'Resilience' well-being programs may not work
- Researchers have found that resiliency programs had no effect on workers' health and well-being, according to a report in ScienceDaily. Resiliency programs aim to bolster participants' mental health and well-being and motivate them to seek help when needed. The study observed resiliency programs as used by the U.K. Royal Air Force.
- The report's authors observed, surveyed and analyzed two groups of military recruits. One group participated in a resiliency program designed to help recruits engage in social participation, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, manage their emotions and enhance their awareness of psychological symptoms, according to the report. Another group of recruits went through standard training only. Participants completed surveys upon their arrival, nine weeks later and again once three months had passed.
- Researchers found no difference between the outcomes of the two regimes. They concluded that employers should avoid offering programs without knowing whether they're effective. "Many organisations search for a 'silver bullet' intervention that can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their employees when time might be better spent refining leadership and building strong cohesion," the researchers said.
Like the report's authors suggested, employers looking to build an effective well-being program need to evaluate all options and test their effectiveness throughout implementation to ensure success. The job market may be pressuring HR to invest in wellness programs, but this spending may be wasted if employees find the content useless. A Willis Towers Watson report said only 66% of employees find that their employers' well-being initiatives meet their needs, even though 81% of employers believe they do.
As researchers delve into whether or not these programs produce positive effects, other analyses have parsed the efficacy of different types and features of wellness programs. A Campbell Institute report released in March recommended that employers broaden their wellbeing programs to include sessions on issues such as job security, flu shots, workplace fatigue and overtime management, along with the more common fitness and nutrition plans.
Some suggest that an intensive, two- to five-day well-being intervention program can be more valuable to employees than a resilience program. A coach in an intervention program teaches participants to set short- and long-term goals, raise their energy levels, create their own purpose in life, and understand feedback from coworkers, family and other key people in their lives.