Five steps to organisational resilience, in the new normal

June 12, 2020
Lily-Rae Hewitt Jasilek

Resilience is now, after a global pandemic, recognised as a crucial factor in the workplace. In the increasingly and endlessly turbulent context of today and tomorrow’s working world, the resilience of both individuals and organisations becomes paramount in order to survive and thrive. Employers have an opportunity, and some may say an obligation, to help build more resilience in their workforce today. To accomplish this, there are five things they’ll need to focus on:

1. Proactive approach

Are you willing and prepared to adapt before being forced to do so? Be two, or better more, steps ahead of the necessary. This will stretch your focus beyond incremental improvements, and make real changes to your future workplace.

Many now have the technology in place to facilitate remote working for their people. But beyond having the practical tools to achieve this, employees must have the emotional support they need to work from home productively.

Remote working is here to stay and that may mean adapting policies and benefits offerings to support those who choose to continue with it in the long-term. The approaches that worked for an office-based workforce is unlikely to work for a remote one. That means giving people the tools and training they need to do their jobs from anywhere and providing benefits that help them stay connected to their organisations.

2. UpSkilling and ReSkilling for the new world of work

In today’s ever-evolving and highly competitive business environment, these are critical components of an effective business strategy. By promoting continued learning and development as part of its company culture, a business can boost employee job satisfaction, remain competitive and increase its bottom line by bringing out the full potential of an existing workforce.

But further than that, building skills is one of the most effective ways to endure hardship. Developing and strengthening the organisation’s agility by promoting a broad set of skills and behaviours that enable resilience in the workplace are a good return on investment.

At its core, this is a transition from the traditional blended learning model to a new, fully virtual one, which we’re calling, blended online learning. Blended online learning is a mix of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) and on-demand online learning.

Now’s the time to be shifting budgets and programs to digital. Research confirms that retention levels of online training are higher than face-to-face facilitated sessions. Therefore, blended training approaches lead to higher levels of retention for learners. This will, in turn, ease the pressure on learning budgets and the need to reach a wider audience in lesser time.

3. Dynamic leadership

Employers must lead the way, this level of change can only be successful if coming from the top-down.

Make this time about your leadership journey. A journey to become more competent individuals, efficient managers and dynamic leaders. This quest involves sharing your unique experiences, learned principles and fundamental leadership lessons. It’s not just about your ability to adapt to the change.

Leadership is a process, not a position.

Take the L&D manager, for example, previously their role was to fundamentally assist in the organisation’s success, by coaching and developing its people, now their priority has shifted to include employee wellbeing too.

4. Supporting mental health and wellbeing

Perhaps more than ever, supporting physical, mental and financial wellbeing has to be front and centre in these challenging times. Providing an easy way for employees to access support from outside the organisation and clearly communicating what’s on offer will help them feel more appreciated and secure within their organisation. It will be crucial to explore the role and application of resilience and wellbeing in the working world.

Take time to outline some key approaches that will show you how to incorporate mindfulness in your working day and understand the real value and benefit of business wellbeing at work.

Acting on this can go from allowing yourself, and your team to take detachment breaks, to reimbursements on online shopping for wellbeing essentials – there are countless options out there that can make a difference. Regular consultation with your people will help identify the most valuable and effective. The time is now to manage your wellbeing and create an environment for others to manage theirs, within your company, your team and in your own self.

5. Strong corporate culture

Culture is a nebulous concept and is often an undefined aspect of an organisation. At the heart of organisations’ cultures are commonly shared values. If these have not been defined yet, set some time. Think about company traditions, rituals, behavioural norms, symbols and your general way of doing — if you’re not happy with these, put things in place to change them.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the resilience skill set is the ability to cultivate compassion — both self-compassion and compassion for others. Compassion and business effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. Rather, individual, team and organisational success rely on a compassionate work culture.

To conclude, ensure you’re focusing on the long-term view. How are you planning to avoid solely responding to short-term financial goals? Resilience isn’t just about your responsiveness to change, or your crisis management, but your ability to bounce back, better.

Don’t leave anyone behind. See your organisation as a collective being; you must move as one. Invest in your people! Do you include and recognise everyone’s responsibility and contribution to the business? There is a much deeper reason to investing in your employees than good feels. Investing in your employees is a great business opportunity. It builds you a solid reputation in the marketplace. All companies want to attract the best possible talent over to their camp.

Success will inevitably require a combination of stakeholders — business, government, and individuals — driving change. Organisational resilience is a strategic imperative for an organisation to prosper in today’s dynamic, interconnected world. It is not a one-off exercise but achieved over time and for the long-term.

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