What employees need is org resilience

Org Resilience

1// I’ve been thinking about resilience at work for the last months (maybe it’s years now?), especially how it seems that no matter how resilient any individual is, more resilience is always needed. (And because this is an especially hot topic in my industry of healthcare delivery, for obvious reasons.)

2// Many organizations have started doing more to help employees improve their wellbeing by providing additional wellbeing services. That’s admirable! And necessary. But it’s not going to be enough. Never will be enough. (That’s not to say wellbeing services aren’t helpful.)

3// What I am saying is that, at least when it comes to resilience at work, organizations bear more responsibility than just offering wellbeing services. Organizations need to build resilience into their structures, systems, processes, and tasks.

4// So let’s talk about organizational resilience.

5// Where personal resilience definitions often focus on “bouncing back” from stressors, organizational resilience is more about (in my mind) purposeful adaptation.

6// Organization resilience is important for (at least) three reasons:

  • It transfers part of the resilience burden from individual employees … into the system; or in other words, into the structures, systems, processes, and tasks that comprise the “work” of the organization.
  • It creates adaptive capacity (i.e., the ability to change) in the organization at the team level, where change happens.
  • It provides a path for organization self-managed renewal in response to (constantly) changing environmental conditions. Said another way: it provides a method to adapt to changes in the market.

7// Organization resilience is positive for employees, those in charge (though I always hesitate to make a distinction between the two), … and the organization itself!

8// Professional* resilience is still important because command and control workplaces necessitate a certain amount of professional resilience to deal with the nonsense.

(*I’m distinguishing from personal resilience for no other reason than yeah, stuff happens in life and bouncing back from it is a necessary thing.)

9// Here’s *my* working definition. Organizational Resilience is adapting how work gets done in response to changing conditions inside and outside of the organization, benefitting employees and the organization’s objectives.

10// Probably too vague, but something’s here to work with.

11// Organizational resilience is an operational state, or outcome, for an organization. It’s a leadership philosophy, too: it’s how people create the conditions for teams pursue organizational resilience. And it’s a practice for both individuals and teams.

12// So, yeah, organizational resilience has the power to strengthen an organization, make any organization a better place to work for the people who comprise the organization, and improve patient experience. Three good outcomes.

Through The Work is a talent development studio for healthcare leadership embracing The Transforming—the always-happening, always-unfolding state of change in your job ... and using it to make more of the change you know should be happening, happen.

The Transforming is the most important professional opportunity of our careers—one that will lead to new job opportunities, real change, and a transformed industry for all of us and everyone else.

My name is Drew Weilage and I work in healthcare, too. At Through The Work, I assist people like you with the skills, attitudes, and points-of-view to propel your professional success. It's personal training for a transforming world of work.

Oh, and pep talks! Get a pep talk when you need one: big day, bad day, or any day at all. Text me at 646-450-2465 or send me a note.

Through The Work Writing

Working Out Loud Blog

Ideas and inspiration on The Now of Work to fuel your thinking, learning, and creating. Get inspired.



Navigating The Transforming—the always-happening, always-unfolding state of change in your job—is the path to personal satisfaction, professional success, and real progress. Here's how to do it.

Get Organized To Get creative

Being organized is the foundation of a creative practice and creativity. Here are a series of guides to help you get organized at work. Get organized.

Learning From The (Work) Experts

Talented people have worked on similar problems to the problems we're now solving. Thankfully for us they've shared what they've learned. So let's learn from them.

(Personal) Professional Development

Your current role can be viewed as a platform to get better at the work you do and how you do the work. Your professional development is a you activity. Make it work for you.


Why we work the way we work is important to understand ... so we can create something better. Here's what's happening.