a CIPD Conference in March 2007.  Dr Chojnacki spoke about the success they had achieved at GSK by combining personal and team resilience training with their leadership programme.

Since the introduction of Team and Personal Resilience at GSK, work-related mental ill-health cases decreased globally by 60% (2003 – 2007) and all mental ill health absence reduced by 20%. Self reported pressure due to work / life conflicts fell by 25% and staff satisfaction with the company increased by 21%.  There has been a 14% increase in willingness among staff to experiment with new work practices. The Team Resilience process is being used by the international pharmaceutical business of GSK as a validated sales productivity tool with nearly all teams experiencing increases in engagement, motivation, satisfaction and overall sales after one year follow-up.

In Equilibrium Research & Development

In March 2007 we undertook a period of research prior to developing a resilience skills training course. This included a visit to the United States to meet with Dr Al Seibert in Portland Oregon. Dr Siebert was founder and Director of The Resiliency Center and was also internationally recognised for his research into the inner nature of highly resilient survivors.   His book, The Resiliency Advantage, won the Independent Publisher’s 2006 Best Self Help Book Award.

We decided we wanted a training course that would start by enabling delegates to measure their current levels of resilience and go on to provide them with the knowledge, tools and exercises to increase one or more of their personal resilience skills. The course would be based on Dr Seibert’s resilience principles and include the ‘learnable resiliency skills’ which are based on the findings of another researcher, Dr Karen Reivich.

When piloting the courses we discovered that one of the ways to facilitate the learning of resilience skills was to discuss examples of challenging situations and circumstances delegates would be able to relate to personally. An example of this is the issue of bullying or intimidation in the workplace. While at no time were delegates asked to share their own experiences with the trainer or other delegates, the fact that many of them could personally relate to what may have been, or still was, a very sensitive issue, was challenging for some of them at times.

Delegate feedback confirmed to us that this level of personal involvement was often a key factor in the learning process for many of those who attended the courses. Consequently we had to ensure that the training style of the course and the experience of the trainer were at a level of competence that allowed us to broach sensitive issues in a non-threatening way. This was necessary to ensure that delegates felt they could listen and if they chose to, take part in discussions within a safe and comfortable environment.

In addition to the above our current courses employ many more exercises and tools, most of which have evolved from our experience of running hundreds of stress and wellbeing courses for managers and non-managers. Also delegates now receive comprehensive course workbooks and resilience resources they can use for ongoing practice and development.

It took us 2 years to produce a course content and delivery style that achieved the learning objectives we originally set ourselves. The courses we now run have consistently received excellent delegate evaluation from both a subjective and objective perspective. With regard to the training delivered to larger organisations, we have received feedback from departmental managers who have noticed significant positive changes in individuals who have attended the courses.

Most of our feedback stems from delegate evaluation forms completed after the training and qualitative comments from training managers and organisers who have spoken to the delegates themselves. So far we have undertaken more longitudinal evaluation with one organisation who asked for follow-up sessions 6 months and 12 months after the original training. These follow-up sessions were extremely successful, with the delegates confirming that their personal resilience had increased and also benefited from the opportunity to share practical experiences of improvements in their personal and professional lives as a result of the training.

Feedback from 3 of the many organisations we have worked with:

Suffolk County Council

We initially delivered 1-day Developing Resilience in Managers and Developing Personal Resilience courses for the Adult and Community Services Department.  The success of this training led to the development of a new course for managers for the Council’s Corporate Department which was re-titled ‘Resilient Tools for Leading Change’.

Average Course Evaluation Results

  • Info Adequate 80.6%
  • Aims Met 91.9%
  • Diversity 92.8%
  • Handouts 87.7%
  • Exercises 92.5%
  • Pace 94.7%
  • Effective Discussion 96.7%

Source and contact details available on request

Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

1-day ‘Developing Resilience in Managers’ courses were delivered to departmental managers and team leaders in all of the Hospital Trust divisions including Emergency Services, Planned Care, Child Protection and many medical departments.

Average Course Evaluation Results

  • Knowledge of subject 97.5%
  • Organisation of session 93.3%
  • Obvious Preparation 95.0%
  • Style and delivery 97.5%
  • Responsiveness to group 97.5%
  • Producing a good learning climate 93.3%
  • Objectives achieved 93.3%
  • Improved understanding 100.0%
  • Overall rating 96.7%

Source and contact details available on request

HM Naval Base Devonport

This training involved the delivery of the 1-day Developing Resilience in Managers course to the base administration managers.

Average Course Evaluation Results

  • Overall assessment 88.1%
  • Individual needs 84.8%
  • Trainer 92.9%
  • Exercises 85.2%
  • Materials 87.1%

Source and contact details available on request

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