What is business resilience and how do you achieve it?

During the pandemic, it became obvious that businesses needed to adapt and evolve to unforeseen events quickly. In a post-pandemic society, this is of no less importance. However, although the imminent dangers of covid-19 have abated, the UK economy is still uncertain, and the cost-of-living crisis is getting worse. Prudent businesses will need to be resilient and flexible to ensure the future success of their organisation in the coming years.

You will be familiar with business continuity, and dedicated meetings may be held once a quarter or bi-annually to assess upcoming risk factors. Still, organisations are increasingly seeing the benefits of building upon day-to-day resilience to ensure an agile mindset.

Business resilience requires organisations to monitor challenges daily and contribute to the ever-evolving company culture by moving away from the top-down management structure and embracing innovation and creativity, including their employees in their values and mission statements.

Challenging the vertical management structure and employing horizontal or matrix communication channels means that your staff can collaborate efficiently and effectively maintain open lines of communication.


So, with this in mind, what will you need to be aware of to assess your business resilience capabilities?

  • Your ability to tolerate risk and what your margins are before the business is irreversibly damaged
  • Access to accurate information regarding your business so you can predict future risk and put a plan in place to diminish the effect
  • An awareness of your resources and how flexible the business is regarding access to finances, funding, people, and assets

The above points highlight why flexible organisations tended to be the ones who emerged from the darkness of the pandemic, still functioning and having embraced change for the future due to more significant profitability and more flexible risk margins.

What are the benefits of long-term business resilience? 

  • Increased chances of surviving challenging circumstances
  • Positive impacts on employee engagement, productivity, and quality of output
  • Financial security
  • Reliable and robust systems ready for change
  • Employees geared towards not just being able to survive uncertain environments but having the ability to thrive

How can small businesses implement business resilience? 

Adopting a flexible mindset, assessing your company culture, and embracing new ways of working are critical to building resilience. One of the most significant beneficial factors to focusing on company culture is that it doesn’t require substantial financial investment, just a willingness and determination to change.

Here are three business traits to implement which will kickstart your journey to an agile mindset – 

Psychological safety

Embrace ideas and encourage your employees to speak up without fearing reprimand or humiliation. Studies suggest that allowing your staff the space and opportunities to do this contributes to higher levels of creativity and innovation, resulting in healthy communication and greater levels of engagement.

Encourage collaboration

Tear down the walls that divide teams and champion combining skill sets for improved problem-solving and quick resolution to future challenges. Teams that work with inter-departmental cooperation will be more resilient and aware of the unique strengths of their colleagues as well as themselves.

Adopt nimble learning

Encourage your staff to be agile learners providing them with the skills to bolster your business in volatile and uncertain times. Convey that you want to allow them to experiment, find new solutions in their day-to-day work, take on new challenges, and learn from both their failures and success.

Lead with compassion and understanding

The behaviours and empathy of your leaders are just as important as being resilient and are part of your company culture.  The same uncertainty and challenges facing your business reflect in the lives of your employees; therefore, be aware of these concerns and promote employee wellbeing. Your business cannot thrive without committed and supported employees.

Initiate a programme for change

Influencing real, lasting change within your company requires you to assess what needs to change and the speed necessary to achieve this. When you have determined what your current weaknesses are and the end goal you want to reach, it is time to set a clear path to change!

So, how do you ensure you develop a successful change plan? 

  • Make sure it is logical and carried out with meaning. To effect the change, reinforce your decisions with evidence from past successes
  • Provide a well-mapped-out plan with achievable goals and logical stepping stones based on meaningful data
  • Be people-centred and ensure you have the right people in the correct positions based on their mindset and ability to adapt; be forward thinking and, where necessary, move people into new roles to enable them to learn and grow
  • Create initiative for rewards and recognition, celebrate your teams’ successes and do not let hard work go unnoticed

Anticipate and plan your strategies toward change; stay prepared; consistently review scenarios and potential challenges at every step of your decision-making.

Motivate managers to consider the potential consequences of external factors when reviewing team and departmental goals, outcomes, and operational stability.

Your business can thrive in an ever-changing world by bringing flexibility into your core values that prioritise business resilience; this allows employees to improvise and focus on innovative solutions to foresee and overcome roadblocks along the way.