Creating resilient businesses

9 Dec 2015
Sustainable Business Council

Businesses have an important role to play in post-disasterand crisis recovery, according to a new report. The Resilient New Zealandreport has been developed by IAG, BNZ, Vodafone, BECA and the New Zealand RedCross. It draws from the experiences of a number of people involved inthe post-quake recovery in Christchurch and identifies important lessons forbusiness.

According to the report, functioning businesses are criticalto economic and community recovery in many ways – including providing and consuminggoods and services, employing people, paying taxes and contributing to localcommunities.

Some of the key characteristics of resilient organisationsinclude being forward looking, having good crisis planning but also being agileand able to manage when plans change. The report suggests businesses will dobetter in a disaster or crisis if they:

  • Invest in risk management
  • Have well-considered plans and focus on the right things
  • Practise thinking on their feet
  • Make people a priority, and
  • Have a culture of empowerment and trust

One of the recommendations of the report is fororganisations to make people a priority. As part of the study, Mike Sang, CEOof Ngai Tahu Holdings, said "Everything comes back to people, and theearthquake magnified that. We had to recognise personal circumstances whilekeeping the normal business activity ticking over. It became about enablingpeople to do the best they can in their roles, so we created more flexibilitywith people, acknowledging their personal circumstances."

Having strong stakeholder relationships was also identifiedas being a priority. Paul Nicholls from BNZ said "If you're connected withpeople beforehand it is much easier to facilitate things when a crisis hits – onceit does hit it's too late to start seeking those connections."