Resilience, the ability to adapt and recover from personal and professional setbacks, is increasingly recognized as a key driver of job performance. For those who lack resilience, a bad day can seriously throw them off their game.

Recent research looked at whether using a brief, online intervention could build resilience in employees. The research found that distressed employees who used such an intervention a few times per week showed significantly greater increases in resilience than employees who did not.

Resilience is especially important for employees who suffer from anxiety and depression, where daily stressors can make their condition worse.

This is where resilience training comes in. While it is often successful, it can be time consuming. Resilience training, which teaches people how cope with and recover from adversity, decreased depression and anxiety and effectively improves employees’ workplace performance, wellbeing & social functioning.  Resilience training has been shown to also positively impact physical health outcomes.

Despite the growing need for resilience interventions in the workplace, a variety of obstacles have limited their adoption. Resilience trainings typically require in-person facilitation and logistical and financial resources that make them difficult to scale. In fact, only one in ten employers offer onsite stress management programs, like resilience training programs. These programs also struggle with low participation due to myriad reasons, including the stigma of being seen at work as needing help.

Can we make resilience training simpler?

Can online resilience interventions and tools could be effective at overcoming these barriers and increasing resilience among stressed out employees? To answer this question the study looked at 591 workers who used Happify, which is an online platform that has stress-reducing exercises. All participants in the study reported experiencing emotional or workplace distress when they registered for the Happify website. They were asked to use the platform two to three times per week for eight weeks, and the research looked at their change in resilience, which we measured by looking at their sense of optimism, perceived stress, and positive emotions, over that time period.

The core activities that users engaged in were focused across five areas: mindfulness, gratitude, goal-setting, forgiveness and self-compassion. To ensure that the use of the online platform was causing changes in resilience, they were compared to employees randomly assigned to a control group and given access to content typically found while surfing the web for mental health and well-being topics.

It was found that after eight weeks, there was a 25% improvement in resilience among employees with severe emotional and workplace stress who completed two to three online activities each week.

These results, together with other research showing resilience training also benefits less stressed populations, suggesting that any employee could be helped by these programs before they reach a breaking point.

These findings show that building resilience, something that was once believed to require a great deal of time and money, may be accomplished via online intervention programs and tools in a matter of weeks.

For employers, this means you can offer reliance training that is not only affordable and effective, but also provides flexibility that is more conducive to the needs of employees, allowing them to engage at their own pace, and avoid the stigma of more public, workplace-based training programs.

For an extensive listing of EAP Assist endorsed online apps, including Happify, see: