Transition unreadiness: QLD

ALMOST NINE out of ten organisations would experience significant difficulties in preparing for and managing the transition of employees through a major change project, according to a recent study of Queensland organisations

ALMOST NINE out of ten organisations would experience significant difficulties preparing for and managing the transition of employees through a major change project, according to a recent study of Queensland organisations.

Furthermore, almost half believed employees had low levels of trust in their business leaders while only 6 per cent indicated that staff were highly satisfied with previous changes handled by management.

The study, which involved personal interviews with 47 HR managers and general managers in 42 organisations across Queensland, examined ‘transition readiness’– the level of capability and willingness of organisations to manage their employees’ transitions if a major change project was suddenly announced.

Conducted by Audrey Page & Associates, it found that only 15 per cent of organisations were considered to have strong values-based cultures which would help their employees handle the problems they encountered in a new situation or role.

The study found the values of such organisations were woven into their policies and practices, and senior managers tended to be more accessible with a strong sense of shared organisational vision among staff.

Thirty-six per cent of organisations which were considered “moderate”–meaning they generated a lot of rhetoric on helping people and putting them first, but often failed to live up to their words with actions.

The study found these organisations were mostly reactive rather than proactive and up front, and an incoherence around messages caused many employees to feel less trust and credibility in their leaders and managers.

Almost 50 per cent of organisations rated themselves as below average, placing most emphasis and resources into managing the technical and operational areas of the change, while employees were left to their own devices – to sink or swim.

The study found that senior managers were not involved at the grass-roots level in these organisations and were perceived by employees as uncaring and largely oblivious to the hardships that the changes were causing them.

Only 9 per cent of organisations reported that employees had a high level of trust in its leadership, although it seemed that trust was contingent upon where managers were positioned –whether they were in the head office team, at senior or middle management levels or in regional or remote locations.

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