September 21, 2023

Business Active

business the management

Are business organizations ready for another pandemic?

4 min read

Some economists have forecast that the Philippine economy will improve by the end of this year. No less than former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua believes the economy will return to its pre-pandemic state before 2022 ends, according to a statement his office released earlier this year.

A month ago, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed full capacity for indoor gatherings and activities for fully vaccinated individuals. This latest directive of the agency indicates that we are gradually winning the war against COVID-19. However, just when everybody started having a sense of normalcy, and most establishments began operating normally after more than two years into the pandemic, COVID-19 cases have risen again.

The Department of Health and OCTA Research have confirmed that new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila increased a month ago. On top of this, health authorities are continuously monitoring the different entry ports of the country in case a new virus, like the monkeypox, reaches our borders.

As a proactive response, employers are again encouraged to implement their work-from-home arrangements to help contain the spread of the virus.

Are business organizations in the Philippines prepared to face another wave of crisis?

To mitigate the debilitating effects of another crisis from disrupting business operations, most business leaders have started to think of ways to future-proof their businesses. Management and organization scholars have dedicated considerable time and effort to understand how organizations can avoid operational paralysis and become resilient enough to survive another crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resilient Organizations, a consulting and research group specializing in organizational risk and resilience, has identified three interdependent attributes and thirteen indicators that affect an organization’s response and recovery practices. More about that can be viewed on their website. In line with this, a study I conducted last year about organizational resilience, or how organizations bounce back after experiencing a crisis, confirmed that the three interdependent attributes of leadership and culture, networks and relations, and change readiness affect an organization’s response time during an emergency.

Practices that increase organizational resilience

Out of the thirteen resilience indicators, organizations said that breaking silos, planning strategies, leadership, staff engagement and effective partnerships helped them during the implementation of stricter measures last year.

Practices that pertain to breaking silos include clear and continuous communication plans, seamless coordination across all levels and teamwork. For planning, having enough cash on hand helped one organization implement its contingency plans. For leadership, they identified that having top-driven clear directions and responsive leaders kept them afloat during the pandemic. Being open to employees’ ideas and having new techniques in managing people were the practices mentioned for staff engagement. At the same time, active collaboration and adjusting to stakeholder needs were considered essential practices in creating effective partnerships.

Measuring Organizational Resilience

Several tools and instruments are available to measure organizational resilience. The Benchmark Resilience Tool, Resilient Organizations, and The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs are among those available online. The Benchmark Resilience Tool has three versions: BRT53, a survey composed of 53 questions, BRT13-A, and BRT13-B. The last two are shortened versions of the BRT-53, composed of 13 questions representing one question per indicator.

Resilient Organizations is a social enterprise based in New Zealand. It helps different organizations become future-ready by developing or improving resiliency among organizations. Its organizational resilience tool is available upon request on its website.

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs developed an Organizational Resilience Health Check tool that uses the thirteen leading indicators grouped into three organizational resilience factors: leadership and culture, networks and partnerships and change readiness.

The tools can help business leaders and risk managers gauge where they are in terms of overall organizational resilience. No matter how much organizations prepare, crises will affect their operations. Only resilient organizations will survive them. The ultimate test of resilience is measured during a crisis.

Prepare now before another crisis hits your organization.

Cholo E. Javier is the Associate Dean of the Milleret School of Business and Management for Women at Assumption College San Lorenzo. He is also a Doctor of Business Administration student at the Department of Management and Organization of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University. His research interests include organizational resilience, organizational development, and human resource development. He can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.

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