How to Increase Resilience Within Your Business Structure

The COVID-19 pandemic has blown several businesses to smithereens. Why? Because they couldn’t adapt.

But the current pandemic is just one example of the stresses the business world is experiencing. As technology advances, competition increases, and businesses become more complex, being able to adapt to sudden, unexpected changes is vital for companies that wish to survive.

And resilience doesn’t come naturally to a business — it has to be thought about and actively implemented via streamlined processes and good policies for a business to avail its full advantage. So let’s take a look at what business resilience is and how you can increase it.

What is resilience?

Simply put, resilience is a company’s ability to manoeuvre successfully through a difficult situation.

While advances in ppm software have made it easier for senior executives to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of all the projects and resources their companies are dealing with, predicting difficult, unexpected situations, and having a solid, resilience policy to overcome them is something a lot of companies are still lacking.

The business world is rapidly changing, with political, social, and legal stressors demanding companies to stay alert to the changes and plan well in advance about what happens when things fall apart.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of the complexity and fragility of modern supply chains and other business aspects. The world is highly interconnected, and small changes in one part can wreak havoc in another.

The pandemic is also an excellent reminder of the high probability of future events of such scale, where businesses will once again scramble to maintain their integrity. This could be prevented if you invest time and resources in increasing resilience within your business structure now, so when a difficult situation arises again in the future, your company comes out of it unharmed.

And here are some steps that you can take.

Ideas for increasing your company’s resilience

1.   Focus on processes

Compared to project management, process management is a neglected discipline. Unlike one-time projects, processes are iterative, and they go on to affect many different projects at once.

Employees within a company usually have a very limited view of a process — they aren’t aware of where it starts, how it ends, and where the inefficiencies lie. This is why investing in business process management is important — it allows the company to take a step back, analyze its core processes, and figure out ways to remove inefficiencies.

Business process management principles also require that all workflows be meticulously written down and stored, which gives employees a thorough understanding of them. When employees have a good understanding of the different processes, introducing changes to them (such as during a pandemic) becomes far easier, and doesn’t lead to loss of productivity, delays, or increased errors.

In other words, focussing on processes will make your organization more agile, allowing it to adapt well to changing situations.

2.   Let go of the IT clutter

Yes, it’s a thing! Today’s businesses make heavy use of information technology, which can lead to the accumulation of overlapping software, systems, and applications over the years. Out of this, a considerable fraction of the technology will be outdated, introducing inefficiencies and errors in the operations of a company.

So just like with processes, it’s a good idea to take a step back and review your company’s IT portfolio to determine what’s needed and what’s clutter.

Getting rid of IT clutter will not only reduce your organization’s IT operations expenditure, but it will also boost the speed and efficiency of your operations. Plus, a fast, agile IT environment will react to changes better. It will also be easier to introduce change in this system. Both of these will grant your company the agility it needs to develop resilience.

3.   Empower your HR department

You might be underestimating HR’s value when it comes to increasing your business resilience. An empowered HR department is critical to developing resilience, because at the end of the day, how well your employees adapt to change will dictate how well your company does the same.

Optimizing processes play an important role in HR as well. Right now, your HR department might be slow, sluggish, and caught under the weight of outdated technology and inefficient procedures.

Digitizing HR (for example, by eliminating paper forms during the hiring process) and automating repetitive tasks can help managers not only choose the right candidates while hiring, but also focus on HR aspects that can introduce resilience within your business structure.

One important HR aspect is building a strong corporate culture, and having employees rely on and follow core company values. Defining clear values is an important part of this process, and managers can only focus their attention on this when they’re not burdened by outlandish practices.

All in all, a resilient (and talented) workforce will translate into a resilient business. And HR is an excellent tool for building a resilient workforce!

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.