Faster product development cycles and rapidly evolving technologies are accelerating business disruptions. Companies facing recurring transitions typically respond by cutting costs, exiting a geographic area, streamlining supply chains, or revamping their brand. We surveyed 954 managers in North America and Europe to better understand the keys to surviving disruption and found that a majority of respondents felt they had successfully managed through upheavals. Surprisingly, most deemed the above strategies as less important to their success than investment in their work cultures to develop workforces capable of reacting nimbly to the blistering pace of disruption.
- To become more resilient in the face of sudden change, most respondents felt it was just as important to improve the way their people work and to update their skills as it was to introduce new technologies.
- Integrate People and Strategy. Many survey participants felt they were effective at managing disruption. Of these, 77% reported that their business and people strategies were closely linked. In contrast, only 35% who said that their business and people strategies were minimally integrated reported high success.
- Show Employees They Are Valued. Empowered and engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile to help their company succeed in times of adversity. Indeed, 80% of respondents to our survey who felt they successfully managed disruption believed that employee communication and engagement were highly important to their success.
- Invest In Workforce Development. Another way managers successfully persuade employees to stay on and help their companies survive disruption is by investing to improve their skills. An overwhelming two-thirds of respondents felt that updating working practices and skills — along with adding new technologies — was key to managing disruption. In contrast, only 44% of managers felt that downsizing worked.
- A Disruption-Ready Culture. The very factors that build resilience and bolster a company through potentially jarring transitions are the same as those that will create an employee-friendly environment that may prevent it from being blindsided by change. In an age of technical wizardry and virtual solutions, an age-old solution may still hold sway: It’s an engaged and committed workforce that makes a company great.
Category 1: A new, better world for everyone
[genioux fact extracted from MIT SMR]
Authors of genioux fact
Invest In People to Best Manage Through Disruption, Bill Heath and Antonios Christidis, February 05, 2020, MIT SMR.
Bill Heath and Antonios Christidis are partners in the Organizational Effectiveness practice of global consulting firm Oliver Wyman.