Our Resigility team had many opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate our company name, a combination of “resilience” and “agility.” We also had the good fortune of helping our clients use these core attributes to quickly adapt and overcome challenges, especially those resulting from the pandemic. That’s why I wanted to start the new year by reinforcing our ongoing commitment to improving the resilience and agility of corporations, government agencies, communities and beyond, since these key capabilities are more important than ever.
Last July, I highlighted how Resigility was better prepared for remote work because our team frequently worked from home before the pandemic hit. Using our teleworking experience and best practices, we supported the 16,000 employees of a federal public health agency to make a smooth, seamless transition from its headquarters to a virtual environment.
By collaborating with this agency’s chief information officer and team, we rapidly created innovative models for employees to sustain operations, continue delivering vital services and information to the public and other stakeholders, and fulfill its critical role in addressing the coronavirus. Like many organizations, this agency faced two initial hurdles to enabling remote work and continuity of operations:
Equipping employees with laptops, mobile phones and secure internet connectivity to work from any location, on any device.
Rapidly delivering the necessary hardware to existing and new employees while following social distancing and other government guidelines.
Demonstrating resilience and agility
In just a matter of days, this agency demonstrated impressive resilience and agility to complete its transition to telework. We were honored to support this effort by:
Recommending a safe and convenient employee drive-through process to deploy and track over 2,000 pieces of computing and support equipment.
Identifying and tracking operational metrics three times a day to ensure continuity of operations.
Assessing the high-speed internet connectivity needed for employees to work from home, then filling the gaps with “MiFi” mobile hotspot devices.
Partnering on developing a new operating model and processes for the agency to maintain outstanding customer service while supporting employees working remotely as well as the few essential workers remaining on-site.
Collaborating on employee how-to guides for digital tools and internal websites aligned to the telework environment, encouraging broader use of collaboration and productivity solutions like Microsoft Teams, and implementing dashboards for agency leaders to gain insights from data to make more informed decisions.
In addition to overcoming the logistics of remote work, our Resigility team developed new approaches for the agency to retain human connections. For example, with all agency meetings and collaboration moved online, we helped perpetuate a sense of community by:
Establishing a Teams channel as a virtual water cooler to share tips for teleworking as well as exchange jokes, recipes and chats.
Crafting and coordinating twice weekly email communications from the CIO to offer encouraging words and her own shared experiences.
Suggesting a Halloween theme for the monthly all-hands October meeting, providing leadership a way to inject some fun.
A positive outcome of this experience are some great learnings that the agency can apply to future challenges.
Focusing on health equity
Another example of resilience and agility comes from a client dedicated to improving the quality of health care. This national organization is pivoting its focus to address how race impacts health outcomes – a concern that came to greater light during the pandemic. With this new area of emphasis on health equity, we’re partnering with our client to:
Investigate and research how employers are responding to the issue of health inequality.
Illuminate the issue of health disparities to employers of all sizes.
Identify ways employers can address health inequalities in their own employee populations.
We look forward to sharing additional details about this innovative project soon.
Building resilience and agility
While our team has learned many lessons over the past year, we have distilled our primary tips for building resilience and agility to:
Relying on teamwork: With Resigility working fast and furious to help our clients respond to pandemic adversities, teamwork became all-important to getting things done fast. There was no pride of ownership, no “that’s my area” – everyone just pitched in as a team.
Going with the flow: Sean Bailey, who joined Resigility as the coronavirus was accelerating, found being open-minded, recognizing that not everything will proceed as planned and going with the flow were important to avoid frustration and pivot to emerging needs.
Embracing perseverance: Matt Ferguson captured this best, saying: “Much of our work last year was less than ideal for a myriad of reasons – timeframe, duration and even the support activity itself. Yet, on a daily basis, we persevered, and that led to success for our customers and Resigility.”
Keep communicating: I can’t overstate the importance of talking, listening and keeping everyone up to date. Through our work with the federal health agency, we saw first-hand how daily meetings were essential to open communication.