Challenging Times Call for Resilience
New research by MHR International, the HR, payroll and finance experts, has highlighted the challenges facing mid-size UK and Ireland companies in today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world as they compete with the power of the multinationals and the agility of start-ups.
MHR surveyed over 500 senior leaders from businesses employing between 500 and 5000 people to discover how resilience is key to navigating change and challenges. These businesses face similar challenges – three quarters regard stakeholder expectations around growth as a major challenge, while over 70% are concerned about staying ahead of competitive start-ups.
Challenges come in different colours and shades. The early 1990s recession coincided with the threat of war after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) destroyed thousands of businesses and even brought some financial institutions to their knees. Running, steadily, through all of this was the take-up of new technologies – changing workplaces forever.
In 2020 and 2021 we experienced an unprecedented crisis. No one alive had ever been through a global pandemic of this scale before. Governments, society and businesses faced a challenge unlike any other – the situation further exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and war in Ukraine.
The organisations who successfully navigated these crises – be it the pandemic or further back in time – had several things in common. High on the list: resilience. Resilient organisations not only survive tough times, many use the experience as a catalyst for change.
What Do We Mean By ‘Business Resilience’?
MHR describes resilience as having everything you need to ensure the survival and growth or your enterprise in an increasingly unpredictable and fast-moving world. At its highest level, business resilience is being in control of your company performance. This relies on several conditions, most critically:
Having flexible resource availability to guarantee access to financial resources/funding, people and assets as and when you need them
Having a clear understanding of your business risk tolerances – how far your business can flex without breaking
Having the accurate business data and modelling that enables you to predict and react to what is likely to happen, before it happens.
The Three Is Framework
All the points above are underpinned by what MHR call the Three Is of the resilient-ready organisation. This is a framework that highlights the most important building blocks of a resilient organisation, ensuring that you are in control and able to successfully navigate business risk.
Inspired Individuals: You are able to effectively recruit, lead, empower and energise your most valuable resource: your people.
Insightful information: you can deliver the accurate inputs, outputs and reporting that are fundamental to good decision making and compliance. You know where information comes from and how it flows and reports across the business and use this information to model scenarios in order to manage future costs and risks.
Intelligent integration: your data, systems and teams are brought together in a user-friendly, secure way for superior visibility and agility across the entire business.
Benefits of a Resilient Business
Strong levels of resilience will position a business well during – and then coming out of – a challenging period. Longer term, business resilience impacts positively on productivity, work quality, employee engagement and performance. Engaged employees working in a strong, financially secure culture with robust systems, good leadership, and contemporary technology indicate a resilient workforce and culture. Resilient workforces often do more than merely survive uncertain times, they can thrive.