Building employee resilience through wellbeing in organisations

Karen Tonkins

University of Canterbury, Masters Thesis, 2015


An untested assumption is that ‘a resilient organisation comprises of resilient employees’. Under the guidance of the Employee Resilience Research Group, this research used quantitative surveys to investigate how resilience at an individual, employee and organisational level interact. Secondly, to investigate the role that the workplace plays in the resilience and wellbeing of its employees, participants took part in the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Wellbeing Game’, a free online game in which players engage in some or all of the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ (Give, Connect, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Be Active). These five actions have been scientifically shown to improve mental wellbeing.

The results showed that individual, employee and organisational resilience are indeed related. Not only that, our participants reported feeling more resilient at work than outside of the workplace. Following playing the Game, levels of Employee Resilience (not individual or organisational resilience) increased. As expected, participants also reported positive increases in mental wellbeing. These results indicate that resilience is contextual, employee resilience can be developed, and a resilient organisation is indeed comprised of resilient employees.

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