Organisational Resilience Index Report  

18th March 2021

Posted In: The Topic

Despite the challenges of 2020, business leaders’ confidence in the resilience of their organisations has risen, according to BSI’s fourth annual Organisational Resilience Index report, which surveyed 500 senior leaders across the globe.

The index found that leaders remain cautiously optimistic, with more than half (57%) of businesses in the UK and Ireland, US and India expecting their financial performance to improve this year.

The concept of Organisational Resilience refers to an organisation’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to both incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and thrive – capabilities that have been put to the test in the past year.

As a whole, perceived Organisational Resilience across organisations globally rose in 2020, with a third of firms (33%) fully confident in the resilience of their organisations – five per cent more than in 2019. Encouragingly, many of the organisations interviewed felt that the measures they had in place prior to the pandemic were successful and helped them survive, stabilise and begin to rebuild, boosting their confidence for the future.

While 2020 was a difficult year for most, many organisations emerged more confident from the test of the pandemic.

Within the study, there is a clear association between those reporting a stronger financial performance and those with stronger perceptions of their own Organisational Resilience.

Susan Taylor Martin, Chief Executive of BSI (pictured) commented:  “2020 was a global test of Organisational Resilience and powerfully demonstrated the increasing importance of an organisation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, unexpected or sudden disruption.

It’s encouraging to see cautious optimism about the future as business leaders focus on building back better and organisations clearly recognise the value of prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, clients and communities.

“As we look ahead to the ‘next normal’, we hope that our annual Organisational Resilience Index benchmark continues to provide organisations with the insights, foresight and inspiration to seize opportunities ahead and ensure their businesses remain resilient in the future.”

Whilst global recovery will be variable and take place at different rates around the world, the index found that financial security and confidence is not evenly spread globally. Despite businesses in Japan and China reporting similar financial setbacks in 2020, only organisations in China expect a better year in 2021. Respondents suggested that this slower return to confidence in Japan is reflective of business culture rather than market conditions.

Business leaders in India, the US and the UK and Ireland are looking ahead with relative optimism, with future confidence in their organisations either doubling or trebling, despite nearly half of organisations reporting worse year-on-year financial results in 2020.

Japan had the largest proportion of organisations reporting a worse year in 2020 and is forecasting the weakest recovery with only 38% expecting a better year in 2021. In contrast, US firms were the least likely to report a reversal of fortunes in 2020, and, alongside India, are the most likely to forecast growth with 64% expecting a stronger 2021.

The report identifies that the Aerospace industry is least confident of its Organisational Resilience following the upheavals of 2020; just 43% expect an improvement in 2021 in contrast to 67% of business leaders in the Built Environment, 61% in Healthcare, 57% in Food and 56% in Automotive.

Despite the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Diversity and Sustainability continue to remain high on the agendas of organisations worldwide. The report found that – rather than shifting down the priority list due to the emergence of matters that were perceived to be more urgent

– looking after the wellbeing of employees, customers and communities was vital for rebuilding Organisational Resilience.

The BSI Organisational Resilience Framework measures perceived performance on a scale of 1-10 across 16 elements in four categories (Leadership, People, Process and Product) and can benchmark by sector, size, and longevity.


Highest impact elements – those seen as having most effect on resilience

•Supplier Management – up ten places on 2019

•Horizon Scanning – up two places on 2019

•Business Continuity – up 13 places on 2019

•Innovation – up two places on 2019

•Community Engagement – up two places on 2019

Highest performing elements – those elements in which organisations felt they excelled

•Financial Management – same rank as 2019

•Vision and Purpose – same rank as 2019

•Adaptive Capacity – up 10 places on 2019

•Leadership – up one place on 2019

•Information and knowledge management – down one place on 2019

You can find out more here: Organisation Resilience Index | BSI (