The Importance of Organizational Resilience

By: Elaine Akester

In a world that is full of rapid pace and constant change, the sustainability and viability of organizations will continue to be tested. Organizations and people alike will continue to be faced with long periods of uncertainty, shifting goal posts, downsizing and redundancies. In the face of all this change, organizations must be able to manage events that require agility, adjustment, and persistence to keep their competitive edge and profitability. Each organization is exposed to their own kind of vulnerabilities and challenges will continue to occur; therefore, enhancing organizational resilience should be a primary goal of any business.


Turn challenges into sources of strength

It’s not enough to acknowledge the need for resilience –organizations and employees need a roadmap. Companies can improve their results by moving beyond traditional practices and fostering resilient organizations. In particular, three shifts are recommended for organizations to become more resilient:

  • Adopt a team-centric approach

  • Dynamically establish clarity

  • Leverage stress to address the root causes of organizational challenges

It is imperative that organizations support their staff in becoming more resilient. e ability to ex and adapt to different circumstances, especially adverse ones is central to having a resilient mindset. Resilient individuals aren’t the ones who never fail; they’re the ones who use failure as fuel to thrive so organizations that wish to turn challenges into sources of strength will need to focus on developing resilience. In-depth research in this area has identified the four core traits that comprise resilience: Confidence, Adaptability, Purposefulness and Social Support.

The academic definition of Resilience is de ned as: “ e ability, in the face of difficulty, to retain flexible cognitive, behavioral and emotional responses” - Source: Neenan and Dryden 2002.

Low levels & High levels of organizational resilience:

The statistics relating to the consequences of low levels of resilience in the workforce are mainly as follows:

  • Sick leave costs – A large extent of absenteeism is due to stress and mental health issues.

  • Reduced or impaired productivity – is relates to the direct consequences of loss of productivity, which is a staggering amount.

  • Reduced engagement with work – the phenomenon of being physically present but with a reduction of effort or engagement.

  • Lack of will to engage with change - When people are less resilient, they are less equipped to deal with change, and tend to resist it, because they are afraid, and are not cognitively as able as more resilient individuals to see the possible benefits in any proposed change.

On the contrary, organizations with resilience are able to:

  • Upgrade capacity for anticipating and responding to opportunities and threats.

  • Acquire the ability to recognize and address vulnerabilities before having a material influence.

  • Coordinate techniques to integrate current management disciplines that back up organizational resilience.

  • Have a better comprehension of the concerned parties and dependencies that support strategic objectives.

  • Promote a culture of joint aims and values. It is important for company leadership to show commitment to resilience through their decisions and actions. Everything starts within the organization and orienting people to resilience requires vigorous and constant action. A fundamental shift in thinking is required in order to bring about the new age of resilience in the workplace. Organizations must step away from squeezing the most productivity from employees and towards enabling employees to take care of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs, thereby building the resilience that is ever so important in today’s business world full of continuous changes.

Important questions to determine how resilient your organization is:

  1. What are the current levels of absenteeism? What is the current staff turnover rate?

  2. How engaged are your people in their work?

  3. How would you rate the overall sense of morale and confidence in your workforce? How do your workforce handle change?

  4. How aligned are your workforce with the overall vision and goals of the organization?

Business world full of continuous changes.

© 2018 by Evolve Magazine