Despite being disrupted by Covid-19, staff at Otago Polytechnic childcare centre Polykids have been awarded the “Workplace Resilience Tick”.

Developed over seven years of research at the University of Otago by a team of expert researchers, the tick programme offers a fresh approach to helping staff with workplace challenges.

Dr Althea Gamble Blakey, founder of Workplace Resilience Development (WoRD), delivers the programme in all kinds of workplaces. With her personal service, she loves helping staff hone skills to get through challenging times.

“Most people are ace at this stuff. It’s just that getting a chance to discuss what to do and practice it out loud. It really boosts people’s confidence. Then you have staff really focusing on helping themselves, and each other, and to get what they need at work.’

Every workplace has its and ups and downs, particularly during times such as Covid. Any additional stressor puts pressure on staff who can also have lots of other things going on.

“Say, if two staff members are in a discussion which is getting a bit heated. As part of the tick program we talk through practical ways to phrase things to remove the conflict, and work towards achieving what the discussion was really about.”

Polykids Centre Manager Myone Raynbird says staff found the programme invigorating, interesting, respectful and full of practical tips for immediate use in the workplace.

“It’s supported everyone to re-frame thinking and wording, make them more accountable for actions and for pursuing positive outcomes in our very fast- paced environment.”

According to Dr Gamble Blakey, respect and caring are foundational to the programme, and also form the basis for ongoing mentoring for staff who want to discuss specifics. Dr Gamble Blakey also works alongside managers after the programme to implement specific processes that they may have been considering.

“It’s very different to putting up posters about values or lecturing people about acceptable behaviour – or even heading to HR when something goes wrong.  Posters and lectures can be futile because they feel offensive, or like being told off, and HR is usually ‘an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ situation. Doing this to staff in difficult times could really be seen as setting them up to fail.

“We’ve forgotten to focus on the amazing resource that staff are in themselves. These guys were just spectacular, and we had the best time sharing tips, tricks and plenty of jokes. I’m proud to know them all.”

If you would like to confidentially contact Dr Gamble Blakey, please do on

Published on 6 Nov 2020

Orderdate: 6 Nov 2020
Expiry: 31 Jan 2023