Work wellness in a financial services institution : a longitudinal study
Orpen-Lyall, Mark Raymond
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Most employers agree that the effectiveness and success of their organisations depend on the effective utilisation of their human resources. Ill health in the workplace is a threat to optimal productivity, reduced absenteeism, provision of sustainable employee benefits, a motivated workforce, staff retention and maximisation of profits. Burnout and engagement are therefore important fields of investigation in the industrial psychology field. The aim of this study was to: test a model of work-related well-being; develop and evaluate a resilience intervention programme for a large financial services institution in South Africa. Article 1 used a cross-sectional survey design. The participants were predominantly in the administrative, call centre and IT divisions (N = 192). Article 2 was the development of a resilience model, which was based on the integration of thinking from an extensive literature review by the researcher. Article 3 used an experimental design, with a control group (n=51) and an experimental group («=55). Information was collected in a longitudinal research. The research method for each of the three articles of this study consisted of a brief literature review and an empirical study. The measuring instruments used in this study were the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), Job Demands-Resources Scale (JD-RS), Health subscales, Organisational Commitment subscales, the ASSET questionnaire, the Life Orientation Test - Revised (LOT-R) and a biographical questionnaire. In both article 1 and article 3, descriptive statistics were computed to describe the data; as were Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients to specify the relationship between the variables. In article 1, multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the proportion of variance in the dependent variable that is predicted by the independent variables. In article 3, paired-samples f-tests were used to determine the difference in results for year 1 and year 2. Article 1 showed the central role that low optimism plays in contributing to burnout, and high optimism plays in work engagement. Interestingly, high social support was linked to increased cynicism, whilst low social support contributed to dedication. Burnout contributed to both physical and psychological ill health. Dedication and low cynicism contributed to affective commitment, whilst engagement and low cynicism contributed to behavioural commitment. Article 2 was the development of a multidimensional, proactive coping approach which consistently strives to develop and enhance the individual's resilience coping reservoir pools (mental, spiritual, socio-emotional and physical) leading to improved resilience, wellness and quality of life. Each reservoir pool has activities that enhance the fitness of the individual, namely physical (rest and relaxation, exercise and nutrition), mental (stimuli, reflection and empowering thinking), spiritual (coat of arms, pay it forward and gratitude), socio-emotional (breaking destructive relationships and nurturing relationships, responsibility). Article 3's results showed that the resilience intervention resulted in a statistically significant difference decrease in psychological ill health. Recommendations for future research were made.