Human Resources - Spring 2021 (Vol 26, No 3) - HR's challenges of the future

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New Zealand’s Magazine for Human Resources Professionals

HR's challenges of the future Culture and change Tikanga Māori and HRM HR to shape the next normal

Spring 2021

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Shaping the Profession 2

Top of Mind Guest writer Amy Clarke, HRNZ Manager of Professional Services and Development


From the Editor Kathy Catton


News Roundup The latest news to keep you up to date

14 Sustainability ESG and SDG: Acronyms of the future – Bridget Williams, from Bead and Proceed, gets to grips with the new lingo in sustainability 20

Employment Law Update Authentically engaging with Māori – Alice Anderson, from Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, looks at the obligations of employers in this context


HR Technology Winning the war for talent – Stephen Moore, from Ceridian, investigates the shift of the power dynamic to the employee




Learning and Development Why business training needs to change – Alicia McKay shares her views on why traditional business education needs a revamp Immigration Law Update Ray of hope – Rachael Mason, from Lane Neave, shares the impact of Immigration NZ’s u-turn on policy HR Technology How AI can address skills shortages – Ian Hulme, from IBM, shares insights into new ways of solving the skills shortage problem


Employment Law – Case Review Independent contractors and the future – David Burton, from Cullen Law, outlines a recent case with potentially far-reaching consequences


Professional Development Spotlight Transforming HRM Aotearoa – A review of the inaugural course held in Wellington earlier this year


Research Update The future is now – Jim Arrowsmith and Paul Toulson summarise their insights into the latest research


Am I Managing Natalie Barker, from Southern Cross Health Insurance, shares her heart-warming insights into being a manager

People Powered Success 6

HRNZ Member profile Rebecca Ralph in the limelight


HR in a COVID world When COVID-19 struck, Ryman Healthcare turned its villages into safe havens

Features 10

Top-ten themes for change Ken Brophy, from K3 Consulting, shares his emerging themes for organisational change


How Māori culture can uplift HR and business Kathy Catton talks with Karli Te Aotonga and Bentham Ohia to learn how a Māori way of doing business can make a difference

22 Insights Chorus, SkyCity and Vodafone share their visions for the future of HR 34

HR to shape the next normal Una Diver, from Ernst and Young, provides insights into how organisations are refocusing their remuneration strategies




Top of mind Tēnā koutou katoa. My name is Amy Clarke, and I’m thrilled to be able to write the introduction for this edition and introduce myself as the newest member of the HRNZ whānau.


t the time of writing, we were optimistic the worse of the pandemic was behind us. Sadly this is not the case, so please treat this issue as a look to the future, towards some of HR’s challenges ahead. I've recently started as the Manager, Professional Standards and Development. As part of my role, I will be responsible for ensuring we deliver good-quality content to members through all our channels. I’m really looking forward to bringing my voice as a member and an HR professional to conversations internally and externally. And I’m also looking forward to linking in with communities I am a part of and involved in outside of my day-today mahi and ensuring I bring an LGBTQI+ point of view to whatever table I’m sitting at. I think one of the greatest tasks for our future is challenging the old rhetoric of ‘doing something the way we’ve always done it’. Tied closely to this is recognising where we have strengths as individuals and as a profession, and where we need to look outwards to seek the expertise of others. Diversity and inclusion is a topic that sits close to my heart, and I think the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us really valuable lessons about what agility, flexibility and inclusivity in organisations can achieve. One of our challenges should be ensuring we




build these lessons into how we work in the future. For me, I’ve seen workplaces become more inclusive, more understanding and more human through the past 18 months. I know this experience isn’t consistent across Aotearoa and sometimes isn’t consistent across organisations or even teams. I’d love to challenge us all as trusted advisers and experts in our workplaces to ensure we are championing positive change, and that when we talk about working flexibly, we explore all the opportunities involved. Inclusive spaces and practices will benefit everyone, not just our minority communities. If you’re interested in learning more about the work being done with minority communities, check out the links below. A wealth of resources and documents are out there to kick off your learning journey. And many of these organisations either offer or can link you in with more formalised learning pathways, including running training for your workplaces. For now, look after yourselves and each other. Ngā mihi mahana

National rainbow organisations: OUTLine NZ Confidential, free, LGBTQI+affirming support line and face-to-face counselling, phone 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE).


Support and referral services, dropin centres, peer-support groups and resources for queer and gender diverse youth and their wider communities across Aotearoa.


Resources, education, hui and tools to produce safer schools and communities for young people of minority genders, sexes and sexualities.

Gender Minorities Aotearoa

Information about gender-affirming healthcare and changing ID documents, a free binder project, access to free facial IPL, drop-in shop and centre, a database of community support services around the country, and an online peersupport group, based on a kaupapa Māori approach.

Amy Clarke

MANAGING EDITOR Kathy Catton Ph: 021 0650 959 Email:

From the editor W

e went into production of this issue before the latest lockdown hit us! Hence our articles this issue focus on the long-term post-COVID world. Not so long ago, HR managers looked very different than they do today. In my early days in human resources (which admittedly was over 20 years ago), I heard people refer to us as the ‘tea and Tampax’ department. How awful! Now, HR managers are still focused on the people, helping both the strugglers and the stars, but they are also becoming more essential than ever to business analytics and strategy. This issue looks at the challenges ahead for the HR profession. Just as the workforce and economy have dramatically changed, so too have our HR teams. Tomorrow’s HR leaders will need to be bigger, broader thinkers, tech-savvy and adaptable enough to deal with an increasingly agile workforce. Maybe they will become workforce advisers, who knows? In this issue, our experts share their thoughts on how the world of HR in Aotearoa will look in the next few years.

at what the HR departments in three New Zealand organisations are doing today to shape their future. Alongside our regular columnists, to whom we are forever grateful, this issue is sure to provide food for thought and a healthy dose of challenge and stimulation. Time to grab a cuppa!

Kathy Catton Managing Editor

ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIP Steve Sheppard Ph: (04) 802 3954 Email: DESIGN Selena Henry, Crux Design Ph: 022 417 6622 PROOFREADER Jenny Heine Email: SUBSCRIPTION ENQUIRIES Email:

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 26 No: 3

ISSN 1173–7522

We look at ways we can uplift Māori culture and values in our workplaces – a topic that is centre stage in HRNZ’s strategy for the future. We delve into the subject of artificial intelligence and what role this will play in HR, and we take a closer look





Work wellbeing index


ewly released data shows people in non-office jobs are far more dissatisfied than those in office-based roles and feel forgotten about when it comes to caring for their wellbeing. The Skills Consulting Group 2021 Work Wellbeing Index, a survey of nearly 1,500 New Zealand workers and 105 HR managers, showed that non-office workers, such as retail staff, drivers, nurses, tradespeople and teachers, have an overall wellbeing score of just 59 per cent, compared with 65 per cent for office workers. “This is really compelling data,” says Jane Kennelly, Skills Consulting Group GM of Wellbeing. “Traditionally, programmes have addressed wellbeing overall within an organisation. For workers who do shift work or people who are always mobile and working in different locations, such as tradies for example, the delivery channel needs to be much more flexible.” The Work Wellbeing Index is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Wellbeing scores across industries

It will be rolled out on an annual basis, providing an in-depth look at where Kiwi businesses are at across different regions and industries around Aotearoa. “Gathering this data will help businesses really understand where they’re at with wellbeing within their workplace and within their particular industry,” says Jane. “But it is even

more than that – by knowing what their people need as individuals, businesses can understand what is truly important to their people. And when employees are thriving, employers will enjoy the benefit of happier, more productive workers. That then flows on into a greater customer experience and, ultimately, business success. So it’s a win-win all round.”

Workplace injury prevention subsidies


mall- to medium-sized businesses in specified sectors may be eligible for a relevant workplace injury prevention subsidy. Workplace injury prevention subsidies are available to help small- to medium-sized businesses access services and other support known to improve workplace health and safety. The subsidies are on offer to sectors with high rates of work-related injury and death, namely manufacturing, agriculture and construction. 4



The three types of subsidies available are workforce capability development (eg, training courses), professional health and safety consulting advice, and capital investment that has health and safety outcomes (eg, people-moving equipment and crushprotection devices for quadbikes). Subsidies are generally sector-specific and are likely to be targeted at sectors where workers have a higher risk of injury. The subsidies that will be offered will change over time to

meet business, sector and workplace needs. The funding amounts for each subsidy vary, depending on business size, the solution subsidised and the sector the individuals are operating in. For more information, visit

Workers' rights an important consideration for consumers


nowing a business treats its workers fairly, “always or most of the time,” is an important factor for consumers when deciding where to shop, with 50 per cent of consumers reporting it informs their decision. The 2020 New Zealand Consumer Survey, released in May, shows it is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to ensure they are meeting the legal employment standards and have the appropriate systems in place to ensure worker wellbeing.

“Treating your workers well ultimately helps your brand, your business’s reputation and your bottom line,” says Tania Donaldson, Manager Employer Systems and Assurance at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Ms Donaldson says businesses should be identifying and taking steps to mitigate labour rights issues in their own businesses and throughout their supply chains and wider commercial networks.

“These steps should be taken for reasons including brand protection, meeting customer expectations, and managing trade and investment risk, as well as for legal compliance.” According to Employment New Zealand, these steps can include creating a policy or code of conduct for your business, mapping your supply chain, seeking commitment to a supplier code of conduct or ethical sourcing policy, and conducting a risk assessment across your organisation.

Jobseekers in the driver's seat


he latest SEEK Employment Report (July 2021) shows that job advertising growth sits at a record high, while candidate availability is near record low levels. For the fifth consecutive month, job ad growth figures in New Zealand have reached a record high. As Rob Clark, Country Manager, SEEK NZ, comments, “There are plenty of job opportunities available for jobseekers right now, with significant growth across some of our major industries and regions Businesses looking to hire should consider what they can do to secure the best talent in a competitive market.”

Data shows nearly two-thirds of Kiwis are looking for flexible hours, while more than half want flexibility with work location. “Kiwis are also keen to find a workplace that prioritises development programmes and mentoring,” says Rob. The industries contributing the greatest volume increase to job ad

growth month on month were science and technology (up 13 per cent), advertising, arts and media (up 10 per cent), and healthcare and medical (up 5 per cent). “The larger metropolitan areas of Auckland and Canterbury saw job ad growth of 2 per cent and 5 per cent respectively month on month.

National and major regions job ad growth/decline comparing July 2021 to i) June 2021 (m/m) ii) July (y/y) and iii) July 2019 – all regions listed in table at the end of this release. July 2021 vs June 2021 (m/m)

July 2021 vs July 2020 (y/n)

July 2021vs July 2019





















HRNZ member profile Human Resources magazine caught up with Rebecca Ralph, the recent recipient of the HRNZ Student of the Year award. She shares insights into her key achievements and learnings, and offers practical advice for Members.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

My career is only just starting! That’s the exciting feeling, knowing I have many years ahead of me, where I will discover and curate what brings me true satisfaction. Landing an HR summer internship at Raygun, a small Wellington tech company, kick-started my HR career to success. I had the opportunity to make a difference to processes, policies and the culture of the company. I felt empowered to explore new employee experience opportunities that would make a real difference. During the March-April 2020 lockdown (while at Raygun), I worked on what employee wellbeing looks like and spent time working on a holistic wellbeing guide that really encouraged conversations to begin around wellbeing.

I enjoy challenging myself to explore new ideas and to work on new ways to improve employee experience in the generalist space.




Diversity and inclusion is something I am also passionate about, and having the opportunity to work on the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy as the OD adviser at the Civil Aviation Authority was a rewarding experience. I’m now back in the generalist space, at LIC, a dairy farming co-operative, and I am excited to see what opportunities and experiences I have to look forward to in the future.

What inspires and motivates you in your career and why? I thrive on making a difference to the employee experience, whether it’s creating more trusting environments, exploring true flexible working, planning diversity and inclusionbased events, scoping roles the right way and being wellbeing-focused. I enjoy it all. I also love creating a positive working environment where people feel safe to come to work and express themselves and deliver, deliver, deliver. The variety and breadth of HR really motivates me. I enjoy challenging myself to explore new ideas and to work on new ways to improve employee experience in the generalist space.

How would you describe your experience applying for and winning the HRNZ Student of the Year Award?

The HRNZ awards represent the highest level of professionalism and achievement among New Zealand HR professionals. In the lead-up to the 2021 HRNZ awards, I took the time to reflect on my HR studies and career so far: the lecturers who supported my learning and could see

the potential in me. The opportunities I have taken to accelerate myself in my HR career, before even finishing my university degree, have been critical to my success to date. It was an absolute honour to be in the HRNZ Student of the Year category among Emily Watson, Greer Bright and Anmol Chawla, and I didn’t expect to take out the win on the night. Speaking to such a large crowd was also a pretty big achievement for me; as an introvert, it’s not something that comes naturally. It was important for me to acknowledge those who have helped me on my journey, and I feel grateful to have inspirational leaders in my life. It was a special night for me where my efforts and hard work were recognised at such a prestigious level.

Speaking to such a large crowd was also a pretty big achievement for me; as an introvert, it’s not something that comes naturally. Challenges facing the industry: what’s your perspective as a future HR leader?

A big challenge in the industry is the war on talent. Organisations need to look at ways they can attract and retain talent in new and innovative ways. It is well and truly a candidatedriven market, and those ‘perks’ that organisations have can differentiate organisations and become a big decision maker for candidates.

Becoming a successful hybrid workforce is a big challenge that ties into the war on talent. People are seeking more flexibility in their roles, and they will go elsewhere if they sense an organisation is not willing to adapt to new ideas and ways of working.

How has HRNZ membership helped you fast-track your career?

Being a part of the HRNZ membership has given me so many opportunities, whether it’s meeting like-minded professionals at a branch event, meeting mentors who become a good sounding board or building my capability through organising events. I enjoy the mix of personal and professional development that my HRNZ membership offers. The continuous growth and learning that HRNZ membership offers has let me fast track my career to be an intermediate HR adviser at the age of 22. Rebecca is always happy to connect, please feel free to contact her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin. com/in/rebeccaralph/





Project: Safe Haven When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Ryman Healthcare turned its villages into safe havens, determined to do everything possible to make sure its people were happy and safe.


yman Healthcare is one of Australasia’s largest aged care and retirement living operators, with 41 villages in New Zealand and Australia, providing homes and care for more than 12,500 residents. Ryman believes its most precious resource is its people, and making sure they get home safe and well every day is a number-one priority. During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Ryman Healthcare aimed to ensure that the wellbeing of residents, their families and the team did not suffer as a result of any pandemic measures in place.

A different way of working

Project Safe Haven was Ryman Healthcare’s response to COVID-19 – focused on improving life for team members and showing appreciation for the incredible work done to keep the villages safe.




The COVID-19 crisis put a significant amount of pressure on the Ryman team, and many employees made substantial personal sacrifices to stay at work and keep residents safe. With teams throughout New Zealand and Victoria, Australia, Ryman needed to tailor its approach to different locations. They knew that different groups within the business would have vastly different experiences. For office teams, it meant working from home with brand new ways of collaborating and keeping connected. At the same time, the village teams were caring for residents, with the added pressure of new infection controls. Additionally, construction teams had either reduced capacity or a complete shutdown of their sites. Auckland and Victorian teams also had, and still have, very different working conditions due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.


Ryman elected to put as much effort into the wellbeing of its team members as it could, including: • unlimited COVID-19 paid sick leave

• access to a free Employee Assistance Programme • a paid day of leave as a Wellness Day • mental health virtual workshops, eLearning modules and webinars with experts • additional coaching and counselling for leaders • a wellbeing month of activities and competitions • bespoke Ryman Team Wellness website • new wellbeing policy • regular updates and communication from the CEO • fast-tracked rollout of communication app to connect people with important information • lobbying and advocating to support changes to visa conditions that affected many Ryman family members who are migrant workers.

Project Safe Haven … focused on improving life for team members and showing appreciation for the incredible work that was being done to keep the villages safe.

The following additional benefits were delivered to village team members: • free meals onsite during lockdowns • village leaders concierge service, where teams would be able to organise anything from a car service to their lawns being mowed • essentials and food staples gift box • onsite saliva testing for COVID-19 • online grocery order service • micro-breaks and a rehydration policy to make maskwearing easier • increased wages during Level 4 lockdown • onsite accommodation or other free accommodation for anyone unable to live in their own home • increased staffing levels for village teams • gift vouchers for all team members • a daily communication to team members and village managers • additional special paid leave for all village leaders. Office and support team members also received:

• a flexible working policy, introduced as lockdown ended • additional leave if they had worked extra hours through lockdown • a luxury gift box if they had worked extra hours through lockdown.

The forming of a wellbeing committee and the employment of a health, safety and wellbeing manager meant Ryman could deliver targeted solutions to its teams. The programme was driven by Ryman’s senior executive and leadership teams. The project team included key stakeholders from the operations, clinical, HR, health and safety, construction and procurement teams. The project team would meet to discuss progress on actions and assess changes or new initiatives that were required due to the rapidly changing environment.

of Zoom, and, with the support of the HR team, Slack was introduced to Ryman’s people, ensuring they stayed connected and got the information they needed. The forming of a wellbeing committee and the employment of a health, safety and wellbeing manager meant Ryman could deliver targeted solutions to its teams.


Ryman’s annual staff survey in mid2020 resulted in an employee net promoter score (ENPS) of +60, a massive jump from an already very positive +33 in 2019. Team member turnover also reduced by over 5 per cent in the same period in 2019. Ryman also included a range of health, safety and wellbeing questions to gain an insight into what was working and what areas needed more attention. It was clear that the efforts being made towards keeping teams safe, happy and well were working. Ryman teams rated ‘feeling safe and well at work’ at 9.3 out of 10 and ‘my organisation cares for my wellbeing’ at 9.1 out of 10.

Appropriate teams were allocated the work, and resources were provided to enable implementation. The IT team fast-tracked the rollout





Top-ten themes for change Ken Brophy, Director at K3 Consulting, shares his insights into what he believes are the emerging themes of evolving organisations.


or many organisations outside of New Zealand, things have been far from business as usual. They have needed to disrupt their own business models, more readily adopt technology and innovate more broadly than people thought possible. So, is New Zealand being left behind?

Announcing the new structure is only the first step if that is your ‘go to’ solution. For some business leaders in New Zealand, the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely disruptive and driven a fight for survival – think tourism, retail – however, I think, as a country, we cannot be complacent in challenging how we do business. A recent McKinsey article I read, referencing their CEO research, discovered that, across their representative survey population, only 11 per cent of




CEOs believe their current business models will be economically viable through 2023. That is scary if you are in the ‘she’ll be right, it’s business as usual’ mode. Given I work in the growth and transformation space, it is really encouraging to see many businesses tackling this challenge head on. With a significant number of meaningful design changes under way, I think this will make these organisations far more competitive. With these efforts always comes challenges. Here, I have detailed 10 themes for the first six months of the year that I think are important for people to watch out for as they continue to evolve their organisations. These are important as you face into the challenge of ensuring you are ‘fit for purpose’, especially if your organisation competes offshore or you have to match fit international competitors looking at your space in New Zealand (ie, here come Amazon and Ikea). The 10 themes to date are as follows. 1. Adopting a new model – eg, Agile – that your business isn’t ready for or doesn’t fully understand

It’s fantastic people are exploring the application of ‘agile’ to their ways of doing business, but people need to be conscious of where they fall on the continuum of ‘agile ways of working’ versus ‘true agile organisational design’. For most businesses, the former is an excellent way of reinvigorating communications and connections, the latter a fundamental change that for many is not needed and certainly not right across the whole business.

Too many people are not thinking strategically about their workforce planning, which is leaving massive capability gaps. 2. Force fitting existing people into a new model and expecting different results When the labour market is tight, as has been the case realistically for the past 15 years either side of the global financial crisis and COVID-19, it can be easy to retain the existing team, drop them into a new structure and expect them to be successful. Now, with the right training and support, this might work out fine, but, equally, sometimes we may have to make

the tough decision to look for talent elsewhere. It’s never an easy decision but often the best call. Setting someone up for failure isn’t a great leadership call, and it doesn’t benefit anyone (eg, their personal self-worth and business impacts). 3. Building a new model and realising you don’t have the people capabilities to run it Whenever I am working with a client, I ask them to design for the aspirational model they need by a chosen timeframe (eg, 12 months plus). This ensures they get out of the immediate challenges of today, but it also focuses attention on the fact that, without significant investment in people, whether hiring new or developing existing, their aspiration will not become a reality. Too many people are not thinking strategically about their workforce planning, which is leaving massive capability gaps, especially in a labourconstrained market.

events and got to the end of them and wondered what the point was (often, it was just to exit one or two people rather than have the appropriate conversations). Organisations need to be continually ‘auditing’ how aligned or not the different parts of their businesses are to the strategy and iterating as they go. That way, you avoid the massive change events (outside significant strategic redirection) and ensure you have people across the organisation who are focused on optimising what they do day to day.

5. Focusing on step one, a restructuring announcement, not the entire transformation journey Already this year, I have seen plenty of restructures being announced and am then in conversations with business leaders around why things aren’t changing. Leaders need to think about the whole transformation journey (which could easily take 12 or more months) and all the elements outside a structure that change the nature of how work is done (eg, process, systems and capabilities)

4. Initiating large-scale change when it isn’t warranted or not focusing on continuous improvement to avoid periodic big bangs I am sure most of us have experienced significant restructuring




if they want their transformation to be successful. Announcing the new structure is only the first step, if that is your ‘go-to’ solution. 6. Functional teams focus on the outputs of their work, not the required business outcomes Functional teams are being asked to show greater value, do things more efficiently and, all going to plan, have time to strategically support their business leaders. The challenge for many is if they are just focusing on what is right for their outputs, it might not actually be of value for their ‘customers’. Case in point, a recent HR project I had exposure to: they swapped out their recruitment system and were encouraged by the internal efficiencies it gave them. The problem was no improvements occurred to the ‘time to hire’ and people leader involvement from a business perspective. As such, is that really a successful change?




7. Treating change as a cost-out exercise, not being mindful of the impact on value creation or destruction It might serve an immediate need, but, too often, I see businesses strip out costs, often through headcount, but not change the nature of the work needing to be done. As such, you either burn out those who remain or hire people back into the business within six months. Quarterly reporting drives a short-term focus, and this creates a challenge. Businesses should go back to designing for the aspiration, plan out all the required steps and show where the sustainable cost savings will come. 8. Involving key stakeholders (eg, your own team, other business units) rather than designing in isolation I have recently been asked to support a review of a function that’s operational efficiency has been demonstrably affected by changes that were made in isolation within other areas of the business.

When reviewing your piece of the organisation, be conscious of the interdependencies with other areas. Seek their input or involvement where possible to ensure that, while you might only be redesigning your piece, it aligns with these other teams.

Focusing only on spans or layers can be a blunt instrument for creating an environment where leadership paths can be useful in driving business performance. 9. Outsourcing for cost savings but handing over the activities that are proprietary or differentiating to an external organisation The first time I saw this was within the telco industry in the early 2000s, outsourcing significant parts of their organisations to partners only to find they had gone too far and affected delivery to customers. When a partner controls proprietary

activities that especially support how you differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you are putting yourself at risk. If it is a generic activity with a need to drive efficiencies, then focus any outsourcing opportunities there. Twenty years on, I see the same things happening again in 2021, albeit in different industries. 10. Not addressing the challenges of people leadership and technology leadership, especially if the focus is on span and layers I am not a big fan of spans or layers being the endpoint, but am happy for them to be an input into

the conversation around how you change an organisation. Why is this relevant to this point? With a desire to optimise structures, we can at times forget that some people excel at, or have a desire to grow into, people leadership, whereas others just want to be a technical leader. How do we make sure we can support both of these desires through how we hire, develop and promote people but equally how we create a structure supporting this duality? I am not suggesting introducing a costly, inefficient organisational design but, back to my first point, focusing only on spans or layers can be a blunt instrument for creating an environment where leadership

paths can be useful in driving business performance. We still have a third of the year to go in 2021, and 2023 isn’t that far away. So, if you are one of the 89 per cent who knows your business model needs to change, then get on with it; but do it in a way that will drive longer-term sustainable transformation. Ken Brophy is a Director of K3 Consulting and a global leader in organisational design and change. For more information, contact Ken Brophy, K3 Consulting Director and Organisation Design and Change expert., 027 254 9600.





ESG and SDG: Acronyms of the future Bridget Williams, from Bead and Proceed, gets to grips with these acronyms and the challenges and solutions they provide for HR professionals.


ast year provided us with anything but 2020 vision (excuse the pun). The COVID-19 pandemic added significant uncertainty to the future. We’re halfway through 2021, still seeking clarity. However, one does not need a crystal ball to determine that economic, social and environmental issues will continue to be challenges. What are the specific challenges we’re facing? And how can we turn these challenges into opportunities?

Network has been issuing a report every year containing highly anticipated data on how each nation is tracking towards the SDGs and where we’re at with reaching the 2030 deadline. However, this year, I was more nervous than excited to read the 2021 report because, as can be expected, COVID-19 has created significant setbacks towards these 17 challenges, and New Zealand was not immune.

Key findings

• For the first time since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the global average SDG index score has decreased. • SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) has exhibited the

largest spread between top and bottom performers (this is no surprise because the pandemic accelerated the roll-out of digital technologies and services). • The SDGs that suffered the largest setbacks include: – SDG 1 (No Poverty) – SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) – SDG 4 (Quality Education) – SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) – SDG 13 (Climate Action) – SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). • New Zealand has experienced slight improvements: SDG 9 has


In my last article, I introduced the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This framework sets out the 17 biggest global challenges and separates them into three areas: economic, social and environmental. In 2015, New Zealand (along with 192 other United Nations member states) adopted the framework, and we have until 2030 to achieve these goals. Since the SDGs adoption, the Sustainable Development Solutions 14



Please note this image was sourced from SustainoMetric https://sustainometric. com/esg-to-sdgs-connected-paths-to-a-sustainable-future/

shifted status from ‘significant challenges’ to ‘challenges remain’, and the progress towards SDG 13 (Climate Action) has shifted from ‘stagnant’ to ‘moderately improving’. • New Zealand is still going backwards on SDG 15 (Life on Land), and now has four SDGs with ‘major challenges remain’ (as opposed to three) – SDGs 12, 13, 15 and 17. • New Zealand has moved from number 16 to number 23 on the SDG Global Rank Index (we can do better than this)!


“be it greenhouse gas emissions and waste disposal (E), labour relations and employee safety (S), or board diversity and supply chain management (G)”.2 George Serafeim, a Harvard Business School professor and ESG expert, explains that ESG is “no longer about ‘feel good’ issues. We are talking about even more important value drivers”.3 This includes: • growing your competitive advantage • increasing your return on investment • attracting talent and retaining it • articulating your business values.

ESG stands for ‘environmental, social and governance’ and accesses a company’s commitment to each,

What do the SDGs have to do with ESG? According to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, the goals are the leading ESG framework for large companies.4 With the 169 specific targets, the SDGs are an effective tool to manage ESG reporting and are complimentary to a business’s effort to increase supply chain transparency and accountability.5 In a nutshell, the SDGs are used to measure ESG impact. Why is this important? Because ESG is the future

Sadly, the findings above highlight we have significant challenges to tackle, but in the Decade of Action, now is the time to work and, in fact, it’s businesses (both in the private and public sector) that have the biggest part to play. ESG is another acronym we all must get familiar with because, according to Forbes, it’s the future of work1 and strongly ties back to the SDGs.

of work, and the SDGs ensure we have a future to work towards. Irrespective of these acronyms providing opportunities for our businesses, let’s think wider. This is an opportunity for Aotearoa. Let’s improve our SDG ranking and aim for one of the top three positions. Why are we not leading by example while we’re in the international spotlight? Let’s mainstream the goals by harnessing the power of innovation and creativity to address these global challenges because, if we can’t do it, who can?!

Bridget Williams is the founder of the social enterprise, Bead and Proceed, which exists to educate people about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspire action towards them. Her passion for sustainability and using creativity as a tool for innovation has made her a recognised SDGs expert, helping organisations with sustainable strategy and SDG reporting. Bridget is a selected World Economic Forum Global Shaper and member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, which has led her to become a creditable global change maker. Her efforts have been recognised and endorsed by the Rt Hon Helen Clark and the JCI Osaka Outstanding Young Person’s Programme.

1 2 3 of%20ESG.pdf 4 5





How Māori culture can uplift HR and business A Māori way of thinking and doing business can be significant when it comes to making a difference, not just to our people but also to our organisations. Kathy Catton spoke with Karli Te Aotonga and Bentham Ohia to learn more.


arli is passionate about the wellbeing and development of all people in the workforce, particularly the wellbeing and development of tāngata whenua (indigenous people) who are represented throughout many diverse workplaces in Aotearoa. Karli, who is currently working in an organisational development and strategy role for St John, holds a Bachelor of Management in HRM and a Masters degree in Māori and Indigenous Leadership. She has also recently started a PhD in Māori Studies through Aotahi – School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Canterbury. Her research will focus on Māori cultural responsiveness for HR practitioners, an extension to her Masters degree that focused on the wellbeing of the Māori health workforce through HRM.




“We all bring unique characteristics and qualities to the workplace,” says Karli. “To honour the articles and principles of Te Tiriti [the Treaty] and our bicultural nation, and uplift Māori culture, language and identity, the opportunity here is a tikanga Māori-led approach to HR and how we empower, support and foster wellbeing for all people in the workplace.”

I would want my grandparents and my parents to be proud of me in the way I treat people, not only as a former CEO or manager, but in all aspects of my life. Bentham Ohia, past Chief Executive of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, agrees with Karli. “As a nation, our competitive advantage is our Māori values. What’s unique about Aotearoa can become a competitive advantage for all businesses, across all industries.” Karli’s Masters research examined how a Western-led HR approach has impacted on the wellbeing of the Māori health workforce. She found that current HR practice can

marginalise Māori and seriously affect their physical, emotional, social and cultural wellbeing. This reinforced for her that we must change the narrative, addressing this through a tikanga-led approach to move away from ‘traditional and contemporary’ Western-led HRM. Since then, she has been approached by HRNZ to lead the development a bicultural HR movement, seeking to collectively transform workplaces and the lives of people. “I enlisted the support, leadership and cultural wisdom of my cousin Bentham and Koro Timi to work with me on this very important kaupapa,” says Karli. This led to the creation of the HRNZ Transforming HRM Aotearoa programme, a threeday intensive wānanga for people leaders, focused on addressing systemic bias and rearchitecting bicultural HR solutions for organisations and their people. For a course review, see page 40.

Both parties have equal mana and both people assume the other one is awesome. With this mindset, you can bring a fullness to the workplace.

stages of their journey” says Karli. “However, I am optimistic as I am a small part of a community of dedicated and committed practitioners, whose primary focus is to support the transformation and sustainability of the lives and realities of people in their workplaces through Māori culture, language and values.” What Karli and Bentham have identified is that the tikanga values base of manaakitanga (generosity, care and giving), whanaungatanga (belonging, kinship) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the environment) among others, can be the source of significant growth for people within any organisation. “These aren’t values that just go on the wall of the office, these are values that are a life enactment to help people reach their potentiality,” says Bentham. Karli and Bentham provide practical examples of what HR professionals need to be aware of at every stage of the employee lifecycle when working with the Māori workforce.

“We’re not yet 100 per cent sure of the definition of bicultural HRM given the diverse range of industries

and organisations represented in Aotearoa, also acknowledging that many organisations are at varying

These practical examples are grounded in te ao Māori (a Māori world view) and grounded in the values of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, mahi tahi, hūmārie and tuakana teina. SPRING 2021



what you do, it’s the way that you do it that counts for so much,” he says.

Talent, attraction and recruitment

Karli suggests checking the content of your advertisements. If you are using te reo Māori, make sure it is used correctly. Karli recommends engaging with Māori HR consultants or a local marae or other Māori organisations for guidance. If asking for help 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.

Onboarding or induction

It’s critical to recognise the 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.” Establishing employee working groups will ensure what you do is positive and appropriate for the people within the organisation. Bentham advises moving away from the box-ticking exercises. “Whether it’s a wāhine group or an emerging leaders group, these rōpū will be very helpful to support people coming into the organisation.” Bentham describes the induction process as being like the master and the apprentice approach. “It’s like leading and shadowing. Both parties have equal mana and both people assume the other one is awesome. With this mindset, you can bring a fullness to the workplace. It’s not 18



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 else can you do, what else would you like to contribute?’,” says Karli. Bentham adds, “Building relationships is really important here. Then people can understand about responsibilities and look at how we can problem-solve collectively. Even when companies have to go through redundancies, there is still a choice to be made about how the redundancies are to take place, to ensure that people are supported, and their mana is upheld.”

Learning and development

Sharing, growing and developing in areas together is a great way to engage everyone. Encourage employees to think diversely. And don’t assume that every Māori employee wants the same thing. Learning and development for Māori could also include wānanga, marae and community-based development activity.

Remuneration or reward

Consider the cultural capability of people in your remuneration and reward strategies, including job sizing and position descriptions.


The twenty-two participants who attended the inaugural HRNZ Transforming HRM Aotearoa are already on their way to creating lasting change within their organisations. A rōpū Māori has also been set up as an HRNZ nationwide branch specialism, so iwi Māori HR leaders wanting to make a change can join this ‘movement’.

Bentham says, “Most organisations are looking at Māori values and tikanga, but it’s important that this is transformational and not transactional. It’s in this way we can start to realise the fullness of what’s around us and work together to reach our potential. These values, when integrated successfully, can have a significant role to play in businesses of the future and can also provide a point of difference in the global marketplace.” Karli’s overriding message is that 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 history and our bicultural reality,” she says. Based on the Alaskan proverb “To be a good ancestor”, Bentham encourages readers to conduct their lives in a way that their ancestors would be proud of. “I would want my grandparents and my parents to be proud of me in the way I treat people, not only as a former CEO or manager, but in all aspects of my life,” he says. Next steps to discover more. • For iwi Māori members, please consider joining the Rōpū Māori branch and/or committee. • Find out more about what Vodafone is doing in this space in the Insights article, on page 22. • Sign up for the next Transforming HRM Aotearoa programme, happening this October and in February 2022. Visit to sign up. • Check out Kōkiri Whakamua: Fast-tracking Māori management: A short report on Human Resource practice.

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All staff get access to the Human Resources magazine and HRNZ Member discounts for HR101 and HR Foundations courses ($200 – $400 pp.) SPRING 2021




Authentically engaging with Māori The law has been telling us for decades that concepts of tikanga and te ao Māori can be relevant in the employment relationship. However, workplaces are still grappling with how to engage with Māori effectively and authentically, indicating this will remain a challenge for HR into the future. Alice Anderson, Associate at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, explores case law that examines obligations on employers in this context.

esearch released in March this year indicates that 93 per cent of M ori experience racism every day.1 Behind these statistics are real people. Regardless of whether this racism is occurring in the workplace, employers should be looking to create safe spaces for their employees, and engage in ways that are mana enhancing, even during difficult times.

Recognising te ao Māori

Section 14 of the Public Service Act 2020 confirms the role of the public service includes supporting the Crown in its relationship with Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Section 73(3)(d) goes on to require the public service to act as a good employer, operating employment policies that recognise the aims and aspirations of Māori, the employment requirements of Māori and the need for greater involvement of Māori in the public service. Relevant to both the public and private sector, Chief Judge Inglis said in 2019 that employment law “must keep pace with society’s contemporary needs, standards and values as they evolve”.2 She says, “…there is now a growing recognition that tikanga Māori (and other aspects of the Māori world view) have a legitimate place in the law of New Zealand,” meaning that consideration of and engagement with cultural values and norms might be seen as part of the good faith duty.3

Assessing the fairness of actions Further to this, section 103A(2) of the Employment Relations Act 2000 confirms the test of justification is

“whether the employer’s actions, and how the employer acted, were what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances at the time the dismissal or action occurred”. There will be times when consideration of tikanga and te ao Māori will be relevant to the assessment of the fairness and reasonableness of an employer’s actions.

Understanding and respecting te ao Māori and tikanga-based concepts will be critical for engaging with Māori and adopting culturally appropriate processes. An examination of the case law reveals this is consistent with what the Employment Court has been telling us on the rare occasion it has been required to consider such issues. In 1996, the Court considered whether a kōhanga reo had unjustifiably dismissed two employees.4 The kōhanga operated a policy requiring decisions to be made by consensus of the whānau during wānanga (meetings). The

1 Dr Cherryl Smith, Dr Rāwiri Tinirau, Helena Rattray-Te Mana, Sr Makareta Tawaroa, Dr Helen Moewaka Barnes, Dr Donna Cormack, and Eljon Fitzgerald, Whakatika: A survey of Māori experiences of racism, Te Atawhai o Te Ao Charitable Trust, March 2021. 2 Chief Judge Inglis, Defining good faith (and Mona Lisa’s smile), To Work @ Law Conference, Wellington, 31 July 2019, p 9. 3 Chief Judge Inglis, Developing Themes in Employment Law: Placement of the Goalposts in a Changing World, New Zealand Industrial and Employment Relations Conference, Auckland, 5–6 March 2019, p 4. 4 Te Whānau a Takiwira Te Kohanga Reo v Tito 2 ERNZ 656.




Court said the wānanga was no more than a process, like any other process an employer may choose when considering termination of employment. The Court said there was nothing to prevent it from giving recognition to concepts of tikanga and te ao Māori that may underpin the employer’s kaupapa and decision-making processes. The Court would, however, still assess whether that process was fair and reasonable, and found the kōhanga had not acted consistently with its own policy, rendering the dismissal of its employees unjustified.

Burberry indicates the responsibility to adopt culturally appropriate processes sits with the employer and that the failure to do so could, in and of itself, be enough to render a decision to dismiss unjustified.

In 2002, the Court in Good Health Wanganui v Burberry5 considered whether Ms Burberry, a Māori woman working in Māori mental health services, had been unjustifiably dismissed after she allegedly took leave without approval. The Court found the decision to dismiss was substantively and procedurally unjustified but went further to say:

In 2013, the Court contemplated whether the employer’s decision to dismiss Mr Taiapa for misusing his sick leave entitlement was justified.6 Mr Taiapa argued his employer should have adopted a culturally appropriate approach to addressing his illness. The Court found, had Mr Taiapa raised his concerns at the time, it would not have been unreasonable to expect the employer to have treated his sickness accordingly and in a culturally appropriate manner, and concluded it may have acted unjustifiably if it had not. However, the critical factor was that Mr Taiapa had not raised the issues with his employer at the time, so his dismissal was found to be justified.

The fact an employee was Māori and working in a Māori setting should have been sufficient to have alerted them to a need for an appropriate procedure. The onus should not have been on the employee to have asserted her mana Māori or to plead for her cultural identity to be recognised.

Employers should be looking to create safe spaces for their employees, and engage in ways that are mana-enhancing, even during difficult times.

Step outside the ‘standard’ Engaging with Māori in the

workplace is undoubtedly going to remain an ongoing challenge for workplaces into the future. Understanding and respecting te ao Māori and tikanga-based concepts will be critical for engaging with Māori and adopting culturally appropriate processes when needed. Employers will need to be prepared to step outside of what may be the ‘standard’ approach to employment issues and develop processes that work for the individual concerned. While this will require consultation and an open mind, it is wholly achievable, and the law is telling us that failing to do so may, in fact, create valid grounds for a personal grievance.

Alice Anderson (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) is an active member of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, the Māori Law Society, and is co-Editor-in-Chief of the New Zealand Women’s Law Journal. She has a wealth of experience advising on a range of employment-related matters.

5 Good Health Wanganui v Burberry [2002] EmpC 668. 6 Taiapa v Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa Trust T/A Turanga Ararau Private Training Establishment [2013] NZEmpC 38.





All eyes on us What are the top HR challenges facing large, complex organisations in New Zealand? Kathy Catton spoke with the Heads of HR from Chorus, SkyCity and Vodafone to understand what’s top of mind for big companies seeking to make a difference.


Top three challenges facing HR: 1. empowering a flexible workforce, including talent acquisition and retention 2. using big data to inform decisions 3. supporting a sense of belonging in our people. Emma Kelly, Head of the HR Centre of Expertise for Vodafone, recognises that, in a post-COVID world, being flexible will be part and parcel of the landscape. But walking the talk and empowering a flexible workforce is where the most significant advantage can come. Although Vodafone has been operating on a ‘free-range working’ approach for many years, it’s really important that this approach has been led and 22



reinforced from the top. “Recently, our CEO Jason Paris prioritised his daughter’s kapa haka performance over any work commitments and shared this decision with everyone,” says Emma. “This was a way to give our people permission to make time for family and reinforcing the flexible working we already had in place.” Finding top talent and retaining it is also a priority for Vodafone. The response from the digital services business to the talent shortage has been to build talent internally through secondments, internships and partnerships with Ngāi Tahu and TupuToa. Getting data in and using it wisely continues to be an evolving journey for Vodafone, particularly in a digital services business where a plethora of data sources exist. “We have just implemented ‘Joyous’ in our business,” says Emma. “This is an engagement tool that seeks to

access day-to-day feedback from staff. We ask questions like, ‘Do you feel like you have clear objectives?’ or ‘Do you have clarity on your priorities?’.” The responses are fed back to managers, and, over time, Vodafone is building a dashboard of where the issues and patterns are. Data can be interrogated by function, by tenure of employment and across a range of question sets, including engagement and belonging. “We also run an anonymous survey once a year. This OHI McKinsey employee survey also informs many of our initiatives.”

Vodafone teams value a 'free-range working' approach.

Supporting a sense of belonging is all about diversity of thought for Vodafone, becoming representative of its customers, and helping employees to bring their whole selves to work. “We recognise it’s so important to build confidence in our leaders and people of influence. More recently we’ve started to formally acknowledge the history of Aotearoa, Te Tiriti [the Treaty] as a founding document, te reo and tikanga Māori,” says Emma. “In doing so, we can provide support and really start to embrace our biculturalism, that enables multicultural application.” Vodafone has just completed two cohorts of its Te Kaa programme, aimed at educating leaders in te ao Māori. In addition, the company runs Kāwai, a programme for Māori and Pasifika emerging leaders, helping them to unlock their cultural background as a strength and one that is highly valued.


These are significant initiatives, but, as Emma Kelly says, everything can be done to scale. “For those in smaller organisations, it’s important to embrace the learning of others, so we’re all better together. Do some research, invite someone to have a coffee and find out what they are doing. We have strong networks in New Zealand – let’s use them!”

With the support of customers, the Board and staff, Chorus is looking to progress its HR initiatives. “With all eyes on us, we have a great opportunity here,” says Shaun.

Top three challenges facing HR: 1. maximising the opportunity of HR currently being in the spotlight 2. wellbeing 3. enabling remote working. It’s fair to say that, since the pandemic, HR has been thrust into the spotlight. As a profession, most would agree HR professionals have done an excellent job ensuring our people are well cared for through a time of great adversity. Shaun Philp, Chief People Officer at Chorus, sees this as a massive opportunity. “We have a unique role,” he says. “We’ve been centre stage and earned our place at the top table. We’ve got credit in the bank. The challenge for us as a profession is to progress our work at pace and leverage our mana, so to speak.”

Most employers have prioritised wellbeing, but according to Shaun, there is still more work to do. “We’ve learnt that mental and physical health affect work performance. Clever

organisations are already quantifying this,” he says. Shaun quotes Unilever as one example, which has established that $1 invested in employee wellbeing delivers a $2.50 return. Hence, Shaun believes a major challenge for HR will be to keep the momentum going with employee wellbeing. Having recently won the 2021 HRNZ Best Wellness Programme award, Chorus is looking to accelerate its health and wellbeing programme. “It’s about more than just personal and mental wellbeing now. Since COVID, we’ve got a greater insight into people’s personal lives. It’s about supporting the entire employee life experience now,” says Shaun. The organisation has recently introduced the Take a Breath app and Take a Breath seminars to all staff, bringing benefits of better sleep and reduced stress levels. Shaun reports to the Board on the results of this, a conversation that would never have happened even just a couple of years ago. Digital solutions are now available to all staff, such as the Mentemia app by Sir John Kirwin (and the Take a Breath app amongst other initiatives), and are crucial to a workforce that no longer has the boundaries of the traditional ‘9 to 5’ schedule. SPRING 2021



With 60 per cent occupancy at the office at any one time, Chorus recognises that the next wave of enabling flexible working will be less about the hours people work and more about the output they produce. Based on Gartner research, organisations with standard 40-hour working weeks have 36 per cent of the workforce operating at a highperformance level. By contrast, in organisations where employees can negotiate when, how and where they work, high performers make up 55 per cent of the workforce. Chorus has talked with employees to identify what is now important in the way they work and has come up with Flex 2.0, which seeks to address some of the following: • tackling the sense of guilt that many employees experience when working from home • tackling the challenges of technology • looking at the purpose of the office in the future world • improving home office environments • coming up with team charters and understanding more about how teams work together. 24



Shaun recommends that HR managers get a really good understanding of their people analytics and data. “If we were in the marketing department, we would be mining the HRIS to inform better decision-making. We need to listen, talk and understand our people based on the good data we have,” says Shaun.


Top three challenges facing HR: 1. addressing the challenges in the labour market 2. wellbeing 3. enabling remote and hybrid working. Now more than ever before, SkyCity is acutely aware of the challenges of the labour market. With borders closed, low unemployment and a rising minimum wage, many of SkyCity’s labour market pools have simply dried up. On top of that, everyone, it seems, in the tourism or hospitality sectors is fighting for this limited resource.

“We are certainly seeing a bidding war for chefs right now,” says Sarah Caunter, General Manager, People Ops, at SkyCity. “One way to entice them may be to pay more money, but it’s not always the best way.” Sarah and her team have looked more strategically at the issue and have ramped up their apprentice programme, and training in general, to ensure there is a developing pool of resources from within the organisation. “Obviously, there’s a much longer pay-off to these approaches, but it’s a better way to start to address some of the issues we have,” says Sarah. In addition, SkyCity is looking at technology and how that can deal with the lack of employees. “Technology is definitely our friend for the next few years,” says Sarah. “We’ve just invested in a huge cake-cutting machine, and we are reviewing some of our backoffice roles and looking at how these can be automated.” Sarah adds, “We are also reviewing our remuneration strategy and our employee experience, to ensure we are remaining competitive and doing enough for our people.”

With regard to wellbeing, SkyCity is one of the only companies in New Zealand to employ a Connect team within its People and Culture department. The team’s objective is to be an employee support advisory service, providing all manner of support from housing, relationship guidance, financial aid (including a hardship fund) and disciplinary matters. This team exists alongside Employee Assistance Programme and fits within the company’s mental health strategy, which focuses on encouraging people to get appropriate and timely support. Again, it’s about supporting the whole person, not just the person who turns up to work. SkyCity is helping its leaders get to grips with flexible working and the specific challenges that arise due to being a predominately customerfacing service business, meaning many frontline workers cannot work from home. HR’s role is now about working with people leaders and coaching them to understand the cultural shifts required to achieve a balance that works for all. “We are doing some work to look at what a flexible contract would really look like, so that we can meet the needs of our staff and also respond to the needs of our business.”

work. “I also think it’s a good idea to fail fast, so that you can move on to finding the options that work for your organisation. There’s always someone who’s tried something before, so it’s well worth gleaning the learning from others,” says Sarah. In conclusion, HR is at the forefront of many initiatives that respond to a wide range of internal and external transformative trends. Employee wellbeing, new ways of working, and employee life experience will continue to become crucial to our roles as HR professionals. How we track or monitor employees is coming front and centre, and, as such, how we find the balance between technology and employee privacy still remains an issue. The implications of a disruptive 2020 are still likely to be playing out for several years to come.

Sarah encourages others to be open to different options on how we





Winning war for talent Events over the past 12 to 18 months have set in motion new workforce trends – many of them focused squarely on the employee. As the competition for talent heats up, employers will need to come to terms with the fact that the power dynamic has shifted in favour of the employee. Stephen Moore, from Ceridian, investigates further.


artner’s Global Talent Monitor found that 24 per cent of Australian employees are actively seeking other employment, in a trend LinkedIn has coined as “the great resignation”. In addition, 80 per cent of businesses have gone digital in the past two months, and 60 per cent of all jobs created have been casual. These changes were brought on by necessity and present an emerging need for greater workforce and employee flexibility. Coupled with a shrinking talent pool, these factors have led to a war for talent that has never been seen before. Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. The global upheaval of what ‘work’ now means to everyone encourages




businesses to fundamentally rethink their employee engagement and retention strategies. How people work, where they work and how they work now must be redefined.

So, the question remains, how can employers win the war for talent?

It all starts with understanding what employees are prioritising and how the best companies can meet these demands. Ceridian’s 2021 Future of Work report surveyed 2,000 executive-level decision-makers worldwide and found an apparent disconnection between an employer’s priorities and what matters most to their people. While 72 per cent of executives see employee experience as a high priority or essential, only 24 per cent of employees strongly agree that their companies are agile in addressing employee issues. It’s clear that employees have defined expectations when it comes to the workplace, but employers aren’t ready to fully integrate an employeecentric experience. Now is the time to place employee experience at the heart of important business decisions. Businesses that choose smart technologies that mirror the consumer experience through real-time, on-demand access will have a competitive advantage. Further, data-rich insights will help

business leaders unearth workforce trends, helping them to stay one step ahead in today’s competitive talent market. These powerful digital experiences not only improve internal culture and empower workers but also positively impact on a company’s bottom line.

How people work, where they work and how they work now must be redefined. Responding to the changing world of work

Business leaders need to recognise that traditional means of recruitment and employee expectations are no longer relevant. Given collective workplace experiences over the past year, employees are beginning to reflect and re-evaluate their priorities and are now considering if the standard method of working, such as the ‘9 to 5’ grind, is still their preferred style of work. The status quo of employer exclusivity and loyalty also has new meaning: full-time workers are embracing the tenets of the gig economy and are seeking roles for shorter periods with multiple organisations. Positively, the research shows that New Zealand businesses are already adapting to this change.

“More than half of New Zealand business leaders are looking to increase the size of their team in the next 12 months (58 per cent) and will leverage gig workers to do so (54 per cent).” “Looking ahead to 2023, 64 per cent of New Zealand businesses agree they will hire more contract and freelance workers, and 70 per cent predict that freelance workers will substantially replace full-time employees within the next five years.” As these new, transformational workforce trends continue to evolve, businesses that embrace informed decision-making through technology will be best prepared to optimise talent intelligence, improve

data benchmarking and boost employee engagement.

Leveraging the power of technology

New Zealand decision-makers are well above the global average when it comes to recognising the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in shaping and supporting their workforce. Over half (51 per cent) plan on using AI tools for recruiting and talent management, with over a third (39 per cent) already doing so. Many tangible benefits are involved for all, from helping to ensure decision-making is fair and equitable, to reducing administrative burdens, to speeding up the hiring processes.

When considering the HR challenges of the future, and maximising investments made, employers must ensure AI tools are integrated, widely adopted and routinely used to deliver critical employee engagement insights. An intelligent HCM solution can marry the advantages of AI to redefine important employee touchpoints, like onboarding, making sure all systems work together seamlessly while providing a consumer-grade user experience. As Alexandra Levit, a workplace futurist, expertly puts it: “Organisations are underestimating the long-term emotional toll the pandemic will take on employees and need to beef up their employee experience to reflect that reality and provide the appropriate support.” Although the war for talent will continue to exist even beyond the current pandemic, leaders who understand the trends shaping the employee’s experience will help to ensure both the business and its people succeed. Stephen Moore is responsible for the overall leadership of the Asia Pacific & Japan region at Ceridian. 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.





Why business training needs to change Alicia McKay shares her opinions on why traditional business education needs a revamp and what needs to take its place.


n December 2020, Elon Musk made waves at the Wall Street Journal CEO summit. Decrying the ‘MBA-isation’ of executives, Elon argued that today’s top leaders spend too much time in front of spreadsheets and in meetings and not enough time thinking creatively and making things happen. Musk’s comments echo a growing scepticism with traditional business education. Studying management finance in the weekend no longer makes sense in a fast-moving global environment. In fact, very little does. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a large-scale re-evaluation of the assumptions underpinning our careers and organisations. Some businesses floundered, while others flourished, casting a light on a leadership deficit that has been gaining pace for years: the loss of the strategic leader. Our strategic capacity is the single most important determinant of personal and organisational success. We’re quick to criticise in 28



hindsight – why didn’t Kodak see the digital camera coming? How could Blockbuster underestimate Netflix? – yet we continue to invest in skills that hold us back, neglecting the things that make a real difference.

If you need to understand how best to adapt to your environment, how to make quality decisions…, how to drive focus … take people along on the journey… well, that one’s on you. MBA courses might be useful to optimise a supply chain or interpret a profit and loss statement, but those skills don’t cut it when our business model becomes irrelevant overnight. Unless we equip our leaders with strategic skills, our education loses relevance as the world continues to shift. Not all MBA programmes are created equally, of course. Many have seen the snow melting at the edges and started adapting their content accordingly. But, bound by the bureaucracy and limitations of the tertiary education sector, the format of these programmes remains astonishingly unchanged.

Most universities are large, unwieldy beasts, and change doesn’t happen quickly. All that bureaucracy comes at a cost, too, which the student foots. The average MBA student forks out close to $50,000 by the time they’ve finished their qualification, without taking into account costs of travel, opportunity cost at work and home, and the toll on their mental and physical health.

Five problems with traditional business education Problem 1: Lecture and listen

The first culprit is a reliance on the ‘lecture and listen’ form of learning. Students yawn through lengthy PowerPoint presentations and memorise complex jargon and theory, with little application to their real lives. Problem 2: Burnout Not only that, their real lives suffer. Most MBA students work full-time in jobs or businesses and juggle family and community responsibilities. Despite this, universities ask them to sacrifice upwards of 20 hours each week to complete their degree. Stress, illness and burnout are common, and the self-professed ‘career shortcut’ starts to feel a lot less short by year two.

Problem 3: Lag time What we don’t use, we lose. Many MBA programmes schedule a consulting or investigative project as their final assignment, which for some students, can be two or four years in. All the things they learn along the way are long forgotten, making knowledge difficult to apply to their life and work. Problem 4: Loss of the arts Humanities have been slashed at a time when we need them more than ever. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics and commerce are the new darlings of the tertiary landscape, leaving little room for the critical thinking we need from our leaders. With management science replacing social science, the nuanced skills we need more than ever – joining the dots, understanding context and working out what makes people tick – have gone by the wayside. Problem 5: Irrelevance Twenty years ago, those three letters might have been a ticket to success. But in a quickly changing market that is crying out for adaptive leadership, digital mastery and the ability to ‘pivot’ (2020’s most over-used word) at pace, ambitious leaders are pausing to ask whether it’s really

worth it, and what the alternatives might be instead.

It’s time for lessons that count

In the knowledge economy, we’ve got access to all the information and instruction in the world, at the touch of a button. If you need finance knowledge, watch a video and get your head around it in 15 minutes. If you need marketing expertise, Google for a freelancer and book the job in online. But if you need to understand how best to adapt to your environment, how to make quality decisions that capture the big picture, how to drive focus and how to take people along on the journey, well, that one’s on you. And it won’t be a university MBA that gets you there.

Alicia McKay, author of You Don’t Need An MBA: Leadership Lessons that Cut Through the Crap, is a strategic leadership expert and founder of the naMBA programme: a game-changing alternative to traditional leadership education. Alicia works with leaders and teams to spark strategic shifts in the way they think, work and lead ( SPRING 2021




Ray of hope In the past month, we have seen Immigration New Zealand (INZ) offer a reprieve for employers of migrant workers who have been struggling to manage their workforces because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rachael Mason, Partner at Lane Neave, shares the impact of this government policy u-turn.


t has been a difficult time for employers of migrant workers with having to deal with a variety of challenges in the immigration system and managing migrants, with issues ranging from: having employees stuck offshore and unable to return; having employees separated from their family offshore; and the inability to recruit from offshore due to the closed border.

Significant change

On top of these challenges, INZ announced earlier in the year it would roll out the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) system on 1 November, requiring all employers of sponsored migrant workers to apply for accreditation and a substantial overhaul of the main categories of work visas. 30



This looming significant change in policy, in conjunction with the change to the median rate of pay (an increase from $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour) and the short duration of work visas for those paid below median wage, meant many employers were concerned about the significant difficulty they would face in managing their migrant workforces. In particular, the changes would place substantial burdens on employers to invest both time and money into understanding the changes and their implications, becoming ‘accredited’ and supporting migrant worker employees in their visa applications. It would not be overstating it to say that these proposed changes had the potential to create an extremely challenging set of circumstances.

Delay on the way

However, in a last-minute u-turn, the Minister of Immigration has announced major changes (or a delay of changes) that will provide welcome relief for employers, as follows: • the introduction of the new AEWV regime has been delayed until mid-2022 • a substantially streamlined work visa application process for certain existing work visa holders

who are remaining in their current full-time employment (including the fact that no labour market test is required and police and medical certificates are not required if they have previously been provided) • provision for Essential Skills work visas for durations of two years (if the pay rate is below median wage) or three years (if the pay rate is above median wage). In many circumstances, in combination, these changes will make it simpler, cheaper and faster for a migrant worker’s work visa to be extended. This is a real win-win for both migrant workers and their employers in these uncertain and challenging times. The longer visa duration of two and three years (but particularly two years for those employees paid below median wage) also means employers and employees can have certainty that their positions are secure for a longer period. This position will be a relief not just in terms of stability but also in saving employers from needing to devote considerable time to what would otherwise have been one or more visa extensions (each requiring new labour market testing) during that same timeframe. There will still be occasions when labour market testing will be required, most often

when the migrant worker is changing jobs, employer or job location. It is regrettable these changes were announced so late when many employers had already devoted time and energy to planning for the changes. However, they will still be warmly welcomed by employers and migrant workers alike.

Questions outstanding

Several practical questions remain that these latest announcements give rise to at the time of writing. One of the main uncertainties at this stage is whether the ability for an employer to become accredited under the current system will be reactivated. That system was closed on 30 June in anticipation of the new regime going live on 1 November. Several accredited employers under the previous regime elected not to renew their accreditation status, given the new system was imminent. To date, no announcement has been made about whether INZ will reopen this option for seeking accreditation status (either as a new accredited employer or to renew expiring accreditation certificates). For some migrants, this means they are effectively left with no path to residence. If their employer is not accredited (and currently cannot apply to become so) and the Skilled

Migrant Category is suspended, then there is no option but to wait and see what future residence policies may look like. This presents a challenge for employers who will want to retain key employees but cannot offer them long-term security at the moment. Accounts are growing of migrants faced with this uncertainty departing New Zealand for other countries where they can be assured of a secure pathway to residence. This is just one of the challenges employers of migrant workers face. Although the u-turn on policy is positive, the rapidly changing immigration landscape and constant changes to policy continue to add complexity to managing migrant workers and ensuring organisations are meeting immigration compliance requirements. 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. SPRING 2021




How AI can address skills shortages Ian Hulme, IBM New Zealand Business Transformation Services Leader, shares insights into how technology is offering new ways to solve the problem of scarce talent.


he combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration changes in New Zealand has placed extraordinary pressure on HR departments to ensure they have the right talent to support their companies’ growth strategies. In a recent IBM survey across nine countries, including New Zealand, more than one-in-four employees said they were looking to change jobs in 2021. In fact, more than 60 per cent of this subgroup had already switched companies in January. And when asked what employers should provide to engage staff, 51 per cent of respondents identified work–life balance and 43 per cent identified career advancement opportunities as their top priorities. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to easily link employees to jobs based on knowledge of their skills and how those skills align with opportunities. One main innovation that promises to make finding people 32



with the right skills easier for HR professionals is artificial intelligence (AI). But how can AI help when it comes to managing people?

Knowing your skills

AI offers HR departments a valuable tool for processing and understanding vast amounts of data that can help them streamline hiring processes and find the right talent faster. It can do this by enabling HR teams to know employees’ skills, match skills to roles and provide clear learning and career paths. It can also help organisations create a heat map showing the skills pool the company has. One challenge in finding talent internally is the lack of true visibility of the skills your people have. While you may know an employee’s skills based on their current role, they might have other capabilities that can benefit your company. Many organisations rely on employee self-assessments to know their people’s skills. But even with internal validation, managers may over-rate or under-rate employee skills because they often might not have time to audit the self-evaluations carefully. There’s also the fact that assessment processes can easily – and frequently – become outdated.

Encouraging employees to gain the right skills

It’s vital to be clear about which skills will bring value to your business. Without such visibility, it may be hard to know how you can better use your employees’ capabilities in different roles and nudge them to develop or use the skills that your company now needs. To deal with this problem, IBM has been using an AI-based job architecture that shows roles across our organisation. It also shows the skills and capabilities that each of those roles requires. All the employees in the company have access to this, so if we want to move to another role, we know the skillset desired.

Linking learning to future opportunities

Once you have a clear understanding of your critical skills, how do you help your people in those areas? This is where visibility of learning and career paths become important. Your employees can spend many hours learning and trying to acquire new skills, but if you don’t link their efforts to future mobility or recognition, what are they learning for? With AI’s capabilities, you can gain insights into what employees

can do with company-supplied learning and how they can be recognised for it. This is what we’ve done at IBM. Watson, a data analytics processor, is infused throughout the HR processes at IBM – with AI elements in recruitment processes, employee learning and development and remuneration. For example, within Watson, there is ‘Your Learning’, a digital platform where everyone can sign up for targeted learning channels and see the skills and badges needed to prepare them for the company’s most coveted roles. For employees looking for a new role within the company, there is ‘BlueMatch’, a service employees can sign up to to be served new jobs tailored to their backgrounds. Career coaching is also available to staff members through Watson Career Coach, an AI assistant that interacts with employees who are considering future opportunities. It gets to know the employee by asking questions and integrating historical information. Employees can also upload their resumés or answer questions about skills so Watson Career Coach can suggest suitable roles for them. They can even plan and prepare for their desired roles, with the AI assistant suggesting ways to build required skills.

Proactively retaining staff

Times of skill shortages call for even more innovative ways to retain good people. One of the practical solutions we’ve found is using AI to

analyse likely drivers that may cause an employee to leave in the next six months, for example, how long a person has been in a role or when their last promotion or pay raise was. Managers can then use data-driven insights to proactively engage their people before the thought of leaving enters their minds.

Making HR management more efficient

Finally, AI chatbots are designed to eliminate many of the manual tasks in HR, such as benefits administration and payroll, through process automation. And, given how complex some company HR policies are, chatbots can help guide employees to get the information they need for the basic HR enquiries, such as leave entitlements and payroll dates.

Driving strategic advantage

AI is creating many possibilities for HR. At IBM, it lets us help responsible managers address common talent issues, such as understanding skills, developing new ones, matching employees and external candidates with career opportunities, and creating an engaging platform to learn. Ultimately, AI can enable your HR function to drive strategic advantage for your business, especially now. As the threat of talent shortage increases, AI applications can help you find effective ways to compete for the skills you need to grow and innovate.

IBM’s five steps to deploying AI 1. Start with a business case

Understand the business problem you are trying to solve with AI – choose one that you can address with improved insight, information and data. Identify your minimum viable product (MVP), the first and smallest deliverable that you can build. 2. Decide whether to buy or build If you decide to build your own solution, it is wise to start by soliciting ideas from your employees. 3. Identify the skills you have and need You will need skills for design, development and implementation. 4. Implement your MVP The faster you deploy your MVP, the sooner you can deliver your next improved iteration. Ideally, all projects will be like this and show benefits within six to 12 months. 5. Roll out the MVP across your company If you are successful in your MVP implementation, the next step is to scale to your enterprise.

Ian Hulme is Director of Business Transformation Services at IBM New Zealand. He works with clients to understand their business challenges and uses a human-centred, value-driven approach to deliver transformation that drives business outcomes.





HR shape the next normal Una Diver, Partner at Ernst and Young, provides insights into how organisations are refocusing their remuneration strategies as they look to the future.


ew Zealand is in a different place from what it was a year ago. We’re moving away from risk management toward a new optimism, with most pundits generally predicting a continued recovery and a buoyant economy. The growing pains associated with this resurgence offer a new set of challenges to be negotiated by organisations and their HR functions.

organisations to reimagine their workforce for the future.

Remuneration budgets – a war for talent in the engine room of companies During 2020, almost a quarter of organisations either cancelled or postponed their annual remuneration reviews.

However, that was then and this is now. Our latest COVID-19 Pulse Survey (July 2021) indicates that most organisations are going ahead with their annual reviews as normal across all levels and roles, reflecting

a return to a degree of ‘business as usual’. Of these, only 1 per cent of organisations anticipate having reduced remuneration budgets this year. While many organisations are increasing remuneration budgets, a shift in spending patterns is occurring. Consistent with the competitive talent market, more organisations are increasing remuneration budgets for roles below the executive or senior management level. This concentration of spend in the ‘engine room’ of organisation

Our experience suggests that companies operating a ‘back to normal’ approach will either miss the significant opportunity to transform or face ongoing people challenges. Organisations that grasp this opportunity will not return to normal but will reframe what normal should be. HR functions have the potential to be central to realising this transformation. As difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, the disruption presents an opportunity for Annual salary review intentions (Source: Ernst and Young COVID-19 Pulse Survey July 2021) 34



structures reflects the necessity for companies to retain key skills and people to enable the achievement of recovery and growth aspirations.

practice of sign-on compensation (cash or shares). We may see these emerge as the next weapon, if this war for talent continues.

In comparison, executive pay has been somewhat constrained. Instead, a considerable amount of time is being spent reconsidering shortterm and long-term incentives and adjusting them to accommodate the new trading conditions.

Challenges around recruitment and retention

Those organisations that encountered considerable disruption during the COVID-19 crisis are rethinking their approach to incentives (particularly STI schemes), with 22 per cent of organisations in the process of making changes at the time of our July survey. The most prevalent of these are changes to the weightings of metrics or the remuneration mix.

The borders are shut, so talent retention is even more crucial than would normally be the case. Fifty per cent of organisations in Ernst and Young’s March 2021 COVID-19 Pulse Survey cited retention as their main people priority, but, by July, a 13 per cent increase had occurred in organisations listing retention as a priority.

Despite this, we have not observed the common American recruitment

In addition to concerns around retention, 83 per cent of organisations say that the border closure has affected their business and talent pool (20 per cent increase from the March 2021 survey). Almost 90 per cent of respondents say that their access to talent is affected, and more than a quarter are seeing the effect of the border closure on retention. Balancing remuneration cost considerations with the need to attract and retain staff has led many organisations to pursue the optimisation of their employee benefit schemes or employee value proposition (EVP).

Retention, better alignment with business strategy and simplification of remuneration frameworks were cited as the main drivers for change. Below the executive level, certain scarce skills are commanding a remuneration premium, indicating organisations are more aware of the need to use remuneration as a retention tool.

(57 per cent) and non-monetary rewards (reflected in 20 organisations providing more development opportunities) to enhance retention while maintaining a focus on fixed remuneration. In the current competitive talent environment, effective talent strategies are critical.

Impact of border closures on organisations.

Organisations appear to be focusing on employee wellbeing (70 per cent), engagement

EVP is a good way to support employees in a more personalised way during uncertainty and to deliver on what they value most. While the focus is currently on life after COVID-19, continuing




Are you ready for these challenges, or are you ‘digging in’, ready for a war of attrition?

In our view, the following elements are important for the ongoing development and maintenance of your EVP. 1. Align your EVP to the culture you are seeking to foster and embed.

uncertainty and the lingering results of social and economic disruption mean personal and professional stress levels will remain high for many. We’re seeing organisations continuing to tweak their flexible working arrangements and expand their wellness package offerings in an attempt to differentiate themselves in this tight market.

Checking the pulse of your EVP Ensuring your EVP remains focused and is delivering a strong return in investment is paramount.

Rise of agile

You don’t have to go far before you hear someone talking about how their organisation is embracing agile practices, either across the board or in parts of the business. Managing job structures under agile is harder than it looks. Both flatter team structures and less defined role responsibilities limit the ability of traditional job evaluation methods to accurately reflect relative job sizing. When the shortage of good agile skills is overlaid, this can create a remuneration headache as you grapple with what to pay these ‘hard to define’ roles. If your organisation is adopting agile practices, it may be time to critically review how your current remuneration framework fits with the new approach. Having designed agile pay structures for several organisations, we know 36



it’s possible to achieve a structure that provides the appropriate levels of transparency and flexibility. Don’t panic, the data is out there, but you will need to engage with your provider to make sure you have the information you need to set the right rates. You’ll also need to consider the ‘what and the how’ of career progression, because your current performance management cycles and processes may not fit with the agile approach.

Resurgence, remuneration and recruitment

The closed borders have had an immense effect on the market for talent. With limited access to international talent, organisations have had to turn to the local market, resulting in an increasingly ‘hot’ remuneration landscape. Pay is being used as a means to both retain scarce and critical skills and attract much-needed talent from other organisations. We’re in the midst of a landscape peppered with retention bonuses and counteroffers, creating internal equity challenges that are a pain to manage. This has prompted a rethink in how organisations approach their reward structure to retain good people and attract the talent they need. We have seen organisations take a variety of approaches: wait and see, get out the chequebook, or embark on true transformation. What’s your approach going to be?

2. Frequently re-evaluate your EVP to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of programmes based on employee preferences and costefficiency. 3. Get employee feedback on how they value the different benefits offered by your organisation. This is vital for knowing what your employees’ value most and what benefits are not held in high regard. 4. Consider implementing flexibility and employee choice in your organisation’s EVP design. This lets you accommodate employee preferences and adapt to shifting economic circumstances. 5. Demonstrate a bold statement about the type of organisation you are through your EVP – don’t be afraid to stand out.

Una Diver, Ernst and Young Partner, People Advisory Services, has two decades of experience in addressing the challenges inherent in managing HR and remuneration in New Zealand organisations. Una is considered a leading expert in remuneration practice within the New Zealand market. She applies a tailored approach in each case. Specialising in practical, cost-effective remuneration solutions, she has delivered solutions in all areas of remuneration strategy, executive remuneration, tailored incentive design, and the design and implementation of practical remuneration frameworks and solutions. EY provides regular insight into the remuneration market via REMonTAP and other surveys, they can be contacted for further information on

Only available to


HRNZ Members

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

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

Benefits of being a mentee: • • • • •

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

For full information, please refer to the HRNZ Mentoring Programme Guide





Independent contractor or employee? There have recently been some interesting and potentially far-reaching Employment Court cases on the question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. David Burton, from Cullen Law, talks us through the details.


ection 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 says that the “real nature of the relationship” determines whether a worker is an employee. In considering what the “real nature of the relationship” is, the Court must consider all relevant matters, including any matters that indicate the intention of the person. This section has had a good workout in recent times, including a finding in July that a builder taken on as a contractor was in fact an employee. In a significant case last year, the Employment Court found that a courier driver had been an employee and was not, as claimed by his employer, Parcel Express, his “own boss”.




Head and Others v Inland Revenue and Madison Recruitment

Another recent Employment Court case has put a further twist on this. Mr Head and seven others challenged their working relationship at Inland Revenue after being placed there by their employer – Madison Recruitment Ltd. For about the past 12 years, Inland Revenue has used labour hire companies to engage workers on a temporary basis. Such workers are used to manage workflow and customer demand peaks through Inland Revenue’s annual tax cycles. Inland Revenue awarded a contract to Madison to provide temporary workers for a new business group that would help customers with their tax arrangements and compliance issues. Several documents were relevant to the arrangement. Madison’s Terms of Engagement with Inland Revenue were approved by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) through the All of Government tendering system. A Master Service Agreement (MSA) was signed between Inland Revenue and Madison. Statements of Work (SoWs) were produced by Inland Revenue that outlined

the scope of assignments to be performed by workers engaged by Madison for Inland Revenue work. Other documents described the way in which people introduced by Madison to Inland Revenue would be managed: Standard Operating Procedures and Managing Madison Employees. In the course of an engagement, each person would be provided with a proposed individual employment agreement (IEA) where the parties were Madison and the worker, a job brief on Madison letterhead that described the nature of the relationship between the parties and the terms and conditions under which the worker would be employed, a job description prepared by Inland Revenue, and a copy of Inland Revenue’s Code of Conduct.

Triangular arrangements

The Employment Court concluded that, on the face of the documents, there were triangular arrangements between these parties. There was an overarching commercial agreement between Inland Revenue and Madison. Separately, the workers signed documents that acknowledged Madison as their employer. On the basis of the documents, the Court said Madison was the workers’ employer and not Inland Revenue.

The Employment Court then looked at how the relationships worked in practice. Madison recruited workers to meet the requirements of the SoWs. Inland Revenue was not involved in this process or party to the negotiation of IEAs with the workers. If Inland Revenue wanted workers to work additional hours, it would make that request to Madison and Madison would endeavour to get agreement for that variation with the worker. The workers did not work with other Inland Revenue teams, but they were supervised by Inland Revenue team leaders. Supervision included maintaining proper workflows and providing technical guidance when needed. The workers were required to complete timesheets in both Madison’s and Inland Revenue’s time recording systems. Madison would subsequently send timesheet summaries to the relevant Inland Revenue team leader who would either approve or reject the timesheet. Madison would then submit an invoice to Inland Revenue based on the appropriate rates contained in the MSA. Payment of the workers was made through Madison’s payroll, subject to deductions, such as PAYE. If a worker

wanted to take annual leave they were required to make the request directly to Madison. Standing back, the Employment Court said that the way the relationships worked showed considerable effort was made to respect the difference between Inland Revenue employees and Madison employees who worked at Inland Revenue. The Court concluded that the workers were employees of Madison and not of Inland Revenue. It is important to note that this case was taken before the provisions of the Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act came into force in 2020. If it had been in force, it is likely that Inland Revenue could be considered a controlling third party.

the pay spectrum, to highly paid IT and communications specialists at the other. He said the Government’s concerns lie with those towards the former end of the spectrum. The outcome of this may include broadening the definition of an employee, extending employment law protections to a range of contractors, putting a burden of proof on employers to show that workers are contractors, and giving some contractors the right to bargain collectively. Given the Government’s clear majority in Parliament, it certainly has the ability to change this area of employment law further.

Possible legislative change?

Further challenges could be that contractors could be given more rights. Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood recently announced that a working group has been convened between BusinessNZ, the Council of Trade Unions and MBIE. The Minister said that the types of workers engaged as contractors vary, from the likes of cleaners, fruit pickers and couriers, at one end of

David Burton is the Director of Cullen – The Employment Law Firm. David has over 30 years of employment law experience in New Zealand and overseas. His expertise is recognised by his peers. For six years, he was appointed to the Employment Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society. Before that, he served on the Workplace Relations and Employment Law Sub-committee of the Law Institute of Victoria, Australia.





Transforming HRM Aotearoa HRNZ’s inaugural Transforming HRM Aotearoa course was held in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) in June. Thanks to the hard work of Karli Te Aotonga and Bentham Ohia, this vision is now a reality.


ourse facilitator Karli Te Aotonga CMHRNZ reflected on a successful wānanga, saying, “Words cannot express the aroha I have for bringing the kaupapa of Transforming HRM Aotearoa to life. This, for me, has been an aspiration and, in the words of my cousin Bentham, raising consciousness to shift mindsets, open hearts, and effect change.”

The course covered a variety and depth of content. It addressed important topics from Pehea ōku tātou whakaaro? (understanding our HRM why) to Ngā ūara: a valuesled approach in the workplace and cultural safety and wellbeing in the workplace, workplace realities for Māori and a kaupapa Māori approach to HRM practices in Aotearoa workplaces.

Positively regarded

The positive feedback received from this inaugural course was a tribute to Karli, Bentham and all the others who helped make it such a success.

“This was one of the most inspiring, challenging, thought-provoking courses I have ever attended,” says Frances Smorti, General Manager People and Culture at The Transforming HRM in Manawatū District Council. “Huge Aotearoa programme was thanks to Karli, Bentham and Koro incredibly inspiring and the Timi. Ngā mihi nui kia koutou. He best learning experience I wero ināinei.”

have had.

Responsive and equitable

Twenty-two leading HR professionals experienced a transformational learning journey, discovering how to develop culturally responsive and equitable HRM practices to improve the employee experience for Māori in the workplace. 40



“I believe everyone was deeply impacted by the aroha of the presenters who shared their knowledge so generously and embodied the values we were learning about. I gained a deep understanding of Māori values and how to create a culturally safe and mana-enhancing environment. I have come away with practical

tools to apply right away as well as many new thoughts and ideas,” says Jane Temel, Chief People Officer, Niche Recruitment.

The possibilities are endless in creating the momentum of this ‘movement’ to support and uplift Mana Māori, Mana Motuhake and Mana Tāngata katoa in the workplace through human resources. Rachel Wells, Head of Culture and Transformation, Lyttleton Port Company, clearly valued the course, saying, “For three days I have been so incredibly fortunate to sit, listen, share, laugh and learn about Transforming HRM in Aotearoa with an amazing rōpū of people.” She closed with a poignant reminder by adding, “Poipoia te kakano, kia puawai – Nurture the seed and it will blossom.” More positive feedback came from Bronwyn Koroheke, Finance and Operations Manager at Toimata Foundation. “This course was ‘on point’ in terms of what I know to be the key issues facing Aotearoa today – how do we value Māori competencies, and how best to

acknowledge Māori perspectives in an HR environment.”

Into action

Former New Zealand Olympic kayaker Jaimee Lovett (now People and Capability Adviser at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council) encouraged fellow HR professionals to follow in the footsteps of this rōpū. “The Transforming HRM in Aotearoa programme was incredibly inspiring and the best learning experience I have had. Karli, Bentham and Koro created a safe environment that enabled the group to openly discuss their thoughts while raising awareness around the importance of this kaupapa. Ngā mihi nui to all

involved in bringing this programme together. I would highly encourage all HR professionals and leaders to invest in this learning experience,” she says.

I am excited to see how we will transform the HR and people space in our organisations as a result of the insights shared around bicultural and multicultural practice. Looking forward to putting these learnings in place, Moana Keiper, Organisational Development Advisor

at Emerge Aotearoa, commented that, “The Transforming HRM Aotearoa course was a truly enriching experience: great kōrero, inspiration and connection. I am excited to see how we will transform the HR and people space in our organisations as a result of the insights shared around bicultural and multicultural practice.”

Poipoia te kakano, kia puawai – Nurture the seed and it will blossom. In closing, course facilitator Karli Te Aotonga reflected on the exciting opportunities HRNZ’s Transforming HRM Aotearoa programme provides. “The possibilities are endless in creating the momentum of this ‘movement’ to support and uplift Mana Māori, Mana Motuhake and Mana Tāngata katoa in the workplace through human resources.” Aroha ki te tāngata Ahakoa ko wai Ahakoa nō whea Mauri ora The next Transforming HRM in Aotearoa runs in October and December. Click here for more information and booking details.





The future is now If the past year has taught us anything, it is that change can happen quickly. For many organisations, a change to a distributed workforce challenges conventional work models and raises employee expectations of autonomy and support. Jim Arrowsmith and Paul Toulson investigate the impact on HR.


he value of HR becomes clear under crises, as shown in the response to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Then, as now, HR had to quickly reimagine work logistics and stay focused on employee welfare. Working from home and prioritising worker wellbeing are expected to become part of the ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19, but it does not have to take a crisis to generate transformational change. Some of the profound challenges for HR have been emerging for some time, though are now accelerating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussing these issues in our postgraduate strategic and international HRM courses, where many of students are senior HR professionals, spotlights three inter-related sets of challenges: those internal to the organisation, 42



those in the external environment and those relating to the HR profession itself.

Looking within

The most immediate challenge is managing the distributed workforce, or the shift to a ‘hybrid’ homeoffice mode. This means attending to employee needs as well as management skills. Not all workers want or are able to work from home, especially those at earlier career stages. Equally, not all managers can avoid the traps of micromanaging or forgetting those who they cannot readily see. Establishing equitable frameworks to manage this is not a simple task. This links to another important issue, the increasingly diverse workforce. Changing demographics and immigration settings mean the workforce is ever more heterogeneous in terms of age, ethnicity, sex and gender, and awareness is growing of issues such as neurodiversity. Again, this places a premium on recruiting, developing and supporting inclusive and peoplecentred managers. Another challenge accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic is technological change. Skills shortages and higher wages make automation more attractive, and

digitisation and artificial intelligence are also affecting work. HR will have to manage the resulting recomposition of labour and skills, and are already dealing with the transformation of their own services by technology.

Changing environment

Many sectors and firms were experiencing acute labour shortages before the borders were closed. Returning Kiwis have mitigated some of the impacts of this, but primary and service sectors are now exposed to the ‘war for talent’ that those looking for scarce highly skilled workers have long faced. This places a premium on the employee experience, which again implies new styles of management and an improved employee proposition around career support and development. A second issue, driven by consumer pressure as well as employee expectations, is the importance of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. This means maintaining a values-based, purpose-driven and demonstrably ethical approach to business, including in the treatment of staff. Third is the changing regulatory environment. These challenges include new occupational safety and

health obligations, increases to the minimum wage and benefits, such as leave, to the prospective return of sector-level collective bargaining in the form of fair pay agreements. All of these create immediate pressures but can also present strategic opportunities for HR to be heard and to lead change.

Looking after ourselves

With all this going on, HR needs to avoid the fate of the cobbler’s children, who were proverbially the worst shod. The pandemic highlights both the support and strategic-level contributions of HR to organisational performance but also increases HR workloads and stress. Prioritising self-care is a challenge for HR professionals as well as the employees and managers they serve.

Looking ahead, our HR managerstudents identify two main sets of competencies that HR people need to navigate this challenging terrain. First, perhaps naturally enough, is developing a learning orientation, nurturing a curiosity about the business and the markets that it operates in and pursuing selfdevelopment through education and training. This extends to so-called ‘soft skills’ and critical thinking skills as well as technical proficiency in areas such as finance and IT. In this way, HR can become more business savvy and involved in managing change, marshalling evidence to exert influence and solve problems. HRNZ is committed to mapping the challenges facing the HR profession to help deliver the main

competencies and capabilities that HR people need. The HRNZ Academic Branch is helping identify the key challenges and opportunities for HR in New Zealand and how best HR professionals can respond. As part of this process, look out for a member survey coming your way, and make your voice heard!

Jim Arrowsmith is a Professor in the School of Management, Massey University. His research interests include pay and working time systems, employee engagement and employment regulation, and he has published extensively in these areas. He has acted as a consultant for employers, trade unions and government agencies, including recently for the International Labour Organization advising Pacific Island countries on labour reform. He is co-director with Professor Jane Parker of MPOWER – the Massey People, Organisations, Work and Employment Research group. Jim is a Chartered Fellow of HRNZ and has served in the Auckland and Academic branches, chartering assessment and HRNZ Awards panels. Paul Toulson is currently employed at Massey University as the Associate Professor of Human Resources Management in the School of Management, Massey Business School. He has a long association with both the university and HRNZ. He has held several appointments in both HRNZ and at Massey University over the past 37 years. Before that, he served in the defence system (RNZAF) as an I/O psychologist. Currently he is conducting research and teaching at the postgraduate level in HRM, and is a mentor supervisor for the University’s PhD programme.








No need to rush Our regular columnist Natalie Barker, Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance, shares her insights into nurturing a sense of belonging in her team.

“Mum, I cut my leg. Am I in trouble? Are you mad?” I’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms with my teenage son recently. First, he was bitten by a white-tailed spider, so we waited to see our GP. Next, he knocked himself out at the skatepark, so we spent a few hours at the hospital, followed by a trip to the concussion clinic, then the physio. Yesterday, he needed stitches, so we whiled away the afternoon at the accident clinic. You can see why he thought I might be annoyed. But, truthfully, other than the fact he’s hurt (which obviously I’d avoid given the choice), I’ve just enjoyed spending time with him. I can’t help but draw the parallel between my family and my team at work. We know that a sense of belonging is important for employee engagement. Research has shown that employees with a strong feeling of belonging at work are far more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. They are much more likely to bring in their best selves and to do their best work.

But, if we’re too busy to spend time together at work, how can our people build strong connections and that precious sense of belonging? It’s not that easy, especially given that many of our new ways of working work against us. Take activity-based, flexible work environments, for example. Gone are the days where you sat at the same desk, surrounded by personal memorabilia and the same teammates every day. Now, our people have the flexibility to move around the workplace, working together in collaborative spaces or hunkering down in focus zones, but not necessarily connecting deeply with those around them. Not unlike my teenage children. That’s assuming our people are even in the office. Many of us are choosing to work from home on a regular basis. The marvels of modern technology make this a viable and attractive option, especially since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing work and home life on our own terms. Working from home means less time connecting in person and less time connecting with the physical workplace itself, which in many businesses has been designed to reinforce the values that help create a feeling of belonging. All this paints a grim picture, so it’s important to remind ourselves these same changes to the way we work have also given us opportunities to create connections that are even stronger than before.

At Southern Cross Health Insurance, we’ve spent the past few months transitioning to a new operating model, underpinned by principles of organisational agility. Like living with teenagers, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but we’ve chosen to approach the mobilisation of new teams with purpose and care. We invested in adaptive leadership training for our leaders and supported them to create psychologically safe environments. For many teams, their highest priority for the past quarter was to understand their purpose, build trusting relationships and solidify their working rhythms. Belonging at work really isn’t that different from belonging in a family. As leaders, we should take time to get to know people on a personal level, cherish them for who they are and value what they have to offer. We need to take those ‘waiting room’ moments and turn them into opportunities to nurture the feeling of belonging in our teams.


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.



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 2021 Cameron McLennan


10 August

Natalie Smith


10 August

Neha Mittal


6 July

Chartered Members 2021 Michael Gordon-Garrett


17 August

Kylie Mouat


5 August

Crystal Bezuidenhout


29 July

Laura Warren


5 July

Helen Shannon


23 June

David Mann

Hawkes Bay

17 June

Mark Olsen


16 June

Meghan Pagey


8 June

Maggie Roe-Shaw


8 June

Sophia John

Hawkes Bay

16 May




5 Steps ahead with HRNZ Get Chartered today!

Articles inside

Am I managing? No need to rush article cover image

Am I managing? No need to rush

page 47
Research Update: The future is now article cover image

Research Update: The future is now

pages 44-45
PD Spotlight: Transforming HRM Aotearoa article cover image

PD Spotlight: Transforming HRM Aotearoa

pages 42-43
Employment Law: Independent contractor or employee? article cover image

Employment Law: Independent contractor or employee?

pages 40-41
Leadership: HR shape the next normal article cover image

Leadership: HR shape the next normal

pages 36-38
HR Technology: How AI can address skills shortages article cover image

HR Technology: How AI can address skills shortages

pages 34-35
Immigration Law Update: Ray of hope article cover image

Immigration Law Update: Ray of hope

pages 32-33
Learning & Development: Why business training needs to change article cover image

Learning & Development: Why business training needs to change

pages 30-31
HR Technology: Winning war for talent article cover image

HR Technology: Winning war for talent

pages 28-29
Insights: All eyes on us article cover image

Insights: All eyes on us

pages 24-27
Employment Law: Authentically engaging with Māori article cover image

Employment Law: Authentically engaging with Māori

pages 22-23
Tikanga Māori & HRM: How Māori culture can uplift HR and business article cover image

Tikanga Māori & HRM: How Māori culture can uplift HR and business

pages 18-20
Sustainability: ESG and SDG: Acronyms of the future article cover image

Sustainability: ESG and SDG: Acronyms of the future

pages 16-17
Culture & Change: Top-ten themes for change article cover image

Culture & Change: Top-ten themes for change

pages 12-15
HR in a Covid world: Project Safe Haven article cover image

HR in a Covid world: Project Safe Haven

pages 10-11
Member profile: Rebecca Ralph - HRNZ Student of the Year article cover image

Member profile: Rebecca Ralph - HRNZ Student of the Year

pages 8-9
News Roundup article cover image

News Roundup

pages 6-7
From the editor article cover image

From the editor

page 5
Top of mind: Amy Clarke article cover image

Top of mind: Amy Clarke

page 4
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