Latest research

Latest research update

The Australian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies (AJDTS) has published a special issue focusing on "Pathways to Earthquake Resilience" - The case study of Wellington, New Zealand, featuring two papers from the ResOrgs team.

The paper, Business recovery from disaster: A research update for practitioners focuses on ResOrgs' six-year research interviewing and surveying over 1000 organisations to learn more about the effect of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes on organisations across their shaken region. This broad and rich dataset of insights can now help other organisations facing disruptions in the future, with the paper identifying the top ten lessons for managing through crisis, being agile and adaptive in the face of change, and finding opportunities in disruption.

The other paper, From physical disruption to community impact: Modelling a Wellington Fault earthquake focuses on the work of Charlotte Brown and researchers from Market Economics and GNS Science using the MERIT model to model the economic impact of an earthquake event to support decision-making for investment options to improve disaster preparedness.

LA Times story on lessons learnt from Christchurch earthquakes

LA Times story on lessons learnt from Christchurch earthquakes

Rong-Gong Lin, a reporter who has worked on earthquake news at the Los Angeles Times for nearly a decade, recently visited Christchurch and spoke to a number of people, including Tracy Hatton, to learn more about the lessons California can learn from Christchurch.  As he notes in his story, Christchurch bears a distinct resemblance to California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, sharing similar building codes, architectural styles and proximity to major faults and can help educate Californians on what we might to expect when the next earthquake hits one of their cities.

Ron wrote three stories featured in the paper.

EQC Biennial Grant funding

EQC Biennial Grant funding for new project

We are excited to have been awarded a grant under the New Zealand EQC Biennial Grants programme.

Tracy Hatton will be leading a team of researchers looking at how organisations perceive their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and what they actually do to reduce earthquake impacts on their organisation and employees. The project will also look at identifying ways in which policy and legislation can be better leveraged to encourage behaviour change to improve New Zealand’s resilience to disaster.

Read the full press release from EQC.

Research consultant vacancy

We are recruiting a new team member

Join our growing business and get exposure to a diverse range of research and consulting assignments, including the opportunity to pursue your own resilience-related projects.

About Us

Resilient Organisations is a niche research and consulting company based in Christchurch, New Zealand.  We are experts in risk and resilience, advancing knowledge and providing practical solutions to help organisations and communities thrive.

What we do

We conduct public and privately funded research and provide consulting services to organisations.  Our projects are diverse. See our website, www.resorgs.org.nz  for more information.

How we do it

Our values are key to the way we operate.  We work collaboratively within our team, and with our partners, clients, and funders to produce high quality, evidence-based outputs that make a difference. We believe work should be fun and operate a flexible working environment to promote wellbeing inside and outside of work.

The role

In this role, you will work across a variety of research and consulting projects.  The main tasks will involve:

  • Reading, analysing, and accurately synthesising literature
  • Collecting data through interviews, surveys, and other means
  • Analysing qualitative and quantitative data
  • Co-creating innovative approaches to client and research problems
  • Liaising with clients and other stakeholders
  • Writing reports and articles for publication

To be considered for this role, you need the ability to:

  • Present ideas clearly and concisely both verbally and in writing.
  • Work both independently and collaboratively.
  • Ask for help when needed and be comfortable contributing to group discussions.
  • Switch readily between leading projects and supporting others.
  • Be proficient in managing your time to ensure projects are completed on time.
  • Effectively plan and maintain interest in long-term projects.

The ideal candidate for this role will possess the following:

  • A masters or doctorate degree.
  • A high level of proficiency in Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Some familiarity with statistical analysis software (SPSS, R etc).
  • An ability to identify and select pragmatic solutions within constrained timeframes.
  • Self-motivation, curiosity, open-mindedness, and a positive ‘can-do’ attitude.

To apply for this role, please email your CV and covering letter to [email protected]   If you would like further information about the position or Resilient Organisations, contact Tracy Hatton on 021 160 7707.

Farewell to Ellie Kay

Farewell to Ellie Kay

This month we say farewell to Ellie Kay, the youngest of the ResOrgs team. Ellie has been instrumental in the development of the Trajectories programme of the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge, keeps us on track with our diversity and wellbeing goals, and has been involved in many other projects during her time with us.

After an exciting two years at Resilient Organisations, Ellie is heading to the University of Canterbury to take on her next challenge as a Senior Research Analyst in the Learning Evaluation and Academic Development Team. We wish her all the best with her new endeavours and look forward to keeping in touch with her over the coming years!

Building risk management strategies into the vertical construction sector

Building risk management strategies into the vertical construction sector

Achieving a high level of productivity in the construction industry remains challenging. Within the sector, there are also differentiated performance outcomes between the horizontal and vertical construction sector. The recent successes of horizontal infrastructure projects such as the Northern Toll Road Gateway, Waterview Project, and Christchurch Infrastructure Recovery are in contrast to ongoing challenges faced by the vertical construction sector and hence present a unique opportunity for cross-sectoral learning.

A project team, including researchers from Resilient Organisations, Market Economics, and the University of Auckland, has published a  preliminary report from a comparative analysis of the vertical and horizontal construction sectors looking at what causes the varied performance between the two sectors. The report is the outcome of wide-ranging discussions across both vertical and horizontal sectors,  on risk management practice and the enabling factors that drive better risk management practice and productivity performance. The aim is to help initiate practice change in supporting the construction sector to improve risk management behaviours, boost confidence and enhance performance of the sector.

Read the full report

Keeping up with an evolving strategic risk landscape

Keeping up with an evolving strategic risk landscape 

By Erica Seville

The insurance sector, like many others, is at an interesting juncture, as the nature of the strategic risks facing the sector evolves and anticipated time-frames for change shorten.  At first glance, it is a sector populated by well capitalised, established and large incumbents.  It is a sector selling products that consumers need - and are likely to need more of in the future.  And yet, for all those positives, one also gets the sense that this is also a sector ripe for potential disruption.

Last week,  Resilient Organisations Executive Director, Erica Seville, presented at the AON Hazards Conference.  The theme for this year’s conference is apt - (R)evolution of Risk.  As our climate, society and technology changes at an ever-increasing rate, insurers face particular challenges to understand and price risk effectively.  This, coupled with growing expectations from customers requires that insurers shift gears for how they think about and manage risks.

None of us has a crystal ball.  Odds are, the changes that occur will not be the ones we are expecting.  We know that traditional ways of managing risks aren’t very effective at dealing with left-field events (the unknown unknowns).  To deal with these sorts of risks, we need to focus more on shoring up the key attributes that grow resilience in an organisation: building a solid foundation of good leadership and culture throughout our organisations; focusing on buildings networks and relationships that provide support and buffering during times of turbulence; and fostering an organisational attitude and posture that is proactive and positive towards change.  There is no rocket science about these three fundamentals – they are talked about in just about every management textbook.  But all too often good practice isn’t common practice.

The innovation, creativity, and adaptability that will be needed to keep up with our evolving strategic risk landscape needs to be built now. This is a timely reminder for us all to think about how our own organisations measure up on these fundamental aspects of resilience.

Mental Health Awareness Week coaching special

Resilience coaching special offer

We know that being the business continuity or resilience champion in an organisation can be both personally and professionally challenging. In acknowledgement of Mental Health Awareness Week, we are offering a special on our one-on-one organisational resilience professional development coaching. Connecting with others and sharing problems (and successes) can be a key part of managing your own wellbeing.

Our coaching and mentoring programme is an opportunity to build your (or your team’s) resilience understanding and capability and offers a safe space to troubleshoot and strategise on how to achieve change in your organisation.

EarthEx 2019

Earth Ex 2019: Testing resilience planning

Want to test your resilience planning? Have a go at Earth Ex 2019.

This web-based exercise takes you through a Black Sky hazard scenario, testing your readiness and response plans. We recently did it and even though resilience is our core business, we still found it useful to test our planning and thinking. Earth Ex is free and can be done at an organisation, team, or individual level. It is open until 31 October 2019.

For us, the exercise highlighted the need for personal preparedness as a tool for strengthening organisational resilience. For the scenarios in this exercise, having home emergency supplies of water, food, and a contact plan for our families were critical to enable us to support ourselves, others, and our business.

The Earth Ex 2019 scenarios are severe but realistic and well presented. They are applicable regardless of your location. The exercise highlights the linkages between lifeline services and the cascading consequences when key services, such as electricity, are interrupted.

Aside from the obvious resilience preparedness benefits we also found it was a good team event. An opportunity for sharing ideas, reviewing our plans and refreshing some of the office emergency food supply by using it as snack food during the exercise.

Earth Ex 2019 is hosted by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council and sponsored by the Resilience Shift. A Black Sky Hazard is a catastrophic event that severely disrupts the normal functioning of our critical infrastructures in multiple regions for long durations.

Register your organisation or team for the Earth Ex 2019 exercise

The link between diversity and wellbeing: a no-brainer for NZ organisations

The link between diversity and wellbeing: a no-brainer for NZ organisations

By Ellie Kay

As the ResOrgs diversity and wellbeing champ, I have often written on, well, diversity and wellbeing. When it was suggested that I think about writing a blog, though, I wasn’t really sure where to start. Sure, my colleagues have become accustomed to my regular, tome-length diversity and wellbeing emails, but these had all previously come at a time where I was feeling particularly introspective or considering the way of the world we live in. But when faced with a blog, it was suddenly an “Oh” moment. What to talk about? What to consider? The potential for this piece of work to go further than my regular rambling to my colleagues suddenly felt a little intimidating, and there was a little pressure (self-inflicted, of course) to get it “right”. (I won’t even go down that particular rabbit hole, what it even means to be “right” can wait for another day).

My first question was one of focus. Diversity or wellbeing? However, it turns out that sometimes you really can have your cake and eat it too. A recent article on Stuff caught my eye during this conundrum of mine, and linking the use of te reo Māori at work to increased job satisfaction. Better job satisfaction, as we all probably know, has been linked to increased wellbeing. I mean, it just makes logical sense that people who wake up to go to a job they find fulfilling have better wellbeing than those who hate their jobs, right? As is the case with many Stuff articles, I was left wanting more and, interested in the link between diversity and wellness, I tracked down the original report to see what the deal was.

Here’s the low-down on the research. In New Zealand, supportive firm culture (e.g., work flexibility) has been positively linked to job satisfaction. Previous research has noted that this is due to employees receiving something that is considered both rare and valuable. To cut a long, thoroughly interesting report short, the use of tikanga Māori, that is, Māori practices and customs (such as powhiri), and te reo Māori is significantly linked to job satisfaction in organisations. These organisations also experience better employee engagement. Furthermore, the organisational resourcing of tikanga Māori, not surprisingly, led to increased cultural wellbeing.

But wait, there’s more. Organisations that use te reo Māori and tikanga Māori also report having better relationships with their customers. On top of the internal benefits of organisational use of tikanga Māori and te reo Māori, external relationships also prosper. However, it seems that this is not well recognised by organisations. Although around 70% of organisations report some use of te reo Māori internally, only 45% of organisations report using the language some of the time, a lot of the time, or all of the time. That number drops when looking at the external use of the language and drops again when considering the use of tikanga Māori. When looking at the demographics of those organisations who used te reo Māori and tikanga Māori, a few things stood out. Small, private sector organisations have the lowest engagement with tikanga Māori and te reo Māori and, not surprisingly, Māori organisations used Māori language and tikanga Māori the most. Those organisations who viewed English as the standard or only language of New Zealand were also significantly less likely to use Māori language or tikanga Māori. Conversely, organisations that saw te reo Māori as an integral part of culture in New Zealand were significantly more likely to use the language.

Let’s just focus on te reo Māori here for a second. We are on the cusp of Māori language week here in good ol’ NZ. Māori language week in 2019 runs from the 9th – 15 September (Mahuru) and is a good chance for us to think a bit more about the use of one of New Zealand’s official languages. But why is the use of Māori language so important? Well, because it links to our identity. Everyone loves the haka and it’s a proud moment to see the boys in black complete this fearsome challenge to their opponents before every game. It’s in our national anthem. Heck, Māori design is even used by our national airline. We’re well known for it. And if we use tikanga Māori and design like this, then we need to respect and acknowledge the culture that gave us these gifts, these taonga. If we recognise Māori language and culture as part of our identity, and if “doing the right thing” is important to us, then there is a responsibility to be agents of change in normalising te reo Māori in our country. We have a role to play.

If you’re new to this other language rodeo and don’t know where to start, here’s some tips:

  1. Promote te reo Māori as “good for business”, and champion the language with your employees. Employees that use Māori language, as we’ve just heard, report higher satisfaction and greater wellbeing.
  2. Campaigns to increase language use within organisations should highlight that you don’t need to be Māori to speak Māori. Māori speakers have a love of Aotearoa and of the language. A perception change is needed to remind that te reo Māori is a language for all New Zealanders.
  3. Start small. Providing specific, small, practical ways that organisations can use Māori in the workplace is a great way to start. This could be something as simple as a new word per week, with a challenge to work it into the conversation between colleagues.
  4. Reduce feelings of embarrassment (or whakamā). Trying is as good as perfection when it comes to revitalising the language. Think about conservation – every bit contributes, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  5. If you’re not sure of a meaning, or you don’t know if you’ve got the emphasis right on a word, check out Māori Dictionary. Seriously, it’s a lifesaver.

If you’d like to learn more about Māori language, head over to Māorilanguage.net. Test yourself to see how many of these words you already know. You might surprise yourself.