A five-hour educational program can promote resilience among employees facing downsizing and restructuring, according to a study in the April Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Rudi Meir, PhD, of Southern Cross University, East Lismore, NSW, Australia, and colleagues evaluated a newly developed program to increase employee resilience, at a workplace dealing with an upcoming merger. One group of employees was randomly assigned to receive the resilience intervention, which consisted of five weekly workshops held during lunch hour. The workshops focused on concepts and techniques to enhance resilience in the context of the workplace.

Participants showed improvement in several aspects of resilience, compared to a group of employees who didn't attend. Program participants had higher total scores on a previously validated Resilience at Work scale, and on subscales measuring some key aspects of workplace resilience: "Finding your calling," "Maintaining perspective," "Managing stress," and "Staying healthy."

Especially at times of organizational change, many companies use resilience programs to help employees cope with the changes while reducing the potential for negative effects on workforce and business outcomes. The intervention evaluated in the study focuses on improving resilience as a "specific capacity within the work environment," rather than as a general personal attribute.

While the study can't provide data on how well the improvements were maintained over time, the results do suggest that a short-term, inexpensive program can promote resilience in the workplace. "Employee resilience can be improved via specific educational and skills training requiring a total time commitment of just five hours, making this intervention feasible for most working environments," the researchers write.

Citation -- Rogerson S, Meir R, Crowley-McHattan Z, McEwan K, Pastoors R. A randomized controlled pilot trial investigating the impact of a workplace resilience program during a time of significant organizational change. J Occup Environ Med. 2016;58(4):329-34.

About ACOEM -- The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.acoem.org), an international society of 4,500 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine -- The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.