If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that resilience is a critical component of organizational culture and business continuity. It’s not just about surviving either – it’s also the key to agility and prosperity during times of uncertainty. Building a resilient company culture means implementing key strategies within your organization that are permanent improvements to the way things are done.
We tend to think of resilience as a human personality trait, but organizations can learn to develop a “culture of resilience” that enables it to rebound from adversity. Whether it’s war, recession, expansion, globalization, changes in leadership, or digital disruptions, resiliency provides the differentiating factor between being a company that stands the test of time or goes the way of Blockbuster.
So, where do you begin building a resilient company culture? Start with the basics.
Provide clear direction, realistic and attainable goals, ways to measure progress, and model what achieving a quality outcome looks like. It’s also critical to celebrate the wins, no matter how small. When you provide clear direction on what individuals and teams are accountable for, people can mobilize their energy effectively around shared goals.
Lead by Example: You regularly highlight employees’ goal-oriented success stories in meetings and across company communication channels.
Having open lines of communication between yourself and your team members is necessary for reaching and engaging people. Open lines of communication allow for an easier flow of ideas, sharing of just-in-time information, pulse checks on the needs of the company, silo breakdowns, and trust building across an organization.
Lead by Example: You have several regular, multi-format communications vehicles in place such as: monthly business updates, leadership video updates, internal social media engagement, etc.
Successful organizations have cultures where leaders instill deep trust and high expectations across their teams, even when individual working hours, styles, and environments look and feel very different.
Lead by Example: Do your employees agree with this statement? “My manager trusts me to work effectively in the way that’s best for me.”
Additional Resources: Why Deep Trust and High Expectations™ Are Key to Workplace Culture
Organizations that prioritize and make space for frequent moments of high-quality connection among employees see improvements in organizational functioning and resilience, employee physical and mental health, and overall team productivity.
Lead by Example: You take charge of setting up fun events such as virtual happy hours or informal meet ups and they’re well-attended by a diverse cross-section of departments, employees, and leadership levels.
The new virtual business world is making collaboration barriers like silos and lack of visibility all the more apparent. Organizations will have to address the root cause of these issues by ensuring their cultures promote and support psychological safety, open information sharing, and collaboration.
Lead by Example: Your employees work quickly and cross-functionally with other teams and achieve real results.
Neuroscientists have found that during periods of uncertainty, our brains need more time to recover before we can focus on the tasks at hand. It’s important that leaders support people during times of change by showing genuine concern for their well-being and giving them downtime from work.
Lead by Example: You regularly check in on the stress levels of the team — and take action to balance workloads and lessen the pressure on employees.