The scars of 2020 will linger for many years to come. Covid-19, lockdowns, a divisive US election, structural inequalities coming home to roost, de-globalisation, ethical failures.

All these shocks have tipped the economy into the worst recession since the 1930s and set China in America’s seat on the world stage. But what is to come may be even worse. We will recover from the reversable impacts of Covid-19 and 2020 politics, but the coming climate crisis is likely to have a deeper impact – and it will not be short-term. In addition, the wave of change to the nature of work driven by AI and robotics is upon us, and may cause as much disruption as lowly CO2.

Covid-19 has made people more aware of the dangers posed by potential environmental threats to our society and economy. And yet we have a short memories: more high rise buildings have been built in New York since 9-11 than before it. With the pandemic crisis still fresh and the looming climate and automation shocks to come, preparedness and resilience should be top of the agenda for any company or government. But will we seize this opportunity and use the Great Opportunity to ensure we build resilience into our future?

Capita is helping organisations to improve their resilience though initiatives that build capacity and agility in technology, security, customer management and people aspects.

So, what is organisational resilience?

Organisational resilience describes the ability of companies and governments to anticipate, respond and adapt to change in ways that ensure positive outcomes for the organisation and its stakeholders. Resilience therefore encompasses notions of foresight and preparedness, of purpose, grit and determination, as well as of agility and flexibility. At the organisational level, resilience involves adapting your entire operating model to ensure better outcomes for operations, information and supply chains in the face of change and adversity.

Resilient organisations are situationally self-aware, and are close to their customers, partners and people. Their strategy and operations are informed by real time data and clear-eyed analysis, rather than dogma and past performance. Risks and vulnerabilities are acknowledged and mitigated. Opportunities are identified and seized.

But not every danger can be planned for, as Covid-19 has taught us. When the unexpected strikes, resilient organisations are able to survive and even thrive in storms which sink their less resilient peers. They carry less unnecessary cost and yet can dig deep into carefully developed reserves of culture, purpose, talent and trust, and other resources such as partnerships, to absorb shocks and bounce back stronger.

Resilient organisations are also agile by nature. They nurture culture, talent and structures that promote learning and innovation to stay one step ahead of change. They adapt fast to avoid the worst shocks caused by changes in customer behaviour, market conditions and competition.

So what can organisations do to become more resilient? Capita is helping organisations to become more resilient through initiatives in data and analytics, cyber security, customer management people and supply chain.

Data and analytics

You need real-time, quality data and actionable insights in order to spot vulnerabilities and prepare your defences. You need to be able to crunch large data-sets to make the best possible decisions about changing customer preferences, products, competition and markets. And you need Intelligent Automation that speeds up routine tasks while keeping people in the loop for sensitive decisions that could mean the difference between thriving or running into serious trouble with public sentiment, regulations or your people. Artificial Intelligence may create $14-trillion in value by 2035, according to one report.

Cyber security

The #1 threat to business continuity has only got worse during the Covid pandemic. Two thirds of knowledge workers are still working from home, and some companies like Twitter may never ask them to come back to the office. With more data and applications moving into the cloud and more devices connecting to the Internet, the rewards for criminals – and risks to business and government – are growing every day.

Customer management

Customers can be your number one source of information regarding risk and opportunity for your business. Resilient businesses put in place customer management systems and processes that are responsive, and train their people to listen, engage and respond to customer needs. And by using technologies such as conversational AI to respond rapidly to customers during challenging times you can instil confidence, maintain your reputation and relieve stress from your staff and customers.

People

Resilience starts and ends with your people: with the right policies and systems in place you can hire for agility and grit, train your people to think resilience and put in place benefits and employee experiences that retain agile and resourceful talent. Resilience starts at the top, with leaders who model agility and promote an agile culture, but it is sustained throughout the business.

Supply chain

The trade wars, closed borders and looming Brexit have forced a complete re-think of the global “just in time” supply chain approach. Companies should look to build resilience into their supply chain through their systems, better analytics, choosing resilient suppliers and local suppliers where possible.

Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of organisational resilience. Capita is helping organisations to understand the areas in which they are vulnerable and begin to increase their resilience. Resilience and agility can be supported by hiring the right people and addressing process and structural impediments.

Thinking about your organisation?