The overwhelming majority of today’s employees in Canada are millennials. In fact, it’s projected that millennials will comprise over 50% of the workforce by 2020. Thus, corporate Canada is in need of redefining ‘today’s workplace’ to accommodate the needs of this emerging majority.

We know all too well the general assumptions of this generation. They lack work ethic, they are day dreamers, they crumble under adversity, they’re disloyal, they are glued to their phones and don’t care about face to face relationships. Although there’s truth and hyperbole in these perceptions, tired stereotypes are rarely useful.

As millennials emerge as the majority, forward thinking organizations are looking for better ways to engage today’s workforce. Keeping employees happy, engaged and productive is only part of the challenge for HR departments and executives. The golden ticket today is not ping-pong tables, salad bars or casual dress codes. Rather, organizations need to most importantly focus on helping their workforce build the resiliency they need to successfully navigate relentless and exponential change.

At its core, resilience is building the capacity to work well under tough conditions. Resiliency references developing ways to protect from the effects of pressure and overcome adversity that results in stress and other mental illnesses. In today’s workplace, resiliency is at an all-time low, especially when we consider that the number one source of stress is our employment. High stressed workers have 50% greater healthcare expenditures compared to less stressed. For employers, stress-related annual costs as a result of healthcare, loss of productivity, and missed work is estimated to be $300 Billion. It should come as no surprise then that mental illness is the leading cause of workplace disability today. The impact on our population is astounding: 500 thousand Canadians will not be at work this week due to mental illness.


It’s because of this that Dr. Ryan Todd, a clinical psychiatrist at Foothills Hospital in Calgary, sees it as mandatory for today’s organizations to build a mental health strategy and thereby, help employees build resiliency.

“We’re now talking about hard, irrefutable numbers that point to mental illness as the leading sickness in the workplace, and it’s costing organizations millions every year. In the current workplace, it would be foolish for leaders to ignore it, and those leaders that do ignore it are left behind in a very competitive economy.”

This need to move beyond ‘raising awareness’ has motivated Dr. Todd to expand his professional focus, and take what he has learned by listening to thousands of patients and bring it into the workplace. He, alongside Performance Psychologist and the lead Mental Performance Consultant for the Canadian Olympic Team, Dr. Karen MacNeill, and a team of digital learning specialists, have developed a resilience training program called headversity. For Dr. MacNeill, who’s consulted countless organizations when it comes to mental health, focusing on the performance end of the spectrum is a must if organizations are to build resilience capacity.

“Businesses are beginning to understand that the entire spectrum of performance is affected by one’s capacity for resilience. Training resilience will help keep people healthy, yes, but it will also enable them to deliver stronger results even in the most difficult work environments,” said MacNeill.

Another key to their program for Dr. MacNeill, also the company’s Chief Product Officer, is quite simple.

“With the youth movement ongoing in the workforce, it’s imperative that a modern solution is mobile-first with a media-led curriculum if we want to see engagement across all generations in today’s workplace.”


While other Employee Assistance Programs available today may carry mental health training, they have failed to bring comprehensive curriculums that also include mental performance and most importantly, to build and measure resiliency. That, says Dr. Todd, is the reason headversity has dedicated academic researchers to implement resilience measurement to their training program.

“Education is one thing, but if we can’t measure headversity’s impact we will be just another noisemaker in the space. We’re very excited to bring measurement into our offering and are extremely optimistic it will be a vital component that will bring huge benefit to our clients,” said Dr. Todd, the CEO of headversity.

headversity is set to launch its resilience training program today with PBA Land and Development out of Calgary, AB, with wider organizational roll-out in early 2019.

For more information on our resilience training program, please visit


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