Resilience program evaluation
As practitioners, we ask ourselves the best way to evaluate a resilience program. We’ve discussed how a resilience program is a holistic approach to enable an organization’s elasticity in response to a crisis. I wrapped up the Road to Resilience series with guidance about metrics and measures. Now, let’s dive in and consider ways to measure resilience program success.
Overall, you want to develop a program structure to establish goals and trail markers on the resilience journey. In their book, The Resilience Framework, authors Tengblad and Oudhuis suggest that Organizational Resilience “incorporates the three key concepts of reliability, efficiency, and change capacity.” From an Operational Resilience perspective, your measures likely align with how well you protect your workforce and can continue to deliver services in the face of outages. It should report on how the org continues serving customers. Your program’s goals ultimately tie back to that corresponding methodology as a program manager.
Metrics for resilience programs
So, a business resilience program’s measurements could include the following metrics. One is how well the program aligns with business objectives and the controls enabling calibration. For example, you could demonstrate customer (i.e., business unit) satisfaction with the org’s ability to respond and recover from events. If it does not align, you analyze and adjust the controls in place.
Resilience program evaluations elements you set controls for should be as straightforward as possible. The metrics assess several critical aspects from an operational resilience lens. One measure would be to rate your data centers and cloud environments. Many companies operate in hybrid cloud environments, so the plasticity of the technological solutions is quantifiable against readiness. Next, the integration of business continuity with risk ought to be evaluated, along with the effectiveness of the company’s response capabilities.
Understanding risk and impact tolerances
Next, you can look at the business’s ability to determine risk and response times. Set metrics for risk identification and response escalation. You can also engage in horizon scanning and measure effectiveness to identify risk. Engage in heat mapping of business risk against past and potentially disruptive events. Finally, determine tolerances for response times and encourage improvements in rapidity.
Analyze these resilience program evaluation measures on an ongoing basis to set metrics to determine what is allowable for the organization. Every business has variations in acceptable downtime or appetite for risk exposure. Said another way, decide the impact and risk tolerances based on prior experience with crises and testing—part of the evaluation process is the business’ appetite for work stoppages and loss.
Sustained viability and elasticity
A defining factor of a resilience program is its ability to plan for the long term. Strategic goals are often three, five, ten years, or sometimes longer. Your program’s successes measures need to coincide with the company’s goals. They should also be flexible enough to be adjustable over time. As much as I want to give you a single roadmap, each business is unique, so the evaluation methodologies will also be.
To do this, your team needs the right level of engagement with leadership and program governance. Executive insights will guide you beyond compliance drag and lift the program to adjust to organizational, political, social, and economic change. Resilience is creating a proactive structure that effectively mitigates crisis impacts when they occur. Creating this synergy will better support and integrate your resilience program by future-proofing it in an ongoing way.
Add talent and employee success measures
Another pillar of resilience program evaluation is integrating talent evolutions. This means that the program should consider the changing nature of the work and workforce. A way to do this is to make the program visible to employees. Launch ongoing education and awareness efforts. Then, measure the effectiveness and knowledge base of the employee base regarding emergency planning and event response.
Making the program is easier to understand and accessible will increase Return on Value (ROV). If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I prefer this over ROI as a Resilience measure. Then, evaluate customer feedback and the employee experience. The heart of resilience is for the company to deal with unexpected events. Contrary to popular belief, the unexpected is likely to occur, and organizations have to be flexible enough to manage the operational uncertainty that disruptive events bring. A successful measure for resilience is evaluating program maturity, including employee readiness.
Less plan counts, more resilience insights
Then, set a maturity or resilience score that corresponds with planning efforts to determine readiness. By doing this, you align high-level program metrics with individualized business scores to provide a picture of overall preparedness. It empowers the organization to understand if it is ready and gives business units insight into their preparation status. Any organization that is not doing this is missing a critical opportunity for awareness of their resilience status.
Ideally, you want to create a clear awareness of how risk, crisis management, business continuity, and critical services protect the company. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) states that operational resilience results from a framework. The structure includes the pillars of “governance, operational risk management, business continuity planning, and the management of outsourced relationships.” UK firms will prove their competency in these areas. Instead of being punitive, a ranking can assist the organization in gauging the current state of resilience capabilities.
An ultimate continuous improvement mindset
Resilience program evaluation is critical for understanding goals and embracing a continuous improvement mindset. As much as it is essential to set goals, benchmark, and share progress with leadership, it is vital to report qualitative aspects. That is why gathering insight about internal customer satisfaction, program knowledge and understanding, and the business’s targets adds to the sustainability of a resilience framework.
Not only do you want your measures to be actionable, but most importantly, they should highlight organizational value. Whatever measures you adopt must connect everyday work to the program’s overarching goals. This approach helps leadership and your team to set realistic priorities. Ideally, you should track daily and measure metrics in one place that aligns with business goals. Doing this connects the work of your team to the overarching organizational goals.
Where it all started - The Road To Resilience
I anticipate firms will rank their progress over time. Similarly, other organizations benefit from benchmarking and ranking the progression of their ability to anticipate and bounce back from crises. Leveraging a resilience metric that helps you to track a company’s combination of strength, flexibility, and elasticity makes sense. For me, future resilience is the synergy of organizational and operational resilience, supported by the pillars of risk, response, recovery, and readiness. Overall, program evaluation helps you to know where you are and where you are going.
‘If you missed my recent series, I invite you to go back to the beginning with The Road To Resilience. Then, continue with the Vision, Strategy, and Program Requirements, along with the Metrics and Measures blogs.