seedling in the desert
PHOTO: Lubo Minar

Corporate resilience is more important than ever in the constantly changing landscape of modern business. A 2016 survey by multinational business cooperative KPMG found 96% of companies were then undergoing business transformations. Another study found resilience in individual workers makes them more likely to handle this perpetual state of flux well and remain productive.

It's safe to say that every company is currently in a state of flux, so below are some tips to improve resilience in your teams.

What Is Corporate Resilience?

Organizational resilience is a company's ability to withstand disruptions to normal operating procedures. These disruptions can be caused by many different events, such as:

The last example highlights a key difference between corporate resilience and disaster recovery. Disaster recovery provides a framework to handle unanticipated events, while resilience is an all-encompassing concept. Your company should not only be prepared for singular, unanticipated events, but also for the constant change that's required to remain relevant.

Related Article: Has Digital Transformation Left Your Business Continuity Plans Behind?

Why Is Corporate Resilience Important?

Change, in any form, is the most stressful aspect of work for employees. This stress can feel oppressive and lead to undesirable outcomes. In fact, according to the earlier cited study by KPMG, only 47% of firms saw value from their transformation initiatives. Similarly disheartening, disasters and recessions can result in up to 60% of businesses shuttering permanently.

Building a company with resilient employees and teams helps everyone adapt quickly and stay competitive. Unfortunately, according to McKinsey, only an estimated 10% of companies at most can be considered resilient. To safeguard your business from the hardships of change, put together a corporate resilience plan and enact the necessary policies as soon as possible.

How Do We Improve Organizational Resilience?

Here are a few ways leaders can start promoting resiliency in their organizations.

Accelerate Digitization

McKinsey research suggests that businesses with robust, mature digital platforms see more than 7% more revenue than their lagging peers during disruptive periods. This makes sense, as a digital workplace platform can improve communication, employee engagement and overall connection. It can also serve as the backbone of an organization's digital workplace. During unsettling times, these factors provide significant advantages.

Additionally, companies operating without a solid digital workplace may understand their predicament better during these difficult moments and struggle to catch up. This results in a need to increase IT budgets at a time when shedding costs is important. Digital leaders won't have this issue. This two-fold advantage of keeping costs low while reaping the benefits of a digital workplace offers considerable leverage to weather the storm.

Any digitization effort requires the company to invest in training for employees to understand all aspects of their new digital workplace. Workers need to feel comfortable with the tools they use on a daily basis, and teaching them the ins and outs at the beginning lowers confusion later. Any digital workplace platform you implement should also provide high-quality documentation of all tools and integrations so your training staff can create a thorough, easily digestible course.

Related Article: The Digital Transformation Time Line Just Sped Up. Now What?

Solidify Your Company's Vision

While it's true that the only constant is change, a company still needs a stable, coherent vision. These can be broad and able to encompass changing business objectives, but should not be fluid themselves. For instance, a company can have the core value of "Put the customers first" or "Embrace and champion change."

Overarching philosophical mantras like these don't stand in the way of major organizational change. In fact, they make the process easier. Leaders need to emphasize these goals and make it clear that these objectives are what drive every other consideration.

When goals are framed in such a way, employees have a clear and stable motivation, even in the face of perpetual evolution. They will still have the same overall purpose, only the means to get there will have shifted. This is comforting and builds resilience throughout the organization.

Create a Culture of Optimism

The previous two points feed into this final suggestion. If you have an engaged, communicative workforce and a great set of core philosophies, optimism should be a natural consequence. This leads to the construction of a resilient organizational culture. Ways to promote optimism include:

  • Honest, regular communication. During stressful times, people don't want to feel left in the dark. Ambiguity results in increased anxiety, stress and lowered work performance. Speak with employees about the changes being implemented and, more importantly, how these changes will help them in the long run. A comprehensive digital platform lets you share company information and targeted data with those who need to see it. Achieve higher levels of transparency and resiliency by implementing one for your employees.
  • Progress updates. Be transparent about your road map for change and where the company is along the journey. Celebrate important milestones and recognize the many people who helped achieve them. Conversely, be truthful about setbacks and what the company is doing to get past them.

It's important to note that building a culture of optimism doesn't mean selling everything as roses. Own your struggles and remain honest about current outlooks. Employees respect leaders and companies that tell the truth. The key benefit of building optimism is that workers will remain optimistic through adversity. An optimistic company is a resilient company.

As technology continues to advance, resilience will only become a more important aspect of a successful company. With a strong focus on adaptation and optimism, you can handle situations that otherwise would have significantly damaged your business.

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