Resilience training creating better outcomes, inside and out | The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
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Resilience training creating better outcomes, inside and out

Summary
This has been a tough year for everyone. Providing a great dispute resolution service isn’t just about looking after consumers and telcos, it’s also about looking after employees and their mental health.

Over eight weeks in September and October, TIO employees participated in psychological resilience training so they could look after themselves and continue providing help to all the consumers and telcos who were also feeling stretched.

This has been a tough year for everyone. Providing a great dispute resolution service isn’t just about looking after consumers and telcos, it’s also about looking after employees and their mental health.

Over eight weeks in September and October, TIO employees participated in psychological resilience training so they could look after themselves and continue providing help to all the consumers and telcos who were also feeling stretched.

Exploring mindfulness techniques, the training gave TIO employees the mental tools to improve their emotional intelligence, self-care and prioritise their long-term mental health. Learning to reduce stress reactivity and self-regulation during difficult times is an important life skill and very useful for resolving disputes.

Throughout the eight weeks, 80% of participants reported sleeping better, having a calmer mind, listening more deeply, and communicating more effectively in their personal and professional lives.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said “Our approach to dealing with the pandemic has been to first look after our people, then deliver the service. Providing our people resilience training was a win-win – it looked after our people and meant they were able to continue to deliver our service. This was important at a time when Australian consumers and small businesses were even more reliant on remaining connected to telco services."

TIO Dispute Resolution Officer and participant of the program Bahia Samman “really enjoyed” the resilience training. Bahia, who suffers from panic attacks, said “the sessions really helped me calm myself down when I feel panic coming on. Simply by going through the thought versus fact scenario, and saying to myself 'you're okay'.”

“I will also go back over the sessions or material when I have time,” she added. “I think revisiting the content again, in my own time will be really beneficial.”

TIO Telco Technical and Regulatory Specialist Kevin Sutherland agreed that the training was “interesting, informative and helpful”.

“I learnt how various parts of the body, especially the brain, can affect or be influenced by our responses to the various stressors we face daily in work and life. The breathing exercises had a big impact. During those nights I had trouble sleeping these exercises helped me to find a new sense of calm. This was really valuable for my professional and personal life during the pandemic lockdown.”

Program facilitator Sally Cumming acknowledges this year has been a tough one for everyone. “Individuals during 2020 have had a significant level of stress, trauma, and mental challenges. Training in self-care, self-compassion and resilience provides support for employees to have a long and fulfilling career, as well as allowing them to provide a high level of support to customers, clients, friends and families.”