The pandemic has undeniably put businesses to the test. It has forced organizations to evaluate their current structure, workforce, and practices, and whether those are prepared to handle crises as they come and go. In short, their resilience is being challenged. The great thing about tests is that they’re also opportunities for learning. One major lesson to take away from our current situation is the importance of building a resilient business.
But first: what does it mean to be resilient?
The dictionary definition of resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties or changes in circumstances. How easily you can bounce back from challenges is a measure of how tough you are, an ability that can also apply to organizations. A business must have the capacity to quickly and constantly adapt to the changes around and within it.
However, it should always go a step beyond disaster recovery; that’s just one part of the equation. A business must also be proactive by preparing even for the unexpected. That way, it can cushion the blow of a difficult situation. The most obvious example of this is the ongoing health crisis, which has created logistical and financial challenges, among many others.
With that said, here are some ways to set up the business to prepare, endure, and recover from unpredictable and challenging situations.
Look Beyond the Numbers
Business leaders normally measure a company’s success by numbers. How much is made in sales and how many hours employees put in are just some common examples. Though vital, these figures don’t paint a complete picture of how resilient your business actually is. One aspect that businesses miss, and one that is crucial, is the resilience of its employees.
First and foremost, employees must be involved in the planning and decision-making process of the company. You can encourage this through small initiatives, such as suggestion boxes and employee surveys. Form committees to gather ideas and give feedback if you have a big workforce. Employees might be more comfortable in voicing out their opinions and ideas in smaller groups. The point is to hear out their input, given that they are the ones who will see through the business’s continuity during and after a crisis.
Ensure that employees undergo continuous training and learning, both in terms of their soft and hard skills. Provide workshops, webinars, and development courses to keep their skills sharp and updated. If it’s not within your budget, you can still improve skills as a team by starting a peer-to-peer coaching ecosystem, job shadowing, and mentorship programs.
Finally, support their overall health especially when times are tough. This can easily be done through team building activities, regular meetings, and one-on-one check-ins. Demonstrate empathy by adjusting to their personal situation, especially if they’re having a difficult time adjusting to new working arrangements. If your employees are working efficiently, then your business will withstand future challenges.
Be More Collaborative
Apart from maximizing the workforce’s performance amidst uncertainties, it is crucial for leaders to encourage collaboration at every level of the company. Start by making it easy for clients to reach out to you. Make an effort to consistently respond to their queries on your Facebook page, for example. Or send out email updates regarding progress, data, and any information each client will find useful. A business that can collaborate with its customers, whether through crowdsourcing ventures or on social media, will be much more able to problem-solve and adapt to changing needs and trends.
Fostering collaboration within your team is also a must. The challenge for teams today is to do this away from each other. Fortunately, many programs are designed for collaborating in the digital space. All you have to do is choose the right one for your team. Use Slack to facilitate messaging and organizing channels, and Zoom for your face-to-face meetings. You can also explore project management tools like Trello and Asana, and share files through Dropbox or Google Drive. These options work great and are affordable for teams of any size. They’re indispensable in creating a collaborative remote culture and strengthening business resilience. In doing so, you can respond to issues as they emerge in real time. When communication is fragmented, you create delays and gaps in your business operations, which hurt your chances of making a quick recovery.
Consider a Change in Business Structure
Change, regardless of how drastic or modest it is, can have a huge impact on even the most resilient business. One big change you should consider is your business structure. Note that this requires a lot of decision-making involving your constituents, since going through with it could change many of your business’s internal structures as well. This might also be more difficult for larger companies, like corporations.
This applies mostly to sole proprietorships and partnerships who might want to consider shifting to a limited liability company (LLC). One of the significant benefits of registering as an LLC is that it reduces your personal liability. Not only does it take away the headache caused by double taxation, but you will also draw a clear line between your personal and business assets. In these uncertain times, a business that is hit with any form of litigation could suffer huge financial losses or even be forced to downscale. Protect yourself from incurring those losses personally so it will be much easier to keep the business resilient through setbacks.
All things considered, we cannot stress the importance of a resilient business enough. These trying times exposed how quick businesses need to react because operations can be upended overnight. When that happens, you don’t want to be caught off-guard. You can avoid this by putting a premium on human capital and their ability to adapt change, even before any challenges arise. From this, you can gain a competitive advantage for whatever challenges may arise in the future.
To further foster resilience in your company, you should include it in your company playbook! Here, you’ll find your business’s mission and vision, core values, organizational structure, and more. It’s a great way to keep everyone in the workforce aligned towards a certain goal. Best of luck!
Article was specially written for avratalent.com by Andrea Owens