Planning, Implementation and Evaluation of a Resilience Programme to Help Employees Gain More Psychological Strength.
Psychological resilience is particularly important in times of crisis. This has also been demonstrated by the past two years which have been shaped by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to fear of the disease, worries for sick relatives, or experiences of negative consequences of a COVID-19 infection, it is also the measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic (such as the restriction of social contacts and the fact that the boundaries between professional and private life have become increasingly blurred by the changed work models) that lead to major psychological stress. Especially healthcare and nursing professionals report that they have reached their limits in terms of the psychological stress caused by the burden of working during the coronavirus pandemic.
Project Content and Objectives
The project aims to promote resilience in an employee group in the healthcare sector that is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resilience stands for the psychological strength or the ability to withstand difficult life situations without experiencing a persistent impairment. Measures to strengthen the employees may help them cope with pressure, counteract overstress at an early stage, and take preemptive measures to prepare for future challenges. In addition, “PRO Resilienz” pursues the objective of developing measures and recommendations to integrate the promotion of resilience into a company’s organisational structures in the long term. The findings will be summarised in the “Guide zur Förderung der psychischen Resilienz am Arbeitsplatz”, a guide to promoting psychological resilience at the workplace for companies.
“PRO Resilienz” is a pilot study comprising the planning, implementation and evaluation of the evidence-based resilience promotion concept “READY” . Within the framework of lectures, workshops and e-learning sessions, this programme features five key elements of strengthening resilience:
- Acceptance of one’s own feelings (no avoidance or denial of certain feelings)
- Cognitive flexibility (letting go of negative thoughts)
- Sense of purpose (experiencing life mindfully and acting in line with one’s own values)
- Social connections (identifying resources in one’s social environment; strengthening social contacts)
- Active coping strategies (identifying and activating individual coping strategies, e.g. hobbies and sports)
These key elements have been proven to act as protective factors when it comes to the development of psychological illnesses, such as burn-out, depression, addiction, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain syndrome.
The analysis of the effectiveness of the resilience programme and the recommendation of organisational implementation measures are based on a mixed-methods approach. The approach consists of (1) a qualitative pilot study to adapt the programme and collect recommendations for the organisational implementation, (2) a quantitative before-and-after survey among the participating employees to measure effectiveness, and (3) qualitative, problem-centred and guideline-based interviews with selected participating employees to obtain recommendations and suggestions for the further development of the resilience programme’s contents and the organisational integration and implementation in the company.
The project takes steps to increase resilience of employees. In addition, the accompanying research yields results that are supposed to help determine which changes companies can implement in order to integrate the promotion of resilience into their organisational structures in the long term. The project results will be made available to the wider public in the “Guide zur Förderung der psychischen Resilienz am Arbeitsplatz”, a guide to promoting psychological resilience at the workplace, and via various channels.