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Leaving Aussie behind: NZ biz leaders have more confidence in their organisations’ growth than Australian counterparts

The Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) survey on workplace trends conducted by Leadership Management Australasia has found that at June 30 last year, 46 percent of New Zealand leaders and senior managers believed their organisations were growing but in the survey closing April 30 this year the figure had jumped to 69 percent.

Over the same period, the Australian figures have moved from a similar base of 48 percent to just 52 percent according to a release issued by Leadership Management Australasia (LMA).

“The latest results from the L.E.A.D. survey indicate that middle managers and supervisors in New Zealand shared this view (49 percent to 65 percent), whereas in Australia the view is very much the reverse with fewer middle managers/supervisors believing their organisations are growing (44 percent to 37 percent). Instead, a larger percentage of Australian respondents see a holding pattern or perceive their organisation to be shrinking, compared to their New Zealand counterparts (18 percent in Australia compared with 3 percent in NZ).”

The survey found non-managerial employees in New Zealand share this positive outlook, with an increasing proportion recognising growth (63 percent to 71 percent). It also found in Australia, fewer employees are seeing growing organisations (52 percent to 49 percent) and a few more are seeing shrinking organisations (8 percent to 11 percent), “Again the contrast in outlook is stark with 11 percent of Australian employees believing their organisations are shrinking compared with zero percent in New Zealand,” the release says.

The study involved 3,714 respondents (Australia with 3,380 and New Zealand with 314) and the late 2014/early 2015 wave attracted 2,504 respondents (Australia with 2,170 and New Zealand with 334), the release says.

The survey has been running for 15 years and is conducted by Chase Research for LMA, which the release says, has been “…delivering improvements to performance and productivity in over 130,000 people from thousands of organisations across Australia and New Zealand for over 40 years.”

LMA chief executive officer Andrew Henderson said there was an emerging aura of optimism in New Zealand workplaces.

“They [NZ workplaces] also have higher levels of confidence about their economy and the prospects for productivity achievements and improvement in their organisations,” he said. “This positive attitude to the outlook may be a self-fulfilling prophecy – New Zealand organisations may indeed enjoy a better future than Australia organisations simply by talking and acting ‘above the line’.”

He said ramifications of this New Zealand confidence for leaders and managers in Australia include the prospect of their talent shifting attention to opportunities in New Zealand.

“Australian leaders and managers therefore need to be sending the right signals to their people about what the future holds rather than keeping them either ill-informed or uninformed about their organisations’ and their personal future.”

For New Zealand organisations, Henderson said the talent war seen in Australia during the 14 years of economic sunshine might emerge in New Zealand on the back of greater demand and growth.

“Leaders need to ensure their people are engaged and growing roots to prevent departures in search of greener pastures,” he said.  

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