How to Make a Resilient Organisation

Resilience for Assessment and development
Published December 2, 2015

Resilience is an individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenges and change, in order to achieve and sustain peak personal effectiveness.

Research has shown that high levels of resilience (also known as mental toughness) can deliver valuable occupational outcomes for individuals.  It can help people make speedy recoveries from problems, reduce stress, improve job performance, develop positive attitudes and sustain wellbeing.

Resilience is equally valuable to all businesses.  One piece of research (Youssef & Luthans, 2007) demonstrated that the average utility of resilience was $4,150 per employee (based on the mean average salary of around $50,000).  The mean number of employees in the organisations used in the research sample was 13,360 people.  This means over $50 million in business performance was attributable to resilience; an undeniable commercial rationale showing there has never been a more important time to employ and develop resilient individuals who are comfortable adapting to change.

What makes an organisation resilient?

While no universally accepted model exists, there are common themes that explain how organisations show resilience as a collective.

  1. System ‘Redundancy’ – Resilient organisations should continue operating in spite of significant organisational shocks. Look at VW for example; financial resources are available to allow the organisation time to recover from the recent scandal.
  2. Diversification – Resilient organisations should flex to unexpected factors that affect their industry. Processes that are overly bureaucratic may slow down adaptation and may result in missed opportunities. By ensuring variety in its activities, an organisation protects itself from localised downturns in areas of its business, which spreads risk.
  3. Security of Resources – Resilient organisations should ensure that they have secure supply chains, funding and people resources.
  4. Organisational Learning – Resilient organisations communicate internally about what is going on in the external environment, allowing people to learn from changes and adjust efficiently.
  5. Strong Leadership -In situations of crisis, leaders need to be decisive, inspirational and communicate effectively to instil a sense of purpose.

How do you create a resilient organisation?

To make a resilient organisation, you need to have people that behave in ways that embody the above themes.

a&dc have created a high quality tool called The Resilience Questionnaire™, which measures 8 elements that we know from research are vital to being resilient; Self Belief, Optimism, Purposeful Direction, Adaptability, Ingenuity, Challenge Orientation, Emotion Regulation and Support Seeking.

After completing the questionnaire, a feedback report is automatically generated to provide feedback to the employee.  For this reason, the tool can be integrated into a range of talent management activities including coaching, self-development workshops, blended learning, organisational change, development of high potentials, management and leadership development.  As the tool can also generate an interview guide for recruitment purposes, you can now easily start measuring resilience to help you recruit the right people in the first place.

Want to find out more?  Head to the Resilience section of our website for some extra materials and information, or give us a call for some advice!

Author: Jordon Jones

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