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74% of Australian Businesses Have Changed How They Operate Due to COVID-19

According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey released today, COVID-19 has caused 74% of Australian businesses to operate under modified conditions, including shifting more operations online or operating with a reduced workforce.

The results indicate that more than 50% of businesses in every industry experienced changed operating conditions, with the largest impact being felt in Information media and telecommunications (96%), Health care and social assistance (93%), Accommodation and food services (92%) and Education and training (91%) industries.

Requirements to return to pre-COVID-19 business conditions

Businesses were asked to advise, aside from government restrictions being relaxed, what else would make a positive contribution to being able to return to pre-COVID-19 business conditions. Over the next two months, on the assumption that government restrictions were expected to continue to be relaxed, 71% of businesses reported that they expected a positive impact from social distancing measures being reduced; 63% expected a benefit from restrictions on trading being lifted; and 50% advised that the reduction of travel restrictions would benefit their businesses.

Aside from the relaxation of government restrictions, 35% of businesses advised that increased or returning customer demand was the number one way to return to pre-COVID-19 trading conditions.

That's a Lot of Change Management

If 74% of businesses reported having to change, including shifting more operations online or operating with a reduced workforce, this has required thousands of leaders to help their people through this change in really tough circumstances. All of these COVID impacts have taken us out of our comfort zones and required us to do things differently.

As a leader, your first step on your change journey, is to ensure that you have a solid understanding and knowledge of the person (or people) that you are wanting to help through the change process. So, this means that you should know the answers to the following questions regarding the person you are seeking to help through the change process, before you begin:

  • What are their drivers?

  • How do they like to receive information?

  • How do they prefer to communicate?

  • Who do they influence?

  • Who are they influenced by?

  • What are their values?

  • What is important to them?

  • What will inspire them to become part of the change?

  • What is their WIIFM ("what's in it for me?") factor?

Once you have an understanding of the person to be able to answer the above questions, you then need to refer to the ADKAR change management process, and ascertain the following:

  • What level of awareness does this person already have regarding the change?

  • What level of desire to they have to support the change?

  • What level of knowledge do they have regarding how to change?

  • Do they have the ability to demonstrate the required skills and behaviours to support the change?

  • What can I do to support and reinforce this change with this person?

Effective change management is complex and challenging - especially in the midst of COVID-19, but if done well, your team and your business will be able to be agile and adjust rapidly so that you can protect the future of the business and your employees jobs. By effectively managing change, employees and businesses can both thrive and achieve success in a new way of doing business.

Would you like to learn more about how you can help your people through change? Business Agility Pty Ltd can provide business coaching and tailored advice to support you and your team to successfully transform and work through change.

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