Over a third of Australian employers aren’t supporting workers to cope with COVID-19

by Freya Lucas

September 14, 2020

A new Australian report has found that over a third of Australian workplaces have failed to provide adequate support around navigating changes triggered by the impact of COVID-19.

 

Conducted by The Change Lab, The Australian HR Institute , and The David L. Cooperrider Center, a survey of 1400 workers from a cross section of sectors and industries found that the systems and approaches used by leaders is the biggest contributing factor to how well workers are navigating change during COVID-19.

 

Over 35 per cent of the employees surveyed felt that they had not been given adequate training, coaching or tools to navigate change successfully.

 

“Workers who aren’t supported through change generally also don’t feel safe enough to be honest about problems,” Change Lab Co-Founder Michelle Etheve said, a flaw which can lead to “lasting and sometimes irrevocably damaging impacts on workplaces”. 

 

By focusing on the workplaces that are managing change well, employers of all kinds, including those in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings can gain valuable insight into strategies which they could adopt.

 

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents said they feel their teams and work places are “consistently thriving in the face of rapid change and disruption”, with special focus being placed on the way in which leaders are approaching change and ensuring workers have the skills they need to navigate change, an element that is making the biggest difference in these workplaces.

 

Workers whose leaders took an” invite-and-inquire” change approach (where workers’ input to solutions was invited and they were encouraged to self-organise and find ways to make the best ideas happen), and leaders who took a “tell-and-inquire” change approach (where workers were told what was expected and then left alone to get on with it) were significantly more likely to report that the changes in their workplace were successful. 

 

Those workers who reported higher levels of ability and motivation to help create positive changes in their workplaces were statistically more likely to report successful change outcomes in their workplaces and to have higher levels of engagement, performance, and wellbeing. 

 

“If we are to maintain productivity and wellbeing in our workplaces, it’s fundamental that we look to workplaces that are thriving, despite the incredible pace of change they have been experiencing recently, and encourage all Australian workplaces to look at the systems and approaches these organisations have put in place,” Ms Etheve said. 

 

The full report may be downloaded from The Change Lab website

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