It’s often said that ‘There is nothing permanent but change,’ and this quote attributed to Heraclitus, circa 500 BCE, is particularly apt in today’s global economy. With challenges such as inflation, a potential recession, and armed conflicts, businesses must remain resilient to survive and thrive.

Resilience can be defined as the ability to recover or adapt after circumstances have changed. This ability is not only important for your company but also for its employees, who must be resilient themselves. As people are a company's most valuable asset, HR leadership plays a critical role in building a resilient business model.

In this article, we'll explore a few strategies to support organizational resilience and your employees' efforts to navigate current and future challenges, including their concerns about rising inflation.

be honest and transparent for a more resilient workforce

With the current global climate, it's no surprise that many individuals are feeling some sense of uncertainty or emotional distress. This has led many workers to prioritize job security and financial stability. In fact, Randstad Workmonitor Report 2023 shows that 92% of workers place job security at high importance and 63% indicate they wouldn’t accept a job that didn’t provide this assurance. 

To provide a sense of stability, your company's leadership team plays a crucial role. One way to achieve this is by fostering an environment of transparent and open communication. By discussing your long-term goals and commitment to employees, customers, and stakeholders, leaders can reassure their team. Leaders must be honest and forthcoming about their company's current position and plan for navigating the chaos and coming out on top. Moreover, be compassionate in any cost saving measures affecting livelihoods — be it layoffs, cutting work hours or reductions in salaries.

If possible you can also leverage health and wellness benefits to help workers better cope with the mental and financial stress during this period of high inflation. Employee assistance programs can provide important support to an overworked and nervous workforce. Financial advisors can also aid in the planning and budgeting for retirement and college savings

promote business resilience with two-way communication

While providing truthful information to employees is critical, the importance of listening and reacting to their concerns can’t be overemphasized. You can’t begin to address employees’ worries if you don’t truly understand them. False assumptions can cause you to waste valuable time addressing the wrong situation.

There are many ways to actively listen to your employees, from surveys to chance meetings in the hall. Consider forming smaller breakout groups of employees to facilitate sharing; sometimes, it helps to mix employees from different divisions or job assignments to obtain a wide range of insights. While you’re gathering information, don’t stop with opinions. Follow-up with your employees, and look for solutions for solving issues together. Employees working day in and day out on the floor may have a unique perspective that can help facilitate workable solutions.

When your business is undergoing difficult times, you may not want to wait for biannual surveys or yearly reviews to gather information and act upon it. Instead, you must constantly be in flux — gathering information, adapting, collecting more data, and adapting once again. The faster you can turn employee data into usable information for managers and leaders, the more quickly your business can institute the changes necessary to meet today’s needs.

female employee in office
female employee in office

evaluate employee benefits and compensation

While salaries are always a much-discussed topic for HR management, they gain prestige during periods of inflation. However, many employees don’t understand how companies determine pay and are unaware of the vast amount of employment taxes and other charges governments take out. In addition, they may overlook indirect wage supplements like free lunches or transportation subsidies and other non-monetary rewards.Therefore, to keep workers on your side, you must ensure they have a good understanding of your company compensation strategy.

For instance, salary increases aren't expected to equal the inflation rate. Instead, most companies rely on cost-of-labor indexes based on their industry, country or size. Explaining this concept to employees can help if you have a backlash of requests for raises to meet inflation rates.

If your company is not in the position to raise salaries, there are many opportunities available to help your employees stay resilient during financial struggles. As mentioned earlier, you can offer financial education classes. Learning how to manage money properly can be life-changing for some individuals.

Finally, it’s not always about the money. Your employees may rejoice over a pay raise, but increased job flexibility in their work day is just as important today. According to our research, 45% of workers wouldn’t accept a job without flexible working hours, and 40% wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t offer some type of hybrid or remote work program. You may find more leeway during salary negotiations by offering remote or hybrid work options or allowing for four-day work weeks, for example. 

invest in employee training and development

A resilient workforce requires ongoing training and development, especially during economic uncertainty. Not only do you, as a business leader, have to be concerned with current jobs, but you also need to prepare for those that will exist in the future and those that will be lost due to changing procedures or product lines. For instance, according to the World Economic Forum, the demand for these roles has already diminished over the past decade in the U.S.A:  

  • computer operators
  • administration assistants
  • filing clerks
  • data entry workers
  • switchboard operators
  • telemarketers

Conversely, these technologies will see the highest level of business adoption and need for skilled workers by 2025:

  • artificial intelligence
  • cloud computing
  • big data analytics
  • internet of things and connected devices
  • encryption and cybersecurity

An upskilling and reskilling program can enhance compensation packages and help workers stay relevant and engaged with your company. For example, offering college tuition reimbursement can encourage workers to remain with the company after they’ve learned new skills. The more your employees grow and develop, the more resilient your company becomes.

office meeting
office meeting

accelerate digital transformation but beware of new risks to enhance resilience.

Digital transformation can mean a variety of things — expanding usage of video communication or email software, integrating AI and blockchain to manage data and supply chain challenges, using the Internet of Things (IoT) to glean insights and efficiencies for business, or moving workloads to edge and cloud computing for enhanced scalability and flexibility. For the future world of work, there are many technologies that companies may be looking to adopt to stay ahead of their competitors. But one thing is certain: As companies progress their digital agenda, an increased focus on privacy and security should be a topmost priority.

Research shows that over 60% of businesses have experienced potential data breaches, with the average cost of a data breach totaling $3.86 million. It's crucial for businesses to invest in comprehensive cybersecurity strategies to protect their employees and customers. Whether it’s best to manage cybersecurity in-house or to outsource, choose a service that secures Wi-Fi, emails, messages, data transfers, video communications, customer platforms, and anything your business does. 

build resilience into your business strategy

One of the most important things any business leader can do to prepare for periods of uncertainty is to make resilience a fundamental part of strategic planning. It's always possible that difficult circumstances - either foreseen or unforeseen - will arise and pose a significant risk to your organization, so it's wise to plan for adversity as thoroughly as you can.

Be proactive in your resilience planning and consider how you would deal with a range of possible scenarios. This will make you better prepared to respond to various challenges with speed and efficiency, rather than rushing to keep up with a situation that is changing quickly.

Building resilience in your strategy will also help you protect your core revenue streams and maintain brand communications during times of crisis. If you would like to learn more about how you can incorporate resilience into your business strategy, download our guide.

about the author
philipp vogel
philipp vogel

Philipp Vogel

district manager

Philipp Vogel started his career as a polymechanic EFZ. Various further training courses led him to strategic purchasing and most recently to Randstad. Philipp has been working at Randstad for 15 years and, as District Manager, leads the branches from Basel to St.Gallen so that they achieve their goals. In his role, Philipp appreciates the daily variety and the great responsibility. In his free time he does kickboxing and is an active Basel carnival participant.

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