Human Resources - Summer 2020 (Vol 25: No 4) - Diversity and Inclusion

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New Zealand’s Magazine for Human Resources Professionals

Diversity and Inclusion PLUS: Positive discrimination and a mechanism for equality The forgotten twenty per cent Transforming diversity and inclusion through technology

Summer 2020

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Shaping the Profession

People Powered Success


Top of Mind Nick McKissack – HRNZ Chief Executive


HRNZ Member Profile Sussan Ockwell


From the Editor Kathy Catton


HR Chats with Te Radar – a summary of three conversations


News Roundup


Regional Roundup

10 Recruitment What is your recruitment strategy now? – Joanne Ashby, Purpose Built



Employment Law Update Positive discrimination and a mechanism for equality – Jack Rainbow, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers



Learning and Development Enabling or unhelpful: what can we learn? – Angela Bingham, Open Polytechnic

12 Workplace Inclusion The impact of COVID-19 on workplace inclusion – Maretha Smit


HR Technology Transforming diversity and inclusion through technology – Stephen Moore, Ceridian


Charity Profile Ability before disability – The Cookie Project NZ


Immigration Law Update Employers of migrant workers – buckle in for the ride! – Rachael Mason, Lane Neave


The forgotten twenty per cent Shifting the dial – Anne Hawker

30 Insights What makes the difference? – Kathy Catton 32

Leadership Development Want better output? Focus on the safety of your team – Michelle Gibbings


Professional Development Spotlight Thinking is the ultimate human resource – Debbie Dawson


Am I Managing? Natalie Barker

Diversity and Inclusion Sense of belonging – Zoe Brownlie and Dr Kaisa Wilson

40 Wellbeing Migrant workers wellbeing research – James Yu and Dr Fatima Junaid





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.


’m embarrassed to admit that I once employed an HR manager who actually didn’t possess some of the basic HR capability that you would expect in any HR generalist. I witnessed errors such as introducing bespoke and ambiguous terms and conditions into employment offers, failing to protect employee information and inaccurate advice to managers on employee relations problems. The costs of mistakes in essential HR practice can be significant. Unravelling variations to people’s employment terms, working with people mismatched to a position and dealing with personal grievances arising from unmet expectations all have a people and financial cost.

had achieved Chartered Membership of HRNZ. To get Chartered with HRNZ, you have to tick all the boxes of fundamental HR capability. If you’re the recruiting manager for an HR role, HRNZ is basically doing half the job for you – collecting the evidence, doing the interview and checking the referees. What’s more, to stay Chartered, you have to complete the ongoing professional development that ensures you keep your knowledge up to date. Of course, Chartered Members aren’t just capable of doing the basics, they’ll have shown a high level of competency over a range of areas and committed to a code of practice for HR professionals.

I had no one to blame but myself. On paper, this person had plenty of generalist HR experience, and I’d assumed they had dealt with all the basic HR policies and practices. But there it is, the curse of assumption. When I thought about this afterwards, I wondered what sort of process I should have followed to avoid those costly mistakes. Clearly, I needed a much deeper dive into that CV during the initial interviewing process to unpick that technical HR capability suggested by the various roles the person had held – to be fair to myself, I did use a recruitment agency for this appointment!

It’s been heartening to see an increasing number of members get involved in the Chartered Membership accreditation process. As the number of Chartered Members continues to rise, we’ll start to see employers include this in the requirements for serious HR roles in New Zealand.

In truth, if I had my time over again, I would simply ask for someone who




The HRNZ professional development framework is broader than just our Chartered Member accreditation. HRNZ’s framework includes a code of practice for HR professionals, a competency framework, professional accreditation, a process for managing continuing professional development and our eLearning platform. We’ve also recently

created a self-assessment tool so members can assess their capability in relation to the HRNZ framework and decide what they need to do to get accredited at either Emerging Professional or Chartered level. The framework lets our members manage their professional development right through their HR career. The investment our members are making in getting Chartered right now will put them in good stead in any future recruiting situations they might face. I only wish the HRNZ Chartered Membership process had been in place 10 years ago.

Nick McKissack Chief Executive HRNZ

MANAGING EDITOR Kathy Catton Ph: 021 0650 959 Email:

From the editor I

t is hard to fathom that we are rapidly reaching the end of the year already. The year 2020 has been, without a doubt, a monumental year. I’ve heard of people wanting to ‘write this year off’, ‘forget it even blighted us’, and ‘start afresh with 2021’. But I’m convinced that plenty of learning is still to be had for all of us on the difficulties and complexities of the past 12 months. We just need a moment to reflect and unwind. Again, I am reminded that leadership is crucial: both in times of crisis and times of business as usual. Our theme for this issue is diversity and inclusion. I have concluded that the only way diversity and inclusion efforts will prove worthy of their well-deserved fame is if they are embedded in the hearts of leaders. And we all have some responsibility, some power, to make this happen. As Michael Ien Cohen, director of Humanity Stoked says, “As individuals, you and I can’t change this world, but together we all can. Our collective actions add up and can indeed make a difference”. Reading the words of our feature writers on the subject of diversity and inclusion has been truly inspiring for me. Zoe Brownlie and Kaisa Wilson

look at the importance of place and how we can cultivate this within our workplaces for the benefit of all. Maretha Smit from Diversity Works New Zealand asks what we can do to make the workplace more inclusive, and Anne Hawker, Principal Disability Adviser at the Ministry of Social Development, outlines specific steps for working with disabled people. Even if we only dealt with the low-hanging fruit, we have the power to make a huge impact in the area of diversity and inclusion in New Zealand. As Josh Bersin says, “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers”. For me, the festive period will be a time of consolidation and gratitude. I am grateful for my family, my friends and colleagues and for living in Aotearoa. As hectic as pre-Christmas is, I hope you find a quiet moment to reflect on the year and enjoy this inspiring issue. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the HRNZ team. We look forward to seeing you next year.

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PUBLISHER Human Resources is published quarterly by Human Resources New Zealand PO Box 11-450, Wellington Ph: 0800 247 469 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. Vol 25 No: 4

ISSN 1173–7522

Kathy Catton Managing Editor

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MSD launches toolkit


he Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has launched (in November) a guide for employing disabled people. The Lead Toolkit contains information and resources for business owners, leadership teams, managers and HR teams to help them employ disabled people within their businesses. The guide is downloadable by section or as a complete PDF. Sections include tools and checklists on how to provide a clear commitment to employing and

retaining disabled people, as well as advice on recruitment and the employment cycle. Anne Hawker, Principal Disability Adviser at MSD, says, “The toolkit aims to provide you with the information to confidently employ disabled people and know where to go for support and advice.”

Election result and impact on HR


ith Labour winning its second term in government, we can expect to see Fair Pay Agreements coming into effect. Fair Pay Agreements are negotiated between unions and employers and set minimum terms and conditions of employment for all workers in an entire industry or occupation. Labour intends to introduce legislation that sets the minimum content that must be included in each Fair Pay Agreement and that would be extended to cover both employees and dependent contractors.




Protection for dependent contractors is set to increase, with Labour extending collective bargaining and other employment rights to include dependent contractors, including allowing contractors to require written contracts, and introducing a duty of good faith for dealings between contracting parties. Other likely changes affecting employees include increased sick leave entitlements from five to 10 days per year, increased minimum wage rate from $18.90 to $20 per hour in 2021 and a new public holiday recognising Matariki.

Labour also intends to simplify the Holidays Act 2003. This news provides a glimmer of hope for employers and unions battling with the complexity of the current legislation. This change has been on the agenda since early in Labour’s last term. The government established a Holidays Act Taskforce in May 2018, and it has apparently delivered its recommendations to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety. We are yet to see the report, so it appears to be a case of ‘watch this space’.

Positive growth in employment post-COVID lockdown


he latest SEEK NZ Quarterly Employment Report data shows a strong return for the job market, with a 66 per cent national increase in jobs advertised during the three months to October 2020. Janet Faulding, General Manager, SEEK NZ, says, “This quarter has seen month-on-month positive growth with the exception of August,

which coincided with the introduction of a second lockdown in Auckland.” These figures appear hopeful for job seekers, with SEEK currently recording the highest job advert level since the pandemic began. “Now we have the results of the election, we often see an increase in job advertising and recruitment. Many businesses wait to see the

results of an election before making big financial decisions, including onboarding new staff,” says Janet. Industries seeing the most growth in terms of job advert numbers from last quarter to this quarter (July, August, September) are trades and services (56 per cent), ICT (53 per cent) and manufacturing, transport and logistics (65 per cent).

Private investigator licence may be required


s reported by Employment New Zealand, a recent case of the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority has determined that workplace investigators fall within the definition of a ‘private investigator’. If employers are deciding to involve an external workplace investigator where the allegation or issue is of a sensitive or complex nature, then this investigator may need to be licensed. Those conducting in-house workplace

investigations do not need a licence. And the licensing requirements do not apply to occupations that are already regulated through a practising certificate, licence, permit or authority, for example, lawyers or those seeking information for the Crown. Organisations seeking the service of an independent investigator need to make sure they are engaging a suitably qualified and licensed individual. For a person to be

granted a licence by the Licensing Authority, they need to show they have the relevant training or skills to do the role. If you are a business and want to check whether a workplace investigator has a private investigator licence, you can check the Public Register. Or, if using a lawyer for investigations, you can check if they have a practising certificate on the New Zealand Law Society website.





Sense of belonging In Aotearoa, we have long understood the importance of place. Many of us feel a powerful sense of belonging to places and people and draw strength from those connections. Zoe Brownlie and Kaisa Wilson take a practical look at how we can incorporate this sense of belonging into our organisations.


rowing up, many of us can remember singing about turangawaewae at school, and being told about our connection to whenua and the importance of being part of a community. We can remember how family gatherings gave us a sense of belonging and a connection to whānau, and we knew our place and what our role was in all of it. In the past, in Western society, we largely took belonging for granted, but we now know how important a sense of belonging is to human beings, regardless of context. Studies have shown when we don’t feel we belong, we don’t function at the same level as when we feel we do belong. Thinking, creativity, problemsolving and impulse control, among




other functions, all suffer. These are critically important skills in most workplaces, yet many of us don’t have a sense of belonging where we work, despite spending a large portion of our lives there. On a practical level, studies have shown that a sense of belonging at work has a significant impact on our wellbeing, as well as our productivity, ability to innovate, how long we stay at an organisation, how we speak about the organisation to others, and how many sick days we take. So if we don’t feel we belong, it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our employer. Belonging goes a step further than diversity and inclusion and focuses on all people not only sharing their authentic selves but being valued for what they bring to their workplace. Research shows that organisations with high levels of belonging have a 56 per cent increase in job performance, a 50 per cent drop in turnover risk and a 75 per cent reduction in sick days (www. So the business case for belonging is solid, but there’s no such thing as a one-sizefits-all option to make it happen. Although many have tried, importing generic solutions for belonging from

other countries has never worked well in Aotearoa. Our unique culture, worldview and values must form the basis of any workplace solution for it to be effective. When we transpose a US, European or Australian initiative into the New Zealand context, we miss an opportunity to have a truly meaningful impact on our organisations and people. Psychologists have recently come to understand how critical context is to the efficacy of what we do. Psychological assessments and interventions, for example, are always ‘standardised’ to the country in which they are being used, because differences in culture and values can render a useful tool ineffective when applied in another cultural context. The same is true for organisational belonging initiatives.

If we don’t feel we belong, it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our employer. We are lucky that, in Aotearoa, we have indigenous models and ways of working that fit so well with fostering belonging at work for all. Well-known Māori concepts like whanaungatanga (relationship building), wairuatanga (identity or spirituality of people and places),

kotahitanga (unity of purpose), mahi tahi (working together) and manaakitanga (hospitality) can all be incorporated to foster belonging for everyone, no matter how they identify. The most robust approaches combine the best of science and indigenous knowledge endemic to the location in which you are operating, which should then be tailored to fit your particular organisation. In Aotearoa, that means meaningfully combining indigenous concepts (not in a tokenistic way, because it will be harmful and not work) with evidenceled approaches. Only then will you realise the potential of belonging and its associated benefits in your organisation.

1. Ask your people

Ask your people, and ask them again and again and again. The most successful organisations are those that frequently obtain feedback from their people in meaningful ways and take action based on what they say. Annual engagement surveys can give you some data, but organisations are realising they need more regular and specific feedback to really make a difference. Providing space for honest feedback, getting it often and taking action will make people feel heard, valued and that they belong.

You could try: pulse checks every two months focused on a different topic each time, and clearly communicating to all your people what the results are, and how they are going to be actioned. Solutions exist that can gather data as frequently as daily (eg, the Chnnl app).

Don’t try: creating a shared vision but then never talking about it again, creating a vision on your own or only involving the leadership team, or using any communication that suggests some play a more significant part in reaching your goals than others.

Don’t try: expecting all people to give you honest feedback just because you have a good relationship. Always ask for some of it in an anonymous way.

Although sometimes seen as a waste of time, allocating time for people to bond is so beneficial. Friday night drinks are common, but this excludes a whole lot of people who can’t or choose not to attend. Implement something regularly during work hours that all people have to attend. Through the COVID-19 lockdown, a lot of organisations had weekly Zoom coffees, where they’d catch up about how everyone was coping. Continue with these, and you will see benefits.

2. Create a shared vision

If people know what the goals of the organisation are and that they play a part in reaching them, no matter how small, this has a significant impact on belonging. And better still, if it’s possible, then involve everyone in creating it. The more you listen and create together, the more people feel they matter. You could try: using co-design methodology to create a vision together, using non-hierarchical visuals to show how everyone in the organisation contributes to the vision, regularly referring to your vision and asking your people about it, using external facilitators to run any sessions on this, and finding out how your vision relates to peoples’ personal values.

3. Enable social bonds

You could try: organising pōwhiri when new people join your organisation and spending time on whanaungatanga, Friday morning team coffees, random buddy morning teas, dress up or down days, using the Emotional Culture Deck or Heartwork cards (cards purchased online that seek to create high-empathy, high-performing organisational cultures), everyone taking turns being on the social




committee, and setting up a Slack channel just for non-work content. Don’t try: expecting people to attend anything outside of working hours, forcing people to be social (think ‘The Office’!).

4. Build trusting relationships

If people trust those they work with, especially those who lead them, belonging skyrockets. And if they don’t have this trust, it can be disastrous. Make sure this is focused on, because it has many other benefits as well as belonging. You could try: putting aside regular time for whanaungatanga and never rushing it, implementing reciprocal mentoring, showing vulnerability from the top, promoting wellbeing and people being honest about how they are. Don’t try: expecting people to be able to lead others just because it’s the next step in their career.




People need training and the right personality. Make sure you have clear pathways for reporting if relationships aren’t going smoothly.

The most robust approaches combine the best of science and indigenous knowledge endemic to the location in which you are operating, which should then be tailored to fit your particular organisation. 5. Be intentional about inclusion

Saying you’re an inclusive organisation because you have women or Māori, for example, in your leadership team is not good enough anymore. Inclusion needs to be implemented in all parts of a business.

You could try: prioritising getting onboarding right, setting timebound targets to include people in leadership positions, making space for all people to share stories about feeling included, sharing messages about inclusion from the chief executive and leadership team, having a ‘nearly always say yes’ strategy to employee requests. Don’t try: focusing on inclusion in recruitment more than retention, or running any sort of inclusion workshops without the right expertise.

6. Create a backlash strategy

Some people will undoubtedly feel threatened by any sort of belonging programme and think it’ll mean they’ll lose out. In order not to lose traction, you need to have a strategy in place for dealing with these people, and bear in mind it might be people in leadership positions. Backlash can be hostility to change efforts, attempts to discredit the

evidence, complaints about the unfairness of actions and strategies put in place, ignoring or trivialising complaints, justifying existing workplace inequalities, refusing to participate or being disruptive in training or consultation sessions. You could try: being transparent about your plan and sharing with everyone that you have a backlash strategy. Ensure the leadership team is clear about why the organisation is taking the action it is so that when resistance occurs, everyone can respond with confidence. Don’t try: putting up with this behaviour because people have been with the organisation for a long time or are in a senior position. Offer opportunities to learn and understand, but decide what behaviour is unacceptable and address it swiftly and seriously. So there you have it. Creating a culture of belonging is good for

business, good for people and good for the world, but it needs to reflect Aotearoa and the specifics of your organisation. If you do it right, it’s worth its weight in gold. “Where my home is, where I stand, where my home is, turangawaewae.”

Zoe Brownlie and Dr Kaisa Wilson are co-directors of AllHuman, a New Zealand based consultancy and community. Zoe has a background in wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, equity and social change. She has worked with organisations to improve culture, policies and processes, and is passionate about using co-design and indigenous knowledge to create authentic change. Kaisa has a doctorate in gender, identity and belonging, and has worked with a range of organisations to improve performance and resolve issues related to people and culture. To get in touch, please contact them on or find out more at

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What is your recruitment strategy in a skills shortage with closed borders? This year has been disruptive, particularly for those who have lost their jobs. This is particularly the case for those who have lost their jobs. Joanne Ashby looks at the case of pilots, who have lost their


he impact of COVID-19 has seen nearly 700 pilots in New Zealand being made redundant or furloughed. To be furloughed makes it sound temporary, but the reality is, for most furloughed individuals, it will be years before they fly again, if ever. The other industry to be seriously affected is tourism, which has compounded the effect of lockdowns on hospitality and retail, and on it goes. Many previous examples can be found of economic downturn resulting in high levels of unemployment. This is somewhat different, however, in that we are in the paradoxical situation where certain high-skill employment sectors have collapsed while others are experiencing a shortage of skills with limited opportunity to import those skills from offshore. Going back in history to New Zealand’s efforts post-war, there are interesting parallels. In 10



1916, Cabinet Minister, A L Herdman was preparing for the return of servicemen to New Zealand, and he noted that “the more rapidly and efficiently the reabsorption takes place the speedier will be the recovery from the losses resulting from the war”.

thought laterally to fill its skills shortage by employing and retraining redundant pilots to good effect. It is a longer-term approach but no less effective and arguably more powerful in creating a loyal and engaged workforce, two values that transcend any skill base.

Post-World War One, when New Zealand had hundreds of servicemen out of work, the government of the day created the Discharged Soldiers’ Information Department (DSID). Amongst many initiatives that the DSID undertook two in particular resonate with today’s circumstances:

Perhaps an opportunity is available to repeat the efforts of 100 years ago and be part of the movement towards employment, economic and wellbeing recovery for all.


they encouraged government departments and private enterprise to consider a returned serviceman wherever possible


they focused attention on training opportunities and encouraged private organisations to do the same.

Fast forward to today where a pool of intelligent, highly skilled individuals, who learn and assimilate quickly, is looking for meaningful work. Is this the opportunity for us to reconsider our recruitment, onboarding, training and retention strategies to fill the skills shortage gap? For example, the agriculture sector, as an industry,

I love people. I love talking to people from all walks of life. I love that I can work with them to help them with their businesses, their careers, their teams, their health and wellbeing. But more than that, I love what I learn from them, and that’s why I’ve made a career out of it. I have spent 30 years in all facets of human resources; manager, organisational development consultant, career coach, certified executive coach, board member. e: w:


Sussan Ockwell 3. What has been a career highlight, and why? I’m living my two highlights right now!

Sussan Ockwell – Director of Optimism, a learning and performance company that seeks to develop competence and confidence in the workplace – shares with us insights into her world.

1. What do you do in your current role to drive success? As a company, Optimism is all about making it easy for people to be great at what they do. So whenever I’m talking to someone that’s my focus. First, I need to understand the situation and then determine what we can give them or develop for them, to make it easy for them to perform at a high level. Their success leads to their organisation’s success, and our success. Inside Optimism, I particularly love to develop systems (with methodologies and tools), so it’s easy for our people to be great at what they do. 2. What attracted you to pursue a career in HR? A very long time ago, in my last actual job before Optimism, I was the gobetween between the ‘geeks’ and the end-users. I found it fun and easy to translate the technical, or make the complex simple. Moving on from there, I started my own company providing training and development services to large organisations.

One is having my current Board role as Learning Chair for the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) New Zealand. From the moment I joined EO New Zealand, I wanted this Board role. I love delighting my (discerning) fellow entrepreneurs by creating once-in-a-lifetime learning experiences. And, with that, I just got presented with the EO President’s Choice Award for 2020. My other highlight is within our company. I am super proud of The Induction App™ that we recently developed to help companies set their new people up for success. It’s a culmination of all of our induction experience and our deep digital expertise. It’s very exciting, and I’m loving learning how to drive it as a global Software as a Service product. 4. Why are you an HRNZ Member? Learning and performance is a subset of HR, and it’s essential for me to be across the broader HR context. HRNZ is a professionally run organisation where I can stay in touch with what’s happening, network with interesting people and attend high-quality events.

did my degree and diploma entirely by correspondence. I didn’t have much of a social life for years! 7. If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would they be and why? I’m fortunate that, in my role as Learning Chair for EO New Zealand, I get to personally meet so many of the people who I admire (for example, Peter Beck of Rocket Lab, Rod Drury founder of Xero, Vic Crone of Callaghan). However, three people I’d still like to have dinner with are Tony Robbins, because he is the full package and has developed the amazing ability to cut through to what’s really happening, and how to effect rapid change. John Key, because I respect him in many ways and haven’t had the opportunity to have a personal conversation with him yet. And for my third one, as a Christian, I’d want to have a private dinner with Jesus. 8. What’s your happy place? Going off-grid and living the simple life, with only my husband Kirk and bichon-baby Momo, in a campervan or boat.

5. Tell us about a recent involvement with HRNZ? We’ve just finished developing the Capability Self-Assessment Tool for HRNZ. It’s an excellent tool for HR professionals to be able to assess themselves against competencies and prioritise their own professional development. From a member perspective, I particularly enjoy the casual Café Connects, when I can get there. 6. What’s something that not many people know about you? I left school at 16 (it was boring), started in business when I was 22, and





Workplace inclusion: the COVID-19 impact There is no denying that 2020 has been a year of uncertainty for our workplaces – and it’s not over yet. Maretha Smit, Chief Executive of Diversity Works New Zealand, takes a closer look at how we can make our workplaces more inclusive, despite the chaos all around us.


McKinsey global survey of more than 800 business executives, released in September this year, showed that most leaders expect large-scale change stemming from COVID-19 in areas as broad as core processes, use of technology, meeting structure, leadership styles, decision making, approach to innovation and skills needed. Diversity and inclusion are essential when it comes to navigating those changes – research shows they’re important for building teams that can work together effectively, especially through times of disruption. But are those inclusive cultures we’ve worked so hard to build also at risk from the COVID-19 fallout? As part of the Diversity Works New Zealand work programme this year, we’ve talked to diversity and inclusion practitioners and business and 12



academic thought leaders about issues that will be crucial for the economy and communities in the months and years ahead.

Protect your progress

Lessons from previous crises show a possible risk that diversity and inclusion may recede as a strategic priority for organisations. This is not as a result of an intentional shift in the mindsets of our companies and leaders to be less diverse and less inclusive, but a priorities shift as the fight for survival focuses attention on the most pressing basic needs, such as dealing with loss of revenue, implementing measures to adapt to new ways of working, and maintaining productivity in ambiguous times. Yet I would argue a retained focus on diversity and inclusion, from the Board and executive leadership down, is essential to safeguard the advances our organisations have made in creating inclusive cultures. Executive coach, Hélène Deschamp, says to do this, business leaders need to avoid making important decisions in a state of stress. When faced with disruption, humans enter a state of stress, because our brains are wired for survival, meaning we will detect danger before we detect opportunity.

The part of the brain responsible for logical thinking and deliberation goes on the ‘back-burner’, which is appropriate in dangerous shortterm situations but in the business context is likely to lead to suboptimal decisions, strongly affected by unconscious bias, she says. Leaders need to be aware of their natural tendency to trust more the people who are like them, whether that’s in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, cultural background, education, way of thinking or previous experiences. Deschamp says leaders can adopt strategies to lessen the impact biases have on decision making, even in a time of crisis. Examine principles and practices that may be detrimental to diversity and inclusion. ‘Last in, first out’ is one that can affect diverse employees disproportionately because they are often the ones with the shortest tenure. If resizing is necessary, look at the roles being restructured. The tendency is to keep essential line roles that protect revenue in the short term and consider support roles as less crucial. “Staff in support roles tend to have more diversity. It’s not always the case, but it tends to be,” says Deschamp.” An organisation

that has put a lot of work into diversity and inclusion in the past five years could just wipe it all out.”

Mind the (gender) gap

New Zealand’s gender pay gap has remained steady at 9.5 per cent, the latest Stats NZ figures show, but the data did not capture the affect COVID-19 is having on women in the workforce. Employment figures released in August 2020 revealed that 90 per cent of New Zealanders who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdown were women.

Business leaders need to avoid making important decisions in a state of stress. The numbers reflect the fact that women tend to be more represented in tourism, retail and hospitality, which were particularly affected by the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus. But COVID-19 has also exposed the structural disadvantages that exist for women in the workplace. The burden of care is still disproportionately skewed towards women, and we will achieve gender equality only when men and women can equally thrive at work and at home. Making the

workplace more family friendly for women and having flexible working policies help but will not solve this issue. Another concern is that many of the new jobs being created are in ‘shovel-ready projects’ within industries that are typically not wellrepresented by women. COVID-19 is also expediting the digital revolution, and technology is yet another sector with poor credentials for gender diversity. If we are to protect the gains we’ve made in increasing gender equity and reducing the gender pay gap, the government and our private and public sectors will need to work together to reverse the impact COVID-19 is having on women in the workforce.

The flexible factor

Working from our bedrooms, dining rooms and lounges, using remote communication tools, became the new normal for many of us in 2020. So what happens now? Will we return to traditional work practices or will we embrace this opportunity to radically change what work looks like? Tech Futures Lab founder, Frances Valintine, says the COVID-19 crisis has provided a unique opportunity for people to think about what they want

in the workplace, how they value the time contributed to organisations and how they can be most productive. It’s a chance to consider what really works for people, rather than rely on a model that’s become irrelevant in the scheme of digitalisation and our ability to effectively work remotely. “The supercharging ahead of perhaps two or three years has enabled us to really evidence how significant this shift is. Now we have to work out where the balance is,” Frances says.

Remote working is one type of flexible working, but there are many others. Rather than rely on the traditional nine-to-five model of work, she believes leaders should encourage people to be productive. “If they are productive and passionate about what they are doing and they work to the rhythm of their body, to the rhythm of their lifestyle, their kids and their travel, you get the most out of people and you never encourage and reward idleness, which is where frustration spills over and the work culture changes quite dramatically,” she says.




Diversity Works New Zealand Diversity Manager Guillermo Merelo has long been a supporter of the benefits of flexible working but also cautions that organisations need to be aware of a few risks. One is that too much attention is being given to remote working at the detriment of other forms of flexible working, Merelo says. “People often talk as though flexible working and remote working are interchangeable concepts, but they are not. Remote working is one type of flexible working, but there are many others.” Remote working is perfect for a specific worker profile, usually a white-collar worker. But not everyone can work from home – the New Zealand workforce has many different groups, with many different realities and needs. Lastly, the challenges of accessing the technology required to work remotely can create forms of exclusion in the workplace for some groups, he says. “We need to involve people in technology, not only to create a new normal but to ensure we include everyone in the new normal.” Infrastructure company Citycare Ltd is future-proofing its workforce with a focus on attracting young people, Māori, Pasifika and women to be part of its diverse talent pipeline.

Valintine is excited by the bold conversations emerging in workplaces as people explore a blended model, allowing them to come together to collaborate, communicate and socialise, then work from home when it suits. Constellation Brands New Zealand Managing Director, Simon Towns, also supports a blended model, with the physical workspace filling a couple of important roles: it facilitates problem-solving and collaboration, which proved to be more difficult during the period staff were working remotely; and it acts as a social hub, the place to build intimate and deeper relationships that enable the trust that teams require to be more effective.




Towns sees two big challenges for organisations that want to move to more remote working. One is the physical equipment people need to access the virtual office. “Do all of our people have access to space in their own homes to enable this? Not all my employees will have that. How do we get over that divide, not just within a company but also within society?” The second challenge is whether people managers have the right leadership skills, Towns says. “Do we have achievement-based leadership and do we have leaders that have built teams based on trust and can be comfortable managing success based on achievement and not on clocking in and clocking out?”

Employment figures released in August 2020, revealed that 90 per cent of New Zealanders who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 lockdown were women. Future-proofing your workforce Massey University’s Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, one of New Zealand’s leading experts on demographics, says our closed borders mean the supply of temporary and permanent migrant workers has diminished.

Depending on the visa category, this situation could continue for months or even years. Some relaxation of current bans will happen, but there

The Public Service Gender Pay Taskforce was recognised at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ™ for its work in bringing together state-sector leaders, employees and unions to tackle the gender pay gap and achieve fairer workplaces for women.

will be much smaller flows, and some skill categories and sectors will have to be prioritised. Nothing like the numbers will arrive in New Zealand as temporary or permanent workers that we saw in 2019, he says. This means employers will have to rely on the talent and labour pool that is currently in the country – or returning New Zealanders. But declining fertility means the size of the cohorts entering the workforce will also decrease. The effect is that the prime working-age population will get smaller, and this will be particularly noticeable in some regions in New Zealand. Also, the younger age groups will be increasingly made up of Māori, Pasifika and Asians. If your business or sector doesn’t recruit these young New Zealanders, you will struggle to get the workers you need, Spoonley says.

As well as highlighting the need to invest in our young people, and other groups who have been affected by the shock associated with COVID-19 (women, Māori, Pasifika), potential labour shortages also reinforce the need to engage more with the older generation in the workforce. Employers should be talking to their wisdom workers to find out how they can retain their skills and institutional knowledge while still accommodating the different ways they may want or need to work as they age. These are just some of the considerations for organisations, but it’s clear that, as we build back the economy, we have an opportunity to put a human-centric lens at the core of our recovery. Establishing equality in our society is a complex challenge, and organisations and businesses can play a critical role through making the workplace better for everyone.

Maretha Smit is the Chief Executive of Diversity Works New Zealand, the national body for workplace diversity and inclusion. She has a strong background and appreciation of the challenges in diversity and inclusion, with experience in senior leadership roles in the disability sector, as well as delivering programmes to improve social cohesion through performing arts, education and training. She is passionate about her life purpose to create a more sustainable and equitable society through national conversations and creative initiatives.





HR podcasts – a must watch!

Brought to you by HRNZ, these podcasts profile some of New Zealand’s leading HR professionals, speaking on a range of trends and ideas from the world of human resources. Over a dozen topics relating specifically to HR best practice within New Zealand are currently available via the HRNZ website. Kathy Catton reviewed three podcasts focusing on the areas of diversity and inclusion. Elizabeth Berryman: Bullying and harassment and the importance of monitoring mental health in the workplace – watch now! According to recent research, New Zealand is one of the worst places in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for people to experience bullying and harassment in the workplace. Why is this the case? Elizabeth Berryman wants to find the answers. After starting her career as a registered nurse, she went on to study medicine at the University of Otago 16



and is now a qualified psychiatrist and active researcher and expert in e-mental health and psychological risks in the workplace. After a personal experience of being bullied as a doctor, Elizabeth started to ask more and more questions about why this bullying exists and what we can do about it.

Her quest for answers also led Elizabeth to survey all medical students in New Zealand in 2018. Results of this survey showed that 54 per cent of students experienced incidents of bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination within the past year. Seeing these statistics had a significant impact on Liz.

Elizabeth’s answers led her to realise that many people feel disempowered to make any change when they see or experience bullying within an organisation. Often, very little training and support are given to managers on how to deal with bullying.

So, she set up Chnnl: a digital platform providing insights, information and data on employee mental health and wellbeing. Employees answer simple questions daily about how they are feeling. This data is then anonymised, and employers and managers can accurately assess the wellbeing of their workforce as a whole – seeing

which areas of the workplace need attention as well as quickly being alerted to incidents of bullying or sexual harassment. Potential problems, adverse trends, bullying and even a crisis, can be identified early, while positive trends can be capitalised on and celebrated. “It’s the subtle incivility (sarcastic behaviour, ‘I’m just joking’, eyerolling, exclusion, not saying good morning, etc) happening in organisations, that can have impacts on our mental health,” says Elizabeth. “This app also allows employees to speak up and log issues that can be kept anonymous or shared to lodge as a formal complaint if required.” It is always hard to measure productivity and performance, but asking people how productive they feel is often as accurate as measuring the data. This makes the app very attractive for chief executive officers to be able to track and measure the wellbeing of their entire team. The business case is robust: organisations that implement wellbeing initiatives typically see a 3:1 return, that is, for every one dollar spent on wellbeing they get a three dollar return. This podcast is well worth a listen if you need to support your employees’ mental health. And, as Elizabeth says, “take this time to support your own

mental health. You can’t help other people unless you take care of yourself.” Amy Clarke: Diversity and inclusion and the role HR plays in supporting it – watch now! Amy Clarke has a passion for creating safe spaces. She works as a business partner within the People and Culture team at Stats NZ. She has particular interests in intersectionality (the interconnected nature of social categorisations, which may create discrimination), allyship (the practice of emphasising social inclusion to advance the interests of a minor group) and the importance of using privilege to create safe spaces for those who need them, both inside and outside the workplace. From a practical point of view, for HR professionals, this translates to looking at what we can do to use our influence and reach across an organisation as a force for good. HR can give a minority group a voice and then step back and allow the minority voices to be heard. “You let the group you are trying to support give you input on

how they would like your support to be utilised,” says Amy. “It’s about allowing people to speak for themselves.” Amy’s advice when it comes to listening to our people is to leave all our assumptions at the door. “To be a good ally and support, the act of listening is so important,” says Amy. “Check your assumptions and let them tell you who they are and how they want to operate in a space. You quickly find more meaningful ways to support groups this way.” When we look at what privilege entails, we need to start noticing our own privileges, due to our gender, sexuality, ethnicity, education, location and background. It’s about acknowledging and being open to learning and noticing how our privilege affects other people, positively and negatively. The role of HR when working to move the culture of an organisation to a better place, Amy says, is to acknowledge that HR can’t do everything. Change can start with small baby steps. “Focus on what will have an impact, eg, write pronouns in our email signatures, so it’s not a burden on those minority groups to have to self-identify.” HR has to recognise that people are experts in their own rights, but we can't expect SUMMER 2020



if you need guidance. If you are asking internally, consider asking those with strong cultural competency and make sure the person wants to be involved in that way. They may prefer to refer you somewhere else. “Think about where you advertise. Could you share job adverts with your local marae and Māori agencies? To avoid Māori selecting themselves out, are you actively seeking recommendations? Do you ask if there are any special requirements throughout the recruitment process?” asks Karli. them to always have the energy or space to lead on these issues. Amy identifies that there is no silver bullet when it comes to diversity and inclusion training. It's well worth looking within the organisation to see which employees are able to help in a work context. Employees understand the unique challenges of the culture and where initiatives do and don’t support diversity. “Go for the low-hanging fruit first,” says Amy. “Things like acknowledging people’s cultural holidays or providing safe spaces or safety signals that you can stand by are all moves in the right direction.” Karli Te Aotonga: How HR practice is vital to the wellbeing of our Māori workforce – watch now! Karli is passionate about the wellbeing and development of all people in the workforce, particularly the wellbeing and development of tāngata whenua working across diverse workplaces in Aotearoa. She is a proud mama to two boys, president of the Nelson HRNZ branch and whānau development programme manager for Wakatū Incorporation. Wakatū is a hapū and 18



whānau-owned organisation, based in Te Tauihu (Nelson). Karli provides practical examples of what we as HR professionals need to be aware of at every stage of the employee lifecycle when working with our Māori workforce. Many of these practical examples are grounded in the model Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four cornerstones of health), by Mason Durie. With its strong foundations and four equal sides, the symbol of the wharenui shows the four dimensions of Māori wellbeing – taha tinana, taha wairua, taha whānau and taha hinengaro. Should one of the four dimensions be missing or in some way damaged, a person, or a collective, may become ‘unbalanced’ and subsequently unwell. Karli points listeners to, where factsheets are available for employees and employers on Te Whare Tapa Whā. Karli summarises the following examples. Talent, attraction, recruitment: Check the content of your advertisements. Make sure, if you are using te reo, it is used correctly. Karli recommends you engage with Māori HR consultants and your local marae or other Māori organisations

Onboarding: Recognise our unique Aotearoa culture, the awareness of the lifeforce of the organisation and how HR can practice family-centric values, embrace the wholeness of the person, and speak to their wider environment and relationships. “A pōwhiri may be appropriate on day one, so that children and whānau are welcome in the workplace,” says Karli. “This forges the relationship between employer and employee. And always ask for support if you need it.” Establish employee working groups to ensure what you do is positive and appropriate for the people within the organisation. Move away from the box-ticking exercises! HR needs to provide best practice advice to managers. Performance development: In the words of Mason Durie, “Diverse realities require diverse solutions.” Those in the Māori workforce may not be comfortable speaking of their own successes when it comes to a performance review. “Instead of asking, ‘What’s gone well?’ change the language, and ask instead ‘What project have you enjoyed working on? What goals did you achieve and what learnings did you gain from this?”

Learning and development: Sharing and growing and developing in areas together is a great way to engage everyone. Encourage employees to think diversely. And don’t assume every Māori employee wants the same thing. Make sure your line managers are equipped to deal with issues to support everyone, and if an issue occurs between two individuals, ensure it advances the mana of both parties. Remuneration or reward: Some people may not want to produce a portfolio of evidence when seeking a pay rise or promotion, because this can be confronting. Consider all the alternatives and show empathy when talking with all people. Karli’s overriding message is these suggestions apply to all people,

not just the Māori workforce. As HR professionals, we have a duty of care to develop our own competencies in this area. “Consider signing up to a tikanga Māori course or broaden and deepen your HR practice by becoming informed about our country’s past,” she says. “Read Professor Chellie Spiller’s Fasttracking Māori management: A short report on Human Resource practice.”1 Listening to this podcast is also a great place to start. Thank you to all the speakers who have been interviewed by Te Radar. HRNZ is always keen to hear from members with topic ideas and speaker suggestions for future HR Chats with Te Radar. Please email with your suggestions.

1 Spiller, M; Craze, G; Dell, K; Mudford, M (2017) Kōkiri Whakamua: Fast-tracking Māori Management: A short report on Human Resource Practice. Auckland: University of Auckland.

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The role of positive

discrimination in achieving equality The strength of Aotearoa’s society comes from its diversity and inclusiveness, in all its unique forms. Whether it is our different cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientation or religious pluralities, New Zealanders have a broad base of lived experiences that make our communities and workplaces stronger. Jack Rainbow, from Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, asks if discrimination can be used positively to help in achieving equality.


espite our diversity, not all New Zealanders are free from discrimination, nor do they have access to the same opportunities.

Protections from discrimination

New Zealand has two important pieces of anti-discrimination legislation: the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. These are designed to prevent discrimination on several specified grounds, including on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, disability and sexual orientation.




The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in areas such as employment, education and housing, among others, in both the public and private sectors. This prevents employers, landlords and businesses from refusing employment, tenancy or other services on the basis of one of the specified grounds. The Bill of Rights Act on the other hand only applies to acts done by any of the three branches of government (the legislature, executive and judiciary) or any person or body acting in the performance of any public function, power or duty. The Bill of Rights Act outlines protections for human rights, one of which is the right to freedom from discrimination. In theory, this means the government cannot pass legislation or act in a way that would unfairly discriminate against an individual or group of individuals.

What about positive discrimination?

In New Zealand, ‘positive discrimination’ is recognised as a legitimate means of achieving equality. Positive discrimination is also sometimes referred to as affirmative action, preferential treatment or special measures.

Under the Human Rights Act, section 22 prohibits refusing employment, terminating employment or offering an employee less favourable terms and conditions of employment, by reason of one of the specified grounds of discrimination. However, the Act also provides an exception to this under section 73, where the action is taken (or not taken): a. in good faith; and b. for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons. The people referred to in section 73 must be: a. people against whom discrimination is unlawful under the Act; and b.

the people who need, or may reasonably be supposed to need, assistance or advancement in order to achieve an equal place with other members of the community.

The purpose of section 73 of the Human Rights Act was considered in Coburn v Human Rights Commission [1994] 3 NZLR 323, which related to the proposed amendment of a superannuation scheme. The Court stated in relation to section 73:

In my view, the main purpose of s73 is to allow, and indeed encourage, the formulation of programmes to alleviate particular inequalities until these have been rectified by the operation of the Act’s general and broader policies.

The Bill of Rights Act contains a similar clause, under section 19(2), which states: Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination.

Positive discrimination in practice

An example of ‘special measures’ being used in practice is the University of Otago’s Mirror on Society Selection Policy. The policy provides for students who fall within special categories to be given preferential entry into the University of Otago’s medical school, including Māori and Pasifika students. The University’s policy is intended to promote the advancement of some students through special measures, to ensure the health sector is more reflective of our society. With respect to Māori and Pasifika students, the aim is to boost the number of Māori and Pasifika in the health workforce in the hopes of helping achieve better health outcomes for our Māori and Pasifika communities. This entry pathway

has been scrutinised in the media recently following a proposal being placed before the University to cap the number of students entering medical school through this pathway. However, it remains a live example of positive discrimination in Aotearoa.

New Zealand’s legal system provides strong grounds for protection against discrimination. Equally, the law recognises the need for forms of positive discrimination in order to truly achieve equality. To this end, the Human Rights Commission has confirmed that:

The Human Rights Commission has published the Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality. • Special measures are only one part of a tool kit, and inequality should be overcome using universal programmes rather than relying solely on special measures. • Special measures may in some cases be required rather than merely permitted. • The measure must be necessary to address disadvantage or ensure equality. • The measure must be carried out in good faith. • The measure must address the actual disadvantage of the group targeted, and there must be a demonstrable link between the measure and what it seeks to achieve. • The impact on those the measure does not apply to should be considered. • The measure should be proportionate to the disadvantage, and the least intrusive method should be favoured. • The measure should be temporary.1

Ensuring that people enjoy rights equally will not always involve treating all people the same. To achieve genuine equality it may be necessary to treat people differently, if treating them the same will simply perpetuate existing differences. The point of special measures is to ensure equal outcomes rather than simply equal treatment.2 Implementing positive discrimination or special measures in a workplace may help in achieving fair and equal treatment of employees. However, any special measures taken will need to be carefully considered, and employers will want to be sure that they can justify how the measures taken will help certain groups or individuals in achieving equality.

Jack Rainbow, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa (Tapuika), is a solicitor at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. He provides legal advice to both public and private sector clients, including in relation disciplinary processes, investigations and dispute resolution. Jack also volunteers at Community Law and previously worked at a law firm specialising in Māori legal issues, particularly Waitangi Tribunal claims.

1 Human Rights Commission (2010) Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality. Wellington: Human Rights Commission. 2 (See note 1 above).





Enabling or unhelpful: what can we learn? Angela Bingham, Executive Director People and Capability at the Open Polytechnic, shares tips and observations for when it comes to identifying and growing leadership behaviours.

discovered the deep reach of the identified behaviours into all aspects of leadership. Here, I go through these behaviours and pick out practical tips you can incorporate into your leadership practice. Before we do, let's look at the unhelpful behaviours.


1. Micro-management

ometimes, in our busy lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the individuals who make up the team. My challenge to you is to really see the individuals in your team and understand their strengths, development areas, contributions and wellbeing. This way we support our commitment to diversity and inclusive practices. By the way, you’ll also be enabling your people so they can be creative, innovative and empathetic; therefore resilient. Dr Esme Franken’s research is the cornerstone of the Leadership Development Programme at the Open Polytechnic. It has created a different type of conversation and expectation from leaders. Franken’s research came from the perspective that resilience is a developable capacity and the enabling of resilience starts with leaders. As we unpacked Franken’s research and partnered with a neuro-leadership expert (Jenny McDonald), we 22



Takes away self-esteem because it creates a perception that leaders don’t believe in the ability of their kaimahi.

2. Doing things only to please the boss

Justifying tasks as a way to please up the chain; not what is right for the organisation.

5. Assuming one size fits all

This is not really seeing the individuals in the team, for example, calling out positive feedback in a public forum. The reality check here is that, as leaders, we are mortal irrational human beings who don’t get it right all of the time. So when you reflect (or get feedback) and identify you’ve been displaying one of the five harmful behaviours, act quickly!

Resilience is a developable capacity and the enabling of resilience starts with leaders.

The way to take the sting out of the 3. Having low social and career disabling behaviours is to call it. For example, “Can I be directive?” or support “I know I am reacting now, I have People like to know they will get to deal with XYZ”. Or challenge help if they ask. This becomes a yourself to pause. If you reflect and lot easier if active (‘as and when’) realise you’ve displayed a disabling conversations are held about behaviour, apologise as soon as development and competency. you can. “I wanted to mention to 4. Reactive leadership you that I reflected on XYZ and I realised I was not providing you clear The sense that work is sporadic and career support.” not strategically joined can leave individuals feeling like a strobe light As HR practitioners, our role in with little purpose. supporting leaders and individuals is to incorporate the language into And Jenny McDonald and I added our daily dialogue with people in one more:

Enabling behaviour



Managing the whole team

Team members will have enhanced energy, empathy, creativity and innovation.

Normalise collaboration in a way that lets individuals use their strengths to benefit the team.

Understand that leadership is not an ‘averaged’ activity.

With our workforces becoming rich and diverse, having a shared understanding of people’s names and cultural world view continues to build quality relationships. Develop a practice of hearing people's stories. Managing stretch goals and safe failure People have greater satisfaction when they are learning and growing safely.

Supporting personal growth and wellbeing For our brains to continue to grow, they need to be stimulated and challenged.2

Your team members will perceive you as valuing their specific knowledge and expertise. This will look like better teamwork and improved confidence.

Remove blame from the conversation and replace with learning. Enable your people to articulate how they learn best on the job and provide feedback on how their specific strengths will add value. Ask questions to confirm understanding and individually create a safe space for coaching and feedback.

Leaders who support personal growth and wellbeing are those who seek out opportunities, talk about the future possibilities, and advocate on behalf of their kaimahi, fostering enhanced commitment and confidence.

Have conversations with your people about career aspirations and how the work they are doing now is working towards that aspiration. Continue with positive reinforcement (that is genuine, timely and specific). Create a space for ‘as and when’ conversations that provide feedback both ways.

Enabling self-management Enable autonomy and recognise that individuals are not there to replicate their leader; they are there to do their own job.

Recognising individual needs and contributions Being seen is essential for growth, which in turn results in creativity and innovation. People like to know that they matter and their contribution is valued.

our organisations. When leaders or kaimahi present with a problem, maybe a useful way to consider a solution is to ask, “Has the behaviour been enabling or disabling?”. Provide ways for leaders to reflect with you and coach through to remedies or outcomes. It’s not easy. However, when you truly see people for the strengths they bring, the development they can learn, valuing wellbeing and contributions, you and your leaders will take a different lens.

When leaders enable self-management, you can focus more on aims and outcomes rather than processes or ‘time at the desk’. Building trust that kaimahi can do the work reflects a belief in ability and competency.

Take a ‘trust first’ approach and then be available for questions.

When leaders recognise individual needs and contributions, you are tailoring your style to the individual and managing ‘as and when’ conversations. The correlation here is to intrinsic motivation and feelings of appreciation.

Provide specific feedback in a way that is relevant and rewarding to the individual (not just relevant to you as the leader).

Encourage flexibility (now more than ever) and if your teams have rosters or shifts, challenge them to find ways to be autonomous within the limits of the organisation or the role.

Ask individuals how they like to be communicated with. Ask questions (even at the interview) about the last time they received positive feedback.

Angela Bingham He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! Angela Bingham started as the Executive Director People and Capability at the Open Polytechnic in October 2018. Before that she held a variety of leadership roles, with an emphasis on learning and development. She has worked for Kineo (Pacific), ACC, Endeavour IT Limited, Rugby New Zealand, the 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 strength-based conversations.

1 Franken, E (2019) Building People Up: Leadership and employee resilience. PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington. 2 Csikszentmihalyi and Larson, 1984; Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1986; Csikszentmihalyi et al, 1977; Graef et al, 1983 and Mayers, 1978.





Ability before disability In a world where one-in-four Kiwis has a disability but only 22 per cent are in employment (versus non-disabled at 70 per cent), it’s worthwhile highlighting the ventures that are trying to address this inequality. The Cookie Project is one such social enterprise, seeking to help Kiwis with disabilities understand their value to themselves and society. What can we learn from their story?


he Cookie Project is the only baking company in New Zealand focused on providing meaningful employment to people with disabilities. Since being launched in June 2018 by Graeme Haddon and Eric Chuah, the social enterprise has provided over 2,400 hours of employment to more than 30 Kiwis with disabilities. “Our cookies are purposeful,” says Eric. “All are handmade by a person with a disability and 45 per cent of what you pay for a bag of cookies, goes directly to wages.” The team has recently settled into a new kitchen in Eden Park, Auckland, and their bakers are incredibly proud of their cookies, which feature Kiwi brands including Lewis Road Creamery butter, Trade Aid chocolate and Pic’s peanut butter. “Using only five ingredients and having no preservatives, colourings or additives, means the product is tasty and healthy,” says Eric. 24



Some might be sceptical that this is just a marketing gimmick, using people with disabilities to sell cookies, but The Cookie Project overcame this by introducing personalised QR codes on its packaging, so consumers could find out exactly which bakers made the cookies. Customers can then leave the baker a message of encouragement. In its first year of operation, over 1,100 unique scans were made by customers. The Cookie Project is providing meaningful work and paying at least the minimum wage of $18.90 per hour.

the best in everything that we do, especially cookies (world-class), and we create shared experiences to provide a sense of belonging (whanaungatanga).” As for recruitment, the overriding factor is kindness. Resumés or interviews are not needed, and each individual is respected and appreciated for who they are. “We have an open hiring policy to empower individuals to be the best version of themselves,” says Eric. “We recruit on attitude, and make sure our motivations are aligned.”

“It saddens me that there is a minimum wage exemption policy, and many people with disabilities are working under this policy,” says Eric. “I’ve heard of people who are earning as little as $1.75 per hour.”

A study conducted by the Blind Foundation in 2017 found that adding 14,000 disabled people to the workforce would boost the New Zealand economy by $3 billion. Eric and Graeme have taken note of this and have set about making a difference to many lives.

Inclusive organisational values have been imperative in this journey, says Eric. “We have three values. We welcome, respect and appreciate everyone (inclusion). We aim to be

“I would really urge HR professionals to be in touch with their unconscious bias, open their hearts and minds and look at the disability whānau as a labour and talent pool.”

Gain Recognition as a Leading HR Professional

HRNZ is committed to promoting the highest levels of professionalism in Human Resources practice, through professional accreditation.

Benefits of Professional Accreditation • • •

Professional accreditation demonstrates your commitment to professional, ethical practice. It positions you as a leading HR Professional. It is an ideal way to showcase professional achievements and career-long development. HRNZ supports HR Professionals in New Zealand to achieve recognised standards of excellence and competence in HR practice through accreditation. Support your HR team members to develop their capabilities and achieve a portable and nationally recognised standard of competence in HR.

Which accreditation is right for you Early career HR professionals – HRNZ’s new Emerging Professional Member accreditation is the ideal accreditation for you right now. It signals to employers and your colleagues that you are committed to pursuing HR as a career. For more information and how to apply, please visit Experienced HR professionals – gain the recognition you deserve for your competency and professionalism with Chartered Membership accreditation. Chartered Members are champions of the HR profession in New Zealand. Download the Chartered Membership information booklet and for more information please visit

Recently Accredited Members Emerging Professional Members Sona Vaelsyn


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Transforming diversity and inclusion through technology How can we use technology to our advantage when it comes to creating equitable workplaces? Stephen Moore, Head of Asia, Pacific and Japan at Ceridian, looks at ways to actively promote diversity and inclusion.


he Black Lives Matter movement has brought renewed focus to the racial equality gap faced by millions around the world. One result of this is increased awareness at a corporate level, with companies across the globe putting new emphasis on diversity and inclusion topics. It’s no longer acceptable to simply have a policy or framework in place. Organisations, big and small, need to be able to actively show how they are supporting diversity and inclusion in every aspect of their business. A 2019 Stats NZ study on working life found that 300,000 or 11 per cent of New Zealand workers felt discriminated against, harassed or bullied at work. It also revealed that women were more likely than men to have experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying in their workplace. WorkSafe, New Zealand’s regulator 26



of workplace health and safety, says the issue could be even worse – it estimates as many as one-in-three Kiwis report workplace bullying every year. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a whole new series of challenges for organisations trying to support, nurture and engage a workforce. It is more crucial than ever before that companies evaluate their diversity and inclusion values and policies. Employee culture and wellbeing should be thought of as a completely enmeshed priority, to sustain economic recovery and fuel business growth in the post-pandemic world. In fact, according to a recent McKinsey study, businesses with gender-diverse workspaces were 21 per cent more likely to achieve above-average profit, and those that were culturally and ethnically diverse were 33 per cent more likely to outperform competitors. Many organisations are faced with unconscious bias, which stands in the way of diversity and inclusion. Recognising types of unconscious bias is the first step to addressing this issue. Companies can work in various ways to eliminate unconscious bias – starting with HR functions.

Here are examples of how technology can help build a diverse and inclusive workforce while providing quantifiable value to the business.

Monitor and measure the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion policies

To create a culture of respect and belonging, all leaders need to ‘walk the talk’, not just ensuring their organisations have the right policies and programmes in place but also reinforcing the values of inclusion and equity through their actions. Policies must be reviewed regularly to ensure they serve all employees equally. Workforce management software can help with this by pulling in real-time information, from legislative rules to internal company policies, which can then be configured to monitor complex scenarios. Tools and technology can be used to analyse pay equity, group management and many other factors that provide insight into the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion policies in the workplace.

Build collective empathy and awareness through training and education

Through workforce management software, companies can develop

meaningful curricula and deliver training modules that provide education on the company’s diversity and inclusion policies, as well as offering real-life scenarios of difficulties often faced by underrepresented individuals in the workplace. These modules help to build awareness and empathy within the organisation. Managers can also track the completion rates to ensure participation.

Review applicants anonymously and evaluate on qualifications

Unconscious bias can have a significant impact on hiring a diverse slate of candidates. Technology can be incredibly useful when it comes to talent acquisition. Cloudbased workforce management software can sort through resumés and applications anonymously and evaluate candidates based on qualifications as opposed to gender and ethnicity. At the same time, these platforms can sort through candidate profiles to ensure those from groups typically under-represented are accounted for and affirmative action taken on candidate pools in line with stated company values and policies. This ensures actions match words.

Make smarter promotion and compensation decisions through a data-led approach In any organisation, it is crucial all employees feel supported, valued and that they belong. Data-led technology does not discriminate when it comes to appraisals and promotions. Workforce management software can measure employee performance and use smart data to make better promotion and compensation decisions. Through this type of software, employee performance development can be tracked regularly, which means organisations can move beyond traditional review periods to a continuous year-round coaching model to meet business goals on an ongoing basis. Again, adjustments and allowances can be programmed into the automated framework to ensure diversity and inclusion outcomes are both visible and managed.

Engagement and retention

Managers need to consistently hear from their employees about their lived experiences in the workplace, to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture is functioning.

Gaining information on experiences in the workplace is often challenging to obtain. Employees must trust their organisation in the first place in order to speak up. For this to happen, companies need to be transparent about why they require this information and what will be done with it and how it will be protected. Cloud-based technology can store this feedback and monitor the accountability of the business in realtime, based on what the information reveals. Over time, this platform becomes a sounding board for a company to continuously improve its diversity, equity and inclusion. When it comes to fostering an organisation that actively promotes diversity and inclusion, data-led and driven strategies can positively affect HR functions to better these areas, which ultimately influences company culture and reputation, both internally and externally.

Stephen Moore, is the Head of Asia, Pacific and Japan at Ceridian and is responsible for overall leadership of the region. His focus is to deliver world-class innovations and experiences to customers, helping them optimise performance using Ceridian’s intelligent HCM and deep business insights.





Employers of migrant workers – buckle in for a ride! For employers of migrant workers and migrant workers themselves, 2020 has presented considerable uncertainty, and we have already seen numerous policy changes in reaction to the continuing COVID-19 situation. With what we know so far of the policy changes that have happened to date and those in the pipeline, it is clear the road ahead will not be an easy one.


he two major themes that can be seen are that:

• it will continue to be challenging to secure temporary work visas for migrant workers • the possibilities for migrant workers to gain residence (and therefore remove themselves from the temporary visa ‘cycle’) are limited. We do not expect these settings to change in the near future, so it’s a case of doing what can be done from a planning perspective to ensure you retain important migrant workers, and buckling in for the ride.




Employees stuck offshore

The border is closed, and our managed isolation facilities remain limited, meaning we can only allow a trickle of arrivals each day.

introduced, the bar remains high under this category, and it has a high decline rate.

Work visas

Most employees and prospective employees who are offshore will not be able to enter New Zealand for the foreseeable future. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is not processing any employment-based applications where the application is offshore. Similarly, for those applicants who had visas issued but had not yet entered New Zealand, INZ is doing nothing to support these applicants to allow them to enter. The only possible way to secure entry for those offshore is through a successful ‘border exception’ request or, in limited circumstances, where the person had spent a significant amount of time in New Zealand before the border closure and can meet the narrowly defined policy requirements.

With levels of unemployment expected to continue to increase, the likelihood is that the labour market test component of Essential Skills work visa applications will continue to present challenges for employers supporting applications for their migrant worker employees. It will be particularly challenging in lower-skilled or lower-paid positions, where increased numbers of applications will be received and the assumption from INZ will be that it is relatively easy to train or upskill a New Zealand citizen to perform that role. In general terms, the higher the number of applicants, the more difficult it will be to satisfy INZ that no New Zealand citizens or residents are suitably qualified or readily trainable to perform the role.

‘Border exception’ has a range of categories under which a special visa to allow entry through the closed border can be obtained. For employers, it is worth considering whether the ‘other critical worker’ border exception category can be applied to employees offshore. Although this policy has been slightly recalibrated since it was initially

A further note of caution in relation to Essential Skills work visas is the likelihood that INZ will incorporate a higher ‘median rate of pay’ into the policy. Stats NZ recently released the latest labour market information indicating the median rate of pay has now increased to $27 per hour. We anticipate INZ may look to increase the median rate of pay in

the policy from the current rate of $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour in the near future. This increase will have a significant impact on Essential Skills work visa holders who are paid less than $27 per hour. Of particular concern to employers will be the fact that, until at least January 2022, those paid less than the median rate will only be eligible for a six-month work visa. The shorter visa length will present a significant challenge for employers who will then need to do labour market testing every six months to support further visa applications. Also of concern to migrant workers paid less than the median rate will be the possibility they can no longer get an open work visa for their partner and may be subject to the 12 months offshore stand-down after three years.

A short window of opportunity is available now for making new visa applications for these applicants before the median rate of pay is increased. We recommend making applications even where the applicant holds a current visa that may be valid for a few months, to ensure you can lock in the longer visa length now before the changes are introduced.

Residence applications

New residence visa applications under the Skilled Migrant Category are effectively suspended until at least March 2021. This leaves the Talent (Accredited Employers) residence pathway as the only employmentbased pathway for securing residence. With the salary threshold for that category set at $79,560 per year (or $38.25 per hour), minimal options are available for most migrant workers in New Zealand

to secure residence, meaning they are trapped in the cycle of needing to apply for new temporary visas (and show the labour market test requirements each time) for the foreseeable future. This position creates uncertainty for both employer and employee. An HRNZ webinar on the latest immigration changes is scheduled for 8 December 2020. Rachael Mason is qualified in New Zealand, England and Wales, and has practised exclusively in the area of immigration law for several years. Rachael is a facilitator for HRNZ PD courses, virtual courses and webinars. Go to to see upcoming courses. She works with both multi-national corporate clients and smaller local employers across a 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.

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What's the difference that makes the difference? Research shows us that companies with high ethnic and gender diversity have a higher than average market share. But to achieve the benefits of diversity, organisations need to create environments where people can be themselves at work. Kathy Catton talks to leaders within Deloitte and Stem (specialist rural accountants), recent winners of Diversity Awards NZ™, and asks what’s made the difference?


here’s no one right way to approach diversity. We all have different backgrounds, experiences and working styles, so any diversity or inclusion strategy needs to consider how to become champions of equality, diversity and inclusivity given everyone’s backgrounds. For Deloitte, its multifaceted approach to diversity and inclusion focused on accelerating the representation of women in senior roles and fostering an inclusive environment. The New Zealand branch of the multinational professional services 30



network has 1,300 staff throughout the country. While diversity and inclusion have been a focus for the organisation since 2013, the progression of women to senior roles was slower than anticipated, due to long-held perceptions about the role of women in professional services. Women perceived difficulty juggling family and career and were often replaced by men when they left. On top of all this, the consulting services focused heavily on technology offerings, a traditionally maledominated area.

Sponsorship of senior female talent by partners and the introduction of a Women in Leadership programme have encouraged women to stay with the business through to senior level.

Seeing the need to accelerate the representation of women at senior levels, Deloitte introduced a series of initiatives under the umbrella of the ALL IN strategy. An important part of the strategy was modernising the parental leave policy to recognise the importance of shared care, supported by a flexible working policy. Eight weeks’ paid partner leave is available for up to two years following the birth or adoption of a child.

In the past financial year, 57 per cent of hires at manager level and above were female, compared with 36 per cent in the previous year. In the consulting business unit, which is strongly focused on technology services, 54 per cent of hires at manager level and above were female in the year to May 2020, up from 16 per cent in the year to May 2019.

Head of People and Performance Sally Smyth says, “By removing barriers to both parents looking after their children and encouraging greater levels of shared care, Deloitte would improve outcomes for women and foster a more inclusive workplace.”

Since the first year of the Women in Leadership programme in 2017, 14 of the attendees have been promoted to partner and a further 15 have been promoted to director. The ALL IN recruitment strategy identified important ways to improve outcomes for recruiting women to Deloitte.

Sally Smyth says ALL IN received the full support of leadership and has led to a significant increase in the number of women in senior leadership roles. We know that what gets measured, gets done. As with other areas of its business where Deloitte wants to succeed, we set goals that are driven from the

top. Increasing the representation of women at a senior level was no different.” Deloitte’s approach to diversity includes: • Kiwi Dads: an initiative aimed at normalising fatherhood in the workplace • Lifestyle Leave policy: staff can purchase up to eight additional weeks of leave a year to meet lifestyle needs • gender goals for female representation at partner level and leadership positions set out to 2025 • Diversity and Inclusion Dashboard: extensive quarterly reporting to the management group and Board on indicators such as attrition and hiring by gender and the gender pay gap • gender pay gap analysis as part of salary and promotional rounds • Women in Leadership programme and Sponsorship programme • recruitment strategy: designed to leverage brand, and targets to improve outcomes for recruiting women.

For Stem, looking at alternatives to the traditional nine-to-five workday was what led them to strike gold. Adopting a six-hour working day has turned out to be an inspired move for the Te Puke chartered accounting firm, improving productivity and providing a point of difference for recruitment. The team of 14 previously operated on a traditional 7.5 hour workday, but, in January 2018, the book The Five-Hour Workday: Live differently, unlock productivity, and find happiness, by Stephan Aarstol, proved a catalyst for changing workday hours to improve everyone’s work–life balance. “Each December we met our IRD filing targets in 20 days so everyone

could leave for their Christmas break, when in normal months it took 28 days,” says Director Trudi Ballantyne. “Could we extend this concept to an entire workday – 365 days per annum?” The firm decided to try a six-hour workday, divided into two, threehour blocks. Team members were told they need only work six hours a day but would still be paid for 7.5 hours. They would work in two, three-hour blocks with an unpaid half-hour break in the middle, and to maintain team cohesiveness, everyone had to work core hours of 10am to 2pm. An expectation was established that more hours might sometimes be required if a deadline was looming. Before implementing the new workday, the team worked to improve several key performance indicators. “The whole team was committed to this as they could see the benefits of working a shorter day but still getting paid their full wages,” says Trudi. Because the office would close at 3pm, a neighbouring business provided a pick-up and drop–off point between then and 5pm. Clients were still able to contact company directors by phone after 3pm, and were assured that, if meetings were required after 3pm, they would be accommodated.

bonds between our employees,” says Trudi. The ability to hire and retain excellent staff – the main motivation for implementing the shorter workday – has already brought benefits in the quality of recruits being attracted. “It has given us a point of difference from our competitors,” says Trudi. With the six-hour workday, Stem’s profitability and efficiency have improved. No team members have so far been asked to work extra hours, and everyone has more time for themselves. Parents who used to struggle to take time off to attend school assemblies or parent–teacher meetings now have the flexibility they need, and people can schedule their appointments – haircuts, doctors, dentists etc – outside work hours. “The work–life balance for all team members has dramatically improved,” says Trudi. Initiatives like this can not only improve work–life balance but make it easier to recruit and retain staff and encourage innovation in the workplace. There may not be one significant difference across all organisations, but one thing is for sure: the key to unlocking the economic benefits of diversity is about creating a culture of inclusion.

“The feedback from clients was amazing,” says Trudi. “They all thought it was a fantastic initiative and wished they could do something similar in their businesses.” From the first six-hour workday on 1 October 2018, Stem worked to maintain good connections among its employees. “We did not want the office to become a factory where it was all work and no play,” Trudi says. Fortnightly activities at 3pm every second Tuesday were introduced, such as walking together, art classes and online game competitions. “These activities have successfully maintained and strengthened the SUMMER 2020




Want better output?

Then focus on the safety of your team When leaders think about ways to motivate their teams, safety isn’t something that would typically top the list of considerations, yet it plays a crucial role.


eople want to work in an environment where they feel safe – both physically and mentally. Today, creating healthy workplaces where people feel psychologically safe is appreciated as being just as important as other elements of safety. In 2012, Google started research – code-named Project Aristotle – to figure out what made the best teams. Initially, they thought it would be about the smarts of the people in the group, but in time they realised it had far more to do with how the group connected and engaged. A year into the five-year study, they discovered that having explicit group norms was fundamental. The next step was to figure out what team norms mattered the most. Further investigation and research concluded that at the core was the need for psychological safety; a term coined by Harvard Professor, Amy Edmonson. Writing in the Harvard Business Review in 2019, she said “Psychological safety isn’t about being nice. It’s about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from each other”. It is 32



knowing your team won’t embarrass, reject or punish you, and where the team trusts and respects each other. Having these elements in place enables people to come to work and be their authentic self. Creating such an environment involves several critical elements.

Build the framework

Framing the work and ensuring everyone in the team is on the same page is part of this process. As the leader, ensure you have clear goals, responsibilities and ways of working together. Challenge yourself and consider: how are you creating clarity rather than confusion about work, deadlines, dependencies and challenges?

Invite involvement

Accept your role in being curious, humble, open to ideas, and having a growth mindset. Be willing to ask questions, listen and have established mechanisms for gathering input and facilitating discussions from your team members. Ask yourself: are you creating the environment that embraces difficult questions and challenging conversations? What can you do to encourage more participation?

Set the standard

This approach fails if you don’t respond, set the standard, follow it and behave consistently. Your team will watch what you do and don't say and do. Praise people for their efforts and remove the stigma that is often

attached to failure by focusing on learnings and growth. When you are inconsistent, unreliable and your processes aren’t clear, your team will see a failure to act as an indication that there is no standard or that it’s inconsistently applied. Check yourself and consider: what standards are in place? What actions have you implemented to create a psychologically safe work environment? How are you fostering genuine trust and care across the team?

Be open with your team

Be open with your team about your pressure points and what you do to manage stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your team members to take care of their physical and mental health. It helps if you, as the leader, role model selfcare behaviours. If you want progress in your team, then consider the impact that safety has on how your team connects, engages and works together.

Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert, working with global leaders to build workplaces where leaders and employees thrive, and great things happen. She is the author of Step Up: How to build your influence at work, Career Leap: How to reinvent and liberate your career and the new book Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one. w:


Auckland Branch Kia ora from the Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Branch! We’re a team of passionate HR and business professionals keen to help grow, inspire and motivate the HR professionals of Auckland. We aim to build a community to connect, educate and learn by bringing you events of interest and relevance. And what a year it’s been! Since early 2020, we’ve come together to host a range of events and networking opportunities to motivate and inspire our broad spectrum of HRNZ members.


ith over 770 members across Auckland, our team of 14 is always brimming with ideas. With experience across diversity and inclusion, wellness, talent, learning and development, legal, business consulting, technology and academia, we’re inspired to connect with leading HR professionals and speakers to offer our members new perspectives, interactive events and invest in their personal and professional growth. We enjoy the smell of a fresh morning brew with our monthly Café Connects hosted by Lynda on the Shore and Tara in City Central, and the invitation is always open. It’s a great way to create new networks, bounce ideas around and share projects you’ve been working on. One of our main focus areas this year has been employee engagement and how HR teams or business leaders can cultivate

a culture of engagement within their organisations. To open up conversations around health and wellbeing, we’ve created events to support our members through the challenges of lockdown and focused on how members and HR professionals can support their wellbeing through mental strength and resilience. We’re passionate about creating pathways for students and graduates into entry-level roles and offering them insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by HR teams – and a big shout out to our two Student Ambassadors, Lulu and Cecilia, for all their energy and ideas. Our final event for the year is our HR Student Roadshow, offering students and graduates an opportunity to step inside some of New Zealand’s leading organisations here in Tāmaki Makaurau. With the support of Tonkin + Taylor, Chorus, OMD, The Warehouse Group and one of our main sponsors Need Recruitment, this Roadshow series will offer participants the opportunity to meet HR teams across a variety of industries and learn more about their roles and responsibilities. So if you’re an up and coming HR or business student or graduate and you’re keen to jump on board, we encourage you to check out the HRNZ website to learn more.

senior HR professionals and create stronger partnerships with big and small business around Auckland. Please feel free to contact us if you have any event ideas or areas you’d like us to explore. It’s important that our members receive great value from being involved in our community and have the opportunity to connect and learn. So have a wonderful festive season, stay safe, and we hope to see you at our upcoming 2021 events!

It’s been inspiring to see so many members sharing their thoughts, experiences, tools and resources throughout the year to support one another and contribute to the wider HR profession. Moving into next year, we’re keen to elevate the offering for





The forgotten twenty per cent Expectations have been established for disabled people that they will have the same opportunities as others, following New Zealand ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the New Zealand Disability Strategy (2016 to 2026). Anne Hawker, Principal Disability Adviser at the Ministry of Social Development, explores how we, as HR professionals, can get this right.


mployment is often seen as an opportunity for people to be truly contributing citizens, with economic and social values that benefit our communities and society. But for many disabled people, it can be challenging to get a foot in the door, stay in the job, and to have meaningful career development. With disabled people making up 21 per cent of our working-age population, only 49 per cent are in paid employment. Compare this with 77 per cent of non-disabled people, and we start seeing that there’s a gap. We know that the economic cost of excluding disabled people from the 34



workplace is $11 billion. So, it’s time to act. We know that disabled people are less likely to be employed than any other minority group, and disabled students are twice as likely as nondisabled people to leave school without a qualification.

Why do disabled people find it hard to get work?

There are myths about disabled people: “They’re a health and safety risk”; “They’ll be away a lot”; “They’ll cost more”. These myths are easily busted. A Deakin University study of the benefits and costs of employing disabled people published in 2002 found that: • disabled people were absent from work 15 per cent less than their colleagues without disabilities • employing disabled people was financially cost-neutral or cost-beneficial to the whole organisation. Technology has also removed many barriers faced by disabled people, enabling more people to reach their full potential • disabled employees averaged one-sixth the recorded occupational health and safety incidents of non-disabled employees. In managing their impairment, disabled people have

developed strategies to address health and safety risks. However, too often, we are seeing that the challenge for disabled people to find meaningful employment may not be about their visible impairment but society’s attitude towards disability and disabled people. In particular, the soft bigotry of low expectation, unconscious bias and deficit-based language can be a daily experience for some.

Shifting the dial

As an HR professional, you can play a vital role in changing the figures and helping disabled people to achieve their aspirations. The following are ways to make your workplace more inclusive. • When advertising for positions, use a statement like “We welcome enquiries from everyone and value diversity in our workforce”. • Increasingly, online recruitment is being used. Websites, application forms, job descriptions and contracts should all be tested for accessibility. • Job descriptions should not be too specific about how a task is to be completed, for example, requiring the employee to have a driver’s licence when the task simply

requires someone to be able to travel. • When arranging an interview, ensure the format of the interview does not disadvantage the disabled applicant. • It’s important that questions relate to the requirements of the job. Avoid any questions you would not ask of a person without a disability. Use strength-based and neutral language. Avoid using ‘disclose’. The preferred terminology is ‘share information’. This is consistent with other personal information such as gender. Neutral language is more likely to reassure job applicants and employees that telling you about their disability does not mean they will be dismissed – especially if you make it clear you will make adjustments for employees who need them.

Creating an inclusive workplace The term ‘disabled people’ is used because people are not disabled by their impairment but by the environment, such as the workplace. These barriers can be addressed by creating an inclusive and accessible workplace. The recipe to achieve this is relatively simple, it comprises the three As with the support of the magic three.

The three As are: 1.

attitude: provide disability responsiveness training for participants to understand and acknowledge their unconscious biases, their fears and have the confidence to ask questions and converse effectively with disabled people


accessibility: provide access to the external and internal built environment and to information. Accessibility should be considered throughout the employment cycle, from recruitment to exit. Disabled people have the same career aspirations as everyone else.


accommodation (workplace adjustments): provide a reasonable accommodation policy and guideline for employees and managers.

The magic three are: 1. support of the leadership team of an organisation, which may range from an employer in a small to medium organisation to the chief executive and their leadership team in a larger corporate 2. support of HR professionals and line managers or team leaders

3. provision of an employee-led network or mechanism for disabled employees to give advice and suggestions back to the leaders. One area often forgotten is career development. Are professional development opportunities accessible? Here are some suggestions for improvements. • Invitations to career development opportunities with a clear heading structure that are available in alternative formats: braille, larger print, audio, Easy Read and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). • Accessible venue: ramps with handrails, lightweight doors, good seating and clear signage. • Information provided is digitally accessible and in alternative formats. • PowerPoint presentations are accessible with alternative text for any graphs or diagrams. • E-learning is based on accessible templates. If you are using videos in your training, make sure they are captioned, audio described and have picture-in-picture (NZSL in the corner of the video). • If you are using examples, include positive stories about SUMMER 2020



• disabled people. This is important because it will change beliefs around disability. The Accessibility Guide suggests people adopt an inclusive design approach and all documents should be ‘borne accessible’. To create a borne accessible document, it should be: • • • • • •

written in plain English have active and not passive verbs have a clear structure have good colour contrast have left aligned text use plenty of white space.

Successful managers can get the best from their staff when they identify and accommodate what will help that employee in doing the best job possible. This is called reasonable accommodation and is supportive of many employees, not only disabled people. Reasonable accommodations are workplace adjustments. The most common reasonable accommodation for everyone is flexibility, including flexible hours. Most accommodations have little or no cost, such as providing instructions in writing and showing people how to do a task. You can do things to make sure people get the workplace support they need. 1. Ask the person what is required – don’t make assumptions. 2.

It is crucial to remember everyone’s experience of a disability or health condition is different – two people with the same condition may have entirely different symptoms, impacts on their work capacity and coping mechanisms.

making up your mind – the Many employers are often unaware person will feel valued. It is about of the disabled employees in building trust and rapport. their workplace. There may be several reasons for this, including People often forget some necessary a fear by disabled employees that steps when providing reasonable sharing information about their accommodations. impairment or health condition may 1. Check Microsoft because it has affect their chances of promotion several accessibility features built or being given professional into the system. Many people development opportunities. aren’t aware of this: Where staff are aware that the organisation is committed to creating accessibility. an inclusive workplace, and all staff 2. Support Funds provides funding feel valued, employees are more for disability-related needs, such likely to share information about their as specialised equipment, NZSL impairment or health condition. interpreters and transport. Check Research has shown that people with out: https://supportfunds. invisible disabilities are less likely to share information about their needs 3. Make sure the person receives because they feel they won’t be training for specialised believed or they will have to prove equipment or software to they have a disability. let the employee be most As the US National Organization on productive. Keep licences Disability says: updated. 4. Make sure you have an effective handover when line managers change so the employee can maintain their reasonable accommodations. 5. Document decisions. 6.

Regularly review reasonable accommodations with employees as people’s circumstances change over time.

Retaining existing employees

Within your organisation, you will have disabled people1 who have either a disability that existed at the time they were employed or they acquired during their employment. The most common long-term absences from work are musculoskeletal and mental health issues. What has already been discussed applies to existing staff as well as new employees.

3. Workplace adjustments let an employee (or potential employee) To retain the talent of disabled perform to their full capacity. people, it is important that employees 4. Talk to the person and listen to feel appreciated, respected what they have to say before and worthwhile. 1 Disabled people includes people with health and mental health conditions. 2 Disabilities in the Workplace: The Working Mother Report. New York: Working Mother Institute, p14.




We find anecdotally that sharing information about a disability at work can free up a huge amount of ‘emotional real estate.’ Being one’s self at work, by sharing information about a disability with a disabilityfriendly employer, can increase trust with co-workers, bosses and others, lessening the stress that can come with a disability and allowing the person to freely access needed accommodations.2


What this article highlights is the importance of good people management skills. A good manager gets it right. Remember, the best way to find out what people need and want is to ask. Don’t make assumptions about who should be asked – ask everyone. The following is crucial advice to line managers: You don’t create a positive workplace or culture just by saying so. You have to nurture it by treating your people well, promoting their health and

wellbeing and also by being there to support them when things get them down. Helping people to deal with the pressures in their lives is one of the best investments an employer can make.3

The challenge to all of us is captured in the saying from Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”.

Anne Hawker is the Principal Disability Adviser at the Ministry of Social Development where I have worked for the past 12 years. Before that, I worked at ACC and the Ministry of Health and as Chief Executive of the Head Injury Society and Director of the Mosgiel Abilities Centre. I have had several leadership positions at a regional, national and international level. These have included President of the Disabled Persons Assembly (NZ) and Vice President of the Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand. In 2008, I was elected as the first women world President of Rehabilitation International.

3 Managing and supporting mental health at work: Disclosure tools for managers. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Mind UK, p15.





Thinking is the ultimate human resource Debbie presents various courses and webinars as part of the HRNZ PD Programme. Here she shares her thoughts and insights into the precious human resource of thinking.


have been presenting the threeday HR Foundations courses and one-day HR 101 for Non-HR People since 2015. HR Foundations has been designed primarily for recent graduates or those in full-time HR roles and provides participants with a look into all the main functions of everyday HR. The one-day HR 101 for Non-HR People is for those who have HR responsibilities as part of a wider role and focuses on a few main functions, including resourcing, performance management, employment relations and change management. When we study HR, we learn about concepts, theories and models. I remind participants in HRNZ courses that life does not always follow the flow chart. HR situations tend to be complex because human beings are complex, and this is why a formulaic approach does not work. In my




teaching, I focus on principles or core beliefs, such as ‘good faith’, because our actions are always the result of our thoughts. Our ability to think is what makes us human, and when participants say, “Oh, I never thought about it like that”, I feel particularly satisfied because it is evidence I have triggered their thinking.

The prefrontal cortex has our long-term interests at heart… it can plan, and it can exercise delayed gratification. My fascination with the human ability to think is long-standing. In 2001, I had the good fortune to attend a public lecture with Edward de Bono in the Christchurch Town Hall. At the time, I was working in the corporate world, and de Bono was best known for inventing the phrase ‘lateral thinking’ and his team collaboration tool – The Six Thinking Hats. The three things I particularly remember from that event were his incredibly silky and velvet-like voice (he was born in Malta and tertiary educated in Britain), that he scribbled on a piece of acetate continuously while he spoke, and he charged the audience with designing an upside-

down umbrella! During the mid1990s, it was fashionable to include a pithy quote at the bottom of email footers, and I remember that, for a long time, I used the tagline ‘Thinking is the ultimate resource’ without realising who had coined this phrase. Now that I look more closely at the de Bono quote, I see he includes the word ‘human’ so the quote reads “Thinking is the ultimate human resource”. This distinction is particularly significant to me now because I use the Self Coaching Model with all my clients, and an important feature of this model is the power of our thoughts to create the results we want. This ability is critical for HR professionals who need to understand how human beings work, to provide the best workplace environment. It is worth noting here that humans are the only animal species with the ability to think. We are privileged to have a prefrontal cortex that is an add-on to our reptilian brain, yet many of us do not make full use of this wonderful gift. It is the prefrontal cortex that allows us to experience life beyond the present – we can think about our past and we can think about our future.

The reptilian or lizard brain was designed to keep us alive. This primitive brain has three primary motivations, which are to seek pleasure (procreate), avoid pain (being eaten) and conserve energy (for emergencies). Although largely redundant in today’s world, they remain the unthinking defaults for humans and are unfortunately responsible for many of our modern physical and emotional ailments. For instance, processed foods are the artificial versions of berries and sweet treats found in nature with hugely intensified chemical properties to make these foods addictive.

The primitive brain has three primary motivations: seek pleasure, avoid pain and conserve energy for emergencies. The prefrontal cortex – often referred to as the executive brain – is the big bonus here and has our longterm interests at heart. It has two wonderful capabilities – it can plan, and because it can conceptualise consequences in the future, it can exercise delayed gratification. Planning is a skill unique to humans. Notice how your cat or dog is not

planning anything beyond their immediate need for a meal or a walk. They live entirely in the moment. Our ability to plan lets us override our in-the-moment reptilian impulses and reactions to make better longterm choices, such as keeping fit and eating well. Note how anything worth achieving usually requires us to exercise delayed gratification. They typically require persistent effort, actions and hard work towards a longer-term goal – that includes our journey as HR professionals, particularly in relation to wellbeing. As de Bono noted, our ability to think is the ‘ultimate human resource’. We can choose to live like reptiles as long as we also take responsibility for the long-term consequences, such as poor physical and mental health. Living in reptilian mode also makes it less likely we will share our unique talents with the world because it would take too much energy, and we might be risking rejection. As the Self Coaching Model demonstrates, our thoughts always determine our feelings, which fuel our actions, which then produce our results. For example, if I think and believe that other people are to blame for everything, then I will feel helpless and my actions will

reflect this. However, if I make a conscious decision to think that I can make a difference to how my life is then I am changing the feeling to something like ‘confident’, ‘assured’ or ‘determined’, which generate a completely different set of actions such as trying new things, risking being wrong or things not working, persisting, seeking and taking advice. I am certain these actions will produce a different set of results for me. Please don’t squander this precious human resource that is thinking.

Debbie Dawson, CFHRINZ, Debbie is a facilitator and website presenter on HRNZ's PD Programme and is an award-winning HR specialist who works with people and organisations to implement practical strategies for sustainable workplace wellbeing. She is a coach, facilitator, presenter and writer based in Christchurch. w:





Migrant workers within the hotel industry and some simple suggestions to help their wellbeing In Aotearoa, within the hospitality industry, the high level of employee turnover is a challenge. Turnover currently sits at 46 per cent (compared with the national average turnover rate of 18.8 per cent) with even higher turnover in unskilled and semi-skilled workers.1 On top of this, migrant workers are an essential resource for the hospitality industry in New Zealand because they can fill the vacancies.2 Fatima Junaid and James Yu from Massey University shed light on the ongoing relationship between migrant workers and the hospitality sector.


he relationship between migrant workers and the hospitality sector exists because a mobile international workforce offers a solution to labour shortages where the industry is unable to source sufficient labour internally. Put simply: migrant workers represent a cheaper option. Many migrant workers in the hospitality industry are considered

vulnerable due to their having less awareness of their rights, limited English language skills, and lack of independent financial means of support.3 Migrants, particularly in the hospitality industry, are more likely to complain about miserable conditions than those working in other sectors.4

Africa, Indonesia, Ski Lanka and Thailand. Their roles involved hotel receptionist, housekeeper, chef, conference and events co-ordinator and restaurant waitress. We identified four critical areas for improvement.

In our research, we focused on asking migrant workers what can make working in the hospitality sector and their wellbeing better. We already know of several concerns regarding migrants working in the hospitality sector5 such as being paid at the minimum wage (even if they are highly skilled) and longer work hours (most of which are outside regular business hours). Working conditions in hotels are often challenging due to the strenuous nature of the work. Promotion and career progression opportunities for migrant workers are frequently limited and inaccessible. There is gender, ethnic and nationality-based discrimination and a lack of work–life balance.

Responses show that racial discrimination is a big concern for migrant workers in the hospitality industry. Locals often pre-judged applicants based on the nationality and stereotype of migrants. People show a severe disrespect to migrant workers with English as their second language and have a lack of local knowledge. People perceive migrant workers as less educated and a group of unskilled people who can only do entry-level jobs. Migrants’ ideas are often ignored and not worth being mentioned. This has possibly raised concern for their mental wellbeing. The workers suggested that open-mindedness and training might be helpful for employers to become more inclusive.

We conducted interviews with migrant workers working in the hotel industry for over one year. The participants had been working in housekeeping, front office, food and beverage, kitchen and conference. The nationality of these migrant workers varied from Fiji, India, China, South

1 Lawson, 2018 2 New Zealand Immigration, 2018a 3 Manda, 2019 4 MBIE, 2015 5 Bi, 2006




1. Training in diversity and inclusion

“An accommodation owner told me that she would only employ people from European countries. Due to my surname, my job applications were often declined.”

“I want my superior to be openminded and become more flexible with us.” “It takes a long time to learn a new culture and fit into the environment. I had to raise my cultural awareness within the organisation. Team building would help migrants to get to know each [other] and learn about different cultures. By doing this, the communication will get better and lead to a positive and friendly work environment.”

2. Language and communication

Language and communication are the two significant barriers to interaction with management. Due to the language barrier, it is tough for migrant workers to talk to the manager or supervisor and share their ideas and opinions. New Zealand slang becomes more challenging for them to understand the true meaning of what people are saying. “Slang is confusing and can cause quite the embarrassment. It takes time to have a level of understanding of what people mean.”

3. Training and development for workers

Migrant workers suggested training and fair chances of development as crucial sources of better wellbeing. Promotion would also lead to a certain amount of pay rise, which will

directly impact on their disposable income and improve the quality of life for their family. Promotion also offers a sense of achievement and helps build confidence.

arena. All these actions are doable and workable for most organisations and could bring an increase in staff motivation and, most importantly, a reduction in staff turnover.

“I would like my company to offer me some training programmes. This allows me to keep improving and developing myself.”

We need to continue to look after our people so that they feel good about coming to work.

4. Rewards

Migrants workers felt that the job demands were high, with long hours and little chance of a pay rise. With the mandatory increase in the minimum wage in New Zealand, the management often cuts staff numbers to compensate for the increase of wages, which causes much pressure for other staff. They have to work for extra hours and manage a higher workload daily. Application of the policy without cutting corners would be useful. Simple things, such as staff uniforms are what respondents cared about, for instance, a kitchen jacket and safety boots should be replaced yearly. And presentable jackets should be offered to front office staff. In a hotel environment, it will be beneficial to provide a free laundry service. “I need to have my uniform replaced, including chef’s jacket, shoes. It would be ideal also to provide laundry service for the kitchen staff.” It may be the simple things that make the biggest difference in this

James Yu, has been engaged in New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality industry for the past 18 years, specialising in the inbound and international wholesale business. James is actively involved in regional tourism development. He successfully presented New Zealand’s hotels and destination as an ambassador on behalf of the regional economic development and strengthening tourism and hospitality business through diplomatic relationships between New Zealand and China. He was a nominee of New Zealand’s Tourism Export Council Excellence Awards 2015. Dr Fatima Junaid is a lecturer in the School of Management at Massey University’s Business School. Fatima’s primary focus is on employee wellbeing and organisational support. She has been teaching management and organisational behaviour for over a decade. She is currently engaged in the HR–organisational behaviour sphere of New Zealand. Fatima has provided management consulting to large corporate groups in Pakistan and delivered training for public sector employees under the United States Agency for International Development. She delivers online talks on women’s stress and mental health that are widely viewed by groups of working women in Pakistan. SUMMER 2020




What skills and

knowledge do our HR professionals of the future need? HRNZ has recently carried out extensive research into future HR capability in New Zealand. By seeking to understand the factors that will drive change in HR, HRNZ can tailor its support of HR professionals today, to ensure HR meets the needs of the world of work in the future.


he research took a three-fold approach. Alongside desktop research, HRNZ surveyed all members and held a focus group comprising a diverse range of senior HR professionals from across New Zealand. The desktop research was viewed from three perspectives: how the professions, in general, are changing; how organisations are changing; and how employee expectations are changing.

Digitisation continues to run at a fast pace, and the use of AI will be a feature of operations and customer interface. It is fair to say that professions, in general, are changing. Information and knowledge are becoming more 42



freely available, meaning there is less reliance on professionals for advice. The processes used by professionals are increasingly becoming automated, and more and more data is available to professionals to assimilate and analyse. The swell of social media has transformed people’s expectations around timeliness and formality. For example, people want instant answers and less formal communications than in the past. Legal advice doesn’t need to be written in a formal letter, for instance. Due to large-scale automation of straightforward transactions, entrylevel work could be affected. Organisations, in general, are focusing on sustainability and social responsibility. Distributed workforces are becoming the norm, and this introduces new models of leadership and team collaboration. Digitisation continues at a fast pace, and the use of AI will be a feature of operations and customer interface. The ability to respond quickly to an ever-changing landscape, at an ever-increasing speed, will be critical to maintaining competitive advantage. Looking at employees of the future, there will be increased diversity within the workforce, for example, the ageing population and increasing demographic of Māori. With rapidly evolving technology solutions, employees will be expecting

autonomy and up-to-date tools to work with. Employees will seek greater work–life balance and the flexibility to work from anywhere. This ties into the employee’s need to be treated personally and in line with their values. There will be a greater desire for continuous learning and development and an expectation that the employer supports this.

Information and knowledge are becoming more freely available, meaning there is less reliance on professionals for advice. From the focus group with senior HR professionals, it became clear that the world of work is changing rapidly and, for HR professionals to remain current in the future, they need to start developing now. Many of the areas identified are actually needed today and not exclusively in the future. There is also a potential risk that HR professionals will find it difficult to move to a future state if they are unable to relinquish current tasks. The automation of work needs to be driven by HR, to achieve good outcomes. Perhaps the most significant change that senior HR professionals forecast is the employee–employer relationship and how employees increasingly need to be treated as customers. The scope

of HR’s work is still seen to be very wide, so the profession will need to continue to provide generalists and specialists to the industries it serves. The chief executive officers identified 11 future HR capabilities: • • • • • • • • • • •

empathy lead, influence and drive change create bespoke HR solutions big-picture thinking human-centred design relationship building commercial acumen resilience data analysis using technology holistic approach to wellbeing.

Finally, the member survey was conducted in September 2020 and received 220 responses. The survey asked three questions. First, what are the top factors driving change for HR professionals? The evolution of the distributed workforce was identified as the top factor that will affect HR in the future. The massive explosion in remote working following the global COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging implications for the leadership of people and HR practices. The rapid growth of technology is also a widely

recognised factor affecting the role of HR. Second, survey respondents were overwhelmingly in agreement that all of the 11 capabilities were going to be needed by HR professionals in the future. Commercial acumen and big-picture thinking are seen as increasingly essential to ensure HR solutions are delivering on the long-term needs of the organisation. The ability of HR professionals to display empathy and take a holistic approach to employee wellbeing was also amongst the most critical future capabilities.

…employees increasingly need to be treated as customers. Third, respondents reported HR’s strength capabilities as being resilience and relationship building. A pointer to future development priorities, perhaps, is that both commercial acumen and bigpicture thinking were amongst the least likely to be seen as a current strength. Other capabilities highlighted by members were the need to support people of different cultures to be successful in the work environment (multiculturalism) and the need to become more strategic in their approach to addressing people issues.

The results of this survey and the focus group have proven extremely insightful, particularly given the consistency of views across respondents and participants. This is just the start of a conversation. HRNZ is keen to continue the discussions with the broader HR community and to support members in the development path needed to facilitate tomorrow’s workplaces. HRNZ is leading this discussion, preparing its members and acknowledging it’s up to all HR people to create the future for the profession. The HRNZ Virtual Summit on 25 November, entitled ‘Facing the future’ discussed themes from this research and started the process of refining this future (and present) vision for HR. This research and discussion will be instrumental in informing HRNZ’s PD courses, future Summits and webinars and magazine content. Further information can be found at





Upholding the paradox Our regular columnist Natalie Barker, Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance, shares her thoughts on the paradoxes of leadership.


love a good paradox, which is just as well because most principles of great leadership hold contradiction at the core. I think slow, act fast. Be disciplined about being agile. Do less to deliver more. One paradox I’ve been living recently is recruiting for mindset in a diverse and inclusive organisation.

but lead the way when it comes to making our organisation a safe and nurturing place to work. In the past couple of weeks alone, I’ve taken part in lunchtime te reo Māori waiata sessions, online meditation and mindfulness seminars to support mental wellbeing, and read posts from colleagues who’ve shared their raw and painful stories about coming out and struggling with anxiety and depression. We’re not perfect, but we’re actively shaping a culture that embraces who we are and values the different perspectives we bring to our teams.

We’re not perfect, but we’re actively shaping a culture that embraces who we are and values the different perspectives we bring to our teams.

It means we look for people who value difference. My employer walks the talk when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We’re Rainbow Tick accredited, and we were finalists in the 2020 Diversity Awards NZTM. We have a strong female workforce (more than half our leaders, from executives through to people leaders, are women), we provide education around gender identity and sexual diversity, mental health and unconscious bias. We have guidelines and toolkits in place to support inclusive behaviour in our day-to-day activities. We have an amazing employeeled diversity and inclusion team who not only celebrate difference 44


Our culture of care is also a culture of performance. Over the past couple of years, as we’ve developed more pace, empowerment, excellence and agility in our organisation, we’ve been working with leaders to embed high performance in our teams. Enabling organisational agility is critical for us to deliver value to our customers, and we’re very purposeful about bringing the right people through the door. Our recruitment frameworks are designed to ensure we’re selecting the mindsets and behaviour people need to be successful in an agile organisation.


But there’s the paradox. It’s critical we continue to welcome diversity and difference into our organisation, but it’s also critical we seek out people whose mindsets align with our values and culture. For us, that means recruiting people who are engaged and motivated, who challenge each other to be better. It means recruiting people who love working in a team and aren’t scared of debating conflicting views, and who then align around a course of action. It means recruiting people who are comfortable with being uncomfortable, but who don’t compromise when it comes to putting people first. That doesn’t mean we look for people who are the same. It means we look for people who value difference. As leaders, what we value influences the culture of our teams, so we need to be very deliberate in our recruitment. To do the right thing for our organisations and for our people, we need to uphold the paradox; recruit for diversity and for alignment.

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 is the best way to drive engagement and get stuff done.

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