Online Training Program Teaches Resilience to Employees
In the midst of uncertain times, a free online training program is teaching resilience to University of Arizona employees.
Life & Work Connections began offering "Transforming Lives Through Resilience Education" this semester. The online training program, developed by Mary Steinhardt, professor of health education at the University of Texas at Austin, addresses ways to thrive under pressure and to be flexible and positive in the face of change.
The online training is one resource for employees worried about job security in the wake of the UA's Transformation Plan and proposed substantial budget cuts to the state university system.
"We all noticed a quantum step up in the intensity of stress" after the announcement of the Transformation Plan, said Dave Swihart, employee assistance coordinator for Life & Work Connections.
Swihart said he's seen about a 20 percent increase in people wanting employee assistance counseling since last year.
But not all employees are able to take advantage of counseling or other Life & Work Connections services.
"One of the things that's happening during the transformation is people won't leave their desks. They feel like they can't afford to be out of the office during the day," Swihart said.
He said the online training program is convenient because employees can access it on their own time any time of the day.
The program consists of four online training modules that can be completed at a user's own pace. Each takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete. The narrated, animated training covers four key areas: transforming stress into resilience, taking responsibility, focusing on empowering interpretations and creating meaningful connections. Exercises at the end of each segment encourage users to apply what they've heard in the training to their own lives.
"Our goal is not just to give information on resilience to employees but also give them something they can work with in the midst of transformation," Swihart said.
The program is free for University employees, and a UA NetID and password are required to access it.
In addition to the online training, Life & Work Connections has a resilience education Web page that offers various resources to employees. There is also an online forum for discussing the resilience training and its effectiveness.
Steinhardt first developed the resilience training in 2000 as part of an employee education program for Motorola. It has since been utilized by corporations, universities, therapists and other professionals in her home state of Texas and beyond.
She said she hopes the program gives people tools to deal with stress in their personal and profesional lives, and said that, ultimately, "stress can be good for us, and we can grow from stress."