IN TOUCH : Audit earns plaudits

It’s an old corporate story. Managers think they’ve got great team thing going – but the troops are quietly revolting. How best to highlight this damaging disconnect and get everyone’s perceptions more positively aligned? That enquiry led Wellington-based consultancy Concordia to research and develop diagnostic tool that delves into workplace cultures to show just where unspoken conflicts lurk – enabling these to be sorted before they reach crisis point.
Now its ‘workplace audit’ has gained international clout through new association with Henley Management College’s UK leadership expert Paul Aitken.
Aitken specialises in senior executive coaching, mentoring and career management utilising web-based ‘Leadership Culture Display’ tool and reckons the audit is great fit.
“In my experience there’s nothing like this audit anywhere else in the world. It’s high-value, low-cost, web-based tool that provides irrefutable data about the gaps between employee expectations and perceptions. Even on early evaluation, I could clearly see it filled market void and complements my LCD tool.”
The idea of amalgamating the two is all good news for Concordia’s managing director Hamish Brown.
“Our relationship is extremely timely as recent research investigating both UK and New Zealand workplaces shows increasing unrest and dissatisfaction with leadership. We’ve already begun exploring export opportunities and there’s no doubt our increased credibility through the reputation and academic support of Dr Aitken will be an important selling point.”
The amalgamated WALD (workplace audit/leadership display) tool promises to provide organisations with comprehensive and objective view of how their workplace operates from top down and bottom up. Because it’s web-based, it can be managed remotely and delivered by accredited specialist consultants in any market, says Brown.
More than just cultural audit, which tends to focus on what is going on within the organisation, the workplace audit talks about why it is like it is and what causes that, explains Brown. There are 95 questions which take about 20 minutes for each employee to complete. Having the data means all the issues and what people are saying about them are there in black and white.
That’s the baseline for series of recommendations and action points for both short- and long-term measures to achieve better alignment.
“One of the things we say to the CEO or senior team when we do this is that it’s not about giving them whole lot of data. That’s only the first step. This is about creating some open dialogue to get change happening. We’re not interested in working with companies who just get the data and shelve it.”
Brown likens the process to good spring clean.
“One of the things that concerns us as consultants is the level of disengagement in the workforce – the number of people sitting in what we call the departure lounge is just frightening. This is what this pro-cess is really about. It’s about people having that sense of being actively engaged in what the organisation is doing – knowing that they’re participating, being heard and being supported.”

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