The Organization Was Designed to Burn You Out: An Exploration of Organizational Practices that Intentionally Promote Employee Resilience
Lunch N Learn Webinar
Part of our monthly Lunch ‘n Learn Webinar Series
Wednesday, September 6, 2023 - 12-1pm CST via Zoom
Presenter: Brenda M. Mack, DSW, MSW, LICSW and Sue Rickers, PhD., LICSW
1 CEU (ethics, clinical, supervision, or general) - VIRTUAL EVENT
Resilience is of increasing interest, particularly during and after the Covid-9 pandemic. In social work and other helping professions, resilience has been studied in relationship to and as an antidote for stress and burnout (Koh et al., 2020). Merriam-Webster (2022) defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Historically, resilience has been examined from an individual perspective (e.g., Shepard & Newell, 2020). Agaibi and Wilson (2005) note the factors of character, personality, and coping as individual characteristics of individual resilience. A focus on the individual is a common denominator, placing the onus on the individual to engage practices to develop resilience. However, McFadden et al (2015) notes the potential to examine organizational contexts related to resilience. Similarly, in his framework for resilience, Newell (2020) includes the organization as an element.
This training will examine resilience from the perspective of what employers, specifically in the human services, do to foster resilience among employees. This lecture shifts the conversation from an emphasis on individual responsibility for developing resilience to the role of employers in creating a resilient culture alongside their employees.
This presentation will highlight findings from a qualitative study on what organizations currently do to foster resilience among employees in human service settings. A brief description of the qualitative method of analysis as well as overarching findings will be shared. The data indicates a full continuum from agencies that do not intentionally address resilience to organizations that strive to create resilient workspaces. Organizations that are intentional in fostering resilience focus on the importance of functional tasks, relationship-building, and intentionally valuing employee contributions. A final takeaway includes suggestions supervisors have to create a more resilient human service workspace. The implications of the study include approaches to foster resilience in the work setting and considerations for prospective employees to consider.
About the Presenters
Dr. Sue Rickers is a Professor and Field Director at Bemidji State University. She enjoys teaching a variety of courses at BSU ranging from Intro to Social Welfare to Research Seminar and interacting with future social workers. She has more than 10 years of experience as a practicing social worker including medical and school social work in rural communities. Sue has a variety of experiences working with diverse populations and in a variety of settings. Incorporating mindfulness into the social work classroom is of particular interest for Sue. She begins each class period with a mindfulness activity. She has worked to create opportunities to practice mindfulness and to address obstacles to incorporating mindfulness into the classroom. Sue is interested in the experiences of social work practitioners, social work education, and holistic approaches to well-being. She earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota and is licensed in Minnesota as an LICSW.
Dr. Brenda Mack, LICSW is an associate professor and chair of the social work department at Bemidji State University (BSU). The health and well-being of social workers and other helping professionals is the focus of her research and scholarship. Before joining the faculty at BSU, Brenda worked at a community mental health center for twenty years as a program manager, clinical supervisor overseeing a team of 30 mental health professionals, outpatient and in-home therapist, and mobile behavioral health crisis responder. She holds Bachelor and Master of Arts in Social Work degrees from the University of North Dakota and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Brenda works on the local, state, and national levels to address stress, burnout, and resiliency among health and human services providers that includes individual and organizational strategies and solutions.
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