How to Shape a Workplace Culture that Prioritizes Resilience

By |2022-11-06T20:46:03+00:00October 27th, 2022|0 Comments

Resilience. The quality of being able to recover from difficulties. While it’s not an easy topic to wrap our heads around, it is one that all companies need to consider in today’s competitive business environment.

Admittedly, workplace culture is difficult to change. It’s not like changing the color of your company logo or even deciding on the direction your organization should take in the next year. It’s a multi-faceted, multi-year process that requires care and precision.

Workplace culture can influence how companies respond to change, how they identify and prioritize critical events (and non-events), and how well their employees can handle unexpected challenges.

Engaged Leadership

Engaged leadership is a crucial element of an organization’s preparedness in the face of great uncertainty. This is when leaders inspire their team members to care deeply about what they do and to be invested in the outcomes, particularly after a tragedy.

It requires leaders to focus on the human side of organizational life, which means fostering connections rather than just focusing on task completion. They must connect with people and encourage them to share ideas and collaborate on new approaches to solving problems.

These connections don’t form naturally; they require leaders to engage with their people actively. A willingness to listen – and act – helps leaders build trust, which generates positive energy throughout their teams.

Leaders also need to connect with their feelings and emotions to understand better how their teams experience work (and life). This will help them become more effective advocates for their employees’ needs at all levels of the organization.

With this approach, engaged leadership results in better business outcomes and higher levels of preparedness because the employees are in sync with the management’s vision.

Investment in Learning and Personal Development

Because resilience requires people to be open to change, they must have a growth mindset – the belief that they can learn anything if they’re willing to put in the effort. Therefore, investing in personal development is key to building a resilient employee base.

Building a culture that supports resilience is about more than just teaching employees how to overcome setbacks. It is also about providing them with the skills and resources they need to thrive in an environment where constant change, fast-paced work, and uncertainty are guaranteed. Employee education is also highly important for addressing cybersecurity risks, which are endemic in today’s business world.

In an interview with Matthew Smith, formerly Chief Learning Officer at Mckinsey & Co., he claimed that 90% of business leaders anticipate a skills gap in their organization. Yet, only 16% believe they are fully prepared to close the gaps.

Organizations must create a learning culture that encourages innovation and continuous improvement by investing in the capabilities needed to achieve these goals. The result is a workforce more equipped to deal with complex challenges, both at work and outside.

Flattened Management Structure

Take a look at the structure of your organization. The emphasis on hierarchy and bureaucracy may be contributing to a lack of resilience. The more layers of governance, the longer it will take for information to reach the people who need it and make decisions.

A flatter organization with fewer layers of management will allow more straightforward and faster decision-making. Flat structures encourage collaboration and innovation, which are crucial to successful organizations. The downside is that it can be difficult to coordinate activities efficiently without clear boundaries.

A flattened structure doesn’t mean that your organization should be without clear leadership or governance. It means that each individual should have the opportunity to thrive and grow and that they should be encouraged and given the tools to do so. This would enable every team member to take responsibility for their part in risk mitigation.

Regardless of the management structure, there must be a rigorous system of accountability and responsibility in place. In flat organizations, people at all levels are empowered in decision-making processes. This makes people more accountable and more engaged at work and ultimately more resilient in the face of change.

Transparent Communication

Organizations can adopt a more resilient culture by ensuring leaders create a work environment that nurtures psychological safety. The more teams adopt and practice transparency, honesty, and respect, the more members will trust one another. And trust is the most valuable currency to overcome a crisis.

Communication is also essential in creating a culture of responsibility. You want to create an environment where people feel safe to express their opinions and voice their concerns. When you encourage open communications, people feel comfortable coming forward when they see something wrong happening.

The first step in creating a culture of transparency is to make sure that there are open communication channels within your organization. A transparent culture begins with mutual respect between all members of the team.

You should acknowledge that everyone has a voice, and as s leader, you need to be willing to listen to their concerns and ideas. The more transparent you are about your goals, the more likely your employees will contribute ideas on how best to achieve them. Transparency creates an environment where people are comfortable asking questions and challenging ideas.

Most people prefer this method because it builds trust among employees, customers, and stakeholders, which leads to better customer service, higher profits, and a more dedicated workforce.


In the end, building a workplace culture that reflects the values of resilience will benefit employers and employees alike. For employers, a resilient workplace fosters employee growth and loyalty while increasing productivity.

For employees, it provides a sense of self-worth through striving to achieve goals, a built-in support network to help with any challenges that may arise, and an opportunity to practice greater levels of self-care.

Resilience doesn’t come from the top. It’s a culture. To make resilience our competitive advantage, everyone needs to build strength in themselves and their teams through engaged leadership, investing in learning and development, and adopting a flatter management structure.

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About the Author:

Kathy Rainey founded the Emergency Lifeline Corporation in 1985 to address the earthquake preparedness needs of businesses and communities. She is the publisher of the Disaster Resource Guide, Continuity eGUIDE and the Risk and Resilience Hub. Connect with Kathy via email at [email protected]

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