UKZN Hosts Disruptive Change Webinar
UKZN’s Human Resources Division hosted a webinar on how to remain agile and resilient while working from home in the light of disruptive change and what it means for individuals, especially in the context of COVID-19.
The webinar was presented by the Director: Human Resources Development, Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu; Human Resources Operations and Services Manager, Ms Nonjabulo Zondi; and trainee Industrial Psychologists, Mr Sbongumusa Siyaya and Ms Nondumiso Dludla.
Ramabodu explained change from an individual’s point of view and described how to manage it better. Using the example of trees and how they adapt to changing seasons, she said those who survive the future would be those able to “unlearn the old and relearn the new”.
Discussing disruptive change in the UKZN context, Siyaya mentioned transformation created by COVID-19 in the area of the structure of work, the organisational landscape and the lives of University’s employees. He elaborated on the impact this disruption has had on UKZN as a business and its operations as well as on its employees, many of whom were struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance while reinventing themselves.
Siyaya assessed trends in employment post-COVID-19 listing them as follows: the individual’s ability to work remotely from home, the ability of current and future leaders to adapt to managing remote workers, the shift in performance management evaluations, the importance of digital dexterity in recruitment and the employee experience as a mixture of both remote and office work.
Ramabodu gave participants a questionnaire, which explored their natural responses to change to assist them to better understand how to deal with the phenomenon, emphasising that being aware of one’s natural response to change was a building block for responding to change instead of reacting without self-awareness.
Drawing from stages of the Change Cycle ie stability, stress, chaos, renewal and new stability, Zondi noted that it was possible to skip or step back in certain stages in the cycle. She gave participants an exercise, which identified the difficulties of change and emphasised that how individuals perceive change determines their success in dealing with it.
Examining the capacity to bounce back from adversity, Dludla focused on the steps required to build resilience, including accepting change, learning continuously, taking charge, defining purpose, creating balance, cultivating relationships, reflecting and reframing skills.
Defining agility as the ability to develop quick behaviours for survival, Siyaya identified factors working hand-in-hand with resilience as flexibility, collaboration, information gathering, seeking feedback and reflection.
Encouraging participants to embrace change as an inevitable part of life, Ramabodu thanked everyone for their attendance as she shared the participant’s views on what they had taken away from the session.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela