Building Organizational Resilience: The Power of Communication

Operational resilience isn't just about surviving disruptions; it's about thriving in the face of adversity. Learn how communication is the key to success.

Sofia Von Platen
Sofia Von Platen
5 min read

Crises and disruptions have become more frequent and severe today, building organizational resilience has become imperative. It's the key to ensuring that your company and its people can weather the storm, adapt to change, and continue to thrive. This article explores the critical role of communication in building operational resilience.


Understanding Organizational Resilience

What Is Organizational Resilience?

Organizational resilience is the capacity of a company to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptions, whether sudden or gradual. It's about navigating change and adversity successfully. Disruptions can take many forms, including natural disasters, conflicts, economic downturns, or even global pandemics. The ability to respond effectively to these challenges is essential for an organization's survival and continued success.


The Multilevel Resilience Approach

Organizational resilience involves more than just structural changes; it also encompasses the attitude of a company and its individual employees toward accepting change. This is where the concept of multilevel resilience comes into play. It starts with each individual within the organization. Supporting employees in establishing their personal resilience is crucial. When employees are prepared for change and feel confident that their supervisors and peers appreciate their role in managing change, the organization can evolve and navigate through challenging times effectively.


The Key Focus Areas of Organizational Resilience

Organizational resilience has two primary focus areas:

  1. Organizational Structures: These structures enable a company to respond flexibly and sustainably to change.
  2. Interpersonal Interaction and Communication: This applies to communication at all levels, from management to teams and individual employees. This is known as multilevel resilience.

The key here is that personal and organizational resilience should reinforce each other. When every individual within an organization is prepared for change, the organization as a whole becomes more resilient.


Building Resilience in Organizations

The Importance of Resilience

While it's evident that building organizational resilience is essential, it's surprising that only a small percentage of organizations prioritize it. Research shows that companies with higher resilience levels are more likely to survive in challenging times. The world's top analysts are in agreement: building organizational resilience is a top priority in 2023. According to McKinsey's findings, businesses indicate that they experience disruptions lasting one month or longer approximately every 3.7 years, leading to cumulative losses amounting to nearly 45% of a year's EBITDA over a ten-year period.


Creating a Resilient Organization

Building organizational resilience requires a holistic approach, and it starts with leadership. Stress often results from change, and the approach to change is critical. It involves training employees on emergency response procedures, encouraging open communication, and fostering a sense of shared responsibility for the organization's well-being. A resilient culture at work is built on trust, transparency, open and candid discussion, and empowerment of employees to use their voice and experience to navigate the organization through periods of duress.


Resilient People for Resilient Organizations

In 2021, McKinsey identified six crucial dimensions of business resilience. These include financial, operational, technological, organizational, reputational, and business-model resilience. However, at the core of these dimensions, there's a human context. This is where the role of communication becomes critical.

Organizational resilience reflects the ability of a company's most valuable asset—its people—to work together with shared purpose. Effective communication is the glue that holds organizations together and empowers employees to adapt in the face of adversity.


The Role of Communication in Operational Resilience

Communication as the Backbone of Resilience

The World Economic Forum's 2022 report on organizational resilience highlights the significance of people and culture. Effective communication during a crisis and a committed workforce are key factors in weathering tough storms. Resilience is not just about operational philosophy; it's about building a resilient culture at work. This involves transparency, open discussion, and empowering employees to navigate periods of duress.


The Essentials of Effective Communication

Good communication plays a decisive role in creating organizations that can adapt in the face of adversity. It fosters deeper understanding, reveals critical points of potential failure, and is constant, pervasive, and monitoring in nature. Communication enables a stable organizational culture, guides employees through adversity, and aligns teams throughout ongoing change, ultimately improving organization-wide efficiency.


How to Foster Organizational Resilience through Communication

To promote organizational resilience through effective communication, it is essential to embrace a set of principles and practices encompassing empowered leadership, cultivating a culture of continual adaptation, facilitating transparent communication, soliciting employee input, articulating the company's vision, monitoring the organization and its surroundings, instilling resilience, investing in technology, revising and enhancing governance frameworks, and formulating a crisis management strategy. These components collectively contribute to the formation of a resilient organization.


Utilizing Employee Communications Apps for Operational Resilience

Today organizations have a powerful tool at their disposal to bolster operational resilience: employee communications apps. These apps, equipped with features such as live chat, surveys, pulse surveys, newsfeeds, announcements, and access to employee manuals, play a pivotal role in strengthening communication and fostering resilience.

Live Chat: In times of crisis, real-time communication is vital. Employee communications apps with live chat functionality enable instant, direct communication between employees, teams, and leadership. This feature allows for immediate information sharing, problem-solving, and support, reducing uncertainty and anxiety.

Surveys and Pulse Surveys: Employee feedback is a valuable resource for building resilience. These apps enable organizations to collect feedback through surveys and pulse surveys, helping identify areas of concern, measure employee sentiment, and gain insights to improve resilience strategies.

Newsfeeds and Announcements: Keeping employees informed is essential for a resilient organization. Newsfeeds and announcements within the app provide a centralized platform for spreading crucial information, updates, and emergency procedures.

Employee Manuals: Access to digital employee manuals ensures that employees have the necessary information at their fingertips, even when working remotely. This feature simplifies onboarding and equips employees with the knowledge needed to navigate disruptions effectively.

By integrating these features into an employee communications app, organizations can build a resilient culture, improve communication, and empower employees to adapt and thrive in challenging times.

Interested in seeing how Empact can strengthen your organization's operational resilience? Book a demo today and explore its capabilities.


Strategies for Fostering Operational Resilience

Emotional Regulation and Coping

Emotion regulation and distress tolerance are crucial aspects of fostering resilience. When confronted with emotional impulses like anger, sadness, or frustration, it's essential to take a step back, practice coping skills, and plan how to return to the conversation from an assertive standpoint.


Techniques for Being Present

Tools like orienting, grounding, and pendulating help individuals stay present in the moment, enhancing positive emotions. Meditation and self-compassion exercises bolster resiliency and non-judgment towards self and others.


Art, Movement, and Play

Engaging in art, movement, and play fosters resiliency. These activities help individuals get into their bodies, express themselves, and connect with others. Creativity and expression are essential for building resilience.


Challenging the Negativity Bias

Challenging the negativity bias, which gives more significance to negative feelings and events, is essential for building resilience. Tracking the negativity bias, eliciting feedback from others, and finding evidence to the contrary are effective strategies.


Feedback and Communication

Giving and receiving feedback is vital for effective communication. Honest, non-judgmental feedback from trusted ones can help individuals see themselves and their work more clearly. Implementing a structure for providing positive and constructive feedback can be valuable.


Resiliency-Prompting Statements

Resiliency prompting statements help individuals shift from a trauma state to a more resilient one. These statements prompt individuals to explore how they got through difficult experiences and can be used to initiate a positive shift in communication.



In conclusion, operational resilience is a crucial aspect of an organization's ability to weather disruptions and adapt to change. Effective communication is the backbone of operational resilience, enabling organizations to navigate adversity successfully. By fostering resilience at all levels, from individuals to leadership, and by following the recommended strategies for fostering resilience, organizations can thrive even in the face of challenging times. Let's prioritize organizational resilience and create a more resilient world for all.

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