Human Resources - Autumn 2020 (Vol 25: No 1) - Sustainability for HR Leaders

Page 1

New Zealand’s Magazine for Human Resources Professionals

Sustainability for HR Leaders PLUS: NZ HR Awards Making L&D sustainable Fundamentals of flexible working

Autumn 2020

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Shaping the Profession

People Powered Success


Top of mind Nick McKissack – HRNZ Chief Executive


HRNZ Member Profiles Kavita Khanna and Sophie John


From the Editor Kathy Catton


Get Chartered Regional Roundup Waikato – Marianna Pehrson Student Perspective Felicity Blakeley


News Roundup



Employment Law Update Dundas Street Employment Lawyers



Learning and Development Making L&D sustainable – Angela Bingham

32 Insights Sustainability is an HR issue – Chris O'Reilly 34

Immigration Law update Compliance – Rachael Mason


Diversity and Inclusion Is your workplace inclusive? – Anne Hawker


Professional Development Spoitlight Human centred design – Martin Grant


Research Update Do our brands 'talk' sustainability? – Kathy Catton


Am I Managing? Natalie Barker

Features 6

HR and Business Sustainability Putting people at the heart of sustainability and good business – Rob Perry


Sustainability Leadership The way of the future – Mike Burrell


NZ HR Awards We review our champions of people – Kathy Catton


Future of Work Workplaces of the future: human or robot? – Jo Cribb


Charity Profile Nurturing young scientists for international impact – Malaghan Institute


Changes in the Profession Then and now – Geoff Summers


Flexible Working Kerryn Strong explores the steps to creating more inclusive workplaces





Top of mind... Nick McKissack is Chief Executive of HRNZ. Nick is passionate about people development and sharing the success of members and organisations leading the HR profession in New Zealand.


or the first time in many years, HRNZ won’t hold an annual conference and expo in 2020. We’ve decided to focus our efforts instead on delivering to our members the choice of four one-day HR Summits. Each one will have a different theme and be held in a different location in New Zealand. We’ll also be keeping these one-day Summits affordable for our members and having an initial member-only registration period. An important reason for moving to the one-day Summits is because we want to focus on having conversations with our members about the issues that are shaping the HR profession. We’re limiting the number of registrations at each Summit to 70–80 people and have designed sessions to be highly interactive. We’re lucky to have Cheryl Tansey, our resident Agile expert, acting as MC for all four of the Summits this year. Cheryl is a particularly talented facilitator and will make sure we get the best value out of the day as an opportunity for learning and networking. I’ve had the pleasure of seeking out new and interesting people to present their ideas to these events. It’s been fantastic to talk to so many people with great new thoughts and ideas and an absolute willingness to share them. We’re going to have an exciting mix of practical case studies, 2



new left-field thinkers and a sprinkling of celebrities! We’ll also be hearing from some of our fabulous HR Awards finalists. In the spirit of getting agile, we’ll be reserving part of the day to an unconference-like approach where participants get to set the agenda for where we take the conversations that our guest speakers have stimulated. With our Summits, we want to take a slightly different angle on discussing familiar topics, as well as introducing new themes for HR professionals. We’re going to kick this off with the first Summit in Auckland in May, where we’ll be talking about sustainability and the role that HR professionals are playing in building sustainable organisations for New Zealand. We’ll move to Taupo in June and discuss issues around diversity and inclusion – we’ll tackle some of the seemingly intractable problems that we need to confront to achieve truly inclusive workplaces. In September, we are in Wellington talking about how we create and maintain positive cultures in an increasingly disrupted world. We’ll finish the year in Queenstown in October, where we’ll talk about becoming the digitally savvy HR professional that we all need to become.

Overall, it’s an exciting programme in which we’ll be working to share the ideas and conversations that come from each Summit as widely as possible across our growing membership. We recommend members register early for their choice of events. The 2020 year feels like a good time to get serious about shaping the HR profession for an even more pivotal role in the future. We see our members as having a huge role in creating successful and sustainable workplaces throughout Aotearoa.

Nick McKissack Chief Executive HRNZ

MANAGING EDITOR Kathy Catton Ph: 021 0650 959 Email:

From the Editor H

ow often have you thought about what our world will look like in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Over recent weeks, I have been reflecting on what effect my daily living has on my family, my community and my world. When plastic bags were banned last year in New Zealand, it was the start of a mini-mission for me to wipe out more waste and lessen my carbon footprint on the world. And this is precisely what this issue aims to address. Mother Earth is on everyone’s mind, and environmental concerns are fast becoming a fundamental expectation threading through our lives. It’s common sense that businesses will only be successful in the long term when people live well within the limits of the planet. And so, as HR professionals, we have a role in shaping the changes driven by the sustainability movement. According to a recent global study carried out by PwC, future workplaces will be characterised by a strong social conscience, a sense of environmental responsibility, a focus on diversity, human rights and a recognition that business has an impact that goes well beyond the financial. Workers and consumers will demand that organisations do right by their employees and the wider world.

Chris O’Reilly and Jo Cribb, amongst others. We are also lucky enough to have a guest feature written by Geoff Summers, who looks at changes to HR over the past three decades. Much can be learned from our past, and what we can do differently to create a lasting and an engaging future for our leaders, our teams and our organisations. I am very grateful for the continued support of our regular contributors. Amongst others, Lane Neave brings us right up to date with upcoming immigration law, and we welcome Dundas Street Employment Lawyers to the fold, who will be providing relevant and practical employment law updates in this and upcoming issues. Change does not come through wishful thinking. We hope this issue helps you begin or continue a process of identifying the impact you can have on your organisation, your economy and your society, so that the next five, 10 or 20 years are wholesome and sustaining for everyone.

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The views expressed in Human Resources are not necessarily those of Human Resources New Zealand, nor does the advertisement of any product or service in this magazine imply endorsement of it by Human Resources New Zealand. Copyright © Human Resources New Zealand Inc. Issue 26 No: 1

ISSN 1173–7522

Kathy Catton Managing Editor

In this issue, we share insights from the Sustainable Business Council,





The Whetūrangitia Story


recent collaboration between government agencies and private services provides vital support to whanau, families and parents of children who die at, around or after birth. In December 2018 informal conversation over coffee led to a bringing together of government agencies, non-governmental organisations and private enterprises to explore ways and means of offering help to those affected by children who die at, around or after birth. The group worked together on

a small concept that could make a big difference. This small concept is a website designed to support people in their grief and provide up-to-date and truthful information. In traditional whaikorero (oratory speeches) Maori refer to the passing of a person as a ‘star’ that returns to the sky to join the multitude of ancestors. Wheturangitia means “stars that adorn the sky” and so, in this context, “return, take your place amongst the stars along with your ancestors that adorn the sky”.

The website is designed to support people in their grief and provide up-to-date and truthful information. This service will also prove a useful resource for employers navigating this difficult time with employees.

Financial services still 98 per cent


ew figures, shared by Rob Manilla, Chief Investment Officer at Kresge Foundation, a US socially minded grant foundation, state that 98 per cent of the financial services industry is still run by white men. Writing in the Financial Times and reported in HRGrapevine, Rob explains that, despite the best attempts of the GBP 54 trillion sector to position itself as a diverse industry, the statistics show a different story.

UK research found that nearly six in ten boardrooms don’t have an ethnic minority presence. Only one in eight hedge funds is led by a woman or person of colour, and those funds only control 5 per cent of the wealth in that space. Research from Barclays and the Knight Foundation shows that hedge funds with diverse ownership perform just 4



as well or better than other nondiverse financial vehicles. Leadership diversity is still a pressing issue. While many firms are doing much better at diverse entry-level recruitment, it still appears that white males are ending up in the top jobs. Only 40 per cent of firms disclose the ethnicity of their directors. Yet, according to the study, about 60 per cent of firms say that they consider gender and ethnicity when assessing director candidates. UK research, conducted by executive search and interim management provider, Green Park, found that nearly six in ten boardrooms don’t have an ethnic minority presence. Amber Rudd, UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, delivered a speech at the start of 2019 explaining that despite women making up over half of university students and almost half of the working population, they are still under-represented at board level.

“Having fewer women than men in leadership positions makes no sense. We know for instance that organisations with the highest levels of gender diversity in their leadership teams are 15 per cent more likely to outperform their industry rivals,” she told senior female City execs in January 2019.

Concerning results from workplace culture survey


new survey by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) reveals that less than a quarter of people rate their management as better than average. Richard Wagstaff, CTU President, said the results of the Together 2020 work survey are concerning. The survey focused on workplace culture, with questions about bullying, management effectiveness and people’s comfort in raising health and safety issues. “We’re concerned about the number of people who don’t feel able to report health and safety issues to their managers,” said Wagstaff. “We’ve had one in five people report that they don’t feel able to raise this issue. Safety at work is such a fundamental right that figure should be zero.”

Forty-six per cent stated bullying was an issue in the workplace.

Wagstaff added that the results reflect the changes in policy and economic settings.

“The more positive income and employment statistics of 2019 “Additionally, having 40 per cent of are translating into people feeling the workforce concerned about their better off than they did a year ago, jobs being threatened by technology but right now it seems too many shows there is an urgent need to address the rapid changes happening working people are still doing it tough, struggling to make ends meet to work and find ways to make sure and feeling undervalued at work,” people aren’t left behind.” said Wagstaff. The report also shows high levels “The Government’s reinstatement of workplace bullying, with 46 per of work rights that had been eroded cent stating bullying was an issue in by their predecessors has certainly the workplace. contributed to giving people the The survey was completed by nearly ability to get a better deal at work. 900 union and non-union working However, this is a fragile gain people and was conducted between that needs to be locked in and 2–5 January this year. strengthened through the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements.”





Putting people at the heart of sustainability and good business

Robert Perry, Sustainable Leadership Manager at the Sustainable Business Council (SBC), shows how businesses that choose to put sustainability at the heart of their purpose prove their commitment to doing good for people, as well as the planet and profit.


decade ago, sustainability was a non-issue for directors, executives and shareholders. CEOs rarely talked about ‘purpose’, their sights set solely on maximising profits and continued growth. Fast-forward to today and business is on a completely different trajectory. The Institute of Directors has just released its Top Five Issues for Directors in 2020, and on top of the list is climate action. There has been a global shift in expectations with shareholders demanding more than financial returns from their investments. Last year, 3.5 per cent of our population marched the streets calling for climate change action. This is a rising trend, and every sector, every employer and every demographic in society is now being affected. We all have a part to play. 6



So where to from here? Let’s start with tangible proof of sustainability progress before moving on to how your company can make progress. Here are some positives: • more than 100 business leaders have signed up to the Climate Leaders Coalition – setting bold goals to reduce their carbon footprint and report on progress • the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill passed with near unanimous cross-party support • major news companies report daily on climate change, making commitments to improve coverage • many companies have taken significant steps to move beyond waste minimisation to embrace the benefits that a circular economy brings – by starting to think about how to support their employee transition to new ways of doing things and new technologies. It’s clear that demand is growing for climate action and broader sustainability across the board. Just released, this year’s Colmar Brunton Better Futures report shows that climate change, sustainability and waste remain key concerns for New Zealanders.

You can find out more about the results at news/2020/kiwi-youth-feelingthe-heat. We’re seeing similar trends in impact investing, which has recently surged globally. Impact or responsible investing aims to produce social and environmental benefits as well as a financial return. It includes green bonds, social bonds, social enterprise, ethical funds management and strategic philanthropy. The Global Impact Investing Network estimates the current size of the global impact investing market to be US$502 billion. But can this change really be good for business, or is it all rhetoric? Looking to the future, the Colmar Brunton Better Futures report also highlights that 72 per cent of youth say it’s important their future employer is socially and environmentally responsible, indicating workplaces with these values are more likely to attract talent. Companies that have strong employee value propositions have a competitive edge when it comes to attracting new talent, as well as increased engagement with current

employees. Happy staff generally leads to improved outcomes.

and rewarding individuals to succeed in this context.

At SBC, we are seeing an increasing number of our members working with their employees to find new and innovative ways to reduce emissions and improve their social impact not only in the business but also at home.

Beyond Business founder and HR expert Elaine Cohen says, “the true role of the HR professional is to help convert the sustainability impacts of an organisation on employees into positive sustainability impacts of employees.”

A new wave

Collectively, SBC members employ 158,000 full-time equivalent staff, representing a considerable opportunity to influence action on sustainability issues like climate change, diversity and inclusion and the future of work. Businesses that choose to put sustainability at the heart of their purpose prove their commitment to doing good for people as well as the planet and profit. This responsibility calls for a strengthened social contract that goes beyond the wellbeing of employees, to managing the broader impacts on the society of which they are a part.

Cohen asserts that including employees in the sustainability process can have ripple effects due to the influence of their work and their multiple daily interactions with internal and external stakeholders.

An employee’s work and interactions have the potential to advance an organisation's sustainability goals. Incorporating sustainability in the workplace ties right into the HRNZ competency framework; to be an effective HR practitioner, you need to be skilled in the following five main areas. • Personal credibility: Build trust and credibility with all major stakeholders. • Business technology: Understand the general technologies that power the business.

How businesses lead and navigate these complex issues will be critical to maintaining and strengthening their social licence to operate as well as holding themselves to higher ethical standards. HR and people teams play an important role in recruiting, training





• Business knowledge: Understand how the business works. • HR delivery: Understand technical HR basics, such as recruitment, performance management, organisational change, and Human Resource Management Information Systems (HRMIS). • Strategic contribution: Understand how HR policies and practices contribute to the overall performance of the business in the long run. Sustainability leadership is implicit in each competency. None of these competencies can be fulfilled without oversight of the current and emerging issues affecting your organisation’s ability to create value and the associated expectations of your employees and stakeholders.

Practical changes

You can begin by understanding sustainability and what it means to your organisation. Engage with stakeholders to identify your main ‘material’ issues and set goals and




commitments to drive improvement. Consider tracking your company’s alignment and contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Once your goals are established, management systems and processes will need to guide the implementation of corresponding initiatives. The crucial final step is to monitor progress, communicate actions and deliver on your commitments. Throughout this simplified process, it is essential to ensure staff are engaged to build buy-in and ownership by explaining the importance and benefits of sustainability for the business, your people and wider society. Your company can also incorporate sustainability into leadership development programmes, to help integrate sustainability into accountabilities throughout your organisation (for example, to offset carbon by 2021). Remember that incentives are a great way to get staff on board. SkyCity created a financial incentive. For every dollar spent by its

employees offsetting their emissions, the company puts one dollar towards a Green Fund, which finances emissions reduction projects in the business. Thirty staff have since gone carbon neutral. Now that so many businesses are measuring their emissions and have started to create emissions reduction plans, the next step is to engage staff and tap into their creativity and know-how. Empower their innovation and leadership. In the capital, BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest advocacy body, is also in the process of embedding sustainable practices into its strategy. It has reviewed its functions and workplace practices and is in the process of rolling out sweeping changes. It is starting with easy win-wins, including reductions in air travel made possible by new digital meeting technologies, and taking a more progressing approach to policy advocacy by integrating

broader sustainability outcomes. The company has been offsetting its carbon for some time but wants to lead the way, as a small and medium-sized enterprise, in taking sustainable action. BusinessNZ has taken the simple but critical step of asking its HR department to break down emissions, making it easier for individuals to measure and take responsibility for reducing their footprint.

Future of work

A widely discussed, and sometimes misunderstood, aspect of driving change in the workplace is the future of work (FoW). A common misconception is that this is all about technology – it’s not, it’s also about tangata, tangata, tangata. The scale and pace of transformation are unprecedented, and its impacts are amplified by its interaction with other socio-economic factors such as shifting demographics, globalisation, and the transition to a sustainable, zero-carbon economy.

FoW will bring challenges for organisational leadership, business models and our workforces. Conversely, FoW signifies an opportunity to develop work in ways that not only enhance productivity and create value but also enable people to thrive in the new realities of work. However, if the transitions involved are poorly managed, potential risks include widening skills gaps and inequality, and growing uncertainties through increasing job displacement, skills transitions and the casualisation of work. The transitions involved call for urgent, decisive action to seize these opportunities and to mitigate potential risks. Environmental and social issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and FoW are shaping up to be some of the greatest opportunities and challenges for business in our lifetime.

• Define your company’s social purpose. • Review your workplace practices to ensure that they are in line with your sustainability goals. • Make sustainability a crucial part of your recruitment and induction processes. • Integrate sustainability into leadership development and training. • Look at quick win-wins by providing tools to help employees be more sustainable. • Incentivise accountability and nurture ownership by incorporating sustainability goals into job descriptions and performance reviews.

Today’s business leaders need a finely tuned skillset to drive high levels of performance, productivity and value creation amid increasing complexity, uncertainty and profound change. They need transformational strategic thinking, creativity, innovation and personal resilience. They need to shape cross-sectoral collaborations at a scale never seen before and, at times, involving cooperation amongst competitors. Businesses that put sustainability at their core must take responsibility for people as well as the planet and profit. This responsibility calls for a strengthened social contract that goes beyond caring for the wellbeing of employees to managing the broader impacts on the society of which they are a part. By joining the leading businesses and organisations in helping New Zealand get to net-zero emissions by 2050, your workplace will be better prepared for this seemingly uncertain future.

Key steps for HR professionals to drive sustainability in your organisation:

Robert Perry manages the Sustainable Business Council’s Sustainable Leadership programme. This covers mainstreaming sustainable business practices throughout New Zealand, business leadership, and reframing business with a societal purpose to deliver lasting value for people, profit and prosperity. Robert has worked as a strategist, policy practitioner and auditor providing strategic leadership on sustainability issues and their solutions in business, consultancy and public sector organisations in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. He was the driving force behind the co-design, governance and citywide delivery of Low Carbon Auckland, which is a 30-year strategy and action plan to drive Auckland’s low carbon economic transformation.





Mentoring Programme Mentors needed; mentees welcomed Benefits of being a mentor: • • • • •

Enhance your reputation and industry profile Gain recognition for your skills and experience Exposure to new perspectives and approaches Develop leadership and management qualities Gain satisfaction from ‘giving back’

Benefits of being a mentee: • • • • •

Gain valuable insights from leading HR professionals Practical career development advice Increase your professional confidence Exposure to different leadership and management styles Develop new skills and knowledge

Find out more and register at

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HRNZ Members


Kavita Khanna management degree, and it is there that I found my niche. I’m curious about and fascinated by what makes people tick, how they respond to their environment. Organisations are an interplay of people, purpose and passion, and what happens when collective energies are harnessed for a good outcome. A career in HR allows me to play in this space.

Kavita Khanna is currently Director of People and Capability at Tonkin + Taylor. In addition, she is a Board member for HRNZ. Human Resources magazine caught up with her to gain an insight into her world. 1. What do you do in your current role to help your organisation be successful? The way I look at my role is that it’s all about getting the organisation to think about how to create a workplace that gets the best out of its people. Then I try to work out where it will choose to invest in terms of people resources, time or money to get the best possible outcomes for both the individual and the business. Ultimately, my role is to help the business become successful and help the people in the business have successful careers. A significant part is helping to mature the conversations about people and culture and managing the outcome the organisation wants. I do this by joining the dots where required, holding up a mirror and asking the awkward questions. I get involved in a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘why do we do it this way’ conversations and, luckily, I work in a people-focused business, so everyone wants to engage in this way of thinking. 2. What attracted you to pursue a career in HR? I did a Master’s degree in literature. Career-wise, however, the usual options of academia or journalism were not really my thing. I did not find them real enough. So I went for a 12



3. What motivated you to apply for the role of HRNZ Board member? I want to give back to the profession. It’s a highly rewarding profession, and I want good people to take up a career in HR. HRNZ has a significant role in shaping the profession, and I thought I could contribute by being on the Board. I had previously looked after the mentoring programme in Auckland and undertaken various initiatives within the Institute. So when I started exploring a governance career and the opportunity came along, I put my hand up for the role. 4. What has been a highlight in your career to date? Over the past year and a bit, I have introduced a new performance framework that will help shift the way we enable good performance in the business. It is a cultureled approach, designed for an introverted organisation to have good quality feedback conversations in a non-judgemental way. People avoid feedback and performance conversations because they tend to be cringe-worthily artificial and no fun for anyone involved. The performance framework is our attempt to make these conversations more ‘human’ and meaningful. 5. What do you most value about HRNZ membership? I like the connections and networks that we can generate. I really like the discussions that we are generating about the future of the profession and, more recently, some of the thought leadership that is emerging through the course offerings, the conferences and the discussions we have at the

Board meetings. I am encouraged by the strategy of HRNZ and how we are positioning the profession for the future. The strategy development work has, for example, identified that we have to take a position as a profession around how organisations respond to climate change and how we, as HR professionals, can be literate on that. I am excited by the possibilities this kind of thinking creates for our profession. 6. What’s something that not many people know about you? Call me soft-hearted, but I like to try to revive dead plants. When I go to the garden centre and see plants that need TLC or are nearly dead, I sometimes feel sorry for them, and I take them home and try to revive them! 7. If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would they be and why? I enjoyed coming up with the answer to this question. The trouble was to reduce the list to only three. I don’t want just to ask them questions at this imaginary dinner. I also imagine the conversations that would emerge as they exchanged ideas from the various times they represent. I would have JK Rowling and Charles Dickens on the list. They both broke new ground in their time. Charles Dickens was a pioneer in creating a plethora of characters – all developed and delivered in instalments – a precursor to the modern ‘soap opera’. And JK Rowling famously revived interest in reading books for whole generations. My third guest would be Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Black Swan and Antifragile. I call him the modernday philosopher who is considered one of the most influential thinkers of our times. What fascinating conversations would that combination generate!! 8. What’s your happy place? For me, it is anywhere I can suspend thinking and get perspective. Any beach that offers solitude, where I can listen to the waves and get a sense of how infinite the world around me is and how ridiculous my own problems are in that vastness.

Sophie John

Sophie John is currently the HR Manager at Cedenco Foods. Human Resources magazine caught up with her to gain an insight into her world.

it was the perfect mix of people and business strategy.

cases, and how they are managing that change as a business.

3. What advice would you give to HR practitioners just starting their career?

6. What’s something that not many people know about you?

The advice I would give is that it’s all just about people – if you’re committed to doing the right thing by people and supporting them to succeed, that’s what really makes a great HR practitioner. 4. What has been a highlight in your career to date?

It’s definitely hard to pick only one highlight! I work alongside our local 1. What do you do in your current tertiary provider, Eastern Institute role to help your organisation of Technology, supporting the HR be successful? students. I enjoy bringing them on site and talking about the practical In my role as HR Manager for day-to-day work of an HR practitioner Cedenco Foods, I cover three and getting them involved in projects manufacturing sites across where possible. I would never have New Zealand. In a nutshell, my got into the positions I have without role involves all things people! We someone giving me a chance like have amazing managers within our that, so I feel very lucky to be in a business, so I am fortunate that a lot position to pay it forward. A great of my role is working on the ‘above sense of pride for me is also when we and beyond’ aspects of HR. A big deal with the less positive sides of HR. focus of mine at the moment is our new Wellbeing Programme, Oranga, It might seem like an odd highlight, but I pride myself in ensuring which will enable us to support our processes are carried out not only people to focus on their all-round legislatively correctly but fairly and wellbeing. It’s a big passion of ethically. I am also a firm believer mine to find out what people want in thinking about how you would from their roles, beyond just the want a member of your family to be pay cheque, and to work with the treated in those situations. Getting business to try to achieve that for feedback that the process was made them. Retention is a big focus, so if we can give people that little bit extra, more comfortable, less stressful, and more dignified for people gives me a it’s a no brainer! boost that I’ve made a difference for 2. What attracted you to pursue someone during a difficult time. a career in HR? 5. What do you most value about I actually began my study towards HRNZ membership? being a chartered accountant, Being the sole HR Manager on site, because I had always been good I find it really great to connect with with numbers. Alongside that, I other HR practitioners, to bounce always had a passion for people, ideas around and hear what’s with a big interest in psychology and working for them. A particular benefit social sciences. When I completed is discussing current events, whether the base HR papers within my that’s legislative changes or recent Bachelor in Business Studies, I knew

It took me seven years to finish my business degree! I was a young mum and was (and always will be) determined that my daughter will see how far you can go in life if you put the work in. I began studying online when she was three months old, and I chipped away one paper at a time until I was in a position to increase to full-time study. Looking back, it feels like those years flew by, so I’ve started again with my Bachelor in Psychology! 7. If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would they be and why?

Three is so few! I would love to sit down with Richard Branson – I admire him as an entrepreneur and enjoyed his book Screw Business As Usual. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two about doing good in order to do well in business. I would have to throw my brother, Alec, into the mix. I admire everything he’s done in his life and, being Melbourne-based, our dinners are too few and far between! And to keep the evening from falling into too much business talk, I’d bring along Miranda Hart for a few belly laughs. I know that’s already three for dinner, but maybe David Bowie could just sing for us in the background? 8. What’s your happy place?

My happy place is in the car! I have always felt the car is sort of an ‘in-between’ space, where I’m in between work, home or anywhere else with responsibilities or pressures. For me, it’s a chance to switch off from all of that and just focus on the road.





Sustainability leadership: the way of the future

Mike Burrell, the Sustainable Business Council’s new Executive Director, talks about how sustainability leadership makes good business sense.


nvironmental and social issues are shaping up to be some of the most significant opportunities and challenges for businesses in the coming years. The pace of change and scale of the challenges facing enterprises require a new type of leadership. Business leaders need transformational strategic thinking, creativity, innovation and personal resilience.

Responsible investing now accounts for more than 70 per cent of total assets under management by New Zealand fund managers. Traditionally, the perception has been that sustainability and profitability cannot co-exist, but this continues to be disproven. Sustainability leadership is now a platform for growth and profitability within your business. Businesses 14



with environmental, social and governance principles embedded into their strategy can better mitigate risk and drive profitable growth.

assessing environmental, social and governance factors that tie into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The proof is in the pudding: a massive uptake of responsible investment practices has been seen by New Zealand fund managers in the past two years, on the back of client demand.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found the performance of sustainable funds is on par with that of conventional funds. The IMF estimates more than 1,500 equity funds exist with an explicit sustainability mandate.

KPMG’s Responsible Investment Benchmark 2019 New Zealand report showed the following main findings: • responsible investment grew to NZ$188 billion in 2018, a threefold increase over five years • New Zealand leads other major markets, with the highest level of take-up of responsible investment • the focus is shifting to finding positive investment opportunities in addition to screening out harmful sectors. Responsible investing has emerged as a fundamental practice for New Zealand’s fund managers and now accounts for more than 70 per cent of total assets under management. The uplift was mainly due to mainstream investment funds making a switch to incorporate responsible investment, such as negative screening, and

Investors are increasingly putting money into companies with good track records on environmental, social or governance issues. Any suggestion of a trade-off between financial performance and sustainability has been proven false.

We’ve now reached a stage where there is no trade-off between financial performance and sustainability. In fact, the recent Sustainable Business Council’s In Good Company report tells us that New Zealanders really want to know more about what businesses are doing and that there is a big opportunity for the business community to showcase its leadership better.

Showing your leadership

HR professionals are in the unique position of being able to make meaningful progress on the social and environmental issues faced by the business, thereby improving the attractiveness of their company. Sustainability leadership is an emerging area of professional development to equip your team with the skills they will need to make a difference. Leading your company into an unpredictable future will need transformational strategic thinking, creativity, innovation and personal resilience. It will require a sustainable mindset. Traditional management is shifting to inspiration and coaching, adding value through influencing and enabling others rather than controlling information flows, and building active cultures within the organisation and as well as with partners across their value chains. You may need to work collaboratively and even cooperate with competitors. Taking leadership in sustainability can have wide-ranging benefits, including: • attracting talent • appealing to consumers

• lessening the risk of losing profits to environmental threats • having happier, more productive employees • creating cost savings. Whether it’s demand from consumers and your supply chain, investors or the community, issues like your carbon footprint, waste, ethical products and the changing workforce are becoming more and more important to your social licence to operate.

practices contribute to the overall performance of the business in the long run. New Zealand’s business community is increasingly looking at how it can embed sustainability into its strategies, practices and communications. More debate and transparency is required to ensure that everyone is ready to step up.

Businesses with strong sustainability credentials are also highly desirable to employees, with 86 per cent of Kiwis saying it is important to work for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible.

Sustainability leadership is now a platform for growth and profitability within your business. Right now, we are on the precipice of significant changes in the workplace. Employees are driving many of these changes. The opportunity for your employees to influence brand reputation is huge. Your HR policies and recruitment

Mike Burrell joined SBC in January 2020. His previous role was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to South Africa. Before that he was Director for Sustainable Economic Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the founding CEO of Aquaculture New Zealand. AUTUMN 2020




NZ HR Awards

HR professionals from across New Zealand gathered together in February to celebrate and showcase their achievements of the past year. The NZ HR Awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of the country’s top HR leaders, companies and teams. Kathy Catton reviewed the glamorous and prestigious night.

stirring reminder that the real job of HR leaders is to “take care of the people who work for us. To make a difference every day for the people you support, lead and inspire”.


According to the NZ HR Awards chief judge, Geoff Summers, the finalist selection process was more tightly contested than ever. “The numerous high-quality applications are testament to the great work happening in the field of human resources here in New Zealand. It took much deliberation and consideration to decide on the winners. There were so many deserving applications and finalists.”

fter finalists of NZ HR’s prestigious awards were announced in December last year, the stage was set for showcasing New Zealand’s best examples of the HR profession, recognising the achievements of outstanding HR professionals, teams and organisations across 14 categories, ranging from HR Generalist of the Year to Best Wellness Programme. With individuals representing more than 23 companies, these awards shine the spotlight on a true crosssection of the HR profession’s best. The awards have been running for 21 years, and, this year, ran in association with Principal Sponsor Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). Sake Hitman, Country Manager, New Zealand, LHH, opened proceedings with a 16



There is so much great HR work going on across New Zealand, and it’s wonderful to see some of it on a night like this.

To have the smartest, most resilient and passionate HR teams and professionals all together for one celebratory night was a fantastic occasion. Antonia Prebble, the muchloved actress and polished MC, hosted the event, held at the Cordis, Auckland. She sparked the audience with her ‘Are you a Westie?!’ quiz and

led us through proceedings, which were punctuated by short videos profiling the finalists.

Make a difference every day for the people you support, lead and inspire. As well as recognising outstanding work, the NZ HR Awards are designed to provide individuals and HR teams with the opportunity to take part in a process of discovery, awareness, acknowledgement and achievement, which highlights the value that HR adds to organisations. Debbie Kirby took the prize for HR Person of the Year, as well as the Leadership Award. Working as General Manager HR for Downer New Zealand, Debbie is the acknowledged leader in New Zealand for Corporate Social Outcome programmes, contributing both to Downer and wider New Zealand. Through constant innovation and working collaboratively with various partners over eight years, she has tackled the tough social issues such as drug usage, and the growing numbers of NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training). Her work affects not only

HR Person of the Year – Debbie Kirby – Downer

employees of Downer New Zealand, but also their families, hapu and the communities they associate with.

We are seeing the impact on people’s lives – they are really life-changing. Debbie said, “I’d like to acknowledge all of Downer. We’ve been working away for several years, and it’s fantastic to be recognised by the wider HR profession.” Debbie was also appreciative of the work of others, saying, “There is so much great HR work going on across New Zealand, and it’s wonderful to see some of it on a night like this.” The Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year Award went to Sophie John, who graciously accepted her award by thanking those who had inspired her. “I’ve had the good fortune to be around inspiring people, and now I guess I’m one of them.” Working at Cedenco Foods NZ Ltd, Sophie has gained a great deal of experience and exposure in many roles. She currently works within Operations and strongly believes in the ability to improve productivity and outputs through HR initiatives.

Emerging HR Practitioner – Sophie Johns Cedenceo Foods

Andrew Dennan, HR Specialist of the Year Award winner, gave thanks to his boss, stating, “Your mentoring and friendship are the reason I am here today.” Andrew works at Synlait Milk Ltd as the Group Talent Acquisition Manager. He is a global leader specialising in talent acquisition transformation and innovation, and has worked on building highperforming inclusive teams over the past 15 years. Amanda Herron-Quan won the HR Generalist of the Year Award for her work as a much-loved Group Manager, People and Culture, at BCITO. Amanda was acknowledged for being central to the growth of BCITO, from 130 to 300 employees, and its navigation through the Government’s vocational education reform. “Thank you to HRNZ for acknowledging the work of these wonderful HR professionals,” said Amanda.

Sometimes it’s the people who we think nothing of, who do the most amazing work. One of the big winners of the night was McDonald’s Restaurants (NZ) Ltd. The company took out

HR Specialist of the Year – Andrew Dennan

the Learning and Development Capability Award and the Award for HR Technology. The restaurant chain won based on its work to introduce a station training app to support its restaurants with the training and rostering of frontline staff. With frontline crew being the bedrock of McDonald’s success, it was crucial in a fast-changing, geographically dispersed environment to keep training up to date and consistent across 10,000 staff members. Another big winner of the night was Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC). The company won the Award for Best Wellness Programme and the Award for Organisational Change and Development. LIC’s wellness programme was designed in response to a national issue surrounding mental health and its “Well Aware Mental Wellbeing at Work” programme. One of the outstanding outcomes from the workshops that LIC ran was that the number of men seeking EAP services almost doubled. LIC was also congratulated for its work in the organisational change space. In just three years, LIC has transformed itself, shifting the thinking of its employees, and, in the year ending 31 May 2019, paid out a AUTUMN 2020




$15.6 million return in dividend to shareholders, the most significant dividend paid out since 2013.

introduced a fully digital service for all hospital orderlies, enabling them to accept, respond to and fulfil work requests on the go.

I’ve had the good fortune to be around inspiring people, and now I guess I’m one of them.

“Sometimes it’s the people who we think nothing of, who do the most amazing work,” said Chief People Officer, Michael Frampton, on accepting the award. “CDHB is all about health. By combining people and digital technology in new ways, we are giving people back their time and allowing them to serve others with their health.”

The Award for Diversity and Inclusion recognises excellence in identifying and acting in a way that achieves fairness and equity of opportunity for everyone. Downer New Zealand acknowledges the special place that tangata whenua hold in Aotearoa and strives to be an employer of choice for Maori. The company has been on a deliberate journey over the past five years to create an environment where Maori culture is recognised, and the flow-on effects from this have created a significant change in the Downer culture, from the executive team through to frontline employees. “This award is huge for Downer,” said Craig West from Downer New Zealand. “Downer is now known as an employer where Maori can thrive and be authentic in the workplace. We are seeing the impact on people’s lives – they are really life-changing.”

Hawkes Bay Branch won the HRNZ Branch of the Year Award for its work in rebuilding an almost dormant branch. Kerry Tattersall, Branch President, accepted the award on behalf of its members and acknowledged the tremendous amount of work that the committee has done to reinvigorate the branch. Geoff Summers was the very welldeserved winner of the HRNZ Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is the most significant recognition and highest honour that HRNZ can bestow. This year it acknowledges the outstanding and ongoing contribution of Geoff to the HR profession in New Zealand.

2degrees won the Award for Talent Acquisition and was recognised for its outstanding initiative into its employer branding. The initiative was designed to help 2degrees attract and retain the best people, to show people authentically what it’s like to work at 2degrees. The Christian Dahmen Memorial Award for HR Innovation recognises applicants who have introduced a new product, service or HR practice not previously seen in New Zealand. Christian Dahmen was an independent director and HRNZ Fellow who challenged individuals to see new ways of working. This award went to Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) in his honour. The Christchurch-based DHB HR team 18



Kerry Tattersall Hawkes Bay Branch President & Sophie Johns – Emerging Practitioner

Geoff’s career in HR spans over 30 years. Denise Hartley-Wilkins, HRNZ National President, presented Geoff with his award, stating, “Geoff is one of New Zealand’s foremost human resource management specialists, and one of the country’s leading specialists in remuneration management. From starting his career with the New Zealand Fire Service, Geoff rose to the rank of Senior Fire Commander. In the 1980s Geoff led the process to amalgamate all the country’s firefighters’ unions into a single national union. He went on to become Director of Personnel for the Fire Service and subsequently moved to become Director of HR at Victoria University of Wellington. He firmly believes in giving back to the community and has served on many not-for-profit boards. I see him as a personal role model who I, and many others, hold in very high personal and professional regard.”

We are seeing the impact on people’s lives – they are really life-changing. Geoff accepted the award with grace and humility, saying, “There are a lot of amazing HR people out there doing amazing HR work. Thank you to HRNZ for making these events bigger and better each year so we can celebrate our people and our profession. Being awarded the HRNZ Lifetime Achievement Award is a great honour because it is awarded by my peers and that is what makes it so special. HR is such a great profession, and I am ecstatic that I am worthy of receiving such a prestigious honour.” Building on the profiles of the finalists, HRNZ has produced an e-book, which is a collection of HR best practice accumulated from the HRNZ 2020 awards submissions. This provides an excellent resource for individuals considering implementing HR projects and initiatives to learn from the best.

Find out more about the finalists and winners in the upcoming E-Book Shaping the Profession. Available exclusively to HRNZ Members in March. As the Maori proverb professes, it is the people who are the most important thing in this world. The 2020 NZ HR Awards evening recognises that.

Learning & Development Capability Award winners – McDonald's Restaurants (NZ) Ltd

HRNZ AWARDS WINNERS Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year Award: Sophie John HR Generalist of the Year Award: Amanda Herron-Quan HR Specialist of the Year Award: Andrew Dennan Leadership Award: Debbie Kirby HR Person of the Year Award: Debbie Kirby HRNZ Lifetime Achievement Award: Geoff Summers Christian Dahmen Memorial Award for HR Innovation: Canterbury District Health Board Diversity & Inclusion Award winners – Downer New Zealand

HR Technology Award: McDonald’s Restaurants (NZ) Ltd HRNZ Branch of the Year Award: Hawkes Bay Best Wellness Programme Award: Livestock Improvement Corporation Diversity and Inclusion Award: Downer New Zealand Learning and Development Capability Award: McDonald’s Restaurants (NZ) Ltd Talent Acquisition Award: 2degrees Organisational Change and Development Award: Livestock Improvement Corporation

Organisational Change & Development Award winners – Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC)





Sustaining hauora in our workplaces

Alice Anderson, Solicitor at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, takes a look at current legislation affecting workplace wellness and how the Te Whare Tapa Whā model can support our understanding of this.


ustainability in the employment context could mean a multitude of things. With attitudes and conversations shifting toward a focus on workplace wellness and improving the mental health of our kaimahi (workers), we are slowly seeing an evolution in employment legislation and judicial decisionmaking aimed at sustaining hauora (health and wellbeing) of employees in the workplace. One useful model to consider when contemplating how to adopt a holistic approach to hauora in the workplace is Te Whare Tapa Wha. This model embodies the symbol of the wharenui or house with four walls. Each wall represents one of the four cornerstones of health: taha tinana (physical health), taha hinengaro (mental health), taha whanau (family and social health) and taha wairua (spiritual health). The philosophy is that when one of the walls is missing or damaged, a person becomes unbalanced and unwell. 20



Changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 have been well documented and publicised, with several developments arguably providing employees with an opportunity to look after their wharenui of hauora in the workplace and requiring employers to support that. The raft of changes means there is no room for complacency because the task of being a “fair and reasonable employer” requires more than a regimented ‘tick box’ or ‘onesize-fits-all’ approach.

The philosophy of the model is that where one of the walls is missing or damaged, a person becomes unbalanced and unwell. The Act prescribes a regime enabling employees to request flexible working arrangements. Previously, the ability to make a request was only available to employees who had the care of any person. However, this was amended in 2015 to extend the right to all employees. Now, with no limit as to why a request can be made, employees can request a variation of their working arrangements. This could include a change in hours, days or location of their work to fulfil

other needs, for example, whanau or community commitments. Employers are required to consider a request and respond in a timely manner. A request can only be declined if it cannot be accommodated on one of the specific statutory grounds.

We are seeing an evolution in employment legislation and judicial decisionmaking aimed at sustaining hauora (health andwellbeing) of employees. In 2019 Aotearoa became one of the few countries to create a universal entitlement to family violence leave for employees who are affected by family violence. While family violence may occur outside of the workplace, the effects on a person simply do not disappear when they arrive at work. Under the Holidays Act 2003, an employee may take family violence leave regardless of how long ago the family violence occurred (even if it pre-dated employment). Further, it can be taken by an employee if a child who ordinarily or periodically resides with the employee has had family violence inflicted on them, irrespective of whether the


Is a Maori philosophy of health unique to New Zealand. It consists of a number of dimensions.

Taha hinengaro

Mental and emotional wellbeing

Taha whanau

Social wellbeing

Taha wairua

Taha tinana

Spiritual wellbeing

Physical wellbeing

employee was also a victim. Family violence currently costs the country up to $7 billion a year. This leave entitlement helps enable an affected employee to look after their wharenui of hauora while also illustrating that we all have a role to play in addressing the family violence issues that are prevalent in Aotearoa, including employers. The return of the set rest and meal breaks, though somewhat controversial given an arguable conflict with the desire for flexibility, at least reaffirms the importance of breaks for employees. This is not just about being a fair and reasonable employer but also reflects the health and safety obligation that employers need to be aware of. Rest breaks give an employee a chance to recover, refresh and take care of personal matters, which is not only essential for their hauora but also helps with making the workplace more productive. Turning to mental health, conversations around mental health and how we can awhina (support) those who may be suffering in the workplace are increasing. The Health

and Safety at Work Act 2015 defines a hazard to “include a person’s behaviour”, and the leading case, FGH v RST,1 confirms an employer has an obligation to take preventative measures to address, and respond appropriately to, mental health issues that may arise with an employee. The obligations extend beyond merely following a consultative process and will require an employer to identify and clarify the issues and risks and look to reduce those in order for an employee to remain safe in the workplace.

that, “A cookie-cutter approach to such matters may well become an increasingly high-risk strategy”. Ultimately, people bring their whole selves to work.2 A holistic approach to wellbeing through consideration of Te Whare Tapa Wha, societal expectations and the evolving employment landscape and obligations will go a long way towards sustaining the hauora of employees, the employment relationship and the workplace.

A cookie-cutter approach to such matters may well become an increasingly high-risk strategy. While it is paramount that employers remain up to date with employment law changes, an adaptable and engaging ethos is needed to satisfy the obligation of being a ‘fair and reasonable’ employer. In considering an employer’s obligation to actively consider and respond to cultural values and norms when they arise, Chief Judge Inglis has warned

Alice Anderson is a Solicitor at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. She has experience dealing with a full range of employment issues representing both employers and employees. Alice is an active member of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, the Māori Law Society, and has a keen interest in incorporating tikanga-based values into the workplace and dispute resolution.

1 [2018] NZEmpC 60. 2 ‘Developing Themes in Employment Law: Placement of the Goalposts in a Changing World’, speech by Chief Judge Inglis to the New Zealand Industrial and Employment Relations Conference, Auckland, 5–6 March 2019.





Workplaces of the future:

human or robot?

Dr Jo Cribb, former Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women and now consultant, coach, governance expert and keynote speaker, shares her predictions about what the workplace of the future will look like. She asks if our uniquely human qualities will ever be up for grabs.


hen we think about the past decade, we have seen much change. This should cause us to pause, think about who and what in the future will be affected by technology and what our workplaces of the future will look like. In so doing, we can start to map out how we, as HR professionals, can influence this ever-changing landscape and how we can support our people through the transition. After all, ‘Future of Work’ has turned into a hashtag. It is a thing. But how are the trends in technology going to affect our workplaces? What can we reliably predict (as opposed to the dystopian Blade Runner or Jetson’s ‘no-more work’ scenarios that are bantered about)? Here’s what I predict, based on the research for my co-authored 22



book Don’t Worry About the Robots: How to survive and thrive in the new world of work and what I shared with participants at a recent HRNZ Summit.

The pace of change will accelerate, exponentially

Many of our predecessors have faced periods of widespread change and social upheaval. Water and steam drove the first industrial revolution in the 19th century and, hence, harnessed mechanised production methods. The invention of electricity drove the second industrial revolution in the 20th century, which led to mass production, assembly lines, specialisation and urbanisation. The mid-1970s are characterised by what is called the third industrial revolution when advances in computing power brought us the personal computer.

Computing power is doubling every two years, and computer power underpins most aspects of our life. Experts say we are now living in the fourth industrial revolution, but this one is different from the past three. In previous revolutions, only one technological change was

arguably driving things. This fourth revolution is driven by advances in the computing power that drives most facets of our life and economy. These advances are exponential. As Moore’s Law predicted, computing power is doubling every two years, and computer power underpins most aspects of our life. Just imagine the power and functionality our smartphones will have in five years time’.

Roughly half of all jobs in New Zealand today are at risk of technological displacement over the next few decades (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research). We can expect change across many areas, with advances in nanotechnology, 3D printing, biotech, robotics and genetics. What we don’t know is how these technologies will converge with a breakthrough in one area unlocking change in another. The exponential change also means this will hit fast. We may not even realise change is going to happen until after it has arrived.

There will still be people working

Despite predictions to the contrary, I think we will still be working. Work is key to who we are, how we arrange ourselves and finding meaning in our lives. This is unlikely to change quickly. But technology is going to change the nature of work – what we do, how we do it and even who does what. There are many ‘best guesses’ about what will happen. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has carried out one of the most credible analyses. It looked at the current state of automation and predicted where it is likely to develop and then applied this to the current workforce. The Institute found that roughly half of all jobs in New Zealand today are at risk of technological displacement over the next few decades. This includes jobs in sectors that we might not automatically think about, such as financial services, public administration, and scientific and technical services, as well as more repetitive, manual roles.1 Other predictions are that up to 60 per cent of current jobs could have up to 30 per cent of their work automated in the near future. That is good news for many of us because the repetitive tasks we often dislike doing could be automated in the

future. It means we are likely to be working alongside more sophisticated systems. But it also potentially means our employers need less of us.

solving, making sense of data and serving others. These are more complex, judgement and analysisbased tasks.

While this has happened through time (think Xero and accounting, the AI programmes used by law firms to do case analysis, and even back to typewriters and tractors), what is different now is the potential scale and speed of change in new technology.

Expecting workers to problem solve means that organisations may increasingly need to delegate and distribute the power for decisionmaking. Workers will need to be able to actually solve problems and change things, and this potentially means fewer managers and flatter hierarchies.

There will be fewer managers

Our productivity in the future is likely to be more easily monitored, potentially through an app or dashboard showing the performance of many hundreds of workers. The potential need, therefore, for the current army of supervisors (who traditionally checked up on us) is likely to be gone. Transport is a good example of this. In previous years, an army of supervisors would hop on and off buses and check timelines by waiting for buses at bus stops. Today this can all be efficiently completed by one person tracking each bus by GPS. Think of the ease of which employers will be able to monitor keystrokes or phone calls. As I have already outlined, routine tasks are ripe for automation. Futurists predict that, increasingly, workers will be focused on problem

With the volume of data now available at the fingertips of most workers, sitting outside their manager’s office waiting for a decision may be a thing of the past. They may be in a better place than a manager to make a decision. While we may see fewer supervisors and managers, I think leadership will become more critical. By leadership, I mean the ability to create a vision for an organisation that unites and motivates its workers. Leadership also means the ability to generate change when the vision needs to adapt. This will be a difficult transition, though, because we have many managers in our organisations who are not necessarily leaders. It is quite a different role.

Leadership will become more critical … the ability to create a vision for an organisation that unites and motivates its workers. The workforce will be more diverse

At present, we have the greatest diversity of age of workers ever. With people retiring later, we have a wide range of ages in our workplaces. This is likely to continue and intensify. With different ages, comes different expectations of work and the workplace; something leaders of the future will need to grapple with.

1 impact_of_disruptive_technologies_on_kiwis.pdf




Up to 60 per cent of current jobs could have up to 30 per cent of their work automated in the near future (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research). With the increasing diversity of New Zealand’s population, our workforce is and will continue to be more ethnically diverse than ever before. Forty per cent of the Auckland population was born overseas, and Maori, Pacific and ethnic groups are the largest growing sections of our population. Such diversity is a strength, bringing together different skills, experience and insights to create effective decisions and actions. But leadership will be needed to harness diversity. Leadership will be required to draw us together when many of us working together may not be in the same physical location or even the same time zone and will have very different experiences and expectations.




The workers of the future may not be employees Many of us still base our lives on the assumption of a three-stage model – education, work, retirement – and work means the same job for similar organisations. What will be a reality for most of us is to be more fluid; we may re-train, have periods of selfemployment, and gig work.

For some people like me, portfolio work is a rewarding way of working, giving flexibility and variety. For many, however, gig work could mean precarious income, poor conditions and exploitation.

Our workforce is and will continue to be more ethnically diverse than ever before. Forty per cent of the Auckland population was born overseas and Māori, Pacific and ethnic groups are the largest growing sections of our population.

The volume of New Zealanders who are self-employed has increased by 30 per cent in the past 10 years. Australian data shows 32 per cent of its workforce freelanced between 2014–15. We should expect both employer and employee demand for different work arrangements and the workforces of the future to not necessarily be based in one space or even in New Zealand.

Workers will need to learn as they go

Think about the number of times the apps on your phone update. If we are working alongside sophisticated machine learning systems, they will continually improve and update, and we will need to adapt continuously. We may need to upskill and learn to do more on-the-job informal, bitesized learning to keep up. Formal learning at the beginning of our careers may become less useful and learning as we go will need to become part of our day-to-day job.

The skills needed in the 21st century are the ability to work together, to communicate, to find insights, and build solutions. They are creativity, communicating, collaboration, and critical thinking. Some organisations will have empty desks while there are queues of people looking for work In 2017 the Foundation for Young Australians published research that was an analysis of graduate and entry-level jobs for the five years previous.2 It found a 200 per cent increase had occurred in demand for digital skills in these ads and a 150 per cent increase in critical thinking and communication.

The skills needed in the 21st century aren’t the ability to know facts or do a routine, repetitive task. They are the ability to work together, to communicate, to find insights and build solutions. They are creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

Futurists predict that, increasingly, workers will be focused on problemsolving, making sense of data and serving others. These are more complex, judgement and analysis-based But this is not just for our kids. It will be for us over the next decades. The higher-level value-add skills of analysis, sense making and advice giving will be in high demand. Our organisations will be in a battle for talent. This also means some workers without these skills and the ability to learn might be left behind.

Being human won’t change

Employees who talk loudly to their colleagues about what they watched on Netflix last night will still be around. But our more positive human qualities – empathy, caring, connection and humour – are difficult to automate and are essential human traits. These are what we need to focus on and keep reminding ourselves of when we shudder at the thought of robots entering our lives for good. As custodians of the people agenda within our organisations, we can be proud of and champion our diversity, skills and uniqueness.

Predictions for the future:

• The pace of change will accelerate, exponentially • There will still be people working • There will be fewer managers • The workforce will be more diverse • The workers of the future may not be employees • Workers will need to learn as they go • Some organisations will have empty desks while there are queues of people looking for work • Being human won’t change.

Jo Cribb is a consultant focusing on diversity, strategy and coaching emerging leaders. She has a background in leadership roles in the public service, most recently as the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women. Her interest in the Future of Work arose from her transition from Chief Executive to a portfolio career and resulted in the coauthored book Don't Worry About the Robots: How to survive and thrive in the new world of work.






Sustainability for Learning and Development Angela Bingham, Executive Director People and Capability at the Open Polytechnic, looks at a practical guide to capability, drawn from her experience of designing and developing learning within a sustainable framework.


any of us are continually reading and looking for the ‘next big thing’, or trying to predict the future of work, and seeking out cutting-edge research in the field of learning and development. What’s important in all of this perusing is that, whatever we end up choosing, we get a positive return on our investment that will have a long-term, long-lasting, sustainable impact on our people.

Sustainability in a learning and development sense is about low maintenance (cost, hours to produce, physical paper and printing), reduction of replication, and developing life skills alongside technical skills; ensuring capability is transferable outside your organisation. Consider this scenario: you have spent countless hours creating a thorough set of reference and learning documentation for your business’s finance (procurement, legal, HR, …) system. You have 26



crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’. Consulted with the best of the best and are ready to go. This will be familiar to many of you, the feeling of pride when you’ve finished the work and printed the artefacts. You have been offered another role or project. In preparation for the handover, you prepare documentation on how to maintain the resources you have created. Your successor joins the organisation with different skills and experience from you. They have decided the enterprise system can be easily replaced by a cloud-based app, with AI and machine learning. In the blink of an eye, technology changes, and the blood, sweat and tears of those resources and artefacts are in the recycling bin.

The very same definition can be applied to capability. You are creating initiatives that maintain a certain rate or level and avoiding depletion. Translated this means: low maintenance (cost, hours to produce, physical paper and printing), reduction of replication, and developing life skills alongside technical skills; ensuring capability is transferable outside your organisation.

My sense is that many organisations are in this space, large-scale enterprise solutions with extensive high maintenance, detailed, specific content. The uptake of Agile methodology, prototyping and minimal viable products are creeping in to the way we have traditionally viewed the work of learning and development teams. We have an immediate call to action to create sustainable practices and resources that enable businesses to be nimble and future focused.

Below is my quick reference guide to developing sustainable learning (artefacts, resources and initiatives). Many of you will be doing this instinctively, and it’s just jolly good practice. For the rest, it should spark some creative ideas on how you can take your practice to the next level.

What is sustainability in terms of capability? Wikipedia offers the following definition of sustainability "the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”. And/or “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”.

We have an immediate call to action to create sustainable practices and resources that enable businesses to be nimble and future focused.

So now you’re ready to start your next capability project, and you’re keen to adopt a few of the sustainable practices (I also recommend spending time on the needs analysis and then indicative structure phases), here are points to consider. 1. Align the capability plan with the goals of the business. a. Can you achieve the capability outcomes with a mix of formal education and corporate learning?




Creating resources that are low maintenance.

Simply to reduce the production hours to keep all resources updated.

Using hyperlinks to the operating procedures and/or external websites.

Creating resources that are flexible and adaptable: guidelines rather than step-by-step.

Again, enabling minimal updates. You only change the relevant step or paragraph rather than the entire artefact.

Using writing techniques that reduce the word count and create exclusive paragraphs is important. Processes and procedures are not creative writing pieces and don’t need linking paragraphs, or scenarios.

Using informationmapping techniques and ‘chunking’ information.

Again, enabling minimal updates. You only change the relevant step or paragraph rather than the entire artefact.

Using writing techniques that reduce the word count and create exclusive paragraphs is important. Processes and procedures are not creative writing pieces and don’t need linking paragraphs, or scenarios.

Re-use, recycle and re-purpose.

Curating others’ resources is a great way to achieve a quick deliverable and sets tone rather than prescription.

Many tools and resources are out there that can curate content for you that is up to date and current. I have used Anders Pink, Open Educational Resources, LinkedIn Learning and MOOCs to provide the detail or theory to a scenario or concept.

Enabling learners are asking questions with their own research and discussion.

During the process of creating and learning, we have been schooled into starting from the lowest common denominator. However, I prefer to set questions at the beginning of a learning event. This results in a few positives: you aren’t telling the learners to ‘suck eggs’; you are acknowledging that they have knowledge and experience that can contribute to the learning cohort and you are handing the responsibility of research and discussion to the learner rather than spoon-feeding too much content.

Versus having physical resources that like to collect dust.

Go digital. We are in the digital age, and most of us want to save the planet. Make printed resources the exception or on request. For some, the digital space is filled with non-tangible uncertainties. As capability specialists, this is your time to shine and start a change management process to invite people into the digital sphere. Leverage human centred design principles.

Create resources that grow generic skills like critical thinking.

Verus specific skills where formal education programmes already exist.

This is an excellent opportunity to partner with formal education providers and blend corporate learning with formal education (you can have it all). Bloom’s taxonomy steps learners through a progressive learning chain (similar to Maslow or Piaget where to progress, you have to have mastered the previous level). Taking this type of approach lets you pitch your learning at the right place. Any additional learning the learner requires, you can either reference online material or recommend formal education. It is leaving you to create learning that enables the practical application of that technical content.

If you need to go specific, use action-based learning.

Ensures that the learning is concise and specific to the needs of the business rather than all of the knowledge that the subject matter expert has.

At the stage of your learning needs analysis, you have a real opportunity to apply good pedagogy. Learning specialists like Cathy Moore will encourage you to teach the skill, not the history of the skill, and all the different ways you can use the skill.

Create initiatives that use the leader as a coach.

Our leaders know the business. They are the connector from the coal face to the shareholders, boards or ministers. While they have busy operational roles, they are the first line of approval. So let's let them coach to that delegated approval.

Leader-led learning is a formidable way to leverage the subject matter expertise of leaders and to develop their coaching skills. They approve the work being done, so leader-led learning should complement their leadership practice (unless of course your organisation has autonomous teams).

Leverage social learning mediums.

Create resources and artefacts that are digital and interactive or downloadable for those who like digital resources.

b. Will your learners have a feeling of autonomy where they can self-select or ‘pull’ learning rather than receiving ‘push’ learning? 2. Design an indicative structure of the components that make up the initiative. 3. Develop an indicative rollout or implementation plan (don’t forget to identify change and communication). 4. Start full design and development.

5. Complete the implementation plan. This has been a starter-for-ten type article. Its purpose is to encourage you to reflect on the excellent work you are doing and/or spark new ideas and practices. As learning and development professionals, one thing I know for sure is we need to keep the conversation going. Keep talking and sharing, and do so for the greater good. Good luck, I know you’ve got this.

Angela Bingham He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! Angela Bingham started as Executive Director People and Capability at the Open Polytechnic in October 2018. Before that she held a variety of leadership roles, with an emphasis in Learning and Development. She has worked for Kineo (Pacific), ACC, Endeavour IT Limited, Rugby New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs and ANZ, among others. Angela has a strong people agenda, which she has developed from her degree in Community and Family Studies from the University of Otago. Angela’s philosophies are that an effective leader works for the good of others with a firm foundation in strengthbased conversations. AUTUMN 2020




Nurturing young

scientists for international impact Developing homegrown talent is a strategy that is paying off for New Zealand’s world-leading independent biomedical research institute. What can other organisations learn from this approach?


he Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, based in Wellington, has an international reputation for the calibre of its postgraduate students, and a global view when it comes to scientific breakthroughs. “We have both a commitment to developing young scientists who can make significant new contributions to the field of immunology and human health and an open-minded attitude to letting them spread their wings,” says Malaghan Institute Head of Human Resources Heike Menne-Spohr. “That means selecting the best and brightest coming through our universities, and – alongside educating, fostering and developing their skills and knowledge – providing them with global opportunities and connections to further their careers. Ms Menne-Spohr says that many of its students have gone on to work at prestigious research institutes overseas including the National Institutes of Health in the United States, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) in

Switzerland and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

and how environment shapes the immune system.

“The global nature of scientific discovery means that rather than this being a loss to the Malaghan Institute, we’re viewing this as a positive, as it builds networks and cross-border collaboration opportunities. And more often than not, these young scientists eventually return to New Zealand – bringing their new learnings and experiences to benefit the Malaghan Institute and others.”

Professor Graham Le Gros, Director of the Malaghan Institute, says collaborations allow a vital interchange of fundamental and applied research between labs around the world, where expertise is shared for the benefit of all.

Case in point is Dr Rachel Perret, a Kiwi scientist who completed her doctorate in immunology at the Malaghan Institute in 2007 and went on to work for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, most recently investigating cancer immunotherapies. In January she returned to the Malaghan Institute to lead its laboratory research into improving and extending CAR T-cell therapies, a revolutionary new approach to treating cancer by redirecting a patient’s own immune cells to fight the disease. Another former Malaghan Institute student, Dr Kerry Hilligan, is currently seconded as an International Research Fellow to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Washington, DC, as part of an international collaboration. There she is investigating the early stages of allergic disease

“These international collaborations plug us directly into the global conversation, with people at the very top of their field. The value of having a presence at the table means we’re at the forefront of crucial medical research and developments, and this relationship works both ways. “Even though we’re a small country on the other side of the world, we’ve more than proven our capability on the international stage in both the quality of our research and the calibre of our scientists. Our students play a pivotal role in advancing global biomedical research and are the foundation on which we build our future.” All organisations can gain learning from this approach. As Jack Welch famously said, “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.” If we can allow our leaders to take an abundant and longterm view, the gains are there for all organisations. Scientists at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research believe the key to treating and curing disease lies in harnessing the power of the immune system – the body’s natural defence mechanism. With a focus on breakthrough discoveries in immunology and immunotherapy, the Institute’s cutting-edge research and clinical trials across cancer, asthma and allergy, infectious diseases, gut health and brain health are advancing our understanding of the immune system to improve human health.




Get Chartered! HRNZ is committed to promoting the highest levels of professionalism in the practice of HR in New Zealand workplaces and encourages all members to aspire to and achieve Chartered Membership. Chartered Members of HRNZ enjoy the status that comes with demonstrating they have attained a level of professional ability that is respected at a national level by employers and their peers. In addition, Chartered Members are provided with guidance and opportunities to expand and enhance their professional knowledge and expertise through continuing professional development on an annual basis. Chartered Members are expected to be technically competent and highly credible HR professionals. Assessment for chartered status is based on the HRNZ competency framework – Kahikatea, ka taea. Candidates need to provide evidence of their independent actions that match the competency descriptors. These are assessed by a panel of experienced HRNZ chartered members.

Recently chartered HRNZ members Charline Barnfather


3 December 2019

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20 January 2020

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Then and now While we are typically very good at looking ahead, it’s important to acknowledge our past. Geoff Summers, Distinguished Fellow of HRNZ, takes a look at where we have come from in our ever-evolving HR profession.


ou know that others think you are getting old when the President of HRNZ asks you to write an article about what has changed in HR since you started. Well, in a nutshell, pretty much everything has changed since the mid-1970s. First, it was Personnel, not HR. Personnel departments were much smaller than the HR of today and did not deal with the diversity of subject matter that HR advisers now confront daily. Personnel had three primary functions: industrial relations, recruitment and personnel files. This may seem strange to the modern professional, but times have changed significantly over the past 45 years. Industrial relations (IR) covered almost everything about people management because this was the time of national awards; these all included unqualified preference clauses, meaning every employer in that industry could only employ union members. That might seem outrageous today, but it had its benefits. Employers did not need HR advisers to deal with large numbers of personal grievances (PGs). Only 30



a union could take a PG, and the union acted as a filter because the union staff did not want to waste resources taking losing cases; so the IR officer and the union dealt with discipline situations and grievances. Lawyers specialising in employment law were unheard of, even cases before the Arbitration Court were advocated by IR officers and union secretaries. Everyone’s conditions of employment were nationally bargained collectively as well, which was very resource efficient.

Personnel had three primary functions: industrial relations, recruitment and personnel files. Few poor performance cases existed. These mainly came out of the so-called neoliberal economics of the mid-1980s. Now, people are supposed to be encouraged to perform their job because there might be some extra dollars at the end of the year, back then, ensuring people performed their work was the manager’s job. I still regularly quote the adage I learned then, “If the worker hasn’t performed, the manager hasn’t managed”. The neoliberal-imposed pay secrecy rules of today did not exist either; everyone knew what everyone else got paid because the Award published those rates. In my view,

pay secrecy only protects unfair employer decisions; there is nothing in it for the workers. One terrible aspect was that many Awards had traditionally included separate, substantially lower, pay scales for women; this was only outlawed in the early 1970s. A disgraceful level of gender pay segregation still exists in New Zealand today, but it was substantially worse in the 1970s.

During my time, the profession has gone from overwhelmingly male to overwhelmingly female. Personnel directors and IR officers, including myself, were very different from today’s senior HR professionals. They were experienced people managers during a career in operations who moved into Personnel later in their working life, and they were nearly all male. The females in the profession were mainly in the recruitment and filing sections. During my time, the profession has gone from overwhelmingly male to overwhelmingly female. A corresponding increase in professionalism has occurred as well, due to the substantially higher level of tertiary qualifications with which HR staff now enter the profession, most straight out of university. There is good and bad in every change, and the good is the high level of people

management knowledge that HR staff now display from the get-go. The not so good is that personnel managers brought with them high levels of understanding of the business. Therefore, HR was not far removed from the organisation’s mission, the much lower levels of operations experience in many HR departments today risk HR becoming something separate from the business, and that must be avoided.

that professional HR staff of today are paid in line with, and sometimes better than, other professionals in their organisations. This is a change very much for the better.

Early in my HR career, people in the Personnel department would be paid well below other professionals in the organisation. That was probably appropriate, given the lower levels of qualifications held. It is of great satisfaction to me to see

Overall, the changes have substantially been for the betterment of both the organisations that HR serves and for HR professionals themselves. Albeit, like almost all change, some good things disappeared with the bathwater.

If the worker hasn’t performed, the manager hasn’t managed.

Geoff Summers has been the National Secretary of the Firefighters’ Union, National Safety and Health Manager then Director of Personnel for the Fire Service, HR Director at Victoria University of Wellington and an executive director in Strategic Pay. He is Deputy Chair of the Remuneration Authority, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Labour, Employment and Work; Board Member of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand; Chief Judge of HRNZ’s annual HR Awards; and Chair of the HRNZ Chartering Audit Panel. Geoff has an MBA and an MBS(HRM) both with distinction.





Sustainability is an HR issue Chris O’Reilly, CEO at Ask Your Team, looks at the social element of sustainability in our organisations and how we can continue to make a meaningful difference to their longevity.


hat’s the first image that pops into your head when you hear the word sustainability? Reusable bags? Electric vehicles? Composting? Quite rightly, our discussion of sustainability has focused on the environment, with devastating images of bushfires, disappearing ice sheets and catastrophic flooding beamed onto our screens daily. The message is unmistakable. Change or face the greatest existential threat of our time. The economy has also become a major sustainability agenda, with short-term capitalism and pure profit motives increasingly called out for their hand in driving gross inequalities and human misery. Here too, the message is clear. Change or risk widespread disruption to jobs, customers, investment, incomes and livelihoods. But sustainability is broader than just the environment or the economy. It’s the social element of sustainability – the long-term wellbeing within an organisation’s members – which is now gaining more attention. It’s also one of the single most significant forces that will shape organisational performance and success for the 32



foreseeable future. So, what’s the message we need to hear as leaders and HR professionals? It’s a huge question, so let’s start with chickens. CEO and leadership speaker Margaret Heffernan has a fascinating talk about a scientific study of chicken productivity. The study took a flock of average chickens and left them alone for six generations. Alongside, it bred a group of ‘super chickens’ – placing the most productive chickens together in a flock, with the superstars leading the breeding, for six generations.

Change or risk widespread disruption to jobs, customers, investment, incomes and livelihoods. After the study, the average chickens were happy, healthy, and productivity in egg output had increased. As for the super chickens? All but three had been pecked to death. The lesson here for building resilient and sustainable teams and organisations is obvious. Cultures of excessive internal competitiveness are detrimental to the long-term wellbeing of organisations and the people inside them. Work is not, and never should be, a talent contest where people rise by suppressing the productiveness of their peers. Work is deeply social, and it’s high time to end the professional pecking order.

Heffernan simplifies this lesson down to the importance of social capital. The key to having competent, motivated and dedicated people working together with trust and confidence comes down not to individuals but the bonds that are formed between them. Those bonds are not created by competitiveness, jealousy or fear. They’re formed by helpfulness, by being involved, by sharing empathy, support and a common purpose. One can argue that every organisation still needs its stars, people who inspire others to do better. But as any movie director worth their salt will tell you, it’s the on-screen chemistry that really counts. Even big-budget films with star-studded casts can flop without it and routinely do.

The key to having people working together with trust and confidence comes down not to individuals, but the bonds that are formed between them. Teams that can thrive and survive with long-term wellbeing are those that can spend time with each other, not only on work-related tasks but also to relate as equal social beings. As Heffernan notes, the highest achieving teams are not those with the greatest aggregate IQ or individual excellence but those with

the highest social sensitivity. They are more likely to involve all members equally to harness their differences in skills and knowledge.

... unleash the power of the many, by loosening the stranglehold of the few. Here’s where another thinker I admire deeply has a relevant message. Harvard Business School’s Linda Hill has a brilliant concept that she calls ‘collective genius’. Hill spent nearly a decade understanding why some organisations have been successful in building the kind of teams that Heffernan has referred to. She says while leadership remains the ‘secret sauce’, it’s a very different kind of leadership than many of us

would imagine. Rather than creating a vision for others to follow, leaders in these organisations “unleashed the power of the many, by loosening the stranglehold of the few”. In other words, the leaders of these organisations were aggregators rather than dictators of viewpoints. They created space for people at all levels to speak up, misspeak, make mistakes and engage in the process of ‘creative abrasion’.

These are the messages we need to hear. Whether we’re talking about environmental, economic or social sustainability, everyone is required to help address the challenges we face. It’s our job to unleash the imagination, energy and potential of our organisations to thrive not just today but well into the future.

In my words, it’s about empowering people through leadership by involvement, rather than management by engagement. Team members work out the best thing to do next without needing to be told. In organisational cultures like this, leaders create an environment where every worker feels empowered to make decisions that will improve performance.

Chris O'Reilly is the CEO and Co-founder of AskYourTeam, a disruptive technology company, revolutionising the organisational and leadership performance space. E: chris.oreilly@





Immigration compliance: what is it, and why is it important?

Rachael Mason, Partner at Lane Neave, provides an overview of immigration compliance and why it is so important for employers of migrant workers.


hether you have one migrant worker employee or many, if your organisation’s operations are not squeaky clean when it comes to ensuring you are immigration compliant, the impact can be far-reaching.

What is immigration compliance?

As an employer, you have an obligation to ensure that your employees have the legal right to work at your organisation and, importantly, that they have the right to work in the specific role that you have offered to them. Maintaining immigration compliance requires careful monitoring of the visa conditions of work visa holders as well as the expiry dates. Depending on the size of your business and the number of migrant workers employed, it will be necessary to develop appropriate systems and processes to ensure you are able to maintain your company’s immigration compliance. A large number of different visas allow the holder to work in New Zealand, and understanding what the different categories are and what they entitle the holder to 34



do is an essential component of maintaining immigration compliance. Examples of non-compliance include: • allowing students to work more than the allowable 20 hours per week during term time and full time during vacation periods • allowing a migrant worker to work in a location other than that stated on their work visa (for example, to provide ‘sickness cover’ while a person based in Queenstown is unwell, you redeploy their counterpart from Dunedin to cover the position temporarily) • changing the terms and conditions of employment where the work visa has not first been updated (for example, a change

of job role, such as a promotion, where a further work visa or variation of conditions application should have been made prior to the changes taking effect) • allowing employees to continue to work while on an interim visa (where the terms of the interim visa do not permit work) • allowing employees to work for another company within your group of companies (but not the company named on their work visa). Lane Neave has worked with several employers who have either inadvertently allowed these situations to happen or where it has been more deliberate. For example, in some situations, a line manager or business

owner has allowed or encouraged an employee to work in breach of the conditions of their visa. In both cases, even where the matter has arisen without any deliberate intention to breach immigration policy, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has determined that the employer is non-compliant.

Penalties for non-compliance

Employing someone who does not have an appropriate work visa to enable them to undertake the work you have offered can trigger an offence under the Immigration Act 2009. The fact that the employer did not know that the person was not entitled to do the work is not a defence unless it can also be shown that the employer “took reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to ascertain whether the person was entitled to do the work”. Having sound systems and processes will be an employer’s best opportunity for demonstrating “reasonable precautions” and “due diligence”. In the most serious cases, a breach under the Act can lead to a penalty of up to $50,000. In most cases, if an issue of noncompliance is identified, provided it is relatively minor, INZ is unlikely to pursue a prosecution under the Act but may, instead, note in its systems to indicate its view that the employer may be non-compliant. This situation can make it very difficult for any future visa applications. An important policy requirement for many of New Zealand’s work and residence visa categories is that the employer must have a “history of compliance with New Zealand’s immigration and employment laws”. If INZ considers the employer to be non-compliant, the likely outcome is that individual visa applications will be declined on that basis. If individuals are unable to secure a further suitable work visa then their employment must be terminated.

It can easily be seen how a finding of non-compliance (albeit for a relatively small and/or accidental issue of non-compliance) can have significant and ongoing repercussions for an employer (and their employees). The risks associated with being unable to secure further work visas for staff are considerable and could include: employment relations allegations (for example, the employee could raise a personal grievance on the basis that the employer “made me do it”), business disruption, issues of attraction and retention of employees, to name a few. If the non-compliance issue arises out of an employee(s) working in breach of their visa conditions, then it is likely there will be serious implications for the individual too. A visa holder who has breached their visa conditions is potentially liable for deportation and likely to face difficulty meeting the “bona fides” test in future visa applications.

How to ensure compliance

Every employer of migrant workers needs to have a good understanding of the different visa categories that their employees hold and what each visa permits, together with ensuring that they have systems and processes for maintaining immigration compliance that are “fit for purpose”. Depending on the size of the organisation, this could require quite sophisticated systems and processes or it may be as simple as a spreadsheet to track expiry dates and visa conditions. This area is a complex one, and there is no quick-fire answer to getting it right. However, important pointers HR professionals should bear in mind when managing this aspect of their workforce include: • tracking expiry dates: keep careful track of the visa expiry dates of migrant worker employees and remind them to renew their visas well in advance of expiry dates

• keeping good records: store good records of the right-to-work documentation checks you make for each employee • using VisaView: make use of VisaView in addition to making your own right-to-work checks and keeping a record of them • understanding changes may trigger visa requirements: keep careful track of the visa conditions of migrant workers and seek advice before making any changes to terms and conditions of employment • taking care with students: be aware of the special conditions on student visas, and take extra care to ensure they do not work beyond the allowances on their visa • getting good advice: if you become aware of issues of noncompliance, get expert advice on the best way to handle them. It’s often better to ‘come clean’ to INZ rather than wait for them to uncover it • reviewing systems and processes: it’s always better to proactively implement systems and processes rather than retrospectively after things go wrong. Undertake a review of your approach to ensure it is robust for ensuring compliance.

Rachael Mason is qualified in New Zealand, England and Wales and has practised exclusively in the area of immigration law for several years. She works with both multinational corporate clients and smaller local employers across a wide range of industry sectors in managing their global and local migrant workforces and developing and maintaining compliance and legal right to work policies. Rachael is focused on providing highquality technical immigration advice that is both pragmatic and commercial. Rachael regularly presents to HR and other professionals regarding immigration policy changes and issues related to recruiting and maintaining an immigration-compliant workforce.





Is your workplace

inclusive? Ask a disabled employee Let me introduce myself. I am Anne Hawker and I work at the Ministry of Social Development as the Principal Disability Adviser. I have worked in promoting the employment of disabled people for the past 40 years.

The public sector has a leadership role in increasing the employment of disabled people, and this is expected of government agencies under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which New Zealand ratified in 2008. We want to set a good example in the public sector, so that others will follow.

adjustment) policy? Is this offered to everyone, so that people don’t feel they are being singled out?

s a disabled employee, the buzz around diversity and inclusion had me excited. Finally, disabled people will have a voice. But it has been my experience that disabled people are often left out of the diversity and inclusion conversations, particularly when it comes to employment.


The New Zealand Disability Strategy described ‘disabled people’ as being disabled not by our impairment but by the environment. This includes attitude, lack of adequate support, inaccessible physical environments and inaccessible information, including websites.


Disabled people are New Zealand’s largest minority group, accounting for 24 per cent of the population. The 2013 Disability Survey showed that 75 per cent of disabled people want to work. This is in stark contrast to the 24 per cent of disabled people in employment. It is not a record we can be proud of, but we can change it and increase employment for disabled people by providing the right support.

To start changing the picture painted above in your workplace, there is a simple formula known as the 3As: attitude, accommodation and accessibility.

In my work at the Ministry of Social Development, I am leading a project to increase the employment of disabled people in the public sector. Measure

How you can be truly inclusive


Have you, your staff, or the agencies you work with, undergone disability responsiveness training? This helps create a culture of valuing the contribution of disabled people and helps remove the ‘fear factor’.


Does your agency have a reasonable accommodation (workplace Disabled


Labour Force Participation rate



Employment rate



Unemployment rate





Average weekly income

2017 Labour Force Survey, Statistics NZ




Does your agency have a disability employees network that gives senior leadership in the agency a way of directly hearing from staff, and is the network valued and the members’ issues listened to and acted upon? Are your systems accessible? Does your website comply with the Web Content Accessibility Standard 2.1 AA rating? Are the HR systems of the agencies you work with accessible? Are the training and professional development opportunities accessible, for example, are New Zealand Sign Language interpreters available or is material available in Braille, Easy Read, larger print and audio description? Having the 3As in place will help in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and a workplace that truly recognises and values the contribution of disabled employees.

Anne Hawker is the Principal Disability Adviser at the Ministry of Social Development where she has worked for the past 12 years. Before that, she worked at ACC and the Ministry of Health and as CE of the Head Injury Society and Director of the Mosgiel Abilities Centre. Anne has held several leadership positions at a regional, national and international level. These have included President of DPA(NZ) and Vice President of the MS NZ. In 2008 she was elected as the first female World President of Rehabilitation International.

HRNZ PD programme Autumn 2020

Most of our courses are presented in a workshop format. They are interactive sessions that provide you with an opportunity to share ideas with others through group discussion and questioning.

The world evolves and there will always be developments and changes in the way in which we approach HR. Professional development is therefore imperative to career progression and enhancement.

HRNZ members receive discounted rates and may be eligible for a travel assistance grant.


t HRNZ we recognise the importance of professional development and the role it plays in our industry. We provide a vast selection of development options, to ensure you can keep ahead of any changes and update your skill set through courses, webinars and conferences.

Why you should take a HRNZ PD course:

Courses are run throughout the year in various centres across the country and range from one hour and up to three days. Courses and webinars are open for all to attend.

applied learning – develop strategies to implement

participation encouraged – don’t merely listen

network with peers and share experiences

continue your professional development

detailed course books provided

earn CPD points.

Courses subject to change. For the latest schedule please visit AUCKLAND



Effective HR Communication

30 Jun

13 Aug

14 May

Enhanced Interviewing Skills

4 Jun

2 Apr

20 Aug

Human Centred Design

9 Sept

9 Jun

23 Jun

HR 101: HR for Non-HR People

18 Aug

11 Aug

14 Oct

5 May

31 Mar– 2 Apr

HR Foundations

16–18 Jun

15–17 Sept

24–26 Nov

HR Manager

19–21 May 10–12 Nov

27–28 May

24–25 Sept

Holidays Act, Parental Leave and Payroll

12 May

13 May

Managing Mental Health at Work

15 Oct

17 Jun

Practical Employment Law Recruiting Top Talent Strategic Workforce Planning

29 Apr 2 Sept

3 Jun

19 May

7 May 17 Nov

29 Oct 29 Apr 19 Nov 1 Apr

18 Sept

23–24 Jul

16–17 Mar

Termination of Employment

29 Jul

21 Oct

Workforce Analytics

22 Jul

0800 247 469


19–20 Mar 2–3 Nov 30 Jun

20–21 Jul

5–6 Nov

22 Sept

18 Mar

4 Nov


Human centred design Involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process seems a compassionate and effective approach to corporate life. Martin Grant, Director at ThinkPlace, takes us through an introduction to this framework.


uman centred design is a fantastic methodology, but it encounters its limitations in approaching challenges in complex social systems, like organisations. With human centred design, you can develop a strong understanding of the individual user, which leads to powerful and valuable solutions. Add in elements from systems thinking, and you learn how the interdependent parts of the organisation interact and the effect this has on your area of focus. We want to avoid spending effort on solutions that don’t meet the needs of the user. We want to enable teams to get jobs done, remove pains and make gains. We also want to avoid unintended consequences emerging or the dynamics of the system overpowering our intended improvements.

What are we talking about here?

Human centred design, sometimes called user-centred design or customer-centred design, is an approach to generating new solutions that look to mitigate as much risk as 38



possible around a proposed solution failing to hit its target.

desirability and finding the sweet spot of all three.

It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are purpose built to suit their needs. The process usually starts with building a strong understanding of the people you’re designing for; generating ideas; building prototypes of solutions and testing these with your users; and, eventually, putting your new solution out in the form of a scalable pilot.

Roger Martin, professor and renowned business writer in the field of integrative thinking, adds another dimension, describing design thinkers as “willing to use all kinds of logic to understand their world”. He reasons that neither analytic nor intuitive thinking alone is enough because each, while providing tremendous strength, also creates systemic weakness if applied in isolation.

It is a process of divergence and convergence. The divergent steps orient the team towards generating a wealth of possibilities, either through research or ideas generation. The convergent steps aim to facilitate selecting and prioritising those possibilities.

Seeing the organisation as a complex social system

Human centred design relies on multiple iterative cycles or ‘sprints’ to accomplish each cycle quickly and prioritise learning over perfection. Doing so reduces the risks of trying new ideas by incorporating the learning from the previous iteration.

A small force produces a substantial change. IDEO’s Tim Brown adds a further nuance. He explains that successful innovations rely on some element of human centred design while balancing other aspects. Design thinking, he believes, helps achieve that balance by introducing the ideas of feasibility, viability to user-

Now let’s think about the organisation as a group of interdependent people (‘agents’ in systems thinking terminology). Agents have agency. They are capable of acting independently and making their own choices, based on their hypotheses about what will make them more successful – assumptions about why doing things should work.

It is a process of divergence and convergence. Let’s think about how these people interact within the system with a shared purpose or goal and where experimentation and crossfertilisation create new patterns and behaviours – known as emergence. The system is self-organising, selflearning and continually changing, even inside artificially imposed

constraints such as organisational structures and processes. These dynamics are what we see in all complex social systems. By focusing on inter-relationships and connections, the tools for systems thinking allow the team to identify causal reactions and feedback loops. This knowledge is key to navigating complexity and identifying the most effective ‘leverage points’, where a small force produces a substantial change.

The power of blending the two methodologies

You can intentionally integrate systems-thinking elements with design thinking to enhance the chances of creating the right responses to improve the performance of the organisation system. For example, a valuable principle that systems thinking can add to human centred design is the need to bring the whole system into view from the beginning. If problem formulation

is the first step in the design process, then adopting a systems mindset can help with framing or reframing the problem.

The system is selforganising, self-learning and continually changing – even inside artificially imposed constraints such as organisational structures and processes. The two approaches complement each other, so we end up with an approach that explicitly incorporates the strengths of both, thereby addressing the gaps and increasing the chance of creating sustainable solutions to the wicked problems facing organisations and society today.

Martin Grant sees a bright future for New Zealand, where commercial and social organisations use their scarce resources wisely, and business decisions are genuinely customer-centric and system focused. With more than 30 years’ experience in the design of communications, brands, retail spaces, digital products and services in B2C and B2B categories, Martin is wellplaced to understand design in human complex systems. Martin’s recent work includes bringing a system-based approach to the transformation of the building and construction industry, helping design services and train service designers and helping a dairy co-op reconnect with its shareholders through purpose. He has also helped numerous export companies get bigger and better faster through work with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Martin has a degree in business management with a major in marketing. He is a De Bono Lateral Thinking instructor. Martin attributes part of his success to being a pragmatic life-long learner and explorer in the areas of innovation, design and systems thinking.





The fundamentals of flexible working

Flexible working is becoming increasingly accepted as the new way of working across the globe. Kerryn Strong, organisational development and HR specialist and co-founder at Freerange Works, looks at the fundamentals required for businesses that want to succeed.

What the research tells us


he latest Survey of Working Life, conducted by Statistics NZ between October and December 2018, tells us that more than half (51 per cent) of employees in New Zealand have flexible work hours, allowing them to start and finish work at different times each day. According to Ryan Ghisi, Xero’s GM of Global People Programs, flexibility is not a benefit anymore. “You’re simply at a competitive disadvantage if you’re not offering flexibility to your people.” Xero has grown rapidly over its 14-year history: from one to 24 offices, 25 to 2,800 ‘Xeros’ (employees), 200 subscribers to over 2 million, and expansion across over 180 countries around the globe. This rapid growth has meant that flexibility became part of the employee experience organically, almost out of necessity and because 40



of its perfect complement to Xero’s growth strategy. It’s for this reason Ryan calls it Xero’s ‘silent enabler’. Flexibility at Xero has evolved into an embedded part of the culture, with undisputed, measurable win–win benefits for both Xero and ‘Xeros’ alike. These benefits include increased productivity, efficiency, workplace agility, employee satisfaction and engagement, increased wellbeing and balance, reduced stress and a stronger sense of belonging, to name a few. Adding structure to flexibility may sound like a contradictory concept; however, the more structured the approach, the bigger the benefits and impact of flexible working. Every organisation should have fundamentals in place to enable a genuine culture shift. I boil them down to what I like to call The Culture Change Trifecta.

1. Vision and values

Once leaders commit to shifting company culture, the opportunity exists to better articulate vision and values and to bring them to life. Having a clear vision that everyone understands and can connect with gives people a shared purpose and can go as far as to energise and inspire change. Core company values define and guide the behaviour that you want in your business as you work towards achieving your vision. They set the tone and behavioural framework for

the kind of company culture you want to shape. So ask yourself, ‘what is The Why and does everyone get it?’ Because if they don’t get it, starting from a place that lacks shared connection and purpose will likely result in the impact of any people and cultural enhancements being very short lived. Electric Kiwi has a humming flexible working culture, which can be partly attributed to its entrepreneurial mindset of maximising automation. Its flexible working culture has also grown somewhat organically – a sign of the new era of working. The business started its journey five years ago as a small startup in Auckland. In 2018 it was the winner of the Consumer NZ People’s Choice Award and overall winner of the Deloitte Fast 50 Award for New Zealand’s fastestgrowing company. Huia Burt, co-founder and Director of Electric Kiwi, says they’ve focused on automating daily business processes as much as possible, to ensure their people are working on high-value activities that enhance customer experience.

According to a recent StatisticsNZ survey, flexible working is more sought after than increases in pay for the majority of today’s workforce.

“This means we’re not tied to manual process timetables. We give everyone space for critical thinking, which can be done at different times and in other locations,” says Huia.

fully cloud-based, so our people can work from anywhere. It’s good for them, it’s good for the business, and it’s good for business continuity planning too,” says Huia.

2. Performance

3. Leadership development

It takes confidence and trust to manage a team of flexible workers successfully, so having an effective performance development system is essential. A sound performance management system is one where your leaders can set clear expectations with their people, practise collaborative goal setting and provide live feedback so that you can be sure of your people’s performance, no matter when and where the work gets done. This is important at Xero and Electric Kiwi. Electric Kiwi also has a globally dispersed workforce, with offices in Auckland, Brisbane and India, and one employee based in Tauranga and three in Newcastle, Australia.

It’s not uncommon in many businesses that people have progressed through their area of expertise only to find themselves in a position where they’re responsible for leading and inspiring others, with no formal management or leadership training. It is no wonder then that leaders can feel apprehensive about managing flexible working and other cultureenhancing initiatives. Whether it’s one-on-one coaching and training,

group or workshop training, peer discussions or a fully fledged leadership development programme, source the support for your leaders to transform them from managers to coaches, primed to get the best out of their people and to drive cultural change with confidence.

What is The Why and does everyone get it? Ryan leads by example with his team of six millennials, who are spread between Auckland, Wellington, Toronto and London, proudly referring to it as the ‘Poster Team’ of flexible working at Xero. Ryan not only works flexibly himself, working from home when he needs to and

“Even when our team member from Tauranga comes to the Auckland office he is still working remotely from the perspective of our teams in Australia and India,” says Huia. This goes to show the power of technology in an era where work is more about what you do rather than where you do it. “Being a retailer, we need to work to customer volumes, so our service team are on shifts to ensure the needs of our customers are always being met. That being said, we are




fitting his start and finish times in around other commitments, but he also supported a couple of his team members’ decisions to work abroad. Electric Kiwi’s culture of flexible working is also led by the business owners and managers, which sets the tone for the rest of the team. People have a choice of where they work, but mostly their team prefer to be in the office. “There are several reasons people choose to be in the office. Given the younger demographic of a large portion of our team, some of them prefer the social aspect of being in a team environment, some of them live close by, so our CBD location is ideal for them, and some don’t have the space required to work from home. They also know that just because they’re in the office doesn’t mean they have to stay until 5 pm. What’s important is that the choice is theirs. It means that when people are in the office, they’re engaged and happy, which is good for collaboration and knowledge sharing,” says Huia.




Size doesn’t matter

Whether it’s a business with eight employees, 88 or 3,000, the journey to building a great company culture is remarkably similar, with the same challenges, building blocks and strategies to get there. Just because you’re bigger, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re better.

Increased productivity, efficiency, workplace agility, employee satisfaction and engagement, increased wellbeing and balance, reduced stress and a stronger sense of belonging, to name a few. Take Rose Barbarich from General Collective, for example. Her inspiring business-growth story of humble beginnings started in 2014 with the joining of forces of ‘creative’ friends with lovely home and fashion wares to sell. Over the next five years,

her concept snowballed. She now has an ever-growing following, with thousands of market-goers at each event and attracting over 380 independent designers and creatives from across New Zealand to secure their event stalls.

It means that when people are in the office, they’re engaged and happy, which is good for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Working flexibly wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, but instead a natural consequence of growing a business with fluctuations in busy periods, where contractors are engaged to pick up the overflow. The only major difference that strikes me is organisational maturity and the degree of readiness that businesses have for cultural change – this means, how well established the people and culture fundamentals are – if at all. And if the fundamentals

aren’t in place, what I see and hear is that these organisations aren’t ready to make lasting, impactful cultural change – like becoming a fully fledged flexible workplace, for instance, embracing a wellness programme or becoming truly ‘agile’. However, with The Culture Change Trifecta in place, well supported by robust internal communication and ways of seeking regular feedback from your people, you’re ready to tackle embedding and enhancing your company culture. Start by talking to your employees to find out what motivates them. From there, you can start to shape your flexible working strategy and the supporting framework.

Kerryn Strong is an organisational development and HR specialist with a passion for driving cultural change within small and medium-sized businesses. Kerryn has served as the People and Culture representative at executive level within her clients’ businesses and gets real satisfaction out of stepping in as the sounding board, adviser and coach to leaders and executives who realise the value in enhancing their company culture and their peoples’ experience at work. Kerryn is a flexible worker herself, always ensuring there’s time to enjoy the outdoors in Maraetai with her husband and two young boys, as well as getting along to a gym class whenever there’s an hour spare.





Waikato Branch I

t is widely known that Waikato is the dairy capital of New Zealand, but it also has a large manufacturing sector, mainly meat and dairy products. It’s a major source of agricultural production, generates electricity for up to 20 per cent of the country’s population and has excellent opportunities for education and training. Hamilton may be known as ‘The Tron’, but within an hour’s drive, we have two different coasts, Auckland airport, countless outdoor activities to help you restore and refresh, a vast variety of career opportunities and, last but not least, it’s still an excellent place to raise a family! Our branch committee of eight members is a neat group of people, with each lending their unique strengths and ideas to the team. We always welcome new people joining, and there’s plenty to keep us busy. The most exciting aspect, of course, is deciding which event topics our HRNZ members would find the most beneficial to their personal development and their businesses. The committee enjoys a close relationship with several local businesses. Our main sponsor, Tompkins Wake, is our go-to organisation for our annual employment law event; which took place in February. The Effect, specialists on the vital topic of mental health at work, is also a sponsor and has given talks on topics that fit under the broad umbrella of mental health. Linda Hutchings is always hugely popular with our members; her talks draw the biggest crowds due to her passion on the subject of leadership and mentoring. Linda always provides 44



us with straight-up advice and tangible takeaways, like, for instance, asking, “What is your company’s definition of leadership? Is it clear to those aspiring to deliver it?”. We look forward to having her back later this year. The 2019 year was interesting. We had a talk by local immigration specialists, Neazor Brady, who clarified what the future of the immigration landscape might look like and what options companies will have. Our third sponsor, Lawson Williams, recruitment specialists, shared with us the findings from their National Turnover Survey. We discussed turnover rates, retention rates of star performers, and how to increase this rate, what low performers are attracted to and more. A key thought-provoking question was, “What might be the effect on the business if we don’t train our staff and they stay with us?”. Another successful event was our panel of three CEOs who made themselves available for a question and answer session on what business leaders want from their HR teams. Our team had prepared questions, but those from the audience also made for an interesting debate. As we head into 2020, we bid farewell and many thanks to our Branch President, Beverley Taylor, who has kept us all going with her relentless enthusiasm. It’s always a rewarding journey to be part of the HR scene in Waikato. Marianna Pehrson is an HR and recruitment advisor with Dairy Goat Cooperative. She has been communications and promotions officer with the HRNZ Waikato Branch for the past two years.


Student perspective Over the past year, I have had the fantastic experience of being a student ambassador for HRNZ, Waikato Branch. The practical knowledge that I have walked away with has immensely benefitted my career goals and understanding of the HR industry.


efore starting university, I knew I wanted a career that helps to add value to others’ lives. Although I was unsure which career path would allow me to achieve this. Therefore, I started by majoring in marketing and psychology. Within the first couple of weeks in my marketing course, I knew it wasn’t for me. By chance, in my first-year strategic management class, our assignment was to look into the HR practices of a company. I instantly knew I had found my passion, and psychology would still heavily complement my change. Throughout my studies, I have gained key interests in intercultural perspectives, motivation and training and development. Through HRNZ and both informal conversations and influential speakers, I have been able to broaden my knowledge and perspective of these topics. I first heard about the opportunity to become a student ambassador from one of my lecturers. I remember her specifically telling us that university is a short time in your life and you should try to grasp every opportunity possible, because you never know how it will benefit your future career. I am grateful I listened to those words, because they are very true. The

amount of caring HR professionals you meet along the way, who are wishing you success, is an opportunity not many undergraduates face. You can ask questions with ease throughout the networking events that you have on how to make your mark in the industry. My values aligned with the like-minded individuals I met and I was able to actively join in with discussions with no judgement. It is a rewarding experience in which you are surrounded by people who are more than willing to hear your opinion on what you are learning and passionate about. A key event that stood out for me during my time was attending the CEO panel event. Here, CEOs across Waikato spoke about what they expect from HR managers. Furthermore, they gave constructive feedback on what attributes and skills they want from graduates. I was able to understand what managers wanted from graduates. This is a topic that is so prominent in my life but so

inaccessible to gain advice about. The many networking events allow me to enhance not only the practical skills that I am able to apply to my university work but also to improve my soft skills, something that is hard to gain from university alone. I will always value the experiences that I have gained throughout my time at HRNZ and heavily encourage fellow students to apply for the role. It has instilled me with confidence that I have chosen the right majors and excites me for my career ahead of me. My Waikato Branch team were nothing but open and welcoming, and I thank them for the opportunity to have worked alongside them for a year. Felicity Blakeley is a fourth-year student at the University of Waikato studying a Bachelor of Management Studies (Honours) and double majoring in psychology and human resource management. E: LinkedIn:





New Zealanders want brands to 'talk' sustainability

A new research report, In Good Company, commissioned by the Sustainable Business Council (SBC), Porter Novelli and Perceptive, reveals how New Zealanders are assessing the sustainability of brands. Kathy Catton takes a look at what business leaders and HR professionals can learn from this study.


ust under half of New Zealanders say they care about sustainability when choosing a brand or product to purchase. And one in five says choosing a brand that either operates in a sustainable manner or helps them live a lower-impact life is the most important factor in their purchasing decision. This is a powerful message: people are using their consumer power to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. If we think about our role as HR professionals and the need to align ourselves with our business leaders, this prompts various questions. What does our organisation’s brand say to our customers? Are we okay with what our employer is doing with regard to sustainability? How can our employees influence our organisation’s brand? 46



These are all pertinent questions to consider. As HR professionals, we know about employer branding, that is, an employer’s reputation as a place to work, but it now appears there is an opportunity for our employees to influence that general corporate brand reputation. After all, the bigger picture is that we are all living in the same community, the same country, the same planet. “People are our most important asset”, the old adage goes, so can we work together for the longevity of our teams, our organisation’s brand and our world? And the evidence is clear. According to the In Good Company report, published in November 2019, New Zealanders believe electricity retailers and supermarkets are doing the most to be more sustainable. However, they want brands in all industries to be more open and upfront about sustainability and actively communicate it. More than 2,000 New Zealanders took part in the study, which looked at eight industry sectors, including: automobile, broadband and mobile, fashion/apparel, financial institutions, electricity, fuel and large retailers, as well as supermarkets. With sustainability a concern for 87 per cent of New Zealanders, and 18 per cent of those surveyed unable

to identify a true leading example in the area of sustainability, Mike Burrell, Executive Director of the SBC, says this is our sustainability moment. New Zealand businesses have the perfect opportunity to step up to the challenge and show leadership. “Businesses are increasingly embedding sustainability into their strategies and business practice. However, this is just the beginning. At SBC we are supporting and encouraging businesses to become sustainability exemplars both here and on the international stage.”

This research shows there is an important opportunity for businesses in New Zealand to show leadership. James Walker, Executive Director for Sustainability at Porter Novelli, says, “Customers are increasingly becoming more likely to research the sustainability practices of brands, and they are demanding more and more information. Our research shows that 71 per cent of New Zealanders are actively investigating this before making a product purchase, and that’s a sign that businesses need to step up.”

What is it that consumers are wanting? Respondents said that they want brands to be more honest and transparent, as well as promoting the sustainable activity that is being undertaken. “If customers don’t know what businesses are doing to become more sustainable, how can they choose them for it?,” Walker continues. The sustainable manner of brands now features just behind quality and price, but ranks higher than customer service and recommendations from family and friends.

People are using their consumer power to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. “This is something which brands should be taking note of across the board,” says Oliver Allen, General Manager at Perceptive. Yet again, it appears that communication is critical. It’s about talking with everyone in the workplace, not just the brand and marketing teams but also those on the frontline who are using the plastic packaging in the warehouse, or the truck drivers who have been researching electric vehicles in their free time. HR practitioners

are renowned for being enablers: good at getting staff involved, finding the champions of change, identifying leaders who can challenge the Board on their lack of social initiatives or their substandard environmental practices. Another tool we have as HR practitioners is our knowledge to tie in sustainability to our company values. For example, wanting to make a difference, honesty and integrity, customer commitment – these values all have links to sustainability. Meridian and Countdown were the top two brands perceived to be doing the most in terms of sustainability practices, but most see reducing plastic as the primary sustainability practice. And we all know, sustainability is not just about banning plastic bags. So, let’s consider both what we are doing to operate more sustainably and how customers are perceiving this. How are we encouraging our staff to get to and from work? What are we doing with our staffroom rubbish? How are we caring about the health and wellbeing of our teams? SBC has developed a Good Life 2.0 playbook, which helps New Zealand businesses inspire their customers to live a life that is more sustainable and rewarding. What can we do

internally to ensure our staff are living a life that is more sustainable and rewarding? Wellbeing programmes may be the start, but it’s certainly worth further exploration. And, with more than four out of five New Zealanders saying that everyone has a responsibility to do more around living sustainably, businesses can be confident that people will look for, and notice, their sustainability activity. The Sustainable Business Council (SBC) has its roots in the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, formed in 1999. SBC is a membership organisation, with a longterm aim of making sustainability mainstream within New Zealand businesses. It does this by inspiring businesses to create communities of positive change, supporting members to go further and celebrating their leadership and success. SBC is part of the BusinessNZ family and is the New Zealand Global Network partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. As at November 2019, SBC had 113 members, representing at least 27 per cent of private sector gross domestic product and 137,388 full-time jobs. Porter Novelli New Zealand is an awardwinning public relations consultancy, offering communications, marketing, strategy and sustainability services. Porter Novelli works with a range of clients, from global corporations to government agencies, small businesses and not-for-profits. Perceptive is Australasia’s leading technologybased customer insights agency. Perceptive provides research, insights and data-driven marketing programmes to a variety of organisations across the Asia–Pacific region, North America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and India. AUTUMN 2020




Let's connect Face-to-face, or phone-tophone, leaders can connect with their people in several ways. Natalie Barker, Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance, looks at what leaders need to consider when communicating day-to-day.


came across a post on LinkedIn recently that really bugged me. The author was ardent in his dislike of text messaging as a means of communication at work. He also felt that instant messaging, group emails and meetings with no agenda should be banned. For him, concise emails, mobile phone calls and face-toface chats are the only ways to get work done.

Exceptional leaders promote diverse perspectives, and that includes embracing diverse ways of communicating and collaborating, even if it feels uncomfortable. The post bugged me because I’d just had a text conversation with one of my team. She was going through a tough time at home and had chosen to connect with me before work by text to fill me in on how she was feeling that day, because she wanted to avoid getting overwhelmed and emotional. When I saw her in person 48



later in the morning, I was able to give her my support without needing her to verbalise something she wasn’t ready to talk about. For her, on that day, text messaging was the most effective way to communicate so she could get on with her work.

As leaders, we don’t have the luxury of sticking to our preferred mode of communication. I know aimless meetings are another pet hate for many people, but they can serve a purpose. A few months ago, my team shared their preferred modes of appreciation at work (words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts and physical touch). We agreed that being together, taking time to talk and listen, is crucial for us as a team. For us, spending half an hour catching up on a Monday morning is more about connecting as people than sharing our goals for the week. We’re stronger as a team because we spend quality time together, even without a structured agenda. Personally, I relish face-to-face conversations. I also realise they don’t suit everyone or every situation. Giving and receiving feedback is a great example of a highly personal experience. I’ve learned the hard way that some people freeze up when they hear something confronting. I can think of an instance when I sat down with a colleague and

shared what I thought was highly constructive feedback. He didn’t say much at the time, but that evening sent me a long email in response. For that person, face-to-face was not the best way to process feedback, at least not immediately. He needed to reflect on what I had to say and was much better at expressing how he was feeling in writing.

For us, spending half an hour catching up on a Monday morning is more about connecting as people than sharing our goals for the week. As leaders, we don’t have the luxury of sticking to our preferred mode of communication. Our role is to understand what motivates our people, how they best communicate and to engage with them in a way that builds trust and belonging. Exceptional leaders promote diverse perspectives, and that includes embracing diverse ways of communicating and collaborating, even if it feels uncomfortable. If text messaging is what connects your team, then get your phone out.

stuff done.

Natalie Barker is Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance. She has been leading people for 15 years and believes that leveraging people’s strengths and passions are the best way to drive engagement and get

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Articles inside

Member profile: Sophie John

page 15

Am I managing: Let's connect

page 50

Research Update: New Zealanders want brands to 'talk' sustainability

pages 48-49

Student perspective: Felicity Blakeley

page 47

Regional Roundup: Waikato Branch

page 46

The fundamentals of flexible working

pages 42-45

PD Spotlight: Human Centred Design

pages 40-41

Diversity & Inclusion: Is your workplace inclusive? Ask a disabled employee

page 38

Immigration Law: Compliance: what is it, and why is it important?

pages 36-37

Sustainability is an HR issue

pages 34-35

Changes in the Profession - Then and now

pages 32-33

Charity Profile: Nurturing young scientists for international impact

page 30

Sustainability for Learning and Development

pages 28-29

Workplaces of the future: human or robot?

pages 24-27

Employment Law: Sustaining hauora in our workplaces

pages 22-23

NZ HR Awards 2020

pages 18-21

Sustainability leadership: the way of the future

pages 16-17

HRNZ Member Profiles: Kavita Khanna

pages 14-15

Putting people at the heart of sustainability and good business

pages 8-11

News Roundup

pages 6-7

From the Editor

page 5

Top of mind...

page 4
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