Accountants beware!

Aug 27 2001 by Brian Amble Print This Article

You could not have asked for a better package. The wage is a massive increase from your previous one. The job title sounds inspiring and your new office is a shrine to modern gadgets and technology. Which pioneering accountant would not be tempted?

But accountants are under increasing pressure and high flyers need a climate in which they can succeed. Those entering new roles have particular challenges and must prepare well if they are to make a successful transition. The advice from Hay Groiup is think twice before you make the move.

According to their report Leadership in New Roles, just over half of all respondents did not feel that their new jobs fulfilled expectations. This was followed by their disappointment in the capability and performance of their new staff, which one-quarter of the 247 respondents found lacking.

Nearly three quarters of respondents said that there was at least one area of their new role that required clarification, including performance measures (39%) business strategy (32%) and areas of responsibility (30%).

According to Susan Bloch, co-author of the research, people don't take into account all the things they need to look at when moving.

"Moving roles is often an emotional rather than a rational experience. When people are head-hunted or company mergers create new roles or make them redundant old networks are often left behind and new relationships have to be forged. This research underlines the importance of conducting due diligence on the team and the people you would be working with, says Susan."

Those who have received coaching reported fewer problems relating to loss of support, friendships and the change of office environment. However, nearly one third of those who had received no coaching experienced difficulties. But preparation helps but does not overcome all the challenge that new leaders face.

The findings also show that 52% of executives miss their previous friendships in their old workplaces. Now that the average business executive can now be expected to work in up to five organisations with several role changes in each this can lead to great stress and frustration.

Says Susan, "female managers invest more into their friendships in the workplace than their male counterparts, when they leave these organisations they feel the strain of the move more than their male colleagues".

Apparently, younger managers miss these old friendships roles as well.

Susan continues, "The current economic pressures means that graduates are increasingly being introduced into senior management roles that have not been clearly defined for them. It is not fair to put such pressures on graduates. They receive a lack of support in these roles and few will succeed in them".

Training was cited as a key motivator and respondents recognised the importance of continuous development. More than half (59%) of respondents wanted to further develop their ability to influence across organisational boundaries just under half (40%) wanted to develop top teams. Before you move into a new role people Hay Group suggest that people should consider the following:

  • Investigate the financial security of the organisation that you will be joining. Find out if there are any mergers, acquisitions and strategies that are going to be proposed.
  • Find out whether the culture of the organisation will suit your needs and personality.
  • Obtain a professional opinion on your legal contract. To make sure that it is watertight, and you get all of your benefits.
  • Always leave your current firm in goodwill. You may need to re-contact your old colleagues for professional help and advice.
  • Make sure you aware of what is expected of you in your new role. Know what the team around you is expecting of you and what you expect from them.
  • Before you start work at your new place make an effort to know how the place works.
  • Build strong relationships with your colleagues, the stakeholders and the support staff. In the transitory period you will need their support.
  • Form some objectives that you wish to meet by the end of your first 90 days. This will give you something to focus on and aim for.

This disappointment can lead to an uncomfortable working environment for everyone in the organization according to Jane Clarke of the business psychologists Nicholson McBride.

"When entering into new working situations there are office politics. So when starting a new job make sure you are aware of what is going on around you. If you feel unhappy with the level of performance from the people you work with. Try tackling the problem collectively otherwise a bitter office environment will evolve", Jane concludes.