New Orleans — Resilience is key for organizations to overcome and succeed in the face of adversity, and essential for long-term effectiveness and growth. But what factors contribute to organizational and employee resilience? According to a new report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Gap International, Organizational and Employee Resilience Research Report, released today, when faced with the adversity of the pandemic, organizations fell into three resilience categories: a) Thriver (doing better now than pre-pandemic), b) Persister (no change pre-pandemic to now), c) Survivor ("bounced-back" to pre-pandemic levels), and into a non-resilience category, Decliner (doing worse now than pre-pandemic). Employees were categorized into low, average and high resilience based on their behaviors. Several factors were analyzed related to what organizations did and what organizations have that contributed to organizational and employee resilience.
"A resilient organization can keep the workforce going through crisis and protect staff and stakeholders," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer. "The best leaders responded to obstacles with next-level ingenuity—their organizations are not only surviving, but thriving. Leaders can protect their employees and businesses by engaging in swift and continuous communication, removing obstacles to employee empowerment, and ensuring their cultures reinforce collaborative and adaptive behaviors."
The report found that resilient organizations had senior leaders that:
- Prior to the pandemic, were more likely to actively listen for problems in their organization and practice their plans for unexpected situations (not just have plans in place).
- In response to the pandemic threat, were more likely to quickly understand and acknowledge the pandemic as a threat. They also were more likely to discuss and make plans both internally (with key staff) and externally (with other organizations in their sector).
- During the pandemic, were more likely to continuously engage in information seeking and sharing, empower and reward employees for developing new/innovative solutions, and clear a path for implementing solutions by breaking down bureaucratic barriers, coordinating effectively and bringing employees on board to enact changes.
Resilient organizations also had:
- Alignment: Resilient organizations were more likely to have senior leaders endorse a strong sense of purpose and ownership. These leaders know where their organization is headed and take personal responsibility in helping their workforce overcome adversity.
- Resources: Resilient organizations were more likely to have personnel resources available to devote to ebbs and flows of work even prior to the pandemic. Thriving organizations were more likely than non-resilient organizations to have social resources (social connections and camaraderie that employees relied on for information and support).
- Organizational Culture Norms: Organizational culture norms related to adaptability and inclusion were greater for resilient organizations.
"It's only through resilience that breakthrough solutions can happen," said Pontish Yeramyan, founder and CEO of Gap International. "While the pandemic was a test unlike any other organizations had experienced prior, the key takeaways of resilience can be translated to any organization facing any form of adversity in years to come."
The report also examined the experience of employees, finding that the most resilient workers had:
- Supervisors who displayed empathy and inclusive leadership behaviors.
- An inclusive immediate workgroup.
- Personnel and social resources.
- Organizational culture norms related to adaptability and inclusion.
For more information, a live session, "How Leaders Are Building Resiliency" will be held at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022 (SHRM22) on June 14 at 2pm CT. To attend SHRM22, press registration is required. To request complimentary press credentials, contact Mallory Flynn at Mallory.Flynn@shrm.org.
A sample of 620 senior leaders from the U.S. were surveyed using a third-party online panel.
The survey was administered March 24 to March 31, 2022. For the purposes of this survey,
we refer to "senior leaders" as those who are working for an organization with 50 or more
employees and hold a director, vice president or executive role. All senior leaders worked
for their organization for at least three years at the time of the survey. The senior leaders
were 66% male, 73.2% white, with an average age of 42.45 years old.
A sample of 1,007 U.S. employees were surveyed using a third-party online panel. The
survey was administered March 24 to April 7, 2022. For the purposes of this survey, we refer
to "employees" as those who are working as a paid employee for an organization with 50
or more employees and hold a professional or non-manager role (and thus did not hold a
director, vice president or executive role). All employees worked for their organization for at
least three years at the time of the survey. The employees were 57.8% female, 76.9% white, with an average age of 47.87 years old.
Both samples were screened using quantitative and qualitative data quality checks.
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on SHRM to be their go-to resource for all things work and their business partner in creating next-generation workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM.org and on Twitter @SHRM.
About Gap International
For four decades, Gap International has partnered with leaders of the world's greatest corporations to alter their business trajectory and deliver unprecedented growth and results. Gap International works to close the gap between where an organization is and where its leaders want to and need it to be, always obsessed with the next level of performance. The core of Gap International's partnerships is a relentless focus on inventing and delivering breakthrough outcomes. They are experts in building the culture where people can execute brilliantly and fulfill strategy. To learn more or speak with a consultant, visit www.gapinternational.com