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Are your graduates tough enough? Building resilience and well-being Professor Ivan Robertson, Nicole Ferguson Robertson Cooper Ltd.

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Presentation on theme: "Are your graduates tough enough? Building resilience and well-being Professor Ivan Robertson, Nicole Ferguson Robertson Cooper Ltd."— Presentation transcript:

1 Are your graduates tough enough? Building resilience and well-being Professor Ivan Robertson, Nicole Ferguson Robertson Cooper Ltd

2 Overview What is resilience and why does emotional well- being matter? Why do graduates need resilience? Graduates’ resilience, mental toughness & well-being during difficult times Building emotional resilience and well-being in graduates

3 What is resilience? Psychologically positive and healthy Resilience protects psychological well-being and health Behaviourally effective and capable Resilience helps to retain a focus on what matters and supports effective behaviour

4 Resilience – Alias... Vitality Energy Flexibility Mental toughness/strength Hardiness, etc...

5 Why does it matter? More than 40 longitudinal studies in last years Psychological well-being factors (positive feelings, negative feelings, optimism, depression, anxiety, smiling(?)...) predict: Earlier death General ill health (including heart disease, blood pressure, immune system functioning, frailty in later life, cancer(?)...) Source: Diener & Chan, 2011

6 Why psychological well-being matters Stress Hypothalamus reacts and releases biochemicals (specifically CRF) HPA & Sympathetic Nervous System activated Shorter term physical reactions: increased BP, pulse rate... Stomach distress, headache, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances Longer term consequences, including heart disease, immune system disruption

7 Why psychological well-being matters

8 Why well-being matters Cardiovascular risk Blood pressure Cholesterol HR variability Weight/Diabetes Glucose regulation Protein & fat metabolism Immune system Inflammatory processes Autoimmune problems

9 Why does it matter? But how big are the effects on mortality and health? Twice as likely to have died (2,800 people, two year follow up; 850 people, five year follow up) Live 6-10 years longer (healthier and happier) Size of effect similar to other well-established risk factors (e.g. smoking, diet) Sources: Ostir et al., 2000; Wilson et al., 2003; Diener & Chan, 2011)

10 Why does it matter? Cohen et al., Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003

11 Psychological well-being: The link to performance Some studies: Donald et al., (2005) – almost a quarter (23%) of variance in employee productivity (sample of 16,000UK employees) is explained by: - Psychological well-being - Perceived commitment of organisation to employee - Resources and communications Cropanzano and Wright (1999) Five year longitudinal study of psychological well-being and performance. Strong correlation between well-being and work performance Taris & Schreurs (2009) Client satisfaction (66 organisations, r=.29) Ford et al., (2011) Overall performance (111 organisations, total sample 10,000+, r=.40)

12 Why psychological well-being matters People higher on psychological well-being Show greater flexibility and originality Respond better to unfavourable feedback Make more positive judgements about others Show higher levels of “Engagement” Are more productive Are likely to live longer … be sick less often … and have happier work and home life *Lyubomirsky, King & Diener, 2005

13 Why do we need resilience?: (Frequent) travel Research* - travellers versus non-travellers: – General medical claims are higher – Psychological illness claims are 3 times higher! – Claims from spouses of travellers are 16% higher (over 30% higher for psychological problems) – Young children are negatively affected Poor scores on Psychological well-being with average scores in the worst 20-25% for Manager/professionals Benefits from some trips Sources: Dimberg et al., 2006, Liese et al., 1997, Espino et al., 2002, Westman & Etzion, 2002

14 Why do we need resilience? Work Working more than 11 hours a day consistently Likelihood of depression – 250% higher than people working fewer hours Travellers versus non-travellers: – General medical claims are higher – Psychological illness claims are 300% times higher – Claims from spouses of travellers are 16% higher (over 30% higher for psychological problems) Sources: Virtanen et al., 2012; NISER, 2012, Dimberg et al., 2006, Liese et al., 1997, Espino et al., 2002, Westman & Etzion, 2002,

15 Why do we need resilience?: N= 20,000, General working population

16 What factors influence psychological well-being and resilience at work? PersonSituation Work Non-work

17 i-resilience : Personal resilience

18 Important workplace factors Demands Control Support Johnson & Hall, 1988; De Lange et al., 2003; O’Driscoll & Brough, 2010

19 Workplace factors and well-being Demands Control Relationships Change Role Support Demands Control Support Change Role Reward & contribution The ‘6 Essentials of workplace well-being’ - Robertson Cooper

20 The “6 essential” sources of pressure Resources and communication (Pressure from lack of resources or information) Control and autonomy (Limitations on how the job is done or freedom to make decisions) Balanced workload (Peaks and troughs in workload, difficult deadlines, unsocial hours, work life balance challenges) Job security & change (Pressure from change and uncertainty about the future) Work relationships (High pressure relationships with colleagues, customers, bosses) Job conditions (Pressure from working conditions or pay and benefits)

21 Work & Well-Being

22 Exercise: Sources of pressure for graduates Which factors do you think your graduates are currently troubled by? Do you think these factors are likely to get better / worse as over time? If so, why? What do you think could realistically be done to keep these factors positive for graduates and address any potential issues?

23 Building & sustaining resilience Learning & development Effective management, leadership & organisational processes Tracking well-being AND the drivers of well- being Selection, assessment & talent management processes

24 Better psychological well-being and performance (resilience) is associated with: Positive (optimistic) thinking styles Experiencing tough challenges Recognising and developing signature strengths Using active (Problem-focused) coping strategies – rather than emotion- focused coping Retaining a clear sense of purpose Cognitive flexibility - control of thoughts and feelings Establishing and nurturing a supportive social network Looking after your physical condition – exercise may be the “magic bullet” Learning & development: Resilience training

25 Practical tips and techniques to build resilience Confidence Recognise your strengths Positive attribution Challenge & mastery Physical well-being Purposefulness Personal moral compass Achieving your goals Positive mental time travel Workplace purpose Social Support Effective networking Gratitude visits Capatalising Empathy vs. sympathy Adaptability Resilient thinking Thinking errors Mindfulness Working smarter Personal resilience

26 Learning & development: Resilience training Positive (optimistic) thinking styles Experiencing tough challenges - Stretch … but not Panic zone! Recognising and developing signature strengths Building mental toughness through tough experiences (but with suitable respite) Physical exercise!

27 Building resilience: Challenge & Mastery

28 Who said this..? “… I put myself under immense pressure - I’m very healthy, but I need that pressure. It only becomes stressful when you can’t handle it…..and boy, do I love handling it!” “…This job is everything … I know I will never be under more pressure … what I have truly gained is the knowledge that I can cope with the pressure of any job in the world … and that makes me happy”

29 Building resilience: “Tough” experiences Tough (very challenging) experiences CAN build higher resilience but only if … Failure and success are attributed positively There are sufficient periods of respite The challenge seems worth it (long-term goals can be a source of motivation) Thoughts and feelings are controlled Beliefs and ambitions are properly grounded in reality

30 Management, leadership & organisational processes

31 The Well-Being Reservoir Respect & attention Learning & Development Fair rewards Resources & communications Work relationships Balanced Workload Job Security & Change Job conditions Control

32 Management, leadership & organisational processes

33 Control the “six essentials” of workplace well-being Balance challenge and support

34 Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Work Life Balance; Workload Job Security & Change Pay, Benefits & Job conditions Psychological well-being Tracking well-being AND the drivers of well-being

35 Person profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions Job profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions “Matching” Score Score indicates if person is likely to “flourish” or be “troubled” in the role Selection, assessment & talent management

36 Job profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions Source of pressure in the job 6…………………………………….1 Profiling the job

37 Person profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions Troubled by this 1…………………………………….6 Profiling the person

38 Person profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions Job profile Resources and Communication Control Work Relationships Balanced workload Job Security and Change Job Conditions Profile comparison

39 Collaboration to develop tool Expected outcomes A new, simple tool - to help ensure that recruits are better able to withstand the pressures in a job. “Pressure profile” of roles for collaborating An executive report summarising the work done and the main outcomes. Preferential access to the tool for collaborating organisations.

40 Building & sustaining resilience Learning & development Effective management, leadership & organisational processes Tracking well-being AND the drivers of well- being Selection, assessment & talent management processes

41 Take your graduate development programmes to the next level… Enjoyed today’s session? Enter our prize draw and win a graduate development package for your organisation. See Nicole for more info. For free tools (including i-resilience) and downloads from Robertson Cooper visit Contact us:


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