Stress and resilience framework

Welcome to the stress and resilience framework blog! On this page, we will discuss all things related to stress and resilience. 

What is the framework? 

The stress and resilience framework helps organisations to support staff by taking time to explore what is impacting staff wellbeing. It shifts the thinking away from “how can we make staff more resilient?” to “what do organisations need to do to support their staff and reduce reliance on individual resilience?” 

What are you doing with the framework? 

The framework was launched in spring 2019. We are now testing its impact on staff wellbeing by piloting it in NHS organisations. This also helps spread the word about the approach behind the framework to challenge staff and organisations to think about stress and resilience in a new way. 

How can I get involved? 

We would welcome your thoughts on the framework and invite you to take it away and explore.

Let us know what you think and share your experience on Twitter @NWSDU or LinkedIn using the hashtag #stressandresilience or email

The framework and its piloting are commissioned by Health Education England (HEE). 

What causes stress in your organisation?

The model below sits at the heart of the stress and resilience framework. It provides a structure for you to think through your organisational experience. Each pillar invites you to ask yourself: how does this pillar impact on my experience?

Click on the to explore each pillar
Structures & Processes The Nature of the Work PsychologicalSafety Leadership &Management Behaviours, Attitudes & Beliefs External and Organisational Context

The particular mix of behaviours, attitudes and beliefs that are consciously or unconsciously held, encouraged and reinforced in your team or organisation.

An example

There is a defeatist attitude in your team. You know that things need to change but the common response is “there’s nothing we can do about it anyway” and this leaves you feeling powerless and despondent.

Ask yourself

If the best version of this pillar existed in your organisation what would that look like? How would you feel? What would you hear people say about it? What would be most different?

The aspects of the
work that you carry out.

An example

You are working with people at the end of their lives. You and your team may have evolved coping mechanisms to manage the feelings of loss and grief.

Ask yourself

What are the things you deal with in your everyday work and what feelings do they bring with them? What are the things that help you to manage these feelings?

The way structures and
processes are set up and
executed in your organisation.

An example

After a restructure a manager is asked to cover two teams. The manager is not able to be available as much as before. As a result, some people take on more responsibility, but others disagree with their decisions while other people feel unsupported.

Ask yourself

What are the aspects of structures & processes in your organisation that help in your workplace? Are there structures or processes that could be clarified or changed?

Leadership & Management refer to the ways formal authority operates at all levels in your organisation and how leaders and managers carry out their role.

An example

Your department is undergoing a significant restructure. Management has provided little to no information on the changes and this leaves you feeling unsure about the future of your work.

Ask yourself

How is leadership and management taken up in your team/organisation? Are management structures clear and can responsibility be delegated and taken up appropriately? Is there ‘followership’ of leaders and what makes leaders respected?

Psychological safety is about whether you feel valued and that your psychological wellbeing is prioritised. Do you feel that you can speak up without worrying about negative repercussions?

An example

You disagree with a decision your colleague takes but you are worried that if you say something you will be ignored or worse, it will negatively impact the relationships within your team.

Ask yourself

What helps you and your team to feel psychologically safe at work? How does the level of psychological safety impact upon how it feels to be in the workplace? Are there any specific projects and initiatives currently underway that are relevant to this?

The external and organisational context refers to the environment the organisation finds itself in and the local factors that are particular to the organisation.

An example

You work in an NHS organisation that is geographically spread across sites that are far apart. This impacts how your organisation delivers services

Ask yourself

What is happening in your context that is having an impact on your experience at work? Are there other parts of the system that are thriving or struggling – and how does this impact your team? What recent or historical events are being felt in your team/workplace?

Download the framework 

Download your copy of the stress and resilience framework. The framework has been commissioned by Health Education England (HEE). The framework is currently undergoing further testing and piloting. The framework document is likely to change going forward. We will post newer versions on our website.

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