Case Study: Resilience Predicts Comprehensive Corporate Well-being Outcomes

What is common among job performance, job satisfaction, work engagement, absenteeism, turnover intentions, the risk for burnout, and symptoms of anxiety and depression? They can all be improved by enhancing resilience. See how that works in the case study below.

Author: Tyler Phillips, Research Psychologist and Lead Content Specialist

In previous posts, we’ve reported how enhancing resilience can improve a few factors related to mental health. For example, in a sample of university students, we demonstrated how increasing resilience (by 10%) can lead to a reduction in their depressive symptoms (by 9.7%) and their anxiety symptoms (by 7.2%). We’ve also reported how boosting resilience can predict favorable changes in a few factors related to organizational or professional performance. For example, using data collected from employees across many different companies and industries, we have separately examined the causal role that resilience plays in enhancing job engagement and reducing the risk for burnout. In those brief reports, we demonstrated that boosting resilience by 10% possibly increases engagement by 6%, and reduces burnout risk by 11.4%.  

In each of these cases, it was necessary to provide the caveat that these predictions may not apply to the same extent in other samples for example, to you (the individual reading this) and/or to the people you work with. The significant relationships themselves likely apply, for it’s elsewhere been reported that resilience protects us against burnout, that cultivating resilience can improve anxious and depressive symptoms, and that increasing resilience predicts increasing workplace engagement. Given the replicable nature of these findings, we have reason to believe that these relationships with resilience probably do exist for you (and even in the general human population). However, because resilience is a dynamic capacity (changing over time and context), and because it can be affected by so many circumstances and variables, it is likely that the value of the percentage increase or decrease (in favorable or unfavorable outcomes, respectively) may be different in different groups of people. 

Furthermore, in the scientific literature, there are additional factors related to organizational performance that can be affected by resilience. These include: 

  • Job satisfaction (the extent to which an employee feels happy, fulfilled, and content with their job),
  • Job performance (whether an employee performs a job well and reaches their job-related goals and performance objectives),
  • Absenteeism (the unjustifiable/unexcused withdrawal or absence from scheduled work, when there is an official obligation to report to work), and
  • Turnover intentions (the extent to which employees consider leaving their current organization in the near future, as opposed to intending to stay in it).

In addition, another health-related factor that can influence resilience is sleep. Disrupted sleep has been associated with many psychological health issues such as the mood disorders of anxiety and depression, and, indeed, it’s also been associated with lower resilience

Given this, it seems useful not only to demonstrate how the predictive weight of resilience for improving job engagement, burnout risk, and anxious and depressive symptoms can change with a different sample. It also seems necessary to inspect the power of resilience for predicting all of these additional (organizational and health-related) outcomes. 

To this end, Neurozone® recently ran these investigations in one organization. The sample consisted of 270 members, more men (70%) than women (30%), with an average age of 49. The results of these analyses are presented here as a single case study for the potential power that enhancing resilience can have for improving a more comprehensive set of organizational well-being outcomes. 

We found that, in this sample, for every 10% increase in resilience (as measured by the Neurozone® Resilience Index), the following patterns emerged:

Similar to the previous report on a sample university students, increasing resilience predicts a potential decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety in this organization. However, in this sample, the rate of decrease is slightly different. With a 10% increase in resilience, the symptoms of depression tend to decrease by 7.9%, and of anxiety by 10.1%, compared to the respective 9.7% and 7.2% possible decreases in the student sample. It appears that resilience tends to have a larger impact on anxiety in working adults compared to students, while it tends to have a larger impact on depression in students compared to working adults, as represented by these two samples. This may be down to differences in certain characteristics between the groups (e.g., their developmental stages; the environments in which they work). This illustrates the dynamic nature of resilience and of its impact across different populations, even though the nature and direction of the relationship between resilience and mental health outcomes remain stable.

Also similar to the previous reports on our aggregated database of users, increasing resilience predicts a potential increase in engagement and a potential decrease in burnout risk in this organization. Yet again, in this sample, the rate of the effect differs. Here, a 10% increase in resilience means a likely improvement in engagement by 4.4% (compared to 6%) and a likely reduction in the risk for burnout by 12.2% (compared to 11.4%). Therefore, we can see that the nature of the relationships does tend to uphold across different samples, but that the magnitude of resilience’s impact on the outcomes varies according to the unique demographic of each cohort we have studied. Put differently, enhancing resilience tends to predict positive changes in these outcomes, but the possible percentage of the change differs based on the sample’s characteristics.

Secondly, the additional factors were all revealed to have predictive relationships with resilience. Specifically, increasing resilience (by 10%) in this organization tends to increase job performance (by 3.8%) and job satisfaction (by 7.9%), and tends to decrease turnover intentions (by 9.9%), absenteeism (by 4.8%) and sleep disruption (by 6.2%). 

This single case study demonstrates that cultivating greater resilience has the power to enhance three indicators of mental well-being and six indicators of organizational success, all in one group of individuals belonging to the same organization. Although, once again, the magnitude of these enhancements may not be the same for you and the individuals in your organization, it is quite likely thanks to the additional piece of evidence from this case study that the relationships also exist among you and your colleagues. Cultivating greater resilience may help you to improve all nine of these indicators of being a holistic high-performer. 

How can we help you?

We specialize in training professionals who use a coaching approach to optimize their people.

Contact Cuan Macnab-Holding, Neurozone Consultant: Business Development & Organizational Resilience



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