Human Resources - Summer 2021 (Vol 26, No 4) - HR policies: what to keep and what to bin

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New Zealand’s Magazine for Human Resources Professionals

HR policies: what to keep and what to bin HR policies for the modern workplace Death of the performance review? Boost your team's energy

Summer 2021

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Top of mind Tūngia te ururoa kia tupu whakaritorito te tutū o te harakeke. “Set the overgrown bush alight, and the new flax shoots will spring up. Clear the undergrowth so that the new shoots can appear.”


was talking to a friend recently who has undergone some pretty significant change in their personal life, who said they were having trouble moving forward because they weren’t ready to let go of some of the things that had been a part of them for so long. After that talk, I reflected on things, particularly about how difficult change can be and how much easier it feels to revert back to ‘how things were’ rather than to let things go. Anyone who has spent time in HR will know that the most challenging part of any change process can be the letting go. Sure, people are worried about the uncertainty of new ways, but, as in all things, we’re always most addicted to old habits. Many an organisational change programme has been scuttled by the people who rigidly stick with their old ways, refusing to allow the culture and sentiment of their environment shift to something new and capable of growth. As we’ve been thinking about our Transforming HRM programme and the development of bicultural practice, it has become evident how important it will be to let go of some traditional HR practices to move forward. The more we’ve explored with those who are actively trying to shift their ways of working, the more we’ve understood about what seems to 2



work in adopting a true bicultural mindset. Māori cultural values aren’t something you can just bolt into your existing policies or practices; they need to be woven in from the beginning; woven in with new ways of working, too, while older ways of working and practising are left behind. This need to ‘let go’ is also relevant to other issues that HRNZ has been focused on in 2021. We’re all looking ahead to a postCOVID world. As we consider this, many of us will be anticipating a return to the way things were. We need to accept the world has changed, due to the pandemic, and we shouldn’t wish for or even attempt a return to the past. We’ve changed our thinking about the workplace throughout the pandemic, including where, when and how we work. We’ve learnt about how to use technology better to connect and collaborate. We’ve also changed our understanding of employee wellbeing and how employers can better support workplace wellness. Employee expectations have changed. The opportunity is to take all of this learning and use it to evolve to a better place. But the first step is to let go of the idea that we’re going back to the way things were. Identifying those things that have stopped serving us well can be a big

challenge, and I couldn’t quite bring myself to give my friend this advice at the time. Recognising when to hold and regroup during change, whether it’s you going through it, or supporting others, is crucial, but knowing when to push on is critical, too. How we greet and embrace change will determine how well equipped we are to deal with the challenges that come from it, and also how well we can take hold of the opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity to challenge and change a great deal and has shown us how well we can flourish despite the difficulties we face. I think walking up to challenges with an open mind and the tools to tackle that woody undergrowth will grant us the greatest opportunities of all. I think that’s the message I’ll share the next time I see my friend.

Nick McKissack Chief Executive HRNZ

MANAGING EDITOR Kathy Catton Ph: 021 0650 959 Email:

From the editor I

f you’re anything like me, this year has been extremely busy. But, as time pushes forward and culture progresses, there are occasionally moments when it’s worth having a good old sort out of what policies in our organisations need to stay and what need to go. That is the theme of this issue, and we hope to provide you with practical insights into what’s not working in organisations today and what we can do about it. Equally, we want to showcase what’s valuable and fit for purpose. In a recent HRNZ Member poll, we sought to get a first-hand perspective of what policies you would like to throw out. Top of the list were performance management policies, leave policies, outdated flexible working policies and dress code policies. A good level of appetite exists among Members to make the existing policies more succinct, logical and cohesive. As one Member said, “Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck by prescriptive policy and forget about the reason for the policy – balancing business and personal needs in an equitable way.”

contributors, we also have articles about boosting our energy using positive psychology, the practice of using pronouns when referencing people, and a look at addressing the gender confidence gap.

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We wish all our Members a restful and restorative holiday break, and look forward to connecting with you throughout 2022.

Kathy Catton Managing Editor

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: 4

ISSN 1173–7522

We delve deeper into how policies could look different, including an article by Janice Burns at Decreed, who asks if the performance review is dead. Alongside our regular




In this issue 14

HR policies for the modern workplace Elise O’Halloran from Tavendale and Partners takes a practical look the essential HR policies for the modern world


Boost your team's energy Amanda Wallis and Gaynor Parkin from Umbrella Wellbeing examine what we can do if team members are ‘running out of puff’





Crucial role to play Kathy Catton reviews the recent HRNZ HR Virtual Summit on Wellness


Death of the performance review? Janice Burns from Decreed asks if there’s an alternative to the performance review in today’s fast-paced world

Shaping the profession


Employment Law – Case Review Follow the policy … or pay the price – David Burton from Cullen Law outlines the latest case of not following company policy


Professional Development Spotlight Love your policies and procedures – Debbie Dawson, course facilitator of the HRNZ HR Foundations programme, shares her insights into the importance of getting policies right

18 Sustainability Sustainable policies that stick – Bridget Williams from Bead and Proceed outlines how to structure and create sustainable policies within the workplace


Research Update Performance reviews during COVID-19 – Anna Earl from the University of Canterbury looks at the evolving nature of performance reviews


Employment Law Update Vaccine mandates – Jack Rainbow, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, explores the challenges many employers across the motu are facing


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


HR Technology HR policies key to navigating with pace – Stephen Moore, from Ceridian, shares his highlights for getting HR policies right

People Powered Success


Top of Mind Nick McKissack CEO HRNZ


From the Editor Kathy Catton


News Roundup The latest news to keep you up to date


Immigration Law Update The great immigration reset – Rachael Mason, Lane Neave, provides clarity on Immigration New Zealand’s policy changes

38 Leadership Address the gender confidence gap – Jess Stuart looks at how we can own our power to decrease the gender pay gap


HRNZ Member profile Deepika Jindal in the limelight


HR in a COVID world Clearing up COVID-19 confusion


Pronouns in the workplace Pronouns in the workplace – HRNZ’s Amy Clarke sheds light on the use of pronouns in the workplace and why it matters





The Role of HR - HRNZ Member Survey


RNZ’s recent Member survey aimed to understand why Members entered the HR profession, what they spend most of their time on and what tasks and policies they would like to see removed. As expected, most respondents got into HR due to their love of working with people and making a difference to those in organisations. As a profession, it is clear we have a passion for uplifting capability, wellness and overall employee experiences. The tasks performed by HR professionals were not surprising,

although they did highlight the broad range of demands and expectations on the profession and the pressure faced by many to cover so many bases. Performance management, leave policies and, more generally, the Holidays Act 2003 led the way in terms of what policies or processes could be deleted (or recycled). The dream state of some HR practitioners is a utopic world where policies are a thing of the past and processes hum along neatly with little or no intervention from us; but, for many, we’re not quite there yet.

While many respondents said their policies could do with some tidying up or reviewing, most of our surveyed professionals wouldn’t actually throw any out. Instead, there seems to be a good level of appetite to make them succinct, more logical and cohesive. For more detail on the results of the survey, read full report. For more insights on policies, see our PD Spotlight column on page 46, by Debbie Dawson.

New 2021 resident visa


n 30 September 2021, the government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand.

From 1 November, New Zealand employers will only be able to support migrant workers on one type of visa, the Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV).

This opens eligibility for around 165,000 migrants currently in New Zealand. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said, “This is something employers have asked for and we are delivering. Employers will now have the opportunity to retain their settled and migrant workers, reflecting the critical part they play in our economy, essential workforce and communities.”

The ESWV is a temporary work visa that individuals can apply for only after they have a job offer from a New Zealand employer and have the necessary experience and qualifications to fill that job.




Unlike the Work to Residence visas, where visa applicants had to be paid a minimum annual salary, under the ESWV, a worker can qualify for a work visa at any salary level.

It still remains of utmost importance that employees hold valid and appropriate temporary visas at all times, be it a Talent Visa (submitted while the category is open) or an ESWV. While holding a resident visa puts a migrant worker on equal footing with New Zealanders and their work rights, the employer must ensure the correct work visa is maintained until the worker’s residence is granted. For more information, see our article from Rachael Mason, Lane Neave Partner, on page 34.

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 Dane Dunlop


13 October

Thomas Wakelin


22 September

Josh Winter


22 September

Siena Goldwater


10 September

Chartered Members 2021 Barbara Daxenberger


23 November

Sara Ebsworth


23 November

Maria Evangelista

Auckland – South

11 November

Dee Johnston


8 November

Andrew Crerar


5 November

Emma MacRae


29 October

Jonathan Gabriel


21 October

Nichola Blue


5 October

Henriette Scheepbouwer


27 September

Gil Sewell


24 September

Amy Clarke


14 September

Abbigail Surridge


3 September

Nick McKissack


2 September




Pay equity in New Zealand


ew Zealand’s gender pay gap remained relatively unchanged, at 18.5 per cent, according to an analysis by Strategic Pay. More than ever before, this analysis shows that organisations must examine the gender pay gap of their organisations. These findings, published in the 2021 Pay Equity Booklet, allow organisations to examine how they stack up within their sector or industry. This can then help inform decisions and encourage organisations to take a more active role in reducing their gender pay gap.

Currently, just 19 per cent of large organisations (annual revenue above $300 million) have a female CEO. According to the analysis, the main increase in the pay gap is within the top roles, indicating that fewer women are progressing into senior roles. These findings are based on a sample of over 187,000 employees. They show that, on average, bonuses received by women were almost 50 per cent smaller than men’s and that women also received nearly 20 per cent less KiwiSaver, 32.2 per cent less in car allowance,

'Great Resignation' or Vacation


leading recruiter is signalling for New Zealand organisations to plan not only for the ‘Great Resignation’ but the ‘Great Vacation’ this summer, because a poll reveals one-in-four workers intends to use more annual leave than they did 12 months ago. Despite the imminent arrival of the government’s new ‘traffic light’ system, a recent poll by Frog Recruitment reveals that 39 per cent of Kiwi workers are planning to log off for three-to-four weeks over summer. If regional restrictions are relaxed to orange or green, even more Kiwis – 57 per cent – will take ‘a few extra days’ away from work.




Frog Recruitment Managing Director Shannon Barlow said the expectation of a lockdown-free summer, or at least enjoying part of the summer out of lockdown, is tantalising for workers. “Kiwi employees are embracing the prospect of enjoying a longer-thanusual summer holiday. “Employers will need to plan ahead and deploy more resources to cover longer gaps in their work rosters and annual leave calendars over the summer months.” Barlow said she is not surprised people will be redeeming annual leave, because the poll revealed

and the value of their car was almost 20 per cent lower. Unfortunately, the analysis also indicates that, for females, a ‘$100,000 job’ was noticeably larger than for males (ie, females are still paid less than males for the same size job). Unless we address both pay equity and employment equity, the gap will not go away. For more insights into the gender pay gap, go to page 36, to read Jess Stuart’s tips to address the gender confidence gap.

Shannon Barlow Frog Recruitment

66 per cent of respondents used less holiday leave in 2021, with 56 per cent of workers taking less than a week off work this year. “With rising rates of pandemicinduced burnout, and an alarmingly high rate of mental health issues in the workplace, the festive season will be a much-needed circuit breaker for over-worked New Zealanders to enjoy more freedom than they have had for months. We urge employers to encourage their people to use up their accrued leave and take a wellearned break.”

Improve__________ retention, right now The Great Resignation is already underway, but extreme turnover doesn’t have to be inevitable. Here are 5 actions you can immediately take to improve retention in the long run.

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5 ways to help retentio

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Tip 1:


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The Employee Experience Platform SUMMER 2021




HRNZ member profile Human Resources magazine caught up with Deepika Jindal, who has recently become the first person to get accredited as a Chartered Member of HRNZ through the newly launched academic pathway. She shares insights into her key achievements and offers practical advice for Members.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

My HRM journey began in 2000 when I started working for an Indian manufacturing conglomerate: Trident Limited. In the 10 years that I worked for Trident, I had many opportunities to work across a wide array of HRM areas. However, I was (and remain) passionate about employee engagement, which became one of my key research constructs, when I started my doctorate at the University of Auckland Business School in 2013. The University offered me many teaching opportunities while I was a doctoral student. Finding my passion for teaching, I changed to an academic career. Currently, I work as a Professional Teaching Fellow at the university of Auckland Business School, teaching HRM and related courses to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. I recently received an ‘Early Career Excellence in Teaching’ Award at the Business School’s annual award ceremony.




Chartered Membership provides me with the recognition that I have met the required standards to be accredited.

What inspires and motivates you in your career and why? I see myself as a job crafter, who doesn’t stay limited to the traditional boundaries of her role. Job crafting refers to changes that employees make in their jobs to fit with their own needs or abilities or motivations, and that was a key construct in my doctoral thesis. My role as a Professional Teaching Fellow does not require me to conduct research. However, I am involved with various research projects, because I believe research informs my teaching and adds to the meaningfulness that I derive from my work. I recently co-authored a book chapter on how New Zealanders have crafted their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. I actively network with practitioners and bring experiential learning opportunities to my students through my industry collaborations. I feel a deep sense of fulfilment in helping to create the future HR workforce. I am part of many service roles, both within and outside the university, which enable me to give back to the university and the HR community. I see my biggest strengths as being a passion for my work and the desire to make a difference.

What do you see as the challenges facing the industry right now?

The ‘Great Resignation’ that everyone is talking about nowadays perhaps requires organisations to review the employee experience they have been offering to engage and retain talented employees. Challenges related to hybrid working, and its spill-over effect to other HRM areas, are likely to continue for a while. The ability to quickly unlearn old HRM practices that are no longer working and relearn new ways of working will be crucial in attracting and retaining the right talent. The pandemic has exacerbated many challenges, but these also offer unique opportunities for organisations to reposition themselves as an ‘employer of choice’.

How has HRNZ membership helped you fast-track your career? My association with HRNZ began in 2016 when I was selected as a committee member for the Auckland Branch, a role I have held since, except for a one-year break in between. I am also the Branch President of the Academic Branch. These roles have helped me bring opportunities to my students and enhance collaboration with both practitioners and academics.

I became the first person to get accredited as a Chartered Member of HRNZ in September 2021, through the newly launched academic pathway. This new pathway effectively restores the way academics were

accredited in the pre-chartered days. Chartered Membership provides me with the recognition that I have met the required standards to be accredited.

The pandemic has exacerbated many challenges, but these also offer unique opportunities for organisations to reposition themselves as an employer of choice.

Anything else you think our readers would find interesting!

I have benefitted hugely from the support and mentoring of many people who have been part of my journey until now. I believe in lifelong learning and think there is always something new or different to learn. Having the right mentors could add richness to our work and life experiences. I would like to end by saying that I am always striving to

bridge the ‘academia and practice’ gap in HRM, so I would be keen to connect with others who share the same goal.





Clearing up COVID-19 confusion Our world is rich with information. But getting to the facts to be able to make a clear decision is often hard to do, particularly when it comes to COVID-19. HRNZ hosted a webinar in September in which Dr Siouxsie Wiles outlined facts and fictions of the vaccine and the virus. Here is a summary.


atching COVID-19 is not a pleasant experience for many. The virus attaches to many cells in the body, and symptoms (particularly with long COVID) can affect all parts of the body.

What is the virus and its variants?

The virus infects some cells and seeks to make a virus-producing factory to spread the virus further. Copies of the genetic material occur, but sometimes with errors. Although some ‘errors’ or variations are helpful, some are not. Five variants are currently of concern, according to the World Health Organization, including alpha, Delta and Omicron.

Why is Delta so bad?

Delta is of concern in most countries, mainly due to people having a 1,000 times higher viral load when infected, so the spread is large. Delta also has a shorter incubation period and brings higher hospitalisation rates.

The important thing to stress is that the virus will continue to evolve. The question will be how much worse will Delta get? That’s an unanswered question right now. It may mean vaccines will need rejigging in the future.

How does the vaccine work with our immune system?

When someone gets infected with COVID, a struggle starts between the virus and our cells. The virus wants to make a virus-producing factory, but our body has to tell the immune system it needs help. So, a vaccine is like a cheat sheet (a practice run) for the body. In a sense, the vaccine gets the troops rallied so it can be ready when it really needs them. The Pfizer vaccine takes the parts of the virus that our immune response recognises and enables the cells to then make the COVID-19 spike proteins using the mRNA.

How exactly does the vaccine work?

The ‘m’ stands for messenger, which is a good description of what the vaccine does. It brings a message into the body, to tell the immune system what to look for if coronavirus gets in.




What about all the misinformation or disinformation?

Cells are protein-producing factories. When the Pfizer vaccine is given, our cells receive mRNA so that the ribosomes within each cell can make the viral protein. Our cells then realise that the protein is not a human protein, so they present it to the immune system to deal with the ‘invader’, so our cells can recognise it when the real COVID-19 comes along. mRNA is fragile and only hangs around for a couple of days, which is enough to kick start this process. We know that vaccinated people are infectious for a shorter period. But vaccines alone are not effective, and we will need to continue with a ‘Swiss cheese model’ of defence. We will still need masking, ventilation, tracing and other methods to combat the virus.

What about the side effects and safety?

Just as with other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary effects soon after they enter the body and start teaching the immune system. Some women are reporting disruptions in menstrual cycles, although it appears not to be hormone related but simply immune related. Dr Wiles stated that it was being looked at, but was not a cause for concern. What is cause for concern? A study of 29 million people in the United Kingdom showed that vaccinated people have a higher risk of getting one type of a rare blood clot than unvaccinated. But the risk is much higher of getting blood clots if you get COVID-19.

It is clear an extensive campaign is being carried around the world to disrupt the vaccine roll-out. Companies that make money to spread false information have been investigated and are known as the ‘disinformation dozen’. Because they have millions of subscribers and spend lots of money with their advertisers (Facebook and the like), they are not being shut down. You can spot disinformation by seeing these trends: disinformation focusing on the survival rate rather than hospitalisation rates, emphasis being placed on individual freedoms, natural cures and treatments, and typically the posts and articles make people feel fearful or angry, so they are more likely to share the misinformation further.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. She studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh followed by a doctorate in microbiology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and at Edinburgh Napier University. She has won numerous awards for her science and science communication, and in 2021 she was awarded Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.





HR policies for the modern workplace Elise O’Halloran, solicitor at Tavendale and Partners, outlines her recommendations for essential HR policies and asks whether there are any ‘new’ and innovative ways we could consider implementing policies in the modern workplace.


s all business leaders, HR managers and people leaders will know, the world of work is rapidly changing. Many of these workplace changes have accelerated into existence as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, workplaces need to ensure they implement or update their existing employment policies to reflect the new employment landscape they find themselves in. Remote working has now become normal. New technologies such as Zoom, Slack and Teams are used for formal and informal communication between colleagues. A new appreciation has been found of the direct correlation between employee wellbeing and performance. As a result of these rapid changes, employers need to consider having in place some essential policies. 14



Are they necessary?

As an employment lawyer, I am often involved in matters where a breakdown in workplace relationships has occurred, which in some cases has resulted in personal grievance claims being raised. In most instances, the events leading up to the relationship breakdown can be summarised as ‘communication failure’. Alternatively, employers have not followed fair or legally compliant procedures with their employees and, as a result, the employee becomes disadvantaged in their employment. The advantage of having sound, up-to-date and robust workplace policies is that they provide an excellent platform to communicate with employees around expectations in the workplace and procedures that will be followed. As soon as any instances of concern arise, these policies can be relied upon to guide those involved back to a common understanding. To protect an employer’s position in employment-related disputes, by setting clear expectations for acceptable behaviours in the workplace and avoiding communication failure, workplace policies are necessary.

The advantage of having sound, up-to-date and robust workplace policies is that they provide an excellent platform to communicate with employees around expectations in the workplace.

Today’s workplace

A recent study has found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2021. We are now bombarded with technology, information, news alerts, notifications and emails. As a result, we need to consider how we are distributing content in our workplaces. Historically, workplace policies have been long and complicated documents, often printed in hard copy and found collecting dust in the bottom drawer of the office. If we want our workplace policies to be worthwhile having in place, they need to be tailored to the audience who is intended to be using them. Hard copy 100-page workplace policies are not what the modern workplace needs.

I like to make workplace policies practicable and accessible. This means using plain English, keeping the documents succinct and to the point while ensuring legal obligations and risks are covered. An employee or HR manager should be able to pick up a workplace policy and know quickly what procedures are in place and what the behaviour expectations are. Creative and interactive digital ways are available in which workplace policies can be implemented. Some clients are moving towards an online ‘employee handbook’ that details the company culture and values, including videos and photos of the team and sections within the handbook that include their more formal policies.

Absolutely essential

Below are key policies that are essential for the modern workplace. Bullying and Harassment Policy In 2020, Statistics New Zealand revealed that one-in-ten New Zealand employees feel discriminated against, harassed or bullied at work. We are seeing an increased number of employment cases and workplace investigations involving workplace bullying allegations.

WorkSafe New Zealand has expressed that bullying and harassment are common workplace risks from a health and safety perspective. Employers are under a duty to prevent these risks in the workplace. At a minimum, this policy should set out: • agreed definitions of bullying and/or harassment, ideally with examples of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviours • the details of who employees should contact if they have

Some employers are uploading all the workplace policies into a Trello Board. This then creates a simple one-page website that employees can visit, with drop-down tabs on the areas they want to read more about. Trello has created an employee manual template that can be accessed for free (see: https:// employee-manual).




concerns for themselves or someone they work with around bullying or harassment • an explanation of what the organisation will do when they receive complaints, including what options are available for the complainant, details of employment investigation processes and disciplinary matters. Diversity and Inclusion Policy Research clearly shows that diverse workplaces are more likely to outperform less diverse competitors. To create truly diverse and inclusive workplaces, companies need to have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of business operations from recruitment through to promotion, selection and executive teams. A diversity and inclusion policy affirms the company’s position to ensure all candidates and employees will have equal opportunities to thrive. Parental Leave Policy The minimum entitlements to parental leave are set out in the Parental




Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987. This is an outdated and complicated piece of legislation, and it is often difficult for employees who are becoming new parents to understand their entitlements. Therefore, having this clearly set out in a policy can be beneficial. Many organisations are implementing enhanced parental leave policies, offering their employees additional support and flexibility beyond the minimum entitlements provided for by the Act. This includes support such as extended time off, flexible working arrangements and/or increased payments while on leave. Social Media Use Policy Many employees are now using social media as part of building their professional reputation and networking. This includes posting to LinkedIn and using other platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. These platforms create several new networking and business opportunities for businesses, however, the risk is that employees will also comment or share content not inline with company branding or values.

For this reason, it is now essential businesses have a social media policy in place that sets out agreed expectations and guidelines around employees’ use of social media when this use is connected to their job. Flexible and Remote Working Policy Flexible and remote working has become the new normal in many workplaces, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many ‘informal’ working arrangements are now in place where employees work certain days of the week remotely or have more flexibility around their hours. This is often not recorded formally either by way of a variation to their contract or in a flexible and remote working policy. Given the normalisation of flexible and remote working, several points should be included in a flexible and remote working policy. These include but are not limited to: • expectations around any particular days of the week that you require employees to be in the office rather than working remotely

• agreed procedures and expectations for employees around health and safety risk assessments when working from home, particularly around ergonomic set-up and any hazards such as live cables • eligibility to work remotely, agreed performance expectations and setting out the business needs • agreed processes around requesting flexible working arrangements, who to contact and what information employees will need to be provided. Privacy Policy Changes came into force last year, with the updated Privacy Act 2020. From an employment perspective, this updated Act has included enhanced obligations for employers to collect, store and share employees’ personal information. As a result, workplaces need to have privacy policies in place that are updated to reflect the changes to the Privacy Act 2020.

This policy should also provide the contact details and clearly set out who the Privacy Officer for the organisation is and what the procedure will be if a notifiable privacy breach occurs within the organisation.

If we want our workplace policies to be worthwhile having in place, they need to be tailored to the audience who is intended to be using them. Other key policies Along with the above policies, workplaces should have in place and regularly review other fundamental policies. These policies are: • Drug and Alcohol Policy • Disciplinary Policy • Whistleblowing Policy • Health and Safety Policy • Performance Management Policy.

Elise O'Halloran is a dispute resolution lawyer with a speciality in employment law. Helping employers and employees understand their options and get a fair go is Elise’s specialty. Along with her Bachelor of Law, Elise holds a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in human resource management. This gives her a unique perspective to understand the complexities of employment relations and find the best outcome for her clients. When she’s not solving clients’ employment problems, Elise hosts her own podcast and online platform, ‘The Young Woman’ (TYW), with a mission to help ambitious young women increase their confidence and connect with other professionals.





Sustainable policies that stick Bridget Williams outlines how to structure and create sustainable policies within your organisation and, most importantly, how to make these policies stick to avoid greenwashing (and the bin altogether).


he term ‘sustainability’ has evolved and developed throughout the years. With the publication of The Limits to Growth and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, both occurring in 1972, the term ‘sustainability’ had a strong connection to the environment and finite supply of resources. Fast forward 45 years, and it has been recognised that, because many of these environmental issues are human-made, it will take our intervention to make changes. Therefore, the concept of ‘sustainability’ has grown beyond the natural environment and now focuses on three areas: economic, social and environmental.

The five P’s

These three areas are a great starting point for any organisation developing its sustainable policy, and they parallel three areas of the 18



17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework I have referenced in the past two issues. Speaking of the SDGs, the official agenda, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, refers to what are known as ‘the five P’s’: • peace • people • planet • prosperity • partnerships. These are the five sustainable focuses within the agenda and are a helpful reference for any organisation’s sustainable policy. The five P’s go into further detail than just economic, social and environmental factors and can be linked to an existing environmental, social and governance policy and measured by the SDGs.

Creating sustainable policies

Before your organisation starts creating its sustainable policy, it needs to consider the objectives of this policy. Just as the SDGs are the roadmap for ensuring we meet the requirements of Agenda 2030, so too are your policies for ensuring your organisation satisfies its sustainable intentions. Policy is

about creating a structured and accountable programme for the areas of sustainability you want to affect. If we consider the five P’s, the sustainable intentions for each could be as follows. • Peace: – Building a trusted and reliable brand through transparency and delivering a quality service or product. – Creating an accountable, transparent and effective governance structure. • People – Growing and celebrating a diverse and inclusive company culture that provides opportunities for all its employees. – Promoting the importance of wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle throughout our team. • Planet – Reduce waste regeneration through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. – Reduce carbon emissions to become carbon neutral. • Prosperity – Become more competitive in the marketplace. – Attract and retain the best staff.

– Be fair and reasonable with your customers and suppliers. – Financially strengthen our business and improve our reputation with stakeholders. • Partnerships – Uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. – Partner with sustainable organisations and suppliers to action and promote sustainable procurement practices. When it comes to creating sustainable policy, it’s important to outline how your organisation will address these impacts and how they will be measured. These targets could be both internal or external, and could link to the SDGs, because there are several specific targets underneath each goal; altogether there are 169. As referenced in my earlier articles, it’s a missed opportunity if you’re not linking your organisation’s sustainable policies back to the SDGs. Not only is the SDG framework visually appealing and serves as an effective communication tool, it also speaks an international language, allowing your policy to contribute to global goals. Finally, because the sustainable world is

forever changing, so too should your sustainable policy. Ensure your organisation refers to continuous growth and reflection, challenging itself to do and be better and acknowledging that making a sustainable impact is a journey.

For your team to authentically champion these intentions, policy needs to feel part of the culture rather than a set of rules to adhere to.

Making sustainable policy stick

Sustainable policy is both an internal tool and can serve as an external statement, but to make change outwardly, we must first work inwardly. For your team to authentically champion these intentions, policy needs to feel part of the culture rather than a set of rules to adhere to. Making policy part of the ethos instead of edicts comes down to involving staff and empowering them to action policy because they genuinely believe in it and it aligns with their values. This starts by taking time while crafting the policy to understand what staff value, involving

them in determining where they believe sustainable impact should be made within the organisation. This theme parallels the spirit of the SDGs, which is “to leave no one behind”. Because the goals are also known as the ‘People Goals’, we all have a responsibility to action them. Further, allowing staff to help create the organisation’s policy gives the team a sense of ownership over the policy, making them feel connected to it and accountable for making it happen. While it’s tempting to keep the creation of your sustainable policy with just the sustainability team or management, the reality is creating a sustainable impact requires the action of everyone, so it’s imperative to take everyone on the journey from the start. Bridget Williams is the founder of the social enterprise, Bead & Proceed, which exists to educate people about the 17 UN 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.





Boost your team’s energy Are you noticing higher levels of fatigue in your people? Many managers are reporting more of their team members are “running out of puff”, taking longer to get tasks done, and dropping down on energy. Amanda Wallis and Gaynor Parkin examine what we can do about it.


e are also hearing more about overwork, exhaustion and the three components that are characteristic of burning out: energy depletion, mental distance from work and reduced effectiveness. Concerningly, recent research from the World Health Organization speaks to the dangers of working more than 55 hours a week as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. We have a responsibility to look after our teams so they make it through each working week safe and healthy and with energy to bring their whole selves to work. More than that, we can aspire to help people finish work each day in an even better state than they arrived in. It’s an ambitious goal, but one we can achieve when we rethink 20



what is possible. Burnout, overwork and exhaustion must be priority agenda items for executive teams and the boardroom, noting that organisational factors (ie, work design) play a large role in protecting mental wellbeing at work. While change is needed at every level, each of us can take simple steps. You can help boost the wellbeing and energy of your people, especially during busier months.

Recent research from the World Health Organization speaks to the dangers of working more than 55 hours a week as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Science of positive psychology

According to pioneering researchers Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, positive psychology is a field of science that strives to promote flourishing and fulfilment at individual, group and societal levels. Positive psychology rests on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, cultivate what is best within themselves, and enhance their experiences of love, work and play.

Contrary to what some media portray, positive psychology is not the science of happiness. Instead, it is the science of all that goes right, rather than wrong, with people. This does, of course, include happiness, but it’s more than that. It encompasses resilience, perseverance, courage, optimism, curiosity and a broad range of other hopeful topics. Importantly, positive psychology is highly relevant to business because it is fundamentally about high performance, and how to allow people to do their best. Smart studies have investigated how much an upbeat mood reduces the time it takes a team of doctors to make a tricky diagnosis and shown that a social worker will make twice as many visits to clients if they feel appreciated. Other research has demonstrated that using optimistic thinking is helpful for salespeople to bounce back from setbacks. How can we use positive psychology to boost our teams? Try one or more of the following strategies with your team and see what effect they have. Don’t forget to check in and ask for feedback too.

Build on team strengths

Described as ‘character strengths’, these are internal strengths: doing what we are best

at naturally, such as in the areas of leadership, perseverance, fairness or humour. One of the immediate benefits of using strengths is that it makes tasks that align with our strengths feel enjoyable and less effortful. Crucially, acting using our strengths should be energising rather than exhausting, helping us tackle the fatigue our team members might be experiencing.

Positive psychology rests on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, cultivate what is best within themselves, and enhance their experiences of love, work and play. Using our strengths affords us a myriad of positive emotions: a sense of mastery, success and competence, to name a few. Struggling with weaknesses does the opposite. We’re more likely to benefit if we know and fully understand our strengths, and if we are using them. Peterson and Peterson found that law students who used their top strengths were at reduced risk for anxiety and depression and were more satisfied in life.

To build on your team strengths, get everyone to take a mental (perhaps private) note of how competent and fulfilled they’ve been feeling at work. Then have everyone on your team complete the free VIA Strengths Assessment and share their reflections (if they feel comfortable doing so). Have each member talk about when they’ve used their strengths, how it worked, how they felt. How could people bring their strengths to bear on a current issue? How could people use their strengths even more in their work? Make a plan. After a trial period (maybe after a project is over), get everyone to re-rate their sense of competence and fulfilment to see if it has made a positive difference or not. One of the greatest benefits of these strengths conversations is that we discover the diversity of our colleagues’ strengths, and that no one strength is ‘better’ than another. While organisation, attention to detail and order might rank lowest on one person’s strengths list, they might be someone else’s ‘happy place’. The more we acknowledge the individual diversity our team members bring, the more we can enable them to do the tasks that they find truly meaningful (and perform best doing!).

Keep in mind that the goal of a strengths discussion isn’t to make people change their strengths or develop their weaknesses; it’s about encouraging greater use of the strengths they already feel good about.

Boost positive emotion

A strong body of research has demonstrated that purposefully experiencing more positive emotion is linked with both improved performance and enhanced wellbeing. The mechanism for how this works is both neurochemical and physiological: experiencing positive emotions like joy, hope, achievement, satisfaction and gratitude signal to our bodies and brains that a stress state is not required and take us instead into a calm, optimum zone. Professor Barbara Fredrickson is a leading psychological researcher in this field. She has described the transformative powers of positive emotions as the ‘broaden and build’ phenomena. Her studies have shown that experiencing more positive emotion broadens the scope of attention and cognition, and therefore the behavioural options that are available to us. This research explains why we are more likely to be creative when we are in a




positive mood, more innovative, and perform better. A practical finding from this research is that the intensity of the emotion – how strong the feeling feels – does not determine the benefits so much as the frequency of experiencing positive emotions. It is how often you have a good feeling that matters. Sharing a joke with a colleague, taking 10 minutes to enjoy the quiz with your team, celebrating small wins, or saying thanks to your admin support are all short but effective positive emotion boosts during the day. What small steps can you take to facilitate more positive emotion in your team? Perhaps a team tradition of sharing weekend stories has dropped away as workloads have increased? Or celebrating successes, or a ritual of the daily quiz over coffee? Pay attention to when you and your team already experience positive emotion at work. What were




you doing? Then plan how you can facilitate more of these experiences within your team interactions.

…the intensity of the emotion – how strong the feeling feels – does not determine the benefits so much as the frequency of experiencing positive emotions.

Experience more flow

The idea of ‘flow’ has been around for some time but has attracted more attention recently as information from neuroscience studies adds scientific weight to the concept. Flow is a state of activity where time goes by unnoticed, our skill level matches the challenge perfectly, and we feel like we’re completely ‘in the zone’. Hungarian psychologist Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first

described flow as the state we experience when our concentration is high, we experience deep satisfaction, we stop feeling selfconscious (or self-critical) and we don’t notice time. You may have experienced flow when you are completely absorbed in a hobby you enjoy, in conversation with a loved one, or completing a satisfying project at work. Experiencing flow is beneficial to our wellbeing because it produces positive emotions, meaning, purpose and satisfaction in life, allowing us to get in touch with our true selves and what we are good at. Being in a state of flow helps us persist with challenging tasks, which leads to the further development of skills and greater performance. Studies also suggest that greater experience of flow at work can improve our energy levels at the end of the day, helping protect us against fatigue.

Discuss with your team members to see how much flow they experience and what accommodations you can make to help them experience more. If certain team members’ skills are not high enough to meet the challenge of their current tasks, they are more likely to be experiencing anxiety than flow. For these people, ensure that they have access to appropriate resources, mentoring and support to build their skills. Flow also becomes more likely when people get frequent feedback so they can see progress and adjust what they are doing. In addition, these team members may benefit from taking on additional tasks that better match their skill level so they may still experience flow while on the upskilling path. For team members whose skills exceed the challenge they face, and are experiencing boredom rather than flow, consider delegating them new, more challenging tasks.

It may also be necessary for team members to dial back on distractions to achieve a flow state. As a manager, you can support team members to set aside blocks of time for ‘deep work’, where they are permitted to set an out-of-office message on their email to avoid distractions. Recent research also shows that daily goal setting can be a useful tool to increase flow at work, leading to greater performance and lower daily stress. Think of these team tools from positive psychology as a toolkit rather than a recipe; you don’t need to use them all at once to see positive outcomes, and not all strategies will work for every team. Take an experimental approach and see what works for you and your teams.

Gaynor Parkin is a registered clinical psychologist and CEO at Umbrella Wellbeing. A psychologist with nearly three decades’ experience in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Gaynor is dedicated to helping New Zealand businesses thrive. Twelve years ago, she published her book, I’ve had it up to here: From stress to strength, detailing how to handle work stress and build resilience. As well as working closely with senior leadership teams to devise and apply those solutions, she dedicates time to contributing to the growing wealth of wellbeing research and literature. Dr Amanda Wallis leads the research programme at Umbrella Wellbeing. Amanda is fascinated by the ‘why’ of human behaviour. At its core, her work is devoted to helping understand and support people to engage in behaviours they want to be doing, but struggle with: whether that’s exercising, creating psychologically safe teams, or learning how to ‘switch off’ from work. Her passion is in translating research into practical strategies for change and she is dedicated to expanding our collective knowledge about ‘what works’ when it comes to behaviour change.





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




Only available to

HRNZ Members

How can help your business? Flexi-wage is one of the ways Work and Income is supporting employers to get more people into work. Whether you’re recruiting now or starting to make recruitment decisions to meet the longer-term needs of your business, we may be able to help.

A wage contribution, support and training

Flexi-wage can also include ongoing advice and support to help new team members settle into your workplace and help with the cost of pre-employment, in-work or shortterm training and NZQA training up to level three (in addition to the wage contribution).

Flexi-wage is a wage contribution and can also include training and ongoing in-work support. We can talk to you about what we can offer and how it’s paid, based on the individual circumstances of the employee.

We can also help you by advertising vacancies for free, managing all or part of the recruitment: finding and shortlisting candidates and providing a location for interviews.

The wage contribution is paid to you, the employer, and will generally be either: $6,624 (GST inc) over 24 weeks $9,936 (GST inc) over 36 weeks

To find out more visit:





Vaccine mandates New Zealand is in a new phase of its COVID-19 response, with the Delta variant entering the community, and the government strategy shifting away from elimination. There is a sharp focus on vaccinations as the primary means of protection. This poses challenges for employers across the motu, who want to ensure their staff are safe and protected from the virus, and their business is well protected from the potential shocks of a workplace outbreak.

The starting point is that an employer is entitled to introduce lawful and reasonable workplace policies, in accordance with its inherent right to manage its workforce and its duty to take reasonably practicable steps to provide a safe workplace. In the absence of a legislative mandate that requires your workforce to be vaccinated (or in addition to it), an employer could implement its own vaccination policy; and, if it can establish, on health and safety grounds or some other grounds, that a vaccinated worker must do the work, we consider it is likely an employer could include mandatory vaccination in its policy.

What would a policy include? Mandatory vaccine order

Large proportions of the New Zealand workforce are now covered by a mandatory vaccination order, which legally requires our health and disability workers, border workers, correction officers and teachers to be vaccinated in order to perform their roles. However, most New Zealand workers are not covered by this legal mandate. So what options are available to employers?

Could I implement my own vaccination policy? The short answer is ‘yes’.




A vaccination policy could include: • when and why an employer may collect information about the vaccination status of its employees, including how it will be stored and used • the employer’s approach to recruiting for new roles, and whether it will endeavour to recruit vaccinated staff, and, if so, how it will manage that process • when mandatory vaccination may apply • if mandatory vaccination will apply, which roles it will apply to, the process the employer will follow for unvaccinated employees, and the timeframes

given for obtaining vaccination • the process that will be followed wherever someone seeks an exemption from vaccination requirements (eg, for medical or other reasons), and the alternatives that will be considered.

What is the process for implementing a policy?

• Consistent with the duties of good faith, employees who will be covered by the policy should be consulted on the policy before it is introduced. This will include: – advising employees of the reasons the policy is being introduced – providing employees with any evidence you have relied on. This will include a client directive where that is being relied on, a copy of the mandatory vaccination order or government vaccination certificate requirements if that is the basis, or a copy of any risk assessment that has been carried out if health and safety is the reason for the policy – seeking employee (and union, where applicable) feedback on the draft policy, especially on the reasons for the introduction of the policy, the parameters of its application, and the consequences of noncompliance with the policy.

I want to include mandatory vaccination in my policy; can I do that? Where the employee is required to be vaccinated under the mandatory vaccination order, the answer to this is definitely yes, based on the case law to date. No case law has been established yet on dismissing an employee for refusing to be vaccinated where no applicable mandatory vaccination order is in place. However, we consider it is likely that an employer could still include this in a policy. Imposing a requirement to be vaccinated in order to carry out work is significant. An employer would need to establish a strong basis to do this, and, like everything in the employment law world, process will be crucial. The likely reasons an employer could consider including mandatory vaccination would be where: • a health and safety risk assessment identifies that the work should only be undertaken by a vaccinated employee • client requirements demand that the business provide fully vaccinated workers • the employer decides to use COVID-19 vaccine certificates under the proposed traffic light system, that is, if the employer requires its customers to be vaccinated to enable greater freedoms under orange and red levels. That last category is still an open question, because the government has indicated it intends to legislate or regulate for this group. The expectation is employers in

that group will likely see some government intervention that will guide their approach.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment (needed if mandatory vaccination is being proposed on health and safety grounds) involves asking the question: does the nature of the work pose a sufficient risk of infection and/or transmission of COVID-19 that means it must be undertaken by a vaccinated worker? When completing a risk assessment, an employer should focus on assessing the role, not the individual. However, employees (and their unions) should have the opportunity to engage and participate in consultation as part of this process. WorkSafe New Zealand has prepared a list of questions an

employer can use when undertaking a risk assessment that focuses on factors such as proximity to others, time spent around other people and ability to contact trace those around you. An employer can undertake this assessment themselves. Alternatively, some employers may want to consider obtaining external help from a health and safety professional.

Refusal to be vaccinated

If an employer wants to dismiss an employee for not being vaccinated under their Vaccination Policy (or under a Public Health Order), that dismissal has to comply with the usual requirements of the Employment Relations Act 2000. That is, both the reason for the dismissal, and the process used, need to be what a fair and reasonable employer could do in the circumstances.

That will mean ensuring the employee understands the potential outcomes of the process, can be represented if they choose to be, is provided with a reasonable opportunity to address the employer and respond, and their response is listened to and considered by their employer before a decision is made. Remember, the Human Rights Act 1993 is still applicable. If an individual maintains that they will not get vaccinated on the basis of one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination (such as religious belief or disability), an employer must be more considered about whether or not it can nevertheless accommodate the employee in the workplace. An employer has specific requirements to consider, depending on which prohibited ground is being claimed, and specific legal advice should be sought in the first instance.

Things to remember

We are continuing to see vaccinations as a sensitive issue, and people on both sides have strongly held beliefs. Employers need to remember that, despite strong differences in views, you need to engage with your employees in a constructive and open manner.

Jack Rainbow Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa (Tapuika), is a solicitor at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. He has been providing advice to major public and private sector employers on the implementation of the vaccine mandate order. Jack also volunteers at Community Law and previously worked at a law firm specialising in Māori legal issues, particularly Waitangi Tribunal claims.





Crucial role to play Over 200 participants with an interest in creating psychologically safe workplaces joined the HRNZ HR Virtual Summit on Workplace Wellness in September. Kathy Catton reviews the highlights and captures some of the learnings.


very single day was a challenge for me. I was mentally and physically exhausted. There was so much tension in me, I would shake. I had suicidal ruminations. But then someone said to me, ‘You’ve got a good heart’. These were part of the opening words of Sir John Kirwan’s keynote speech at the HRNZ HR Virtual Summit on Workplace Wellness. It was these words, ‘You’ve got a good heart’, that set JK on a path to saving his own life and turning his attention to being a force for good in the world. Sir John, or ‘JK’, Kiwi legend, ex All Black and Founder of Mentemia, started the Virtual Summit by sharing his own journey to mental health. “At first, I did a lot for my physical health – taking anti-depressants, being careful what I ate and getting massages, for example,” he said. “But I wasn’t looking after my brain. It was my doctor, Dr Louise




Armstrong, who gave me clarity. Just as I would treat a tight hamstring with physio, I needed to treat my brain with specific actions.”

Role of HR

It is becoming clear that HR is wellplaced to drive positive mental health in the workforce. HR needs to be at the forefront of supporting its people. But where to start? That is often where HR professionals get stuck, when wanting to introduce a wellbeing strategy to their workplace at the same time as looking after themselves. JK pointed out that prevention is essential to setting up a mental health policy with three main areas of focus: • empowering individuals • lifting leaders (to put wellbeing on their agenda) • optimising the environment.

As JK quoted, “It’s no use fixing the fish if the water is toxic,” meaning leadership needs to be on board with the business case for wellbeing. We know that suicide rates in New Zealand are climbing, and workplace productivity is declining due to stressed out, anxious employees. And we also know that physical health is not the only factor contributing to a happy, engaged workforce.

Engaging speakers The practical application regarding employer obligations was discussed by Elise O’Halloran, solicitor from Tavendale and Partners. She spoke about the requirements of employers in providing psychologically safe workplaces and the necessity of solutions, not just the “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff”.

Introducing a wellbeing strategy into the workplace may have the following framework. Leading by example: L Looking after yourself E Experiment with different ideas A Adapt to your environment and staff D Develop habits by building small actions into your day Bridget Jelley and Jay Barrett from The Effect, talked about their journey in shaping how we do wellbeing in Aotearoa and the importance of keeping things simple, meeting people where they are at and genuinely listening to people’s needs. With many participants listening from a locked-down Auckland (still in alert level 4 during the broadcasting of this event), the topic of social connection was well received. Gary Hewson and Gaynor Parkin, registered clinical psychologists from Umbrella Wellbeing, talked about creating a culture of wellbeing and connection amongst dispersed teams.

Financial wellbeing

A piece of the wellbeing offering that is often missed is financial wellbeing. Hannah McQueen, Founder of, whose aim is to “help Kiwis do better”, provided practical insights into how financial problems can affect overall wellbeing. According to her research, 93 per cent of employees believe financial wellbeing influences their overall wellbeing. Hence, Hannah spoke of the insidious noise that is often in the minds of employees around financial stresses.

Bringing others with you: S Set an example H Help and suggest different ideas to try O Observe W Work as a team Caring authentically: C Check-in genuinely; provide a psychologically safe bridge’ A Actively listen R Reassure with comments like “We’ve got tools, I’ll talk to the boss, Do you need time off?” E Encouraging people to reach out




The seven pillars to unlock financial wellbeing:

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,” said Jane. “But it is even more than that – by knowing what your people need as individuals, businesses can understand what is truly important to your 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.”

financial literacy wealth mindset financial plan accountability and support adaptability systems behaviour and execution.

“By starting to understand the issues and then having the confidence to use tools and identify the areas to focus on, people can start to challenge their mindset and build courage when it comes to creating financial plans,” said Hannah.

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.

Wellbeing index

Jane Kennelly, General Manager of Wellbeing at Skills Consulting Group, outlined the main findings from the 2021 Workplace Wellbeing Index. The index is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It will be rolled out on an annual basis, providing an indepth look at where Kiwi businesses




Being vulnerable

This idea of genuine care was one of the overriding themes of the Summit. Many cite it as the number one indicator of wellbeing. It’s often just stopping to really see people, listen so they feel heard and knowing what’s going to help them when times are tough, that makes the biggest difference. Jehan Casinader, journalist, author and mental health advocate, closed the Summit with a sincere and authentic telling of his own story. “I’m here to share my journey, but I’d also like you to reflect on your own wellbeing,” said Jehan. On speaking about his coverage of the Christchurch terror attack, Jehan said, “As a journalist, you have to

step into the worst day of someone’s life and to quickly build trust, so that you can receive their story and then share it with others.” But the dark irony was that, at this time, Jehan was living with despair and suicidal thoughts in his own life. Jehan sought help but found the clinical language of ‘depression’ ambiguous and unhelpful. “When we have physical conditions, we can diagnose them with specificity. Either you have a broken leg, or you don’t. But there’s no way to test someone for depression.” “We diagnose people based on their symptoms, but we often fail to account for their trauma, identity, values, beliefs, culture and personal history. Their story is missing,” said Jehan. Through his journalism, Jehan had discovered a common theme in the lives of people who had survived difficult times: they had changed the story of who they were and where they were going. “The Muslim community said they wanted the terror attacks to be a story of love, not of hate,” said Jehan. “Despite what had happened, they chose a different perspective that offered a more hopeful future.” In a business context, Jehan said leaders can help their staff to understand that they are the authors of their own stories, and those stories have power. If people are carrying

around toxic or unhelpful stories, they can learn how to rewrite them, said Jehan. He speaks to organisations about how to do this. “What happens in life is less important than the story we tell ourselves about it,” said Jehan. “Each person has the power to construct a more hopeful story about their life.” Jehan also outlined the importance of moving away from the binary framing of mental ‘wellness’ versus mental ‘illness’. He said we all experience mental distress, and this does not mean we are unwell. In most cases, it simply means we are human.

Powerful stories 1. You have a story, and it matters. 2. Our stories can always be changed. 3. Your story will include suffering. 4. Your story can offer meaning.

Questions to ask yourself • Who is writing my story? • How can I tell a different story with the same facts? • What would a good character do? • How has conflict and suffering made me a better person?

This Summit explored the spectrum of employee wellness needs and looked at what leading employers will need to do to maintain a healthy and engaged workforce. Perhaps even more powerfully, the Summit provided the opportunity for us to reflect as individuals on what meanings we can create of our own to live more purposeful and fulfilling lives, for the benefit of others and ourselves.





HR policies essential to navigating with speed Stephen Moore from Ceridian looks at the need for HR policies to evolve quickly as our world of work continues to move forward. He shares his highlights for getting this change right.


ith the end of 2021 in sight, forward-thinking business leaders are planning for a new year ahead, more determined than ever to meet evolving business demands and workforce priorities. Top-of-mind for HR leaders and CEOs is staying a step ahead of increasingly complex compliance needs while providing exceptional employee experiences to better attract and retain employees in the hyper-competitive global talent market. Outdated solutions, lacking real-time data, poor user experiences, and disparate systems are all obstacles to addressing the changing world of work. Too often, we hear of HR departments being inundated with questions from employees, ranging from award entitlements to vacation allowances. Forward-facing HR policies play an integral role as




organisations look to mitigate risks inherent in these obstacles, hire top talent and evolve in an increasingly fluid and borderless work environment.

Payroll compliance is critical

One of the most critical touchpoints an employer has with its workforce is when they get paid. Organisations have a responsibility to pay workers accurately, on time, every time. Despite this, given New Zealand’s complex industrial relations system, it’s no surprise many employers are challenged with payroll and wage compliance. In fact, a task force that reviewed New Zealand’s Holidays Act 2003 found many employers struggled to comply. This is reinforced by soon to be released research conducted by Ceridian that found three-quarters (75 per cent) of the labour force is doing overtime each week, yet only 50 per cent are being paid for it. Contemporary technology can help organisations navigate the complex and evolving payroll landscape. This includes automating new tax rules in various jurisdictions, resulting in fewer errors while also freeing up time for payroll teams to focus on high-value work.

No one-size-fits-all approach to health and safety

As New Zealand plans its reopening strategy, many companies are considering what their return-to-office policy will look like. When it comes to the health and safety of employees, and matters such as vaccine mandates, it’s critical to keep employees informed with all the information available and abide by the guidance of local health authorities. As employers consider bringing employees back to the workplace, they should be thinking about the following. • Offering a staggered return to office-based work: Identify the roles best suited to virtual working versus those requiring in-person interactions and time the return to the workplace accordingly. • Giving employees choice: Not everyone will be willing or able to return to the office. Communicate with your employees through regular touchpoints or pulse surveys, to better understand how they feel and better inform workplace policies.

• Supporting employee mental health and wellbeing: According to Community and Public Health, almost one-third of people in New Zealand have a personal experience of mental distress, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated this for many. Employers must continue to prioritise the holistic wellbeing of employees today and in the years ahead.

Elevating employee experiences

Ceridian’s Future of Work survey found that most organisations (68 per cent) in New Zealand are seeking to increase the size of their team in the next year. At the same time, the ‘great resignation’ continues to reach new heights. According to Auckland University of Technology’s Wellbeing at Work study, the proportion of employees not considering leaving their jobs has halved when compared with 2020 findings, from 19.1 per cent in May 2020 to 9.2 per cent in April this year. As the competition for talent heats up in the pandemic world, employers must realise the power dynamic has shifted in favour of the employee.

In the future, employers will need to deploy systems and policies that reflect the values of the organisation and employees in meaningful and authentic ways. Policies will also need to encourage diverse professional growth, if organisations want to successfully draw the best available candidates. It’s clear that HR policies need to evolve rapidly to keep up with the changes we’ve experienced over the past 18 months. HR professionals and business leaders must cultivate a forward-thinking mindset; one that accounts for continuous change, compliance and employee experience at the forefront.

Stephen Moore is responsible for overall leadership of the Asia Pacific and 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.





Pronouns in the workplace HRNZ’s Professional Standards and Development Manager, Amy Clarke, explores the use of pronouns in the workplace and how we can develop more inclusivity by using them correctly.

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are used in place of a proper noun, like a person’s name, and we use them all the time, often without even thinking, for example, “where is Amy? I don’t know, I think she’s in a meeting”. In this instance, she is the pronoun. More often than not, people will assume someone’s pronouns are based on how they look or what their name is, rather than asking what they might be. Most of us do this; it’s a natural part of our unconscious bias and isn’t necessarily wrong, but it can be hurtful and harmful to assume someone’s gender.

Why are pronouns so important, and why have they become so popular recently?

In English, gender forms the basis of our most common pronouns, for example, she, her, him, he. For many gender nonconforming, trans or gender diverse folk, the male–female pronouns may not feel right for them, 34



don’t describe who they are, and can cause stress and anxiety when used by others to describe them.

use of pronouns will help to create a greater sense of safety and inclusivity and, with effort, will change this.

Pronouns, therefore, are a way of signalling to others who you are and how you’d like to be identified.

In this case, using gender-neutral language when referring to them is far better than imposing your own assumption of their gender. Examples of this are using their name, using they or them, or using terms like ‘folks’ or ‘team’ when referring to them in a group.

Many workplaces have made a considered effort to become more inclusive in the past few years, particularly in the public sector, with programmes of work like Papa Pounamu providing milestones for public sector agencies around diversity and inclusion. These milestones have increased and started to normalise conversations about several different ways to be inclusive (and how many practices are currently exclusive). Information about pronouns and their importance has been a big part of these initial conversations.

Can I ask someone what their pronouns are?

This is a bit tricky, but my advice, if you weren’t sure of someone’s pronouns, would be to identify what yours are and then offer the opportunity for the other person or people to share theirs. If they’re not forthcoming, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, they might not want to share them. We shouldn’t expect everyone to be comfortable sharing their pronouns, for a variety of reasons, but normalisation of the

How do I go about introducing pronouns into my workplace?

The best place to start if you’re thinking about introducing pronouns into email signatures or in-person introductions in things like meetings, particularly with external people, is to engage with your internal rainbow community. If you have one, ask your Rainbow Network, and if you don’t have a formalised one, find a safe way to ask people in your organisation who identify as part of the broad umbrella of LGBTQI+ community for their thoughts and whether they would be interested in leading or having input into a piece of work like this. Creating spaces where everyone feels comfortable to come together, or giving people the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback, are great ways to start this conversation.

I’m not a member of the Rainbow community. Why should I have pronouns in my email signature? And is it okay to have them when I’m not a part of the community?

It’s all about being an ally. Having your pronouns proudly on display as someone who is cis (someone whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth) is more about creating safe and inclusive spaces for others (those who identify as trans, non-binary and so on) than it is about yourself. And, yes, it’s absolutely okay to include them in your email signature as a person outside of the community. Doing this normalises the use of pronouns for everyone, so the burden isn’t placed solely on our trans, nonbinary, takatapui whanau, and creates less of a ‘spotlight’ on those who need to use them to be identified and gendered correctly when they are used.

What are other things I can do to be inclusive in my workplace that don’t cost us money?

Giving people the opportunity to share their pronouns before coming in for things like interviews and confirming the name they would like used, if this differs from what might be on a passport or another type of ID, is a great and free way to be more inclusive. Something else that’s great to consider, particularly if you’re thinking of updating or reviewing any policies, is to review them with a specifically inclusive lens in mind. Check to make sure that documentation or policies you have include gender-neutral language like ‘they’ or ‘them’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’. Again, if you’re

doing work like this, check in with your internal rainbow folk or ask some of the incredible organisations like InsideOut, that do great work to help organisations become more inclusive.

National rainbow organisations:

Inclusive spaces and practices, like including pronouns in email signatures, will benefit everyone, not just our minority communities.

Ph 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE)

Where to learn more?

Te Kawa Mataaho – Public Service Commission website here:

OUTLine NZ Confidential, free, LGBTQI+affirming support line and face-toface counselling.

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

• pronoun use in email signatures • including pronouns in email signatures helps remove anxiety for LGBTQIA+ community in workplace.

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

Speak directly with Amy via

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 joined HRNZ in July 2021 and has a broad background in generalist HR across the private and public sector. At the 2020 NZ HR Awards, Amy was a finalist for the HR Generalist of the year category, Winner of the Leadership Award and named HR Person of the Year for 2020. Amy has a passion for diversity and inclusion and supporting the LGBTTQI+ community. As the Manager, Professional Standards and Development, part of Amy’s role is overseeing the professional standards and development framework and ensuring HRNZ delivers good quality content to its members through all its channels.





The great immigration reset What to bin and what to keep has clearly been on the minds of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) when writing immigration policy over the past 18 months. Rachael Mason provides an update.


NZ has been issuing policy changes at a rate of knots, keeping employers and migrants in a state of uncertainty. With the 2021 Residence category announcement, INZ is now executing phase one of its ‘immigration reset’.

2021 Residence category

This new category will enable an estimated 160,000 migrants to secure New Zealand residence, providing them with the opportunity to live in New Zealand on a permanent basis. While some will not qualify, this policy effectively grants residence to most migrant workers who were in New Zealand on the main work visa categories as at the date of the announcement in late September. The policy involves three qualifying categories: • Settled: for applicants who have been here for at least three years 36



• Scarce: for applicants who have jobs on the skills shortage lists • Skilled: for applicants earning at least the median pay rate of $27 per hour.

the struggle to get residence. It is likely a significant number of those being granted residency under this policy would have had no way of qualifying otherwise.

Migrants who have arrived or arrive on a border exception or critical purpose visitor visa may also be eligible under this category.

The policy effectively resets the onshore migrant workforce, paving the way for the second phase of the reset as we see the gradual reopening of the border, which is set to start from the first quarter 2022.

Generous at last?

Although a few hooks are in the detailed policy to be aware of, if an applicant can get past the first settled, skilled or scarce gateway, in most cases, they will be able to qualify. It’s fair to say that the generosity of this new policy went much further than would have been expected. Ironically, a significant number of migrants hold visas where the employment is classed as ‘low skilled’ and who have been subject to the offshore stand-down after three years of working here, who will be eligible. Previously, the policy said, “You can come, but only for three years” to these people. Now they are being invited to stay forever. The new category removes a considerable number of migrant workers and their employers from the painful and uncertain cycle of repeat work visa applications and

The closed border and disruption to the immigration system has been described as a once in a generation opportunity to change the way immigration is managed.

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The second phase will see the introduction of the new Accredited Employer framework for employersponsored work visas, which will require all employers wishing to hire a migrant worker (other than certain ‘open’ work visa holders) to become accredited with INZ and make an application via their ‘gateway’ system. This requirement for accreditation is designed to ensure employers meet good standards of

practice before they are allowed to employ migrants.

available to them before they are willing to relocate to a new country.

As many employers will recall, the new Accredited Employer framework was due to be implemented on 1 November 2021 but was delayed until 2022. The latest announcements indicate that employers will be able to apply for accreditation from 9 May 2022, with the new framework set to go live on 4 July 2022.

As the borders reopen, significant offshore recruitment will occur as employers look to fill skills gaps in their organisations that have been on hold throughout the border closure or are needed to support business growth. The new Accredited Employer framework and residence policies will dictate the types of migrants who can secure visas as part of the overall system reset, to ensure the right mix of people and skills to support economic growth, build local communities and develop skills.

It’s fair to say that the generosity of this new policy went much further than would have been expected.

New residence policies

INZ is also reviewing the Skilled Migrant category. In conjunction with that, it will introduce a pathway to residence for highly paid migrants (signalled at 200 per cent of the median wage) under the Accredited Employer framework. These two categories will form the main pathways that a migrant can secure residence via their employment, and so they have an important role in supporting employers in attracting highly skilled workers and their families to New Zealand. Most migrants will want reassurance that a long-term residence option is

The closed border and disruption to the immigration system has been described as a “once in a generation” opportunity to change the way immigration is managed. Each of these developments are significant in their own right. Taken together, they will effectively wipe the slate clean, meaning that, in 2022, we will be starting again. For HR professionals and employers, a steep learning curve is ahead to understand how these new frameworks can be leveraged to support recruitment needs. However, the promise of a ‘streamlined’ and ‘simplified’ system should give us all some comfort that the time invested will be worth the effort. Roll on 2022!

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.





Address the gender confidence gap Strategic Pay’s analysis of 187,000 workers shows an overall gender pay gap of 18.5 per cent. At CEO level it’s higher, at 32.7 per cent. We know it’s worse still for Māori and Pasifika women. Jess Stuart writes here about what is within our control to lessen this gap and how we can own our space when we get there.


nternational research shows that a more diverse workforce leads to better decision-making and a healthier bottom line. Worker satisfaction and retention are much higher when pay and opportunities are fair. Our aim is for inclusive workplaces that flourish due to diverse skills, experience and backgrounds. So why aren’t we there yet? Many organisations now conduct their own pay audits; we have policies around leadership quotas, pay transparency and flexible working. We undertake unconscious bias training, mentoring and sponsorship programmes and focus on our diversity and inclusion agendas. The progress has begun, but there’s more work to do. 38



Initiatives like Mind the Gap are pushing for public reporting to get Aotearoa on the same page as Australia and the United Kingdom, which are mandated to report their pay gaps. It’s made a difference with what gets measured getting done! Then there’s Iceland, which in 2018 became the first country to make it illegal to pay women less than men. As we continue making progress, what can we do while we wait for our organisations to catch up? I’m an advocate for focusing on what we can control and, as individuals, that is often ourselves! I believe a big part of closing the gender gap in terms of leadership,

pay and equal opportunities lies in our ability to close the gender confidence gap. It’s not just about being given seats at the table but believing that we deserve to take them and are capable of doing so. I have worked with many leaders in my years in senior HR roles across the globe, and I’ve been one myself. Apart from our organisational ecosystems, the biggest barrier to women succeeding in leadership can sometimes be our own thoughts and expectations. We can place massively unfair expectations on ourselves. To work hard at work but not feel guilty if we can’t be at the school gates at 3pm

or not feel bad for arriving at work at 9am after the school drop off. Research shows that many of us are still doing more than our fair share at home, too. We’ve also had decades of masculine role models in leadership, which means we now tread a fine line: be more assertive (but risk being labelled a bully), be vulnerable (but risk being labelled weak), and all this while being encouraged to embrace your authenticity! Psychologists refer to it as the double-bind, a dilemma in which an individual receives two conflicting messages. Add to that, if we’re high achievers, like many on a leadership trajectory, the chances are we also encounter Imposter Syndrome. According to the International Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 70 per cent experience Imposter Syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that leaves us feeling like we’re not as good as people think and a persistent fear that one day we might get exposed as a fraud. It often leads to waving away praise and downplaying our achievements. It causes us to lean out rather than lean in, we’re reluctant to take credit for our work, ask for a pay rise or apply for the promotion to avoid rejection or ‘being found out’.

Organisations can help with their pay policies, audits and transparency, and we shouldn’t take the pressure off here. In addition though, if we don’t ask, we don’t get, and this is the bit we control. How many of us negotiated our pay at the last opportunity or have asked for a pay rise? Fifty-seven per cent of men said that, when they got their offer, they negotiated the price; for women that figure is just 7 per cent (Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, Princeton University Press, 2021). While we know a gender pay gap exists, I also believe there is a gender confidence gap. This is one we can control. By empowering women to take their seats at the table, build self-efficacy, believe in their abilities and develop their skills, we help address both.

Top tips for owning your space • Believe in yourself and your abilities – you got here for a good reason. • Have firm boundaries. • Build resilience and prioritise self-care. • Take credit where its due and celebrate your success. • Be authentic and be true to your values. • Support others – lift as you climb. • Don’t be afraid to ask. • This includes asking for support and delegating. • Leverage your strengths. • Set realistic expectations. • Know that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Jess Stuart is an international speaker, coach and author of four personal development books. Jess believes that tapping into your potential doesn’t mean doing more or having to be different. It’s uncovering what’s already there and being enough as you are. She is well known as an Imposter Syndrome expert, has a background in senior HR roles and a decade working in leadership development.





Death of the performance review? Janice Burns, Chief People Officer at Degreed, questions if performance reviews are suitable for today’s fast-paced world and, if not, what should take their place?


he performance review is something familiar to all workforces. Yet, as our work becomes more fast-paced, and after the many disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our workplaces, many are questioning the future of the performance review. Is it best left in the past? Research would back up this point of view. Dissatisfaction with performance reviews is widespread internationally – 95 per cent of managers aren’t happy with the process, 90 per cent of HR professionals believe they are inaccurate. Furthermore, 87 per cent of employees find performance reviews ineffective. Even CEOs dislike them, with only 6 per cent stating that performance reviews are useful to their organisation. Clearly, a lot of room for improvement exists. The performance review can no longer be the mainstay of HR 40



decision making. Traditional performance management approaches were developed at a different time when agility and responsiveness weren’t on the boardroom agenda.

Punishing poor performance Performance reviews began life around World War I, as a merit rating system set up by the US military (to identify poor performers for discharge and transfer). Post-war, with the pressure on companies to increase production and boost the global economy, the performance review’s popularity skyrocketed. But within its early roots lies the core issue with performance reviews. The system was designed to, essentially, punish poor performance. It wasn’t intended to inspire, engage and retain a workforce.

Whereas performance reviews focus backwards, the best feedback mechanisms look to the future.

Inaccurate insights

Another pitfall of performance reviews is they rely on outdated and inaccurate data. Most of us have trouble remembering what we did last week, let alone 12 months ago.

Plus, doing a review at the end of the year means a whole 11 months (at least) can pass where poor performance isn’t rectified. Moreover, it can cause recency bias. It will rarely reflect the entire year’s efforts and may undervalue or overvalue an employee’s actual contribution.

Expensive and stressful

Additionally, performance reviews cost a lot of money: as much as US$2.4 million to US$35 million a year in lost working hours for an organisation of 10,000 employees. Often, there’s little to show for that investment. One Deloitte manager once referred to the process as “an investment of 1.8 million hours across the firm that didn’t fit our business needs anymore”. Some schools of thought even believe the ranking system of performance reviews actually activates our flight or fight response. It causes physiological stress, and that won’t lead to the kind of reflecting, insightful conversation needed to improve job performance.

A new process

Therefore, the focus for all HR departments is now on inspiring loyalty and engagement. Particularly during The Great Resignation, where nearly 40 per cent of

New Zealand workers are looking for new roles. Other ways can be used to motivate employees to perform their best work and remain for longer. Whereas performance reviews focus backwards, the best feedback mechanisms look to the future. They are collaborative, a combined effort between an employee and their manager, with the employee setting the pace and focus. I like to call these performance previews.

This type of performance management may require more time and energy from people managers. So, HR teams must lay the groundwork for managers to be able to provide continuous feedback and coaching with confidence and consistency.

Regular feedback needed

Performance previews tend to happen at regular intervals. Feedback sessions may happen at the end of a project, key career milestones (like completing a course, getting a promotion, or a work anniversary), or whenever an employee feels like they need one (when looking for career

direction, for instance, or if they’ve hit a challenge). Around 70 per cent of global companies are shifting towards this model, including IBM, PwC, Deloitte, Accenture and Dell.

Ideal performance preview

Regular check-ins align with the desires of the Generation Z and Millennial workforce. Millennials are now the predominant workforce in New Zealand, with Gen Z becoming more influential. Almost half of Millennials and two-thirds of Gen Z want regular feedback from their managers.

• A conversation begins between a people leader and their employee; this is ongoing but has a clear starting point where an employee gets to set out their aspirations for their upcoming work. • As projects start and finish, milestones are reached, challenges pop up, and aspirations evolve, the sessions act as a way for managers to remain updated with their teams and solve problems and offer relevant opportunities in real time. • Workers drive their career conversations throughout the year, with managers supporting them in setting short-term goals. • The key here is to hone in on what workers need to do their jobs well and keep advancing on their individual career journeys. The trajectory of the performance preview is onward, forward, not back.

Complementing projectbased work

Frequent feedback sessions are also helpful when organisations do a lot of project-based work, which will become popular as more organisations strive to be agile, hybrid work increases, and the gig economy booms. It more naturally fits the way work is completed in modern organisations. Feedback occurs at project-end and critical junctures during a project, which empowers people to fix issues before threatening a project’s results. Plus, with project-based work, you can’t predict what tasks an employee will be asked to do in a year’s time. So, you need consistent check-ins to keep them on track.

With this in mind, what would an ideal performance preview consist of? Ideally, the session would look like the following.




When to implement a preview

As for timings, a performance preview can be implemented at any point in the year. The best time to start really is now. You’ll need to follow some non-negotiables for the preview to work effectively in your organisation. • Performance expectations need to be aligned with the employee’s skills and skill needs, and what the business needs to achieve its goals. • Separate skills from behaviours. Both skills and behaviours are critical to overall performance. However, skills can be easily identified, measured, activated and developed. Behaviours, on the other hand, are tied to preferences, willingness and habits. Time management is a skill; self-motivation is a behaviour. • Set clear expectations on both sides, you will both come to a session with expectations. Set those out during the session to increase transparency. For instance, a manager will have specific expectations about a team member’s performance. Meanwhile, the employee will have expectations about their manager, their career goals and the business trajectory. • Separate performance previews from compensation. This should fall under your compensation or total rewards team. Previews focus on performance enablement (getting the best out of each worker and building a fulfilling career during their time with you).

Last tips

In a process change as allencompassing as a performance preview, additional areas feed into its effectiveness. Understanding skills An essential part of making a performance preview work is




understanding current employee skills: what’s needed to do their job better and what skills will help someone grow their career. These days, a career isn’t solely job based. It’s more of a portfolio of different projects, experiences and skills acquired through this. Performance management must, therefore, reflect this, by tracking and growing skills throughout a career (and across the year). When HR and people leaders adopt this skill-based approach, then a dynamic process begins. People feel empowered to learn new skills and find further work and learning opportunities within their organisation. Their managers proactively offer assignments and learning opportunities that match their career goals and skill needs. Equipping managers It can be easy to overlook individual contributions in the shift to performance previews. The change will be undone without the right support in place for everyone involved, especially managers who will be at the forefront of efforts. Managers will be the ones facilitating feedback sessions in a more holistic style compared with annual performance reviews. They will have to coach and mentor their team and offer relevant opportunities for employees to build their skills and achieve better work. This type of performance management ultimately requires more time and energy from people managers. So, HR teams must lay the groundwork for managers to be able to provide continuous feedback and coaching with confidence and consistency. This may require upskilling across all managerial levels, in coaching skills, for example, as well as the new process itself. Actions post-preview For a performance preview to have a tangible effect on the business and employee, agreed actions

must be taken after each session. Obviously, these need to be recorded somewhere so managers and employees can check that actions have been completed and to track progress. It also shows individuals that something positive is coming from their feedback sessions. An example of this might be an employee expressing their wish to learn a new skill. Their manager might be tasked to find suitable learning opportunities to support this, while the employee has to hit certain milestones to show that they’re building the skill. In subsequent check-ins, both parties can reflect on how the upskilling is going and set new goals based on this.

Around 70 per cent of global companies are shifting towards a model of regular feedback previews, including IBM, PwC, Deloitte, Accenture and Dell.

A step forward

For your organisation and workforce to become stronger, you must embrace change. Shifting to a performance preview will be a significant evolution that will take you to the next level. Instead of using the past as your compass, you’ll charge ahead with a clear focus for the future.

Janice Burns joined Degreed as its first chief career experience officer in 2020, becoming its chief people officer in 2021. Before joining Degreed, Janice spent 28 years at Mastercard, with her most recent role as its chief learning officer, where she led the design and implementation of employee learning experiences and development programmes globally.





Follow the policy ... or pay the price David Burton, from Cullen Law, looks at the latest case to confirm that, if a business has policies applying to its employees, it needs to follow them.


r Rottier had been employed as a concrete finisher by Concrete Structures for some years up to 2018. In February 2019, he completed a further application for employment with the company. By early May 2019, the company contacted Mr Rottier, offering him a job.

Straightforward induction?

When Mr Rottier started work, he was asked by the factory manager to sign a workplace induction checklist. Because he was already familiar with the company’s documentation, the process was fairly rudimentary. He ticked a number of boxes that confirmed his familiarity with the company’s operations and procedures. A formal induction was not undertaken.

Aggressive manner and expletives

Later that morning, Mr Henderson, the pre-cast manager, was in his office and saw a truck drive onto the 44



company premises. The driver began to talk to Mr Rottier. No approval for coming on-site had been sought. Mr Henderson left his office to tell the occupants that they could not drive into the factory area without following the company’s health and safety procedures. After the driver left, Mr Henderson then talked to Mr Rottier about what he regarded as substandard finishing work on a pre-cast panel. He said he was using the work undertaken on the table before them as an example of a finish that was not up to standard. Mr Rottier understood Mr Henderson was complaining about the work he had undertaken that morning. Mr Rottier believed Mr Henderson addressed him in a degrading and aggressive manner and that his voice became louder as he became angrier. There was also discussion about the driver coming on-site without authority and whether Mr Rottier knew him. Both men became angry and agitated. Mr Henderson noticed that Mr Rottier was sweating. He suspected Mr Rottier was high on drugs. He asked Mr Rottier if he would take a drug test. Mr Rottier replied straight away that there was no point, because he would not pass a drug test. Mr Henderson did not inquire why Mr Rottier said, “there

was no point” to taking a test, because he “would not pass”. He took Mr Rottier’s agitated behaviour, combined with the fact he was saying he would not pass, to mean Mr Rottier was under the influence of drugs. Mr Henderson told Mr Rottier that, if he could not pass a drug test, he could not be at work under the company’s health and safety provisions. Mr Rottier then became even more upset and said he did not need “this <expletive> job anyway” and that it was the company who had offered it. Mr Henderson said, “if you feel that way, you can <expletive> off if you want”. Mr Rottier said he would “<expletive> off then”, and he rounded up his tools and left.

Unjustifiable drug test?

That afternoon, Mr Rottier telephoned Mr Henderson, explaining he was unhappy with what had occurred. Mr Henderson said that Mr Rottier needed to take a drug test and that he could return to work when he had a clean result. Mr Rottier raised a personal grievance for unjustifiable action, bullying, harassment and discrimination. He asserted that a drug test had been unjustifiably initiated.

Policies at play

Three employment-related documents were potentially relevant to the request for drug testing by the company. The first of these was Mr Rottier’s application for employment. In that application, Mr Rottier agreed to undergo drug and alcohol testing prior to employment, and he agreed to undertake periodic random drug and alcohol testing. The second document was Mr Rottier’s employment agreement. It contained a provision that where the employer had reasonable grounds for suspecting the employee is under the influence of illegal drugs while at work, then the employer may require the employee to undergo a drug test. The third document was a drug and alcohol policy. It contained provisions relating to pre-employment testing, random drug testing, accident or incident testing and ‘just cause’ testing. In the case of ‘just cause’, the manager would be informed, and the employee would then be interviewed to determine whether testing was required.

‘Fair and reasonable’

Mr Rottier’s induction was brief. No express reference was made to the drug and alcohol policy. It was assumed that, because Mr Rottier

had worked for the company for several years previously, he would be familiar with its policies. The Employment Court reiterated that a fair and reasonable employer is expected to comply with its own policies and procedures.

and awarded Mr Rottier $10,800 for compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings and of $13,773.60 for lost wages (both sums having been reduced by 10 per cent for Mr Rottier’s contributory conduct).

The drug and alcohol policy contained a requirement that there needed to be an observation of behaviour causing concern that the individual would be a potential or actual safety hazard to himself due to the effects or after-effects of drugs and/or alcohol. The policy referred to behaviour consistent with an immediate inability to perform work. It also indicated that the individual was to be interviewed to determine whether testing was required. Contrary to the terms of the ‘just cause’ requirements of the policy, Mr Rottier was not ‘interviewed’ to determine whether testing was required. The Court found that there was a knee-jerk response to a short but heated argument resulting in Mr Rottier being sent away from the workplace to have a drug test when the need and justification for doing so had not been investigated adequately. The Court found that Mr Rottier had been unjustifiably dismissed

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.





Love your policies and procedures Debbie Dawson, course facilitator of the HR Foundations professional development programme, takes a closer look at a recent HRNZ survey on policies, and shares her insights into the importance of getting policies right.

put down to my love of rules. If I were writing a policy on ‘policy’, I would highlight one principle: ‘keep it simple’. The purpose of a policy is to capture our intent, which means that strategic plans, budgets and even flow charts can be policies. They all share one thing in common: to express the principles we hold dear and why these are important.


One of the best things about policies is that they are usually written, and this requires us to thoroughly think things through to ensure they make sense to others. Once we start writing, it is typical for other tentacles to emerge, which helps to ensure we consider other perspectives and to plan for potentially unwanted consequences.

recent HRNZ survey of members asked what they spend their time doing and what tasks they would like to remove. I was surprised to see that HR policies featured in the list of things HR practitioners prefer to avoid. Fortunately, though, when asked if there were any specific policies they would throw out, none were identified, although there was a ‘good level’ of support for making them more ‘succinct, more logical and cohesive’. I couldn’t agree more.

Policies that are clearly written and easily understood by both line managers and employees often make a call or email to HR unnecessary.

Purpose of policies

I have always valued policies, which I put down to my love of clarity and language and that my family would 46



One HRNZ survey respondent described the role of policy as to “balance business and personal needs in an equitable way”. When writing policy, I have found it useful to consider first how the policy will help the organisation, then the client or customer and then the staff, and to do this in that order. I believe that the organisation comes first. It is not that the staff or the customers are unimportant, but without the organisation, there is no service for the customer and no employment for the staff.

Online access to policies is now a real bonus for ensuring consistency and managing version control, although success here depends on good technology and easy access by employees.

Aligned to purpose

Policies essentially describe expected behaviours throughout a business or organisation, and written ‘codes of conduct’ are policies about how employees will behave in the workplace. This is why HR policies should be checked for alignment with the organisation’s overall purpose and values. For instance, an espoused value of ‘innovation’ may be inconsistent with a workplace policy that requires excessive approvals and ‘red tape’. One of the topics we cover in the HR Foundations three-day programme is HR measurement and policy development. When policies are done well, they have the potential to save HR people from repetitive work. Policies that are clearly written and easily understood by both line managers and employees often make a call or email to HR unnecessary. It endorses the concept of line managers taking responsibility

at the same time as ensuring we are legally compliant and treating employees fairly.

One HRNZ survey respondent described the role of policy as to ‘balance business and personal needs in an equitable way’.

The ‘what’ and the ‘how’

On the course, we look at ‘what’ should happen in relation to a topic, and the procedures that sit under the policy describe the ‘how’ or the step-by-step processes to make it happen. HR has an essential role in designing a policy framework that is easy to access and use. This includes determining a communication style that will appeal to employees, taking into account the tone and ease of comprehension. In most cases, straightforward language without jargon or legalese will be the most effective. The implementation of any policies will be strengthened by trialling them on line managers and employees to test the purpose and usability. Online access to policies is now a real bonus for ensuring consistency and managing version control,

although success here depends on good technology and easy access by employees. The best usability test is to assume people are time poor and looking for the most direct route and answer to their question. The use of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) may also provide an additional pathway for line managers and employees.

Review often

Just as HR is responsible for the overall policy framework, it is also responsible for the regular review. Breaches are a clear indication that a policy may not be working and requires further exploration. Instead of adding more procedures, it may be more productive to reconsider the underlying principle expressed in the policy. Contrary to popular opinion, policies do not have to wait for a review cycle before being updated or modified. As soon as a policy is not working it should be updated, modified or deleted. HR is in a prime position to know what policies are necessary because they field lots of tricky and curly questions from line managers and employees every day. ‘Vaccination’ or ‘working from home’ policies, anyone?

Debbie Dawson, CFHRINZ, is a facilitator and website presenter on HRNZ’s professional development programme. She is an award-winning HR specialist who works with people and organisations to implement practical strategies for sustainable workplace wellbeing. She is a coach, facilitator, presenter and writer based in Christchurch (





Performance reviews during COVID–19 A closer look at the evolution of performance reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a need for more manager training. Anna Earl, from the University of Canterbury, looks at the research.


mployment New Zealand in 2021 stated that managers need to act fast to deal with performance issues. University of Canterbury students conducted research in the Advanced Human Resource Management course with New Zealand companies on performance appraisals. They found that traditional performance appraisal (PA) policies and practices that merely focus on managing poor productivity and performance of employees do not work during COVID-19. The findings indicate that PAs, policies and practices in organisations need to adapt and progress, to facilitate the emerging trends in employment relations. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way organisations and employees view and manage PAs. Employment conditions have changed to flexible working hours and working from home, making managing teams and




relationships between managers and employees within organisations more challenging. So, how has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the rules of the game of PAs?

From performance appraisals to performance conversations

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in New Zealand advises PAs should be around an open discussion about how employees find the role. The consensus from researchers and practitioners is that PAs should, in turn, be performance conversations (PCs). Simon Lind (co-founder and CEO of Prolorus Solutions) echoes this view and adds that PCs should be value driven. Research suggests that encouraging a two-way conversation, with ideas and input from an employee, is essential for relationship building between the manager and employee. This relationship is a vehicle to building trust between them because the employees feel valued. The University of Canterbury found that employees do want PCs and it is the managers who need to be more engaged. Managers often focus on managing their departments and don’t consider themselves as

coaches to their employees and teams because they are time poor. Simon further adds that this is why we see the term ‘performance appraisal’ slowly being dropped out of an organisation and the need for day-to-day, light-touch coaching and conversation. This is more important during COVID-19 because some of these conversations happen online, and keeping engagement with performance conversations is more challenging. Organisations need to invest in coaching the managers on how to have performance conversations.

PCs are going to evolve, and organisations need to understand that managers serve as vehicles to lead people.

Team-based performance conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic and working from home have changed and somewhat challenged the teamwork within the organisation. Research indicates that team-based PCs ensure that diversity in teams (eg, cultures, genders) is respected, which creates a safe space for honest and constructive PCs. Simon Lind states that team-based performance

conversations can help companies sustain their competitive advantage. For team-based performance to work, trust is needed to talk about how the team can achieve its goals. Keeping individual conversations with employees is still important when shifting towards team-based PCs. However, individual conversations should be around individual employee personal development, as opposed to team performance. Team-based PCs need to be aligned to the goals, which need to be filtered from the board or executive level to the employee level to get buy-in from employees. A successful PC within the team enhances the wellbeing of employees and increases collaboration in the workplace, which helps achieve organisational goals.

From courageous conversation to having a conversation A trend evident in research is that managers need to learn

how to remove their armour and have courageous or challenging conversations that negatively affect them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, conversations should be simple instead of courageous or challenging and built on trust between managers, individual employees and teams. Typically, PAs are carried out annually or every six months, which worked well before COVID-19. A shift towards working more from home requires more light-touch conversations, and the wellbeing aspect needs to come into PCs more. These conversations need to shift towards ‘how are you doing personally?’, that is, a more informal basis. Simon Lind says that understanding where people are in their life cycle, and being open to the fact some employees do not want to have PCs is important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. So having honest and

straightforward conversations around performance can be more beneficial for these employees. PCs are going to evolve, and organisations need to understand that managers serve as vehicles to lead people. Hence, organisations need to invest in training their managers on how to lead people and be more flexible in their performance review policies and practices based on employees’ life cycles.

Anna Earl (PhD) teaches advanced human resource management. Her main research interests revolve around the relationship between government and multinational enterprises, and the practices of qualitative researchers. Her current research interests are in emerging economies, expatriates and stakeholder relationships.

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Goodbye performance reviews? Our regular columnist Natalie Barker, Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance, shares her insights into the role of the performance review. When Dickens wrote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, I think he might have been referring to the annual performance review. On the one hand, a conversation all about you, how you’re doing, what you’re finding challenging and how you might improve, rich in feedback and care, is the ultimate moment that matters as an employee. But, often as not, we come away from our performance review feeling just a little bit judged and disappointed to hear how our performance has been rated. I’m not an HR expert, I’m not an HR professional at all, I’m just someone who, as a leader and a team member, has experienced performance management done both well and poorly. I believe workplace policies, including those related to performance, should serve two purposes: to protect employees and to ensure they’re treated fairly and equitably. But, like many things, they’re most valuable when they go hand-in-hand with great leadership. It’s been heartening over recent years to see organisations move away from traditional performance reviews to 50



more flexible frameworks that focus on outcomes and behaviours and encourage frequent performance conversations between leaders and their teams. At Southern Cross Health Insurance, I think we have a pretty great performance framework. It lays out clear expectations around capabilities, skills and knowledge, outcome goals and personal development. These are reinforced by regular performance and development check-ins with leaders throughout the year. In my team – and many others across our business – we frequently talk about performance, career development and personal wellbeing goals. We talk in our team meetings and one-to-ones about how we’re tracking and what’s in our way. We encourage each other to seek feedback and use retrospectives to identify areas to improve. We run experiments to try new approaches and share our successes and failures with each other. We’re becoming more courageous with each other, following the belief that it’s kinder to give someone feedback than to let them continue working below their potential. If someone is underperforming, the rest of the team is right there supporting them to improve. This makes me wonder whether the days of annual performance ratings are nearing an end? Does it serve our people to be given a label at the end of the year, summing up all aspects of

their performance? In my experience, people who are consistently meeting the performance expectations of their role, feel demotivated being told they’re “on target”. In reality, they’ll have had good months and bad, wins and disappointments, feedback that’s buoyed them and feedback that’s been hard to hear. In some ways, being given a rating at the end of the year undermines 12 months of valuable and fulfilling performance conversations. As a leader, my role is to help my team perform at their best, whether that means helping lift them up from underperforming or helping them sustain an exceptional performance. It’s my role to set out clear expectations and provide support so that they can achieve their personal goals and team outcomes. I lean on the performance framework to ensure how we reward people is fair and equitable. I take into account all aspects of their performance, their craft and their contribution to the organisation. Without bringing leadership to the experience, performance management is just a policy, not an opportunity for my team to be at their best.

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.




Articles inside

Boost your team’s energy

pages 22-25

Performance reviews during COVID–19

pages 50-51

Goodbye performance reviews?

pages 52-54

Follow the policy ... or pay the price

pages 46-47

HR policies essential to navigating with speed

pages 34-35

Love your policies and procedures

pages 48-49

Pronouns in the workplace

pages 36-37

Death of the performance review?

pages 42-45

The great immigration reset

pages 38-39

Wellbeing: HR's Crucial role to play

pages 30-33

Addressing the gender confidence gap

pages 40-41

Top of Mind

page 4

Clearing up COVID-19 confusion

pages 14-15

From the Editor

pages 5-7

HR policies for the modern workplace

pages 16-19

Vaccine mandates - Employment Law Update

pages 28-29

Sustainable policies that stick

pages 20-21

Member profile - Dr Deepika Jindahl

pages 12-13

News Roundup

pages 8-11
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