How L&D can boost resilience

by L&D08 Feb 2017
Workers across all industries face common challenges that impact their personal wellbeing and the health of their organisations. They include pessimism, low resilience, poor attitude leading to infectious negativity, and feeling unrecognised. These factors combine to lead to lower levels of commitment and engagement.
Paul Findlay, managing director of PD Training, says that problem-solving for people with a pessimistic mindset becomes a maze of issues and barriers instead of confronting obstacles as something that can be overcome. That’s where resilience training can help.
“Resilience is the capacity to withstand and adapt to the challenges that life throws at us,” Findlay told L&D Professional. “When it’s low, workers struggle to bounce back and thrive. Without the right attitude, workers are not always looking for an opportunity, solution or possibility.”
To address these issues, PD Training has launched a program called ORANGES, which gives workers more than 40 tools to change the way they approach their work and lives. Developed by children’s charity Camp Quality from research by world-leading universities, it provides training in Optimism, Resilience, Attitude, Now (mindfulness), Gratitude, Energy and Strengths. Based on emotional intelligence and neuroscience research, the resilience training shows how the brain, body and emotions are linked and helps workers to withstand life’s challenges by activities that boost positive mood, manage negative emotions and increase the duration and intensity of their peaks.
At its core is positive psychology, as Findlay explained: “When people are happy, positive and resilient, organisations are healthy, stable and profitable. If workers are more resilient, it’s easier to be at work and to feel stable in times of stress. Resilience flows into optimism, positive attitude and maintaining energy throughout the day.”
Almost 50% of Australians rated workplace issues as a cause of stress in a 2013 study by the Australian Psychological Society. The most stressful jobs were reported as sales support workers, followed by non-managerial hospitality workers, and legal, social and welfare professionals.
Regardless of the industry, Findlay said that most organisations – including those undergoing restructuring and industries where customer-facing activity is normally stressful – can benefit from training to boost resilience.
“People get worn down by relentless change and they commonly end up becoming short-fused, negative and mildly depressed. They take stress leave days, call in sick or become cynical and counter-productive in the face of organisational redesign,” Findlay explained.
“I like that a lot of ORANGES ends up being driven by peer to peer support, appreciation and motivation. It doesn’t all fall on management’s shoulders.”

Findlay said ORANGES gives people tools for resilience and self-management strategies.

“This is important because there are times of the year when people are extra busy, drained and stretched. The program focuses on skills to manage your perspective on life and care for your own state of mind,” he said.