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NEWS | March 1, 2022

Training teaches employees how to 'hunt the good stuff'

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

Training teaches employees how to 'hunt the good stuff' | Article | The United States Army

Ready and Resilient is the Army’s strategy for strengthening individual and unit readiness by providing training and resources to the Army family.

A recent employee survey indicated that a percentage of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s workforce struggle with morale and stress. Efforts to equip employees with the skills to deal with issues at work or home led leaders to an on-site resource designed to meet that specific need.

Tobyhanna’s master resilience trainers possess the tools to help members of Team Tobyhanna find the good in their day-to-day lives. Core concepts and skills honed by years of experience are what Patrick Lawrence and Linda Kerr use to teach students how to manage stress by understanding their own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Lawrence and Kerr work in the Installation Services Directorate’s Community Services Division.

“Resilience training is by far the best training I’ve ever taken during my 30-plus years with the Army,” Kerr said. “You can’t avoid stress. It is just part of life. Our objective is to make sure people have the tools they need to help them handle that stress.”

Training and education resources are available to active duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, as well as family members and Department of the Army civilians.

Resilience is not just about bouncing back from major life challenges, according to the Army Resilience Directorate website. Information posted to the online resource defines a resilient individual as someone who can manage the daily stressors of life like a difficult day at work, a tough conversation with a friend or loved one, or a career setback. Resilience is about the ability to capitalize on opportunity.

“Each day brings not only challenges, but also the opportunity to overcome those challenges,” Lawrence said. “Being resilient encourages self-awareness to make changes needed for personal growth, which impacts not only the organization positively, but also in our relationships with other people. Resilience helps us to know and understand that we have a choice.”

Dealing with stress is common for people who work in a service-based organization like installation services, according to William Ramey, director. The directorate responded to the survey results by introducing resilience training to the team.

“We wanted to help our team reframe their mindset when it came to how they see workplace challenges,” Ramey said. “Plus, give them the resources to proactively cope with workplace stress.”

Emergency responders often help people through some of the worst times in their lives. To combat the immediate or cumulative effects of emotionally charged situations, members of the Risk Management Division recently started participating in the 15-minute resilience training sessions available via MS Teams.

“The class teaches the importance of taking time to seek out the things that provide a positive influence on you and your state of mind,” said Palmer Johnson, assistant chief, Fire and Emergency Services Branch. “Be aware of the positive things around you and draw on them to help keep things in perspective.”

Stephen Sheridan, lead firefighter, wants to use this training to help the organization grow and thrive in the face of challenges.

“The training would be good for any employee seeking to counter negative bias and create positive emotion and analyze what is good,” Sheridan said. “The instructors did a great job delivering the information, giving us different ways to bounce back from adversity.”

Tobyhanna’s master resilience trainers have redeveloped the program so they can teach it in 15-30 minute blocks, instead of the previous two-hour block of training. Installation services officials are using the home team meeting format to complete training sessions such as Hunt the Good Stuff, Putting it into Perspective, and Breathing and Stress.

“We’re here to meet the needs of the workforce,” Kerr said. “Leaders have come to see the value in what is being taught and encourage others to provide training to employees.”

Diane Leonard, installation services deputy director, admits this last year has been a challenge. The decision to introduce the training sessions is a positive step toward improving employee morale and stress levels, she said.

“I would definitely encourage other depot leaders to consider incorporating resilience training into their home team agendas; not only did it start some really wonderful conversations, it also gave our staff the tools they need to counteract negativity and achieve self-awareness,” Leonard said.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.