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Building resilience better than before

HSBC have published their new Navigator report entitled “Resilience: building back better”

Written by Tom Forrest, Managing Director, SH Consulting

HSBC have published their new Navigator report entitled Resilience:  building back better.  Surveying 2,600 companies across 14 countries the findings resonate strongly with conversations we at SH Consulting and Sheffield Haworth are having with clients on a daily basis.

Building resilience goes way beyond cyber.  Yes that is an important element in ensuring a business can function through crisis but it is by no means the whole story.

The businesses that have fared the best through Covid-19 derive their resilience through a multifaceted combination of factors including:

1.  Strong balance sheet

2.  Focus on sustainability

3.  Building a culture of innovation

4.  The ability to adapt to change quickly

5.  Valuing their employee & customer relationships.

These are the insights from the HSBC Navigator report which stood out for me:

Companies that build resilience into their DNA will better weather crises.

This might sound obvious but firms who try and mend the roof whilst it is raining will struggle.  You need to look at resilience now.

At a time of great challenge and change, culture emerges as a cornerstone of business resilience.  A healthy organisation can set a business apart. Culture can create sustainable advantage given it is unique to a business.

I wholeheartedly agree with this point.  Sometimes culture is defined as ‘what happens when no one is looking’ and when you factor in the huge growth of remote working you get a sense of how closely culture is linked to productivity, agility and resilience.

Companies are seeking to become more agile, both to build resilience and equip themselves for a future characterised by change.  

The survey revealed that only 1 in 5 businesses feel their infrastructure and culture are sufficiently agile.   On the basis that more agile firms have fared better through Covid-19, it is clear that leaders need to understand what agility looks like for their business – and it will be different for everyone.  How you combine culture, purpose and technology will define your business.

85% of businesses surveyed see environmental sustainability as a priority.

This is absolutely a growing trend.  ESG is everywhere and, linked to culture, we are hearing more and more from our clients that they want to be seen to be walking the talk and running truly sustainable businesses.  ESG has moved beyond a vague marketing promise to be a key business driver.

91% of companies agree that the need to reassess their operations would allow them to rebuild on firmer environmental foundations.

The old adage to ‘not waste a good crisis’ springs to mind.  Now is the time to incorporate ESG into your thinking.

What will be the biggest barriers to your business becoming more resilient over the next 6 months?  33% said employee morale. 

This was the highest percentage response to this question.  By some margin.  HR and business leaders of the world it is time to raise your game.

The most resilient firms are looking to invest in innovation, rather than cut costs, as they emerge from this crisis. Taken together, the data suggest businesses are prioritising investment in automation, but this is not at the expense of the workforce. 

In terms of future business priorities, automation was the top business priority for almost one in four companies, of equal importance to tools to enable virtual meetings and collaboration.

So how does your business stack up?  Are you thinking about your culture, your purpose, your technology and how agile and resilient you are?  Because if you aren’t, you can be sure your competitors are.

To hear our perspective on resilience please watch our webinar featuring specialists in coaching, leadership and transformation.