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26 April 2023

Building Resilient Organisations

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, crisis and disruption are the new normal. Unprepared organisations are falling behind as innovation, employee engagement and business performance all suffer. So, how do organisations survive and even thrive in this environment? The answer lies in resilience.

Business psychologist, Sandra Ordel, shares her insight into organisational resilience, and explores how, in the midst of crisis, you can make it your strategic advantage.

What exactly is organisational resilience?

Organisational resilience refers to an organisation’s ability to weather disruptions and changes in the business environment. Resilient organisations can make positive adjustments and innovate despite challenging conditions, and they ultimately recover from adversity faster and more effectively. 


The 6 hallmarks of a resilient organisation  

1 . Resilient organisations see crises as a key business driver

When crises hit, resilient organisations look for the opportunity to leverage their competitive advantage, and they make future-oriented decisions that allow them to shape the post-crisis landscape. 

2. Resilient organisations have a clear purpose   

Human-centric management also prioritises psychological safety. In a psychologically safe environment, employees feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. This creates an atmosphere of innovation and creativity, where employees are encouraged to experiment and try new things.

3. Resilient organisations are optimistic systems   

Organisations that maintain a positive outlook keep moving towards their goals, even in the face of setbacks and challenges. They celebrate success and learn from failures, and they develop a sense of community and togetherness that inspires employees to work together to overcome obstacles. 

4. Resilient organisations are innovative in times of adversity   

Resilient organisations have an open, adaptive and innovative response to change and challenge. They understand that innovation is key to staying ahead of the competition and meeting the changing needs of their customers. 

5. Resilient organisations are learning organisations   

Learning organisations have a growth mindset that enables them to learn from events. They continuously refine their understanding of current operations and the environmental context. Their leaders are actively curious, and following a crisis, reflect on what they did well and what they could do differently next time. 

6. Resilient organisations are made of resilient people   

A resilient workforce is energised, flexible, solution-focused, purposeful and connected. They recover quickly, and are able to bounce forward, growing through adversity. 


Building organisational resilience

Building resilience requires a deliberate effort and a sound strategy that engages everyone in the organisation.   

The role of leaders

  • Routinely monitor their organisation for vulnerabilities and signs of pressure and stress.   
  • Invite diverse perspectives to their decision making and be aware of the strengths that diversity brings.   
  • Monitor the main drivers of stress and burnout across their organisation and proactively look to address them.   

The role of managers

  • Create opportunities for their team which use their unique strengths.   
  • Promote a culture of psychological safety where team members feel safe and able to speak up, present ideas and admit mistakes without fear of negative repercussions.   
  • Discuss business performance and critical updates in a transparent manner to build trust in their teams.  

Learn more about our programmes for developing human-centric, resilient managers.   

The role of employees

  • Build awareness of the impact of change and disruption on their own wellbeing.   
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms.  
  • Regularly evaluate how their habits impact their wellbeing and performance at work.  
  • Actively participate in wellbeing strategy planning.  


In a complex business environment, organisational resilience has become a critical factor in ensuring long-term success. Resilient organisations adapt to change, mitigate risks, and recover quickly from setbacks. They benefit from increased engagement, lower staff turnover, and improved productivity. 

This doesn’t happen overnight; the important thing is to make a start, measure the impact and improve as you go.  

To find out more, download our complete guide to organisational resilience 

About the author

SANDRA ORDEL is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist at The Wellbeing Project. She has extensive consulting experience within a wide range of organisations and industry sectors.

Organisational Resilience: The Essential Guide

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