Beyond Resilience: How far do employees have to stretch?

Beyond Resilience: How far do employees have to stretch?

Last week I took a call from an organisation very concerned about employee wellbeing.

The mental health of this high-pressured workforce was at serious risk. The workplace had completed some testing on the mental health of their workforce, and the results were alarming. They asked me if I would come in and provide a one-hour session as their sole strategy to address this.

What would you say to such a request? Think that anything is better than nothing, or draw a line in the sand about what was adequate?

I’ll share what I did at the end of this post, but firstly I wanted to share some thoughts.

The project to help employees build their resilience has blossomed over the past decade.

Fifteen years ago, when I was trying to offer programs in professional and personal sustainability, not many people recognised the need for our workforce to build such vital skills.

We’ve come a long way. It is excellent that we recognise the self-awareness and self-management skills that are invaluable for managing with reasonable work demands and work-life balance. 

However, has this project gone way too far?

Do we expect employees to build resilience to cope with unreasonable demands and expectations?

Have we been placing responsibility on employees to cope with unacceptable work conditions, excessive work hours, or a hostile, or even toxic, interpersonal environment?

So how do we measure what is reasonable and unreasonable?

How do we even think and make sense of what is at play in a highly challenging context?

Perhaps we are still figuring out how to assess what makes our workplaces psychologically safe and mentally healthy.

In the end, I did not agree to offer the one-hour session. I proposed five x one hour sessions, as I didn’t feel comfortable to collude with the idea that one hour was adequate, so that this organisation could tick the box.

What is your experience?

Love to hear your thoughts,


Michelle Bihary