Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is organizational resilience?

Organizational resilience is a storehouse of resilience related capabilities built up by employees as they work with one another. This storehouse provides ready competencies for responding to change and adversity that are very hard to build in the moment. They are group based beliefs and behaviors supported (or deterred) by vital conditions in the organization. These can be assessed, developed, strengthened, and sustained as a dynamic capability and a strategic asset.

2. Are there other types of resilience?

Yes. There is individual resilience capacity, which has long been studied as a personal resource. Individual resilience is an input to and a vital condition for organizational resilience as it has been shown to be related to positive behaviors in the workplace. However, organizational capacity must be built together.

There is also more and more attention being paid to community resilience, the capacity for collections of people and institutions to live in sustainable communities that can survive and thrive through changing and even difficult circumstances. Organizations that are resilient are a vital input to community sustainability. Community resilience must be built together.

3. What are the business benefits of focusing on workgroup resilience?

Business is operating in increasingly uncertain times where change and surprise are becoming the norm. Smart organizations are investing in systems, infrastructure, finances, and supply chains that can absorb shocks and endure. We cannot simply expect our most vital asset, our employees, to respond without similar investment. A resilient, change ready workforce, can diagnose and fix, gather and share information, find and use needed expertise, and rely on trusted relationships when risk and innovation is required, perhaps under pressure. As with any other system, such capabilities are best acquired and practiced so they are there when needed and we know organizational supports are in place. That development happens most naturally in the groups that accomplish the work.

Rather than being reactive or hopeful, organizations can take charge of their change capability. From meeting day to day challenges to handling unexpected crises, organizations deliberately building up beliefs and behaviors associated with group resilience – purposeful communication, focused determination, ingenuity and making do, confident competence, and enacted capability will have a hard to replicate advantage. They reap faster recovery, better performance, and more learning. Moreover, this dynamic, creative stability is a contribution to their resilience of their communities.

4. We are resilient. How would we benefit from an organizational resilience assessment?

The collection of data, quantitative and qualitative, can verify observations and assumptions and, most especially, make variation visible. It allows us to be proactive – to find and leverage strengths and to identify potential risks. Assessment is a building block of reliability. Data makes underlying patterns visible for action, for reinforcement and correction, to address potential issues when they are small. An organizational resilience assessment allows you to specifically name your resilience strengths, to tout those to your employees, customers, vendors, investors, and competitors. Knowing your resilience score puts credibility to your claim.

5. How do you measure organizational resilience capacity?

We’ve studied what employees are doing when organizations respond productively to change and adversity. That allowed us to identify a set of specific beliefs and behaviors associated with this resilience capability and test them through the process of scale development. The result is Organizational Resilience Capacity Scale which allows us to assess the presence of 30 key characteristics built up as people work together. With your workgroup in mind, you can take the ORCS ASSESSMENT. With broad participation, we can learn a lot about the ready capacity for resilient response in your organization, making what might be unnoticed visible for reinforcement.

6. What must happen in an organization to support workgroup resilience?

We’ve identified four vital supports: culture and norms, routines and practices, inducements and rewards, and individual resilience. For each organization, these can be detailed out depending on which items are prioritized. From behavioral science, we know that our work-related beliefs and behaviors are constructed through interactions, experiences, messages, and examples at work – with peers, with management, and from stories passed along. If we want to strengthen beliefs and behaviors related to a collective resilience capacity, we need to align these powerful influencers. If we don’t, we can’t sustain their development and they won’t be there when needed.

7. Can resilience be taught?

Yes! As with other skills and competencies, we can learn about and strengthen our resilience and the resilience of our organizations. This process begins with assessment so that developmental objectives are clear and strategies can be crafted. We can reinforce and encourage our strengths and take actions to shore up those lagging competencies. There are skills that can be taught, practiced, and

8. We already do an annual survey. Why add another?

Annual surveys are coming under scrutiny. Pulse surveys that target specific topics that can be assessed and followed to action are being recommended. It’s also important that the voice of the employee is genuinely captured. This is why we include qualitative components to our studies. To understand how resilience competencies are built in organizations, we listen.

9. We do process improvement. Is this same type of effort?

It’s excellent to connect a resilience building initiative to process improvement practices. We follow Plan-Do-Study-Act norms that begin with the collection and analysis of data. We support Six Sigma and Toyota Lean methodologies and encourage the development of resilience competencies to increase project management success. Organizational performance, organizational development, and leadership and talent management disciplines are enhanced by the assessment and strengthening of organizational resilience, as are risk management, mergers and acquisitions, and transformational change initiatives. A value for continuous improvement is a great foundation as are wide spread skills in doing so.

10. How do you get employees to complete the survey?

First, we assure participants about the option to participate and the confidentiality of results.

  • Participation is always voluntary and there can be no consequences for non-participation.
  • Anonymity is maintained. Study data cannot be associated by the researcher with any specific individuals.
  • Data are kept on a secure, third-party server only accessible to researchers.
  • All findings are reported in the aggregate. That is, no individual results are reported. Only summaries of data are reported.
  • We advocate that a summary report of findings is shared with all participants as an object of the study is the broad discussion of the development of resilience strengths.

Secondly, we advise that certain criteria are followed to create an OPTIMAL SURVEY EXPERIENCE. We work with the client to realize these. We want to maximize participation and gain the most return on a resilience building investment.