I recently came across the HEalthy and Resilient Organizations (HERO) model created by the research team led by Dr. Marisa Salanova in Valencia Spain. Created in 1999, this model was originally used to study work-related stress, the burnout phenomenon, and the effects of outplacement in workers during economic crisis. Subsequently all the negative parts of the work-related health spectrum transformed into a model to provide organization members with the psychological resources to be not only resilient in facing economic crises, but also to look at economic cycles and market challenges as moments of growth and opportunity for organizations.One advantage that this research group has is that the European Union regulates occupational health so that companies need to allocate resources to health initiatives. For many years companies believed that the obligation had to be fulfilled, but that it was costly to company revenues. Now, years later, the HERO model is transforming organizational health into organizational positive psychosocial growth. Research by this team shows that happy and healthy employees create wealth for the organization.
The model has three aspects:
- Resources that employees create
- Resources that the organization provides
- Community relations
“Healthy employees and teams have positive psychological resources with which to feel good and positive at work.” ~ Marisa Salanova and colleagues
In terms of employee resources, the model proposes that self-efficacy is the most important tool that people need to have.
In terms of resources that the organization should provide, the model provides a series of measurements of the quantity and complexity of tasks that are required of people within the organization.
In terms of the community, the foundation of the model is that organizations that are HEROes not only outperform other types of organizations, but also have better community relationships and social responsibility programs.
Model in Action
In addition to self-efficacy, the HERO model also proposes that emotional intelligence and being able to generate positive emotions are important resources that employees create. As people live longer lives, organizational psychologists should also look at how generations interact in the workspace and re-examine retirement from the viewpoint of what is healthy for the employee and for the organization.The model refers to organizational resources in terms of the systemic organization of tasks that a job comprises: the number of tasks, the cognitive complexity, and the emotional complexity of tasks within the job description. It is not the same to handle customer service with customers full of complaints and problems to solve as it is to handle customer service for companies with high customer satisfaction. One of the interventions that the model proposes is to help employees change their mindsets towards challenging tasks. The model also suggests that each job be designed to have a certain amount of emotionally challenging work and then have recovery processes or moments. The model has been applied, for example, to hospital employees to reduce the amount of emotional dissonance related to patient care.
HERO organizations are financially healthy and stable. Because the psychosocial capital exists, they are better equipped to deal with the volatile economic times that are our everyday reality.
Ballesteros Valdes, R. (2015). An intervention model to create a strong sense of meaning and life purpose in high school students. MAPP capstone, University of Pennsylvania.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
Salanova, M. (2009). Psicología de la salud ocupacional (No. 159.9: 331). Síntesis. Preface, Table of Contents, Introduction.
Salanova, M., Llorens, S., Cifre, E. & Martinez, I. M. (2012). We Need a Hero! Towards a Validation of the Healthy & Resilient Organization (HERO) Model. Group & Organization Management, 37 (6), 785-822. DOI: 10.1177/1059601112470405.
Salanova, M., Llorens, S., Acosta, H., & Torrente, P. (2013). Positive interventions in positive organizations / Intervenciones Positivas en Organizaciones Positivas. Terapia Psicológica, 31(1). DOI: 10.4067/S0718-48082013000100010.
HERO Model image in Salanova et al (2013). Adapted from Salanova et al (2012).