Home Digital Transformation and Digital Adoption What is Adaptability in the Workplace?
Digital Transformation and Digital Adoption

What is Adaptability in the Workplace?

What is Adaptability in the Workplace?

A company wouldn’t be able to function properly without its steadfast and unshakeable employees.

You know the ones. They’re:

  • Always up for a challenge.
  • The first to start acting on the suggestions you’ve made.
  • Not afraid of telling you things as they are.

After all, they get a thrill from trying new things. Each technology or process you want to “try out” just to see if it works is not a challenge to them… it’s exciting.

This level of adaptability in the workplace lays the foundation for business success. 


When you have staff members that don’t shy away from “outside of the box” thinking, they are likely to be more accepting of any change that comes their way. Through their positive outlook, your team will start to build resilience to whatever is thrown their way.

What is Adaptability in the Workplace?

What is Adaptability in the Workplace?

Adaptability in the workplace is when an employee, or their entire team, is able to respond to and accept changes in their environment wholeheartedly, and continue working at maximum efficiency.

While some people might be reluctant to approach tasks in a manner they are unfamiliar with, and want to ask a thousand questions beforehand… adaptable employees would already be researching how to use a program, logging in to the system, and trying things out for themselves.

Why is Adaptability Important in the Workplace?

Markets are always evolving.

No matter what industry you operate in:

  1. Consumer preferences change over time.
  2. Supply and demand fluctuate.
  3. Innovations get made. 

If a company doesn’t have adaptable employees, they might encounter resistance to change, resulting in slow adoption rates and bad return on investment.

Pretty quickly, a business that can’t keep up with its market is going to see a drop in both its competitiveness and revenue – revealing why adaptability in the workplace is so important.

Adaptability Skills in the Workplace

To embed adaptability into your company, then, you need to be able to recognise which of your staff members are going to further your goals.

Identify people who are:

  • problem solvers
  • creative thinkers
  • team players
  • strong listeners
  • unshaken by pressure
  • communicators

As these are going to be the ones to adapt to and champion change.  Having them on your side when switching things up around the office will make things much easier.

Adaptability Skills in the Workplace

What is the Difference between Flexibility and Adaptability in the Workplace?

“Don’t worry, I’ll get it sorted for you!”

We all have that one person in the office who never fails to step up to the plate and get the job done. They’ll say yes to overtime, or cover shifts when their colleagues are off sick. Regardless of whether something is in their job description or not, they notice a problem and make sure it gets fixed. 

Their flexibility is an incredible attribute to your company. 

However, even flexible employees would struggle if you suddenly changed something incremental to their working life. If you decided to “throw them in the deep end” and dictate that they work remotely from now on, they might kick up a fuss (or, at the very least, demand extra support). 

This is the difference between flexibility and adaptability in the workplace.

An Adaptability Example in the Workplace

Whether it was pre-planned or not, there’s been a lot of organizational change happening over the last few years. 

  • During the pandemic, millions of employees were forced to work at home. 
  • Digital transformation has increased the number of software platforms used daily. 
  • Job roles are changing all the time due to promotions, or an evolution of the market.

Maybe it was a smooth transition, or maybe there were a few more hiccups than you would like. To guide your efforts next time, let’s take a look at Meta.

Meta: Adaptability in the Workplace Example

Mark Zuckerburg recently made headlines for his decision to rename Facebook, or, more accurately, the brand that owns it.

He expressed a desire to shift the focus of his company from Web 2 to Web 3, and drive ongoing metaverse innovation. This was a lot for his consumers to take in, but would have been even more of a drastic change for his employees. 

All of a sudden, the core value of the company they were working for was entirely different; and this may have caused some friction. 

However, Meta kept ticking. How?

Through the adaptability of its employees. 

Rather than objecting to Mark’s plan, they embraced it – and chased the challenge of being a market leader in VR and AR. Today, their face of operations looks entirely different and, many of their job roles will have developed in some way.

How Work Adaptability Can Be Improved 

How Work Adaptability Can Be Improved 

Other than recruiting employees for their ability to adapt, there are a few options for creating an agile workplace… ones that don’t involve firing the staff you already have. 

These include:

  • Increasing Communication: When a change feels sudden or unexplained, then employees are going to clam up. Make sure to be open and honest with your intentions going forward, and keep them in the loop.
  • Redesigning Your Culture: Building a work environment that promotes creative thinking is a sure-fire way to encourage employees to not only accept change; but suggest it. Use Leaning & Development to encourage personal development and increase adaptability.
  • Adaptive Learning: Be wary of a “one size fits all” approach with training, and try to answer the needs of individual employees. Where one might need more time with a mentor, another might learn best through video or questionnaires.
  • Planning Change Management: Before you suddenly introduce a new system or process, start designing a goal for what you want to happen and calculate how you (and your team) are going to get there. 

Beyond this, you can also funnel resources into supporting your staff members when issues arise, so that they can quickly respond to problems and maintain your bottom line.

Grow Adaptability in the Workplace with Userlane

Change is never easy, and some employees need a little more support than others. 

If your team is built with people who are naturally resistant to your creative ideas, then you might need the help of change management software like Userlane’s Digital Adoption Platform. 

It’s designed to help companies successfully manage the significant changes associated with digital transformation and guides users through processes in real-time.

As a result, you can provide mission-critical support to your employees and make them feel safer when it’s time to adopt a new system. No more complaints.

Request a demonstration today.

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About the author:
The Userlane team brings you digital adoption insights, product updates, and plenty of onboarding and engagement advice for user-centric businesses.