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Announcing WELCOA’s Focus for 2021: Year of Resilience

RESILIENCY: Viewing life with optimism. Feeling grateful and expressing appreciation. Feeling validated and encouraged.

WELCOA's Definition of Wellness

A year ago, WELCOA announced that—of all of the basic human needs that comprise our definition of employee wellness—2020 would be our Year of Social Connection. At that time, we did not foresee the power of social connection as we experienced isolation and stress brought on by a global pandemic. Grateful to have begun laying the groundwork for important conversations, we shared our expertise on the “how” and “why” to building meaningful connections between employees for improved well-being. Looking into next year, many things seem out of focus and unsure. One certainty, however, is that we will need to continue to build our workplaces, cultures, and resource base to help employees adapt effectively to life events, which can be difficult to manage and cause stress. Collectively, we need to invest in wellness strategies to help our working humans avoid burning out. For these reasons and more, WELCOA is proud to announce our focus in 2021 will be Resilience.

What is Resilience?

Resilience allows us to view life with optimism. Resilient people are able to feel grateful and express appreciation. Resilience often leads to a sense of feeling validated and encouraged. And—most importantly—having resilience allows us to quickly recover from difficulty. When we do not have tools for resiliency, we let stress continue to wear away at us and we experience burnout.

Why Focus on Resilience?

The first step WELCOA takes in determining what resources to create to help support organizations is always taking a look at data from our Membership base. The 2020 Trends in Wellness Survey is a joint research project led by WELCOA and CHC Wellbeing. In late February and early March, before the crisis of the pandemic was completely evident, we examined our Members’ beliefs about, and experiences with, wellness programming. When asked to rank the three most important wellness priorities for the year ahead, mindfulness or mental health was a top focus as sixty-three percent of respondents ranked it in the top 31.

The focus on mental health is broad, so we focused on the top concerns of employers around the globe. Right now, working humans are more prone to burnout than ever before. According to a global study lead by Qualtrics, 47% of employees report that they’ve felt burned out since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Those under 40 (Millennials and Generation Z) are 89% more likely to have experienced burnout than those over 55 (Baby Boomers). According to the survey, some steps have been taken by employers so far like offering flexibility around working hours or performance expectations, making more counseling or mental health benefits available, or providing additional paid time off. However, only half of those surveyed said their employer was doing anything to help them avoid burnout.2,3

The Cost of Burning Out

The symptoms of burnout are even more concerning. Thirty-two percent of employees who experienced burnout said that they lacked the energy to be consistently productive. Thirty percent said they dragged themselves to work and had trouble getting started. Twenty-six percent said they had become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients.

How WELCOA Started Laying the Groundwork

So how did we begin to build new tools on resilience and burnout prevention and introduce them into the workplace? To start, WELCOA offered a 6-week virtual Inner Circle series sponsored by CHC Wellbeing featuring positive psychology expert, Stella Grizont, MAPP, CEO and founder of WOOPAAH. The Prevent Burnout & Build Resilience Inner Circle series used methods from The Work Happiness Method™ to guide thought leaders in the field on how to best apply for themselves first and then guide employees in their organizations. We are also hosting multiple events yet this year to start the conversation.


  1. 2020 Trends in Wellness Survey (joint research project led by WELCOA and CHC Wellbeing)