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Efficiency of workplace resilience programmes

January 2019: While job markets expect investments into workplace resilience programmes, the majority of the programmes remain ineffective. The study recommends that employers shift away from resilience programmes towards leadership development and cohesion building amongst the workforce.


Workplace Resilience Programmes are increasingly popular in organisations. They stem from the assumption that resilience and well-being programmes can have a positive impact on employee mental health and employer overheads. The aim is to encourage employees to seek help and to provide support structures. However, recent evidence suggests that such programmes might only have negligible benefits for employees. Abilities on social network participation, capitalising on personal strengths and addressing weaknesses, managing emotions, and enhancing awareness of psychological symptoms showed only minimal change following the completion of workplace resilience programmes. Within the context of study, enhancing leadership and building cohesion were the most effective measures to build workplace resilience.

Implications and opportunities

Workplace Resilience Programmes form integral parts of HR development plans. The study points towards guidance for employers to build effective well-being programmes. It underlines that the job market expects investments into such but that they remain ineffective if the content misses its target audience. It suggests opportunities for employers to refine their programmes and shift their focus towards leadership development and cohesion building amongst the workforce.


The study is an observational study and does not establish any causes of why such programmes might be ineffective. Therefore, the results serve as cautionary advice and require further scholarly attention. 


Jones N, Whelan, C., Harden, L., Macfarlane, A., Burdett, H., Greenberg, N., (2018). Resilience-based intervention for UK militarycruits: A randomised controlled trial. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 0 (1), 7. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105503

Willis Tower Watson. (2018). Health and Well-Being Programs not Meeting the Needs of a Stressed Singapore Workforce. Retrieved from


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Adele Wiliams

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The views expressed in these external research papers are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.