Human Resources - Summer 2022 (Vol 27 No 4) Leadership for tomorrow's HR professional

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Taking the bold path: Leadership for tomorrow's HR professional A new capability framework HRNZ Summit Post-traumatic growth
New Zealand’s Magazine for Human Resources Professionals Summer 2022

From the editor

There is no shortage of challenges for the HR leaders of tomorrow. In view of the increase in HR systems, the trends in redesigning work, the workforce and the workplace, and the role of training managers to lead with empathy (and the list goes on), tomorrow’s HR leaders will need to be strategic business leaders. Gone are the days of being paper-pushers or personnel managers.

Our aspiration for this issue is to cover the most important capabilities that future HR leaders must possess to drive HR transformation in Aotearoa.

Our lead article is about the new Capability Framework that HRNZ has recently introduced. This framework has been designed to help HR professionals grow their skills and knowledge to best meet Aotearoa’s unique and evolving workplace culture. Find out more on page 12.

We also feature an article by Sarah Baddeley on how we can tackle some of HR’s most ‘wicked’ problems, and Joanne Ostler looks at our posttraumatic growth as the silver lining to the uncertainty and upheaval of recent years.

You will also notice that some of our headings and banners have changed to reflect the new HRNZ Capability Framework. We want to ensure the magazine is aligned with the new Domains of Knowledge that are

encompassed in the framework. Let us know your thoughts! We love hearing your feedback.

We are proud of the interviews, features, research, best practice, new thinking and news updates contained in these pages. We strive to champion the people profession while also pushing for new standards that will serve all New Zealanders.

We’d like to wish all our members a restful and restorative Christmas break, and we look forward to connecting with you through 2023. Thank you to all our contributors, readers and production team for making this magazine such a wellinformed read.


Kathy Catton

Ph: 021 0650 959 Email:


Amy Clarke

Ph: (04) 499 2966 Email:


Courtney King Ph: (04) 802 3954 Email:


Selena Henry, Crux Design Ph: 022 417 6622


Jenny Heine





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 27 No: 4

ISSN 1173–7522


Gain Recognition as a Leading HR Professional

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

Kirsten Adams EPMHRNZ 30 November 2022

Jason Cook EPMHRNZ 3 November 2022

Stephanie Ludlam EPMHRNZ 12 October 2022

Maddy Pitkethley EPMHRNZ 16 September 2022

Chartered Member

Juliet Cross

CMHRNZ 29 September 2022

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

Iwas recently a part of a panel to review the University of Auckland’s postgraduate programmes in human resource management. It was a timely invitation because HRNZ had just completed the development of The Path – the new Capability Framework for human resource professionals.

It’s encouraging to see the University of Auckland offering these programmes and also involving industry representatives when they review them. It’s of great importance for the human resource profession and New Zealand employers in general that there is a pipeline of work-ready graduates coming through to fill human resource roles in our organisations in the future. The practice of human resource management these days is far too complex to leave it to chance that the talent will emerge from our education system ready to take on these roles. It’s therefore crucial that graduates have access to appropriate programmes of study that will provide them with the foundational knowledge they will need as HR professionals.

What we’ve learnt through the development of The Path is that some core capabilities are required for effective human resource practitioners regardless of which HR discipline or role you operate in. It’s important that our graduates

Top of mind

understand and start to develop these capabilities before they enter the profession.

Developing a pipeline of future HR talent is a key concern for HRNZ, and we have several initiatives under way to support this. Student membership is the starting point –as people commence their study in HR, we want to start building their network of industry connections that provide opportunities for entering the profession and also support for them once they have secured their first role.

HRNZ is reaching out through its membership to find internship opportunities for student members. Internships are an excellent mechanism for giving students a glimpse into the workings of an HR department and an idea of the types of workplace challenges they will ultimately be dealing with.

In 2023 HRNZ will also begin looking at programmes to encourage high school students to consider careers in human resources. There is a low level of awareness of HR as a career option for students. We want to make sure that students entering tertiary study consider HR as a great career choice and select an appropriate programme of study to take them in that direction.

Like all occupations, HR is facing

a war for talent and an impending talent shortage. As much as we are responsible for helping other occupations address these problems, we must also get our own house in order.

It’s a core proposition for HRNZ to grow the HR profession. We’ll be doing what we can to build that pipeline for the future and ensure students get on the right path from an early stage.

Domains of knowledge

In this issue

12 A new Capability Framework – Editor Kathy Catton spoke with HRNZ Chief Executive Nick McKissack and Manager Professional Standards and Development Amy Clarke to learn about HRNZ’s new Capability Framework

18 A role for HR in tackling complex social problems – Sarah Baddeley from MartinJenkins looks at how we can deal with the complex work issues we face today

22 HRNZ Summit review – Editor Kathy Catton finds out more about HRNZ’s latest Summit, with the theme of 'HR’s bold path'


Post-traumatic growth – Joanne Ostler from Spring Leadership asks what the silver lining is to recent disruption, distress and uncertainty


What happened? – Bindy Tatham offers tips and guidance for running a robust and thorough workplace investigation

12 22 18 28

Shaping the profession

1 From the Editor

Kathy Catton

3 Top of Mind

Nick McKissack CEO HRNZ

6 News Roundup

The latest news to keep you up to date

16 Sustainability

Calling all leaders – Bridget Williams from Bead and Proceed looks at how we can address the significant sustainable impacts we face.

36 Immigration Law Update

Immigration settings: the good and not so good

– Rachael Mason, a partner at Lane Neave, outlines what’s working well with the new immigration settings and looks at potential changes for 2023

42 Case Law Review

A bold discussion gone wrong? – David Burton, employment law barrister, looks at a case in which an employer entered an ‘off-the-record’ conversation with an employee

46 Research Update

Building ethical leadership – Anna Earl outlines recent research into ethical leadership and provides insights for HR professionals


Employment Law Update

Good faith – Sianatu Lotoaso, Dundas Street Employment Lawyers, examines the concept of good faith and some of the consequences if it’s incorrectly applied

32 HR Technology

Why succession planning is the secret to keeping your star talent – Brian Donn, from Ceridian, looks at how succession planning, when done well, could be a crucial tool in managing talent

34 Diversity and Inclusion

Gender and equity in the public sector – Jane Parker and colleagues at Massey University’s School of Management shed light on the extent of progress on gender equity in New Zealand’s public service.

48 Am I Managing?

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

People Powered Success

8 Book review

Aaron Smith reviews the latest reads to inspire and inform

10 HRNZ Member profile Celena Harry shares her career highlights

44 Professional Development Spotlight

Creating the future of work – Alex Hagan looks at three traps to avoid when creating the future of work

You will notice that some of our banners and footers have changed in this edition of the magazine.

Our articles will now be tagged with the levels (see left), and domains of knowledge (see the end of each feature article), from our new Capability Framework, The Path. For more information, check out the feature article on page 12 or our website!

Governs Shapes Leads Designs Advises Delivers HRNZ Capability Framework

Fair Pay Agreements Bill passes into law

The Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) bargaining system introduced into Parliament received Royal Assent on 1 November 2022 and has been passed into law. The Act itself came into force on 1 December 2022.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has published relevant information:

• Fair Pay Agreements page (Employment New Zealand website): Fair Pay Agreements | Employment New Zealand (

• Info sheet for employees: Understanding Fair Pay Agreements – A quick guide for employees (

• Info sheet for employers: Understanding Fair Pay Agreements – A quick guide for employers (

• Updated information on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website: Fair Pay Agreements | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (mbie.

The Fair Pay Bill was intended to set out industry or occupation-specific minimum employment terms (pay and conditions), which include minimum wage rates, ordinary hours, overtime and penalty rates. Amendments require FPAs to also establish “the arrangements for training and development” of covered employees and their leave entitlements.

Employers on hiring blitz despite recession fears

New Zealand employers remain on a hiring blitz, according to the latest RCSA Jobs Report. The National Job Index climbed 3.9 per cent in the past three months to October 2022, a huge rebound from the previous quarter when it fell to 8.8 per cent.

“This latest data indicates most employers are ignoring the negative narrative around inflation and interest rates and are forging ahead with the

hiring process,” RCSA CEO Charles Cameron states.

“Staff shortages remain a huge issue across New Zealand, and skills shortages continue to impact business operations across a whole range of sectors. Job opportunities have grown 20.5 per cent in September, compared to the same time last year.”

Financial services is an interesting exception, with job opportunities

remaining unusually weak. Postings in the sector fell 17.4 per cent this quarter, in line with a similar decline in the previous quarter.

“Employers in financial services are far less inclined to increase headcount right now. I guess it’s not surprising this sector is more cautious in a climate of economic change, given its closeness to predictions of downturn,” says Charles Cameron.


Pay gap petition

Mindthegap, an advocacy group that campaigns for the public reporting of gender and ethnicity pay gaps in New Zealand, has recently handed over a petition to the government, calling for the start of gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting.

The group has also launched New Zealand’s first Pay Gap Registry – involving voluntary reporting by businesses. This aims to encourage all organisations to commit to reporting their pay gap. According to the StatsNZ Household Labour Force Survey 2021, for every $1.00 a Pākehā man earns, a Pākehā woman

earns $0.89, a Māori man earns $0.86, an Asian man earns $0.86 and a Pasifika woman earns $0.75.

The Mindthegap campaign believes that to close the pay gaps, pay gap reporting is required here, just as it is in Australia, the United Kingdom and many other countries.

Four Uber drivers are ruled employees

Four Uber drivers in New Zealand have recently won an employment case, which ruled they were employees of the global ride-sharing provider, and not contractors.

In the recent judgment, Chief Judge Christina Inglis found that each of the four drivers, in this case, were entitled to the rights and protection under New Zealand employment law, such as minimum wage, guaranteed hours, holiday pay and bereavement leave.

Before this employment case:

• in 2015, a California court ruled that Uber drivers were employees

• in 2020, the French supreme court recognised the rights of Uber drivers to be considered employees

• in 2021, in the United Kingdom Supreme Court, Uber failed to defend its claim that its drivers were self-employed

• in 2022, in Belgium, Uber struck a deal with a Belgian union to start negotiations on the working conditions of its drivers.

Although the ruling in New Zealand currently applies only to the individual drivers, it may have a broader impact. A First Union strategic project coordinator says it was a “landmark legal decision, not just for Aotearoa New Zealand, but also internationally”.

‘Quiet fleecing’ could be a better term

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in the United States, we need to talk about quiet fleecing. Workers are more productive than ever, but their pay hasn’t kept pace.

The ‘quiet quitting’ trend may have been getting a lot of attention in

recent months, but the EPI argues the defining trend of the past 40 years of US economic history is ‘quiet fleecing’ and we should be talking much more about it.

According to the EPI, net productivity rose 61.8 per cent from 1979 to 2020. Hourly pay, meanwhile,

increased by just 17.5 per cent during those 41 years, meaning that productivity grew 3.5 times as much as wages over the past four decades after adjusting for inflation.


Books to inform and inspire

Help is at hand with timely resources for HR practitioners navigating transformational change initiatives and uncertainty. These three books provide valuable guidance.

Morgan, B. (2022). Solving the Parttime Puzzle. Sydney: Belinda Morgan.

Naylor, D. (2023). Speaking Up in a Culture of Silence. New York: Routledge

Dr David Naylor is a professional consultant who found that he was often out of his depth giving advice on speaking up and challenging bullying behaviour in the workplace (leaning on useless clichés and platitudes). So he decided to study the subject: what causes us to remain silent when we know we should speak up, and how should we go about speaking up in a way that leads to better outcomes for all?

Each chapter uses real-world scenarios and examines how a change in attitude or behaviour can bring about a different outcome. The author is clear that he doesn’t offer any magic solutions; instead he offers those facing similar situations encouragement to grow in confidence and find their own voice.

While the grammar and language are a little clunky, the book is structured in a way that makes it easy for the reader to pick the topic most relevant to them. The case studies also make the advice relatable and easy to apply.

Moving through the COVID-19 pandemic, much has been written and discussed on flexible work arrangements. This book focuses on one aspect of the subject: parttime work.

Some of this book is dedicated to practical advice for those looking to transition to part-time hours (scoping your role and optimising your time management). The rest, however, addresses the bias often attached to part-time work and aims to dispel the notion that part-time work equates to part-motivated, part-committed or part-capable.

The author firmly believes that with the proper planning, any role can be undertaken part time and takes the reader on a practical journey to explore their motivations for seeking part-time work and how to put together a sound implementation plan. This is an easy read and offers valuable discussion on an area of flexible work that is sometimes misunderstood.

Giles, B. (2022). Onboarded. Australia: Evolution Partners.

We all know that the cost of hiring a new employee is far greater than the cost in time of an

effective onboarding programme. And yet the author’s research paints a confronting picture. New hires understand less than 10 per cent of what is expected of them one week after they start; however, this climbs to almost 50 per cent at the end of 90 days. In stark contrast, only 50 per cent of employers have an onboarding process that lasts more than one week.

This author makes a compelling and well-supported case for a structured 90-day onboarding process, and the Role Scorecard and Onboarding Sprint Plan are easy to follow and implement. He breaks down the cultural, management and process expectations for the role and outlines where a new employee should be in their understanding after one, two and three months.

Anyone not convinced that a wellconceived onboarding process is worth the time and energy, or not sure where to begin, need only read this book.


BELINDA MORGAN H decrease your hours, increase your impact and thrive in your part-time role
Aaron Smith (EPMHRNZ, MBA) is a People & Culture Manager with Scenic Hotel Group. After taking up an HR administration role, he discovered a real passion for the profession. He has an interest in recruitment and employment relations and likes to keep up to date with developments in employment law.
Domains of knowledge
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HRNZ member profile

Human Resources magazine caught up with Celena Harry, Chief People Officer for Mitre 10 (New Zealand) Ltd. We asked her about her career and her thoughts about the role of HR in Aotearoa today.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

Ihave been privileged to work for some incredible brands, work with talented people, and contribute to significant projects and transformational challenges.

Starting out in retail as an HR graduate at Farmers had an important impact on my career. I found my sweet spot in the pace of retail, and I only realised that years later when I moved to support a B2B sales team. It turned out I missed retail. Many HR professionals move across industries; however, I’ve managed to remain connected to the sector I love.

My time as a stay-at-home parent was also valuable to my career. I learned how to multi-task and have patience for a start! Playcentre involvement gave me a level of empathy and curiosity about what is important to people. Playcentre uses a consensus-based decision-making model, and in some situations it was extremely challenging to get agreement. Having a clear and unified purpose often proved invaluable. People understood it was okay to disagree and commit for the

greater benefit of the Playcentre or other families. I still draw upon this experience regularly.

More recently, working with the Spark and Vodafone customer channels teams was incredibly career-shaping. I saw so many examples of frontline people shining, bringing their knowledge of customers as a critical advantage to decision-making. I saw leaders develop the confidence and capability to lead transformational change at scale. And, of course, they were extremely fast-paced and high-energy teams, making work an absolute pleasure.

Now, working for the much-loved Mitre 10 brand, I feel very humbled to be Chief People Officer. The nature of our cooperative is unique: we have exceptionally talented business owners who work in their stores and take pride in their store’s customer service and people experience. It is more challenging than a corporate but in all the best ways. Where I am right now is, without a doubt, my career highlight to date, working alongside simply brilliant people!

What inspires and motivates you in your career and why?

I love people! As HR professionals, we have the privilege and challenge to be part of the best and worst times for people in our organisations. It is a privilege that brings enormous responsibility because we make daily decisions that impact the working experience of the folks who invest their time and energy here. And those experiences have wider-

reaching impacts on whānau and communities. I take that responsibility extremely seriously, always mindful that our team makes the choice to work for us, and our profession has the gift of making that experience even better for people. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as seeing a leader confidently support their team, or a team member reach a goal.

What do you see as the challenges facing HR right now – your perspective?

For Mitre 10, we are in a privileged position to have weathered COVID-19 well and grown in our performance over recent years, and we’ve been able to offer work to folks in our local communities with team sizes growing in most of our stores.

Our challenges are operational at this time of the year in retail. Recruiting great people to provide brilliant customer service continues to be a challenge. Filling our seasonal roles as we approach the busiest retail period of the year is a crucial focus for us. The good news is many of the students who work for us return each year, and continue to work part time as they study. Many go on to complete the retail qualifications we support and develop the start of their careers with us.

We are also challenged to keep our people safe, with significant increases in retail theft events and abusive customers. These events pose risks in terms of both physical safety and significant emotional harm. As an industry, we are working together with


Retail New Zealand to find ways to improve safety for our people and provide training for de-escalating situations. Mitre 10 is proudly supporting the Shop Nice campaign once again.

Lastly, sustainability is an opportunity for retail and has become a focus for us in Mitre 10. We are focusing on minimising waste from our operations

and making a real and sustainable contribution to our environment.

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

I was delighted to receive Chartered Membership earlier in 2022. Being proud of our profession and the value we add to organisations is

essential, so I encourage everyone to consider applying.

The Mitre 10 team was also privileged to receive the HRNZ 2022 Learning & Development Capability Award. Recognition for the crossfunctional team was so brilliant to see and be a part of.

Domains of knowledge


A new capability framework

To meet the demands of the future workplace, HR professionals need to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge. Editor of Human Resources magazine

Kathy Catton spoke with HRNZ Chief Executive Nick McKissack and Manager Professional Standards and Development

Amy Clarke to discover what HRNZ’s new Capability Framework aims to achieve.

Great to talk with you, Nick and Amy. Could you start by telling us what led to the update of the HRNZ competency framework? Why now?

Amy: The old HRNZ competency framework has been in place for over 15 years, so it was due for review. The old framework no longer reflected the values HR professionals need today and in the future. And, of course, the new framework underpins all our other service offerings at HRNZ, from Professional Accreditation to the Professional Development programme and courses, so we needed to re-look at it.

Nick: We had two specific objectives in mind when redesigning the

framework. We wanted a tool that would work for New Zealand HR professionals while keeping an eye on global best practices. We have a unique culture here in Aotearoa. For instance, we know that we have a large proportion of small-to medium-sized businesses, and we know we are striving for a bicultural workplace. Our economy is unique and so are our people. Secondly, we wanted a framework that was futureoriented and that would provide scope for growth and change.

So how have you gone about devising the new framework?

Nick: Primarily, we’ve done a significant amount of engagement and research. We started with some desktop research on existing frameworks from around the world, and we’ve sought feedback on the usability of our old framework from a range of current users. We’ve not only reviewed what other professional associations are doing, but also identified HR capabilities for the future.

Amy: We did this by running an intensive design lab with senior HR professionals, non-HR managers and leaders from around the country. We wanted to explore what the HR landscape and good practice look like today. Then we tested and developed outputs from this engagement. We also completed an

academic review of international HR frameworks and current trends.

What did you notice in carrying out this design work?

Nick: What was interesting was when we started to map out the development of the HR profession over time, we saw that two paths for the future were emerging: one was based on an evolution where we continued to react and conduct compliance-type work, and the other path saw HR people being more proactive and champions of culture and change. Obviously, HRNZ wants to opt for this bolder path.

Amy: It’s actually a really cool story to look at what’s influenced HR over the decades. Even given all this history, all the people in our design lab work recognised and wanted to embrace a new and ground-breaking approach. We’re not aware of any other professional organisation that puts ethical behaviours and people at its centre. With this in mind, Māori values and indigenous cultural models strongly influenced our final model.

How would you describe the end result of this work?

Amy: We’ve taken the best of every aspect of our collaborative work. We’ve refined prototypes and made them the best of the best. The result is a framework that acts as a tool to help HR professionals in Aotearoa shape their careers and develop


their professional skills. Our goal is to make the tool attainable for all HR professionals – generalists and specialists

Nick: That’s a good point. We wanted to be sure that the new model was inclusive of all HR professionals. For us, the concept of an HR generalist is changing – we believe that whether you’re a specialist or a generalist, you’ll still be displaying the core capabilities. This model outlines what makes an HR professional unique in a professional sense.

How does this differ from the old competency framework?

Amy: With the old model, some of the competencies were independent of each other. For example, business knowledge and business credibility were separate competencies. But what emerged from our design lab work was that these competencies are all interconnected. You are credible if you understand and value people, read the room or a situation, bring people on the journey and solve workplace problems. It’s all now connected to these new core capabilities.

Nick: I’ve talked before about how I sometimes wonder whether this large focus on business understanding is distracting us from the real purpose of our existence as HR professionals. We’re here to speak the language of people. We’re not here to bring the value of people down to dollars and cents, and in fact, every domain of an organisation or business needs to understand the business, whether that’s marketing, finance or sales – that’s not unique to HR. Let’s leave the number-crunching to the CFO while we get on with helping organisations provide a positive work environment where people are valued and supported. We are about building the craft of HR.

Where can HR professionals start with engaging with this new model?

Nick: We strongly encourage

HR professionals to use this new model as an opportunity to identify learning and development paths for themselves. We have a user guide available that breaks down each of the capabilities and shows some of the practical skills under each of the six headings. My advice would be to look at it with an open mind and ask how you can engage with it to support your own development.

Amy: That’s right. We have tested the guide out on various groups, because we want to be sure it’s relevant and useful to a range of people, such as HR professionals, HR hiring managers, non-HR hiring managers, students and those new to HR. For example, this tool may be used by a business owner in Timaru who has 60 staff and realises she now needs to recruit an HR person to help with payroll, recruitment, and health and safety. We’ve stress-tested it from every angle to make sure it works.

How does the framework link with other parts of the HR world?

Nick: We have a working prototype now for how the framework interacts with our professional accreditation process. We’ve made a good start on this. We see that chunks of the Professional Development programme won’t change, but also some of our foundational courses will need to be revamped and we have just started the process of doing this with the intention of having new material in place for 2023.

Amy: At HRNZ, we are also very conscious of te ao Māori and how this is integral to our core capabilities. We have tried to make it as accessible as possible to people, but we recognise this will require effort, and it’s not just a tick-box exercise. We believe it’s well within people’s reach to grasp this crucial aspect of the world of work, and we’re also looking to provide lots of wrap-around support in this area. We’re engaging HRNZ’s rōpū Māori branch on this as well.


can people go to get more information?

Amy: We have a user guide

It outlines each element of the framework (the core capabilities, the capability levels and the domains of knowledge). It then goes into detail on each of the capabilities across the levels. You’ll be able to see what typical tasks each level might include and can find out more about how you might apply this framework in your own practice. There are also some fictional stories of HR professionals to demonstrate how the framework might be used and applied. For example, if you’re an HR adviser in a large company or a general manager in government, how would the framework apply to you?

Nick: We believe that this new framework reflects who we are as a nation and who we are as HR. Time moves quickly – we need to be thinking now about what the future looks like. The new Capability Framework helps to ensure that HR professionals are able to meet the challenges of the modern workplace both now and in the future and to do it with soul and heart.

Amy: We know this new framework is a massive jump from where we have been. And we know it will need to evolve as we do. But we are proud of this bold path we are taking. It’s a great baseline and we are ready to keep pushing the bar higher. Let’s not wait another 15 years before we review it again!

Nick: HRNZ would like to acknowledge and thank the design lab attendees in supporting HRNZ with this work. We are very grateful for all their hard work and feedback. Thank you Mondy Jera, Ben McCarthy and Tahlia Conrad-Hinga, Melissa Crawford, Deepika Jindal, Susan Lowe, Mark Daldorf, Sara Ebsworth, Henriette Scheepbouwer, Bridget Williams, Karli Te Aotonga, Pia Steiner, Aron Chantelau and Lara Robertson.

Thank you, Nick and Amy, for sharing this journey. Kia ora.


Domains of knowledge


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Calling all leaders

Bridget Williams from Bead & Proceed looks at how we all, as leaders, can address the significant sustainable impacts we face.

When we think of where leadership exists, we tend to think at the front or at the back. For instance, it’s a maritime tradition for a captain to go down with the ship and stay behind, while a leader can also rally the troops and direct the army ahead. If both ends of the spectrum are occupied, where does this leave the middle? What responsibility does the largest group of people in the centre have? Because when the obstacle or challenge requires the action of everyone, it’s not enough for one person to manage. And, unlike an iceberg or an enemy on the front line, when the challenge is invisible and uncertain, it can be hard to motivate the middle.

Simply take action, irrespective of size, get some wins on the board, pick the lowhanging fruit, learn from your mistakes and challenge yourself to be aspirational.

The challenge (or challenges) I’m referring to relates to the significant sustainable impacts we face. From

the growing poverty gap to the climate crisis, there are massive pressures on all three areas of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. And, in times of crisis, it’s natural to look to leaders and seek guidance.

In fact, we don’t even need to look that far to see business leaders taking a stand for sustainability. Take, for example, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, who recently made the unconventional decision to transfer ownership of this business to a trust, making “Earth the only shareholder”. A bold move that sends a powerful message. In Aotearoa, we have Chloe and Florence Van Dyke from Chia Sisters, who make their natural, nutritious drinks at their solarpowered, zero-carbon juicery, which has achieved climate-positive status. These wāhine are constantly seeking sustainable improvement. There are leaders in the social space, such as Ezra Hirawani, who set up his own power company, Nau Mai Rā, with a “no disconnection policy” and, of course, mental health advocate Mike King, who founded Gumboot Friday, providing “free and timely counselling for young people”.

These individuals have both passion and courage to identify what they feel calls them to action and are taking steps towards it. But, as they venture down this path, how must it feel when they look back and see ‘the middle’ simply cheering and clapping,

having not yet taken steps to follow them? Mike King summarised this feeling in an interview with The Rock recently. “I’m just tired. I can’t do it…we collectively have to f***** do something.” Taking the bold path is a lonely road and a huge burden to leave it up to a few leaders.

The truth is, now is the time for us all to be leaders. We are each responsible for making our workplace, home life, community and planet a better place. This requires us all to follow our interests, identify what we care about and take aligned action. I appreciate knowing where to start can be overwhelming. That’s why the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an effective framework – it’s an internationally recognised list that has identified the world’s biggest issues. Start there. Familiarise yourself with the framework and, when selecting which goal to action, consider:

• What are you currently working on that is aligned with the goals?

• What are your unique strengths, connections, platforms or networks?

• Who could you collaborate with to help grow impact?

Once you have identified which SDGs you are passionate about, the next step is to do just that. Simply take action, irrespective of size, get some wins on the board, pick the low-hanging fruit, learn from your


mistakes and challenge yourself to be aspirational. We need to believe in ourselves in the same way as we believe in the leaders we look up to.

The truth is, now is the time for us all to be leaders.

The examples of leaders identified above are well-recognised and celebrated individuals. However, among the most inspiring examples of leadership I hear about are the young woman who called out a gentleman for inappropriately bodyshaming a flight attendant on Air New Zealand to his colleague, and the primary school students proudly tending to their class veggie patch, and the HR professional who is drafting a company sustainability policy and is open to learning as they go because they are starting from scratch.

So, where does leadership really exist? In all of us. Every day.

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, assisting 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.

Domains of knowledge

Tackling our wicked problems

What role can HR professionals play in holding their organisations to account for contributing to wider social benefit? How do we detect and prevent modern slavery and worker exploitation in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Sarah Baddeley, Executive Director at MartinJenkins, finds answers to some of these complex problems facing our society today.

The high-profile Joseph Matamata case would have been chillingly real for those who have experienced modern slavery in New Zealand. Matamata was convicted of 23 separate charges for his treatment of 13 victims, aged between 12 and 53.

Over 20 years, his victims were brought to New Zealand from Samoa and made to work in the Hawke’s Bay horticultural sector in slavelike conditions. They worked long hours, six or seven days a week, for horticultural owners or contractors who paid their wages directly to Matamata. Some victims were given small amounts of money, such as $10 or $20 a week, but they were effectively slaves – unpaid and completely under his control.

Matamata took their passports on arrival and never returned them. The victims lived on his property, which consisted of two houses and two garages surrounded by a high wire fence, with a front gate secured by a padlock. When not working, they had to be on the property. They did daily chores and couldn’t leave the property without permission.

My own firm’s recent focus has been on helping clients with the challenging work of detecting and preventing worker exploitation. The Matamata modern slavery case is a real-life New Zealand example of a social problem that is complex, dynamic and seemingly intractable.

It is also one where HR professionals will be asked to provide help and advice, especially as the government contemplates strengthening the law around the treatment of workers.

What do we know about modern slavery in Aotearoa?

The latest Global Estimates indicate that 50 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021. Of these, 28 million were in forced labour and 22 million were trapped in forced marriage.

In New Zealand, the data is poor and the type of exploitation varies. So it is difficult to quantify how many people are affected, but modern


Modern slavery

Incomplete or contradictory information

Modern slavery is insidious and difficult to detect. Workers are sometimes complicit in their own exploitation, particularly if it is tied to migration. Others lack agency and are scared to speak out.

Complex range of people and opinions

Modern slavery often involves a supply chain. Workers are usually sourced from other countries and passed along by intermediaries. This makes it difficult to firmly identify the root cause of the problem.

Commercial risk and cost Problems within problems

Addressing modern slavery requires investing in systems and processes for prevention and detection.

Some business models are also more vulnerable to risk, including subcontracting.

Worker exploitation and slavery can be a function of drivers such as poverty, immigration settings, racial and gender discrimination, and cultural context.

Climate change

The basic science around climate change is clear, yet how humans should respond is not. This is in part due to:

• groups with different interests and perspectives needing to collaborate and share information (eg, scientists using different language to non-scientists)

• feedback loops for the effectiveness of initiatives with climate impact being indirect and intergenerational, so that an initiative’s outcome is not immediately obvious

• contradictory, biased and incomplete information circulating through the system.

slavery is an insidious problem and it is definitely happening here. Earlier estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment were that about 3,000 people within New Zealand may be experiencing modern slavery. A recent survey by Kantar indicated that 30 per cent of the migrant workers surveyed had experienced exploitative treatment – albeit at the less severe end of exploitation.

No HR professional wants to find themselves involved in any way in the exploitative treatment of workers or end up on the wrong side of the regulators or courts overseeing the array of legislation it can involve.

In my work, I see a spectrum of exploitative behaviour under a range of different situations. Any HR professional working in almost any type of sector or organisation in any part of the country needs to be vigilant.

So what makes complex problems like these so hard?

Many organisations have now

Because the solution to climate change is multifaceted, it requires a coordinated, collective global effort.

Addressing the challenge of climate change will require significant investment, where the return is distributed (to society and intergenerationally) rather than within traditional investment timeframes.

Climate change responses are inseparable from other areas like an organisation’s approach to transport, energy use and other commercial imperatives. Any climate change initiative will therefore have a broad impact on many organisational activities or systems. Conversely, initiatives from those systems are also likely to affect climate change.

signed up to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. But to bring that support to life, your organisation needs to be able to carve its way through complex problems.

My firm’s work on modern slavery and other complex social or ethical issues reveals a set of four common denominators that makes tackling them hard.

1. Information is incomplete or contradictory, so your ability to make informed decisions is hampered by a lack of accurate information.

2. The topic is emotionally charged and evokes strong personal reactions, or is morally challenging. Morally or ethically challenging issues need to be made within a consistent values framework.

3. Commercial risk and cost haven’t been anticipated by the organisation’s strategy and properly factored in. This makes it hard for HR professionals to support doing the right thing.

4. There are problems within bigger problems – the problem exists within another system or is the by-product of another problem, and so your organisation may seek to blame others or shift accountability.

Breaking down modern slavery and climate change

Modern slavery and climate change are two of the clearest examples of these kinds of challenges facing organisations and their HR leaders in New Zealand. The table above breaks down those two problems by the four common denominators I’ve just listed.

HR professionals can bring the people skills that are at the heart of sustainable practice

These are big, hairy problems and may feel beyond the remit of HR professionals working in individual organisations. However, my firm believes that HR staff offer a distinct set of qualities that makes them


The value that HR professionals can bring


Combine hard and soft information.

HR professionals are highly experienced in bringing datasets together with people-based insights from focus groups, employee groups and organisational leaders.

Complex range of people and opinions Commercial risk and cost Problems within problems

Support clear roles and responsibilities, including with partners.

HR professionals have experience leading victimcentred responses to organisational problems.

Ensure decision-making is informed by values. Take a collaborative approach.

Addressing modern slavery requires investment in systems and processes of prevention and detection like those required for health and safety.

Some business models are more vulnerable to risk, including sub-contracting arrangements, so you need to ensure your contracting practices are on the right side of employment law.

Worker exploitation and slavery can be a function of drivers such as poverty, immigration settings, racial and gender discrimination, and cultural context.

Taking action Map your supply chain to understand your workforce vulnerabilities to exploitation.

Put lead and lag indicators in place to detect whether exploitation may be occurring.

Hold regular review meetings with your major suppliers.

Access workers’ voices through mechanisms such as ‘Ask Your Team’.

uniquely placed to address some of the underlying issues.

These complex problems require a powerful combination of peoplecentred change methods with a good understanding of metrics, targets and indicators. This combination of head and heart means that HR professionals are best placed to overcome information disadvantage by bringing together the information that exists with the lived experience of people.

For me, HR leaders offer great value for organisations’ efforts to tackle these challenging issues for two main reasons.

People leaders support the ethical lens of organisations HR professionals support and balance the ethical judgements that leaders exercise by supporting the engagement and culture around organisational values (including recruitment and retention) and

Establish clear roles and responsibilities within your organisation for addressing the risk of worker exploitation and modern slavery, including with suppliers.

Support a victim-oriented approach.

supporting the judgement when action is contrary to those values (including exiting an organisation).

HR professionals can role-model a partnershipbased approach

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that a successful business strategy requires analysing peoplebased risks in partnership with supply chains. Complex problems require a partnership mindset, and HR professionals excel at collaborating within organisations. Taking those same collaboration skills into a partnership mindset with customers and suppliers with whom you share values is a natural extension of that.

In the case of modern slavery and worker exploitation, HR professionals also have some practical skills that they can bring to bear to tackle those four common denominators underlying complex problems that I discussed above.

As well as partnering with your suppliers, think about how you might collaborate with some non-traditional partners, like nongovernmental organisations, government agencies, unions, and organisations that support victims.

A handy conceptual framework has recently been developed

One of my favourite frameworks for thinking about these kinds of issues comes from the Office of the Auditor-General. This very useful framework puts integrity at the core of how organisations operate.

The approach can be used effectively in different contexts and is evidence based.

Drawing on our HR leaders and their strong people skills

Leaders with strong people skills need to be at the heart of working collaboratively to solve these complex, people-based social problems.

If we want to avoid repeating scenarios like the wretched conditions experienced by the victims of Joseph Matamata, we need to look beyond

or contradictory information
Agree some valuesinformed approaches (such as a supplier code of conduct) so that a course of action is aligned with the organisation’s values. 20 HUMAN RESOURCES SUMMER 2022

the short term and the needs of our individual organisations, and start using our skillsets to influence the surrounding ecosystem.

Sarah Baddeley is Executive Director at management consultancy MartinJenkins. Sarah has a Bachelor of Social Science in Economics and Political Science from the University of Waikato. She has an Australian Company Director’s Diploma, is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and has completed the General Manager Programme at the University of New South Wales Business School. In her role at MartinJenkins, she advises boards and executive teams on some of the complex problems facing our society today. Sarah was one of the speakers at the recent HRNZ Summit: Taking the bold path.

Domains of knowledge

Leadership for tomorrow’s HR professional

This Summit, the first in-person since 2019, marked the launch of The Path – the new Capability Framework for HR professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand. Participants were treated to diverse speakers, each with a unique perspective on how HR professionals need to show up as leaders in the workplace of the future.

Held at the museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and skilfully led by Master of Ceremonies Te Radar, the audience was captivated from the start of the day by authors, speakers, leaders and academics.

Leadership and influence lie at the heart of the six core capabilities of the new framework, so it was fitting to start the day listening to Nadine Champion, world gold medallist in martial arts. Nadine gave her inspiring presentation on the power of courage. She passed on the lessons learned from years of elite performance in the arena of martial arts and kickboxing. She challenged us to consider our ‘internal training’ or mindset behind our actions.

“There needs to be a heartbased reason behind what you do,” said Nadine. She recounted the experience of training for a competition fraught with injury and doubts. With the help of her mentor, Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez, she got out of her comfort zone, refined what she ultimately stood for and went on to win the title.

Climate change is real. It will influence how and where we work and travel.

I believe this is a people and culture issue.

Nadine left us with a tool for managing courage: ‘10 Seconds of Courage’, with a 10-step checklist designed as an opportunity to check in with yourself before pursuing goals. She encouraged us to identify mentors in our lives and ask who we could mentor, and to let them know we’re “in their corner”.

Samantha Jones, founder of Little Yellow Bird clothing company, shared her journey of the past three years working at the helm of an organisation affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a vision for her company of ethically sourcing

Over 100 HRNZ members attended the HRNZ HR Summit at the end of November. Kathy Catton reviews the highlights and captures some of the learnings

and finding circular approaches to all aspects of her business, she led from her heart by communicating with authenticity and vulnerability about the fragile status of the company at the start of the pandemic.

“We told our entire community about a warehouse full of stock but no money in the bank account,” shared Samantha. The response was incredible and, thanks to the generosity of their customers and stakeholders, Little Yellow Bird made it through that patch. This led to the company redesigning its values to include things such as transparency, doing what’s right, even when it’s not easy, and innovating for change.

Little Yellow Bird is a fantastic example of a company addressing every area of the sustainable development goals. It is a role model for other organisations that care deeply about the economy, the people and the environment.

On the topic of organisational sustainability, Kirsten Patterson –KP, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors, spoke of the urgency of organisations in addressing climate change.

“Climate change is real,” she said. “It will influence how and where we work and travel. I believe this is a people and culture issue.” KP drew on the experience of the COVID-19

pandemic, saying, “COVID has given HR a strategic shift to have a strong role in discussing these issues on what the future of work could hold.” She encouraged us as HR professionals to lead the conversation on how the organisations we work for need to wake up to the responsibilities of climate change.

To help with this endeavour, KP provided 10 reflection questions (see insert box) to start these conversations. In addition, she highlighted Chapter Zero New Zealand – the Directors’ Climate Forum, which aims to show directors “how to make climate a boardroom reality”. This forum is open-source and available to all.

Maree Roche, Professor at the University of Auckland, shared her research on how we understand and support leaders. Specifically, she spoke on two areas of her research: the intersection of indigenous values and ethical leadership and mindfulness in the workplace.

By asking us to think about the lives and challenges our grandparents and parents had, Maree helped us see how their journeys have affected us today. “Who we are today is based on where we came from,” said Maree. So, how we are today will also affect our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Maree asked us to consider what legacy we want to leave for future generations.

Reflection questions – the top 10

1. What is HR’s role in climate leadership?

2. Do you know your number? (refers to carbon emissions)

3. Are you ready for scope 3 emissions?

4. What does decarbonising mean for your organisation?

5. What does a just transition look like?

6. What capability will we need?

7. How do we remunerate and incentivise behaviour?

8. How will we measure progress and tell our story?

9. What are you doing to upskill and lead?

10. Are your board members Chapter Zero supporters?

“Who we are today is a conduit for future generations.”

Her research saw that this longterm orientation was apparent in strong leaders. She highlighted five areas of indigenous values and ethical leadership:

1. manaakitanga – how we look after other people


2. whakaiti – servant leadership

3. tikanga Māori – cultural authenticity

4. whakapapa – layering from the past to the present to the future

5. titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua – look back to go forwards.

Leadership and influence lie at the heart of the six core capabilities of the new framework.

Along with this look into ‘time’ as a grounding factor for leaders, Maree also highlighted the present moment as a place where great things can happen. Her research has shown we make better decisions when grounded in the present moment in a non-judgemental way.

HR professionals all deal with complex issues at some point in their

careers, if not more regularly. This was the topic of Sarah Baddeley’s presentation. Sarah is the Executive Director at MartinJenkins, and is a highly versatile and experienced strategic adviser. She is known for helping clients tackle wicked and uncomfortable problems, such as modern slavery, climate change and disinformation.

Sarah encouraged us to hold an ethical lens to the organisations we work for and approach any complex issues with a collaborative and partnership mindset. “Find your own voice and think about any intergenerational impact,” says Sarah.

For more information on Sarah’s speech, please see the article ‘Tackling Wicked Problems’ on page 18.

Sarah also highlighted useful resources on the Labour Inspectorate’s website and the Speak Up Line

Deb Bailey, leadership coach and facilitator, took us through a practical session of considering what is holding us back from our goals and how we can overcome these fears that prevent us from achieving them.

In addition, Deb took us through The Path – the Capability Framework for HR professionals. We looked at how and where the framework could be applied both to our own roles and throughout the organisations with work within.

For more information on the framework, read our interview with HRNZ on page 12.

Natalie Cutler-Welsh ended our day with her high energy, high enthusiasm and action-packed presentation. Natalie is a speaker and coach at Go to Girl Ltd and specialises in

Who we are today is a conduit for future generations.

helping “the people who help the people”. She took us through a process to capture our insights and commit to “upping our brave” in a way that is aligned with our life. We identified what ‘zone’ we’re living in (disconnected, should, frustration or impact) and what empowered actions we could take in the next two months to “up your brave”.

All of these presentations can support us as we look ahead to 2023. There has never been a more critical time for organisations to focus on creating workplaces that support the wellbeing and potential of their people.

This Summit provided participants with the inspiration and ideas to enable them to play a leading role in the changes that lie ahead.

Domains of knowledge


Good faith

The duty of good faith requires employers, employees and unions to act honestly, openly and without hidden motives to raise issues in a fair and timely way. Sianatu Lotoaso outlines the concept of good faith and looks at the consequences if it is not applied.

In New Zealand, the duty of good faith is a fundamental cornerstone in employment relations. The fact that it is prescribed in the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act) indicates that this is by deliberate design. For example:

• section 3(a)(i) provides that the object of the Act is to build productive employment relationships through the “promotion of good faith in all aspects of the employment environment and of the employment relationship” by recognising that employment relationships must be built not only on the implied “mutual obligations” of trust and confidence, but also on a “legislative requirement for good faith behaviour”

• section 4 requires parties to an employment relationship to “deal with each other in good faith”. Good faith is a reciprocal obligation owed by employers, employees

and unions in an employment relationship. Despite this, it is not a well-understood concept.

What is ‘good faith’?

As stated above, good faith is identified as a requirement in section 4 of the Act: “Parties to employment relationship to deal with each other in good faith”. Section 4(1A), added in 2004, broadens the scope of the duty of good faith to state that it “is wider in scope than the implied mutual obligations of trust and confidence”. Section 4(1A)(b) requires the parties to an employment relationship to be “active and constructive” in establishing and maintaining a productive employment relationship, which includes an obligation on the parties to be “responsive and communicative”. Critically, the Act does not define any of these terms (see section 5).

The failure of all involved in an employment relationship to act in good faith could lead to legal recourse.

The terms are extremely broad in nature, allowing good faith to be applied flexibly in a wide range of circumstances and increasing parties’ obligations. However, in most cases that come before the Employment Relations Authority or courts, it is the employee claiming that the employer has not acted in good faith rather than the other

way around. Ordinarily, these types of claims stem from disciplinary or redundancy processes where an employee complains about their employer’s failure to provide relevant information and to engage in genuine consultation.


However, employers also have legal recourse against unions and employees for breaches of good faith. In the case of unions, this situation could arise where an employer is concerned that the union may be providing misleading information to employees that harms the employer’s negotiating position, or the union is making news media comments during disputes.

In the case of employees, legal recourse could occur where an employee has deliberately withheld information from their employer that could be harmful to the business or has a conflict of interest that is harmful to their employer. The consequences for an employee who does not comply with good faith obligations may include:

• a compliance order to require good faith conduct

• a liability to a penalty of $5,000 (individual) if the failure is deliberate, serious and sustained, or was intended to undermine bargaining (individual or collective) or an employment agreement


(individual or collective) or the employment relationship

• reductions of remedies in personal grievances under section 124 of the Act (including disqualification from reinstatement).

Good faith is a reciprocal obligation owed by employers, employees and unions in an employment relationship.


Even after more than two decades since it was recognised in the Act, good faith remains a poorly understood concept. However, defining it by statute may overregulate what good faith means in practice. It may ultimately be unhelpful because each employment relationship is different, and the concept must evolve with changing societal expectations and norms.

Ultimately, an employment relationship is no longer simply

contractual; it now includes acting honestly, fairly and constructively with each other. The failure of all involved in an employment relationship to act in good faith could lead to legal recourse.

Sianatu provides advice on all aspects of employment law and the employment relationship. Sianatu regularly provides advice to a range of clients in the public and private sectors.

Sianatu Lotoaso is an Associate at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. Domains of knowledge

Post-traumatic growth

Uncertainty and upheaval have become key features of our personal and professional lives these past few years. A global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, climate change, cost of living rises, the war in Ukraine – the list goes on. Joanne Ostler explores the silver lining of living in uncertain times.

From an organisational point of view, today's global challenges mean that the pressure is on – just as it is from a personal perspective. Companies strive to recruit and retain the best talent, which is far from easy with low unemployment.

‘The Great Resignation’ is a very real phenomenon as people reassess their lives and career options. Throw some organisational change into the mix and you could have many staff who feel like they’re in over their heads.

To develop vertically means we go on a journey toward greater mental complexity and wisdom.

But the good news is that all this disruption, distress and uncertainty

has an up side – the opportunity for post-traumatic growth.

A turning point

It’s long been recognised that dealing with traumatic events can, in reality, be character-building. We can become more resilient, manage our emotions better, see a bigger picture and appreciate the benefits of listening to different perspectives, if given enough time and the proper support to grow.

Post-traumatic growth is a concept that was first created by psychologists Dr Richard Tedeschi and Dr Lawrence Calhoun to describe the positive psychological change we experience by struggling with highly challenging circumstances. It’s what’s known as adversity-based development. Dealing with crises can become a turning point.

Many researchers (eg, Joseph & Linley, 2008; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004; Infurna and Jayawickreme, 2019) have looked at how people grow from adversity including the transformational role traumatic events can play in fostering


The impact of the experiences over almost three years now can be

described as a chronic trauma (as opposed to an acute trauma such as a one-off incident). COVID-19 is dragging on and on. We are fatigued and many people now carry a heaviness with them – a sense of not knowing which way is up and worrying about what’s coming next. Far from being on solid ground, we are at sea.

For most of us, a lot of loss comes with growth, and as we imagine ourselves being different we have to let go of who we are today.

An opportunity to grow

But in these current times, where we have experienced huge shocks and discomfort, we may have opportunities to experience faster growth than under normal circumstances. This is what’s referred to as post-traumatic growth.

In his 1998 book In Over Our Heads, Harvard professor and developmental psychologist Robert Kegan describes the stages of increasingly complex cognitive development that humans have the potential to grow into over the course of their lives. This is what’s known in the research literature as


Three plateaus in adult mental development

Self-transforming mind

Mental Complexity

journey, but workplaces can provide considerable opportunities to do so.

Self-authoring mind

• Agenda-driving

• Expanded worldview

• Longer-term thinker

• Sees systems, patterns and connections

• Embraces contradiction and paradox

• Team player

• Faithful follower

• Aligns with others

• Seeks direction

• Reliant on authority

Socialised mind Time

• Self-directed

• Guided by own internal compass

• Takes a stand

• Sets and regulates own boundaries

• Contextual and integrative thinking

Vertical development coaches work with their clients to assess what stage they are currently at. This might include using tools such as the Growth Edge Interview and the Global Leadership Profile (noting that it’s impossible to be sure of someone’s development stage by observation alone). By reflecting on situations with their coach and having ‘sense-making’ developmental conversations, people can start to glimpse some of the bigger perspectives and questions they’re carrying. Coaches can encourage their clients to take a ‘balcony’ view: “What is going on for my team members? And for my manager? In what ways am I (unconsciously) attached to my old goals and ways of working?”.

adult development theory (ADT). This theory is also referred to as 'vertical development' in the organisational world of leadership development.

Despite being in the midst of chronic trauma, now is an ideal time for individuals and organisations to consider supporting their leaders to nurture and progress their vertical development. It will help them unlock their ability to think ‘big’ enough to

navigate the increasingly complex and uncertain future we’re all facing and grow to become a more effective leader in the process.

What does vertical development look like?

The map above shows the adult development journey an individual may embark on over the course of a lifetime. Adults don’t have to grow. They don’t have to go on the

To develop vertically means we go on a journey toward greater mental complexity and wisdom. The journey is a process. It is not a one-off event and it does take time. Each advancing stage of development brings broader perspectives and bigger capacities for managing uncertainty and complexity.

There are several prerequisites to moving from one stage of adult

So how do we grow our development capacity?
Source: Adapted from Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey and Vertical Leadership Development – Part 1 by Nick Petrie

development to the next. One of the key ones is discomfort, which we have plenty of right now.

Leaders are facing ongoing and significant disruption, complexity and unpredictability. When a leader starts to realise that their current way of operating is not working any more and the pain of their experience is worse than the perceived pain of change, they can open up to a more sophisticated and mature way of being and making sense.

… the good news is that all this disruption, distress and uncertainty has an up side – the opportunity for posttraumatic growth.

Growth is messy. It’s uncomfortable and often makes us feel foolish (which is why we sometimes unconsciously try to avoid it). But feeling foolish, uncertain, irritable or just plain uncomfortable is an extricable part of the process.

Jennifer Garvey Berger is a leading expert in the vertical development field. “I think the biggest obstacle to our growth is how scary it is to grow,” she said in a recent interview for Manage Magazine. “I have a sense that people stay the same until the idea of growing is less painful than the place that they’re in. Also, I think people grow because they kind of have to due to their circumstances. For most of us, a lot of loss comes with growth, and as we imagine ourselves being different we have to let go of who we are today.

This is very difficult as we get more and more attached to ourselves over time.”

Another key ingredient in the adult development journey is ongoing reflection. When leaders and managers use coaches and other processes to help them challenge their thinking and make sense of experiences, it allows them to see and navigate more complex and expanded worldviews. As the American philosopher John Dewey, “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Exposure to a diverse range of perspectives is also essential. Interactions with people who hold different worldviews and opinions, including interactions with people at later stages of vertical development, can help you progress and expand your own capacity.

People also need support systems that provide ‘good company’ for the developmental journey. This includes developmental coaching and potentially using vertical development tools and learning partnerships.

The final component is personal impact. Do you want and need to improve your ability to navigate ongoing change, uncertainty and complexity? Does developing as a leader matter to you? If it does not, an individual is unlikely (at a conscious or subconscious level) to risk the time, energy or discomfort that embarking on a vertical development journey is likely to involve.

Embrace the change to evolve

Mark Twain famously urged people to “sail away from the safe harbour”, and uncertainty is now a natural feature of our lives. Can you embrace post-traumatic growth and consider how your own vertical development (or that of your organisation’s leaders) might benefit as a result?


with crises can become a turning point.

You may have experienced a lot of emotions as you have navigated the storms of the past two years. And it’s ongoing. How have you grown? Have you seen others around you grow through this journey?

As challenging as it continues to be, there is a silver lining to all of this if we look hard enough and are willing to invest in our vertical development. It is the key to becoming a more effective leader in today’s tumultuous workplace and a proven way to avoid feeling that you are in over your head.

Joanne Ostler (PCC) is a certified leadership coach specialising in adult (vertical) development. Learn more at www.springleadership. com.

Domains of knowledge

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5 Steps ahead with HRNZ

Why succession planning is the secret to keeping your star talent

In today’s competitive market, employee retention is complex, and employers are increasingly looking beyond pay and benefits to fulfil and motivate workers. One key piece of this puzzle is succession planning across all levels of an organisation, including leadership. While many are doing a great job of putting policies into practice, their plans aren’t always translating into success.

In Ceridian’s 2022 Executive Survey of 2,000 leaders around the globe, 92 per cent of respondents from Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) say their company uses succession planning, yet an overwhelming majority (84 per cent) suggest they often or always hire external candidates for leadership roles as opposed to promoting from within. Plus, many indicate their succession plans are incomplete.

Succession planning is more than ensuring adequate bench strength for an organisation’s critical roles. It provides a clear opportunity

for employees to see their career progression, set training goals and identify future opportunities with their employer. This, in turn, boosts employee retention while also bringing broader benefits to their organisation. In fact, when looking at our research, almost all (99 per cent) of ANZ business leaders said their organisations were looking for boomerang talent – former employees – to fill vacancies. While hiring external candidates can make strategic sense for some roles, sound succession planning can help avoid the need to re-hire talent.

In the current climate, employers need to be prudent about how they manage their talent. Without an ongoing discussion around proper succession planning, business leaders can be left scrambling to fill the void when key team members depart. But when done correctly, succession planning can lead to improved employee engagement and reinforce a company’s purpose across the entire workforce. The following are some pitfalls employers should avoid when building out an effective succession planning strategy.

Not integrating succession plans company-wide

Our 2022 Executive Survey paints a picture of organisations that have implemented succession

planning as a policy but haven’t taken care to ensure that these plans are impactful. Unsurprisingly, they continue to experience problems like lengthy vacancies for key leadership roles. More than half (65 per cent) of ANZ respondents stated that these roles go unfilled for four months or longer.

While HR will play a central role in succession-planning strategies and initiatives, it can’t be solely responsible for their success. To be effective, succession planning must be a company-wide initiative that is seen as an evolving process rather than words on a page.

Succession planning provides a clear opportunity for employees to see their career progression, set training goals and identify future opportunities with their employer.

Focusing only on senior leaders

Ceridian’s research also found that while leaders recognise the value of middle managers, they aren’t always great at supporting them. When respondents were asked how their organisations support middle managers, less

Brian Donn from Ceridian, Australia and New Zealand, looks at how succession planning, when done well, could be a crucial tool in managing talent.

than half (48 per cent) said their organisation offers management training programmes.

Succession planning shouldn’t be a subjective process. It should lead with a data-driven approach over intuition.

A lack of comprehensive leadership development guidance and mentoring often leaves middle managers feeling less secure. Without adequate support, middle managers can be quite vulnerable, especially because they were promoted into supervisory positions much earlier than was usual with earlier generations. All these factors contribute to a lack of strong succession planning that would help elevate these individuals into more senior leadership positions over time. In our findings, we witnessed a heavy focus on succession planning for senior leadership versus other types of roles. For example, 65 per cent of ANZ respondents say they use succession planning for senior leadership roles, but this number falls to 60 per cent for critical technical experts, 61 per cent for subject matter experts and 50 per cent for people leaders. Succession plans should be broad and consider the entire organisation holistically.

Not leveraging data or succession-planning tools

Our Executive Survey revealed only 58 per cent of ANZ respondents currently use technology to map talent or identify leaders. Succession planning shouldn’t be a subjective process. It should lead with a datadriven approach over intuition.

Companies should leverage technology to help with succession planning. The right tools can help leaders create coverage plans for key roles to lessen risk and help reduce regrettable turnover. They can help track readiness for promotions and support employees’ ongoing development.

Succession-planning software allows organisations to make more informed decisions about employee career paths based on performance, flight risk, compensation and other essential data. It also helps keep succession planning top of mind, rather than only turning to it when a successor is needed.

Ultimately, to create effective succession plans that have substance, business leaders need to follow three key rules.

1. Invest in technology to proactively identify and develop employees, to fill key roles before turnover occurs.

2. Broaden the scope of succession planning beyond senior leadership, to keep your business running smoothly.

3. Track employee potential and readiness for promotion, to help identify where employees are in their career paths.

If the data from this year’s Executive Survey tells us one thing, it is that succession plans are an effective tool for improving employee retention efforts, but they are especially critical today.

With more than 20 years of market experience, Brian has held leadership positions across the Asia-Pacific region, including Oracle, Verint Systems Inc, KANA Software and Sword Group. At Ceridian, Brian is focused on empowering customers with the digital transformation of their people processes in a constantly changing world of work.

Brian Donn is the Managing Director of Ceridian in Australia and New Zealand.

Gender and equity in the public sector

public service. It focused on Māori and Pacific women, who tend to be over-represented in lower-level roles and under-represented in leadership.

At the same time, their pay and other work-related gaps relative to men remain wider than for European women, further stressing the need to identify effective remedies.

widely seen to encourage an understanding of plural interests, and a ‘speak up’ culture underwritten by leader accountability, equity success stories, role models and improved messaging.

Population and labour force forecasts for Aotearoa

New Zealand indicate that diversification will not only continue but intensify. HR professionals are among the stakeholders who can strategically and operationally respond to this complex dynamic, recognising that diversity management and efforts to enhance employee inclusion can yield benefits – and challenges – for those employees and their workplace.

HR professionals are among the stakeholders who can strategically and operationally respond to this complex dynamic.

Far-reaching inquiry

From early 2020 to mid-2022, a Massey University-funded study examined the extent of progress on gender equity in New Zealand’s

In the inquiry, researchers from different disciplinary, methodological and work backgrounds worked with sector and equity experts from, for example, the Ministry for Women, Ministry for Pacific Peoples, Council of Trade Unions, Public Service Association and Human Rights Commission, along with managers and staff from three public service agencies. Material from semi-structured interviews with 72 informants was assessed.

Summary of findings

On the manager’s role in progressing gender and intersectional equity, our interviewees highlighted the following insights.

• Equity, diversity and inclusion efforts need to include, but not be led exclusively by, HR. By engaging multiple stakeholders, including minority women employees, in the design and implementation of equity strategies, workplaces were

• Equity perspectives differ. HR needs to be among those who engage in regular, multi-site discussions to appreciate existing inequities and how to facilitate context-sensitive progress. For example, employees and managers expressed culturally nuanced views of equity that could help to inform equity aims, approaches and measures to recalibrate an emphasis on employees’ technical skills towards valuing and developing cultural and interpersonal skills.

• Conduct a review, not a reinvention, of the wheel. Many saw HR as having the expertise to ‘stocktake’ their organisation’s equity platforms. In so doing, it helped to inform an equity needs assessment and to establish the basis for the strategic direction of future initiatives.

• Commitment to equity needs ‘future proofing’. To help build and sustain the momentum and impact of multilateral changes, HR is well placed to monitor,

Professor Jane Parker, Associate Professor Janet Sayers, Dr Amanda Young-Hauser, Dr Shirley Barnett, Pat Loga and Selu Paea look at how far gender equity has progressed in New Zealand’s public service.

evaluate and benchmark equity progress and initiatives, in that way helping to safeguard resources for, and gains from, these initiatives. Many informants stressed that well-planned and well-executed initiatives take time to bed in and influence complex institutional practices and culture.

• Equity pursuits need a context of trust-based employment relations. HR and others can be pivotal in helping engender a trust-based workplace culture in which stakeholders are more likely to examine and discuss equity challenges and strategies at all levels. Some suggested that this could be facilitated by identity group collaborations (eg, as occurs between the sector-wide Women in Governance network and women’s groups within public service agencies) and by greater equity training and development for all, including managers.

• Managers’ workload capacity needs closer evaluation. Many stressed that heavy workloads for managers create a tension between their capacity to complete tasks and their capacity to actively champion equity goals. HR could encourage the prioritisation of gender and intersectional equity in wider work strategies. As the pandemic

continues, this could usefully involve greater exploration of agile ways of working and using IT to reflect employee diversity and encourage their inclusion.

Reports produced for the participating agencies included a range of quotes from interviewees to highlight their voices. These reports culminated in a tailored or ‘best fit’ equity index, which is designed to spark dialogue and reflection on equity, and to frame future initiatives around equity goalsetting, conceptualisations, strategies and practices.

HR needs to be among those who engage in regular, multi-site discussions to appreciate existing inequities and how to facilitate contextsensitive progress.

The big picture

Alongside this institutional-level focus, informants’ views on the roles of HR and others in progressing equity may be shaped by New Zealand’s public service regulatory and policy framework. For example, the Public Service Act 2020 seeks to strengthen the ‘shared identity of public servants’ to enable a cultural shift that builds a unified (but not

necessarily homogeneous), agile and collaborative service that improves all New Zealanders’ wellbeing.

The Act also aims to strengthen the relationship between Māori and the Crown under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, though gender and ethnicity are presented in an uncoupled manner. For its part, the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 supports the settling of gender pay equity claims within existing collective bargaining arrangements. However, the dynamics of people’s personal circumstances, work and wider environments highlight that advancing equity for Māori and Pacific women and others is a perpetual work in progress.

Jane Parker is a Chartered Member of HRNZ and codirects Massey’s MPOWER Group. She is an editorial board member of the Human Relations journal and co-editor-in-chief of the Labour and Industry journal. Her research focuses on strategic HRM, comparative employment relations, and diversity and inclusion. Jane has been commissioned for various employment projects by the International Labour Organization, Eurofound, European Trade Union Institute and United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council, among others.

Domains of knowledge

Immigration settings: the good and not so good

For employers of migrant workers, the past two years have been a roller coaster ride of border closures, constant changes to policy, and uncertainty. Rachael Mason from Lane Neave looks at the current system, exploring what’s working well and what isn’t, and potential policy changes for 2023.

The current immigration settings

It’s great to have the border open and the ability to now recruit international talent into New Zealand. The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) system is still bedding down, but we now have a good handle on how the system works.

Here I set out my ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ view of the current immigration settings.

What’s positive

• Great news – the border is (finally) open and the ability to recruit international talent is available again.

• The new AEWV system offers fast-tracked residence for

certain (Green List) roles, which helps in attracting eligible international talent.

• The sector agreements and limited-time exception rates for specific industries allow lower pay rates for particular roles in certain sectors, avoiding the immediate jump to the median rate of $27.76 per hour.

• In some instances, the government has revised the policy (in limited circumstances) in response to industry feedback (e.g., by relaxing the unrealistic qualification requirement for chefs). This serves as a reminder to have your say about what’s not working when the opportunity arises – it’s worth the effort!

• The reopening of the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) helps to plug a much-needed gap because now more migrants will be able to see a residence pathway.

What’s not so positive

• The system is complex to navigate, resulting in uncertainty and a high decline rate.

• It brings significant cost increases to employers (who must bear the costs of accreditation and job checks) and employees (who face an increase in application fees of about 25 per cent).

• Lengthy processing timeframes make it very difficult to manage start dates and workflows.

• The effective exclusion of lowerpaid, lower-skilled roles from the work visa system is very challenging for many employers. The requirement to pay the median pay rate of $27.76 per hour means that, in many cases, it is not possible to secure a work visa for low- and mid-skilled roles, where pay rates have historically sat below this level.

• Even the sector agreements and tourism and hospitality exceptions (requiring pay rates of around $25 per hour) are still higher than the usual market rate for many roles. That means it is not realistic to pay those rates and so rules out the possibility of recruiting migrant workers.

• Despite the reopening of the SMC, significant numbers of migrants still have no residence pathway, making it very difficult to attract international talent to New Zealand (especially if potential migrants can see a residence pathway in competing countries such as Australia or Canada).

What’s coming up?

Several upcoming changes have been signalled for 2023 that


employers and HR managers should be aware of when it comes to workforce planning and the ability to secure work visas for your organisation.

• The median wage used to determine immigration eligibility will increase to $29.66 per hour in February 2023, with flow-on effects to sector agreement rates and residence category rates.

• The tourism and hospitality exception rate will increase from $25 to $28.18 per hour in April 2023.

• Partner work rights will be largely removed. From 1 January 2023, the majority of AEWV holders’ partners will only be eligible for a visitor visa, unless they can qualify for an AEWV in their own right.

• Accreditation will be compulsory for all employers of migrants.

Immigration New Zealand has signalled that from late 2023 all employers will need accreditation to be able to employ migrants –regardless of their visa category (including student visa holders, working holiday visa holders and other such categories).

• The SMC will undergo upskilling and redesign, with a higher points pass mark from early 2023 and redesign of the category in late 2023. Expect the bar to be

raised, so that only mid- and high-skilled and paid migrants can secure residence under this category.

• 2023 is an election year – that impacts what policy changes get pushed through in the lead-up to the election and then postelection policy with either the same or a new government. Watch this space!

Knowing what’s coming up and how the changes will impact your organisation opens up opportunities for you to take advantage of the current system to secure the best possible outcomes for you and your migrant workers. The indications above provide good reasons to bring forward visa applications for migrants in certain roles and industries. Often making an application early can be the difference between eligibility and ineligibility. It’s worth taking time now to explore opportunities to make the best use of the current and future settings to help set your immigration strategy.

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.

Domains of knowledge


What happened?

Occasionally we are called on to carry out an investigation in the workplace. Whether the allegation is of theft, bullying or some other disciplinary matter, investigating it needs a robust and thorough approach. Bindy Tatham from Professional Insight offers her tips and guidance.

Unfortunately, not everyone acts appropriately in the workplace. Concerns about or allegations of misconduct inevitably arise. If the concerns or allegations require an investigation, the investigation must be carried out in a fair manner. But what does that really mean? And once the investigation is complete, how do you make sure that the decision about what happened is a ‘good’ decision?

Fair process in an investigation

A fair process means setting the scope (and sticking to it) and conducting a timely, transparent, impartial and balanced investigation. Carrying out a fair process is in everyone’s best interests – for the person under investigation, the person making the complaint, the organisation and other parties who may have been impacted by the matter.

If you undertake a fair investigation, you reduce the risk that complaints will be made about the process.

Carrying out a fair process is in everyone’s best interests – for the person under investigation, the person making the complaint, the organisation and other parties who may have been impacted by the matter.

Purpose of an investigation

The purpose of an investigation is to find out ‘what happened’. Although investigative techniques vary, asking open, non-leading questions is a helpful way of obtaining accurate and detailed responses from witnesses. A thorough fact-finding investigation should focus on gathering all relevant evidence and may require interviewing multiple witnesses and collecting key documents.

When gathering evidence, you should let witnesses know how and what will happen with their evidence. You should let witnesses know (before they engage in an investigative interview) that their statement or a transcript of the interview will be disclosed to the person under investigation.

It is also important to advise the person under investigation of their right to seek advice or representation at any stage during the process.

Case example

Let’s say Jack has made an allegation about Jane to his manager. The allegation is serious and it needs to be investigated to find out what happened.

Here are things to keep in mind when conducting the investigation.

• Scope – stay above ground and avoid going down rabbit holes.

Jane needs to know what allegation is being investigated. The allegation should be clearly defined in the terms of reference for the investigation, and this is typically referred to as the ‘scope’ of the investigation. It is important that the investigation stays within this scope.

The terms of reference may provide that the scope can be amended during the investigation. This may be needed if information comes to light about Jane’s conduct pointing to further matters to investigate that are not covered by the initial scope. In this case, you should seek Jane’s response to the proposed amendments.

• Timeliness – set timeframes and work to meet them.

Investigations should be timely and not drag on with unnecessary delays. It is stressful to have an investigation hanging over your head. As a check, step back


and consider if the timeframes are fair and reasonable from Jane’s perspective.

You may need to outsource the investigation to an independent investigator so that it can be completed in a timely manner.

• Transparency – be open and disclose all the information gathered.

In general, you should provide Jane with all the evidence gathered throughout the investigation process (full disclosure). You might choose certain stages of the investigation to disclose the evidence gathered, or to disclose the information to her as you receive it throughout the investigation process.

Whatever you decide, Jane should know what the process is and what to expect and when. Keeping Jane informed and updated on progress helps to keep the process transparent, and Jane is assured that a fair process is in play.

Depending on the nature of the allegation, it may be appropriate to keep Jack updated about the process. However, you need to be mindful of privacy and confidentiality, so be careful about what you disclose.

• Response – allow the person under investigation the opportunity (and

reasonable time) to respond to the allegation.

You must give Jane the opportunity to respond to the allegation and provide her response. This brings balance to the investigation.

The person under investigation should be given a reasonable length of time to consider, digest and respond to all the evidence gathered. What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the circumstances.

• Independent – the investigation must be impartial.

Impartiality is crucial. In some cases, it may not be appropriate to carry out an investigation inhouse. This may be due to actual or perceived bias or conflicts of interest for the person who would be carrying out the investigation.

If there are any concerns about impartiality (or lack of), it is best to acknowledge these issues at the outset and take steps to appoint an independent investigator.

• Confidentiality – keep all gathered information confidential.

Investigations must respect the privacy of everyone involved, and you must keep the information gathered confidential.

Making the decision – head, heart and gut

Once the investigation is complete, it’s time to make the decision about what happened.

Good decisions are evidence-based. All the evidence must be considered, but irrelevant information (or evidence relating to matters beyond the scope) should be disregarded.

When balancing the evidence, it helps to think about these questions.

• How was the evidence gathered? Were the questions open, closed or leading?

• When was the evidence gathered? Was it close to the alleged incident or a long time after it?

• Were all witnesses spoken to? Is anything missing?

• Is the evidence directly from the witness (first-hand account: “I saw Jane…”) or is it hearsay (secondhand account: “William told me that he saw Jane…”)?

• Are there consistent accounts of what happened? Is there any corroborating evidence?

• Are some of the witnesses more credible and, if so, why?

• Has the person under investigation had an opportunity to respond to the allegations? Are their responses consistent?


When you make a good decision, you will be able to give robust, evidence-based reasons for coming to your decision. Typically, you will use your head, gut and heart in this process.

do is acknowledge it and then slow down your decision-making. This means you can be aware of the impact your bias might have on your decision and take steps to minimise its impact.

Gut feelings

In addition to your head, your gut is part of this process. We often talk about our stomach as our ‘second brain’.


Most importantly, you must look dispassionately at the evidence and assess it without bias. Bias comes in many forms – we tend to prefer what is like us over what is different from us (similarity bias); we tend to act quickly rather than take time (expedience bias); and we often take our perception to be the ‘truth’ (experience bias).

If you recognise that you have bias (and we all do), the best thing to

Our gut reactions and feelings may play a role in decision-making, but they should follow the decision made in our head. That’s why it’s the second brain, not the first! Decisions can’t simply be based on a ‘feeling’ or ‘instinct’. If your gut is telling you something did or didn’t happen, you must be able to find solid evidence (with your head) to support this finding.

Your heart plays a role too, but it should not override the rational or logical outcome that follows from your head. We are humans and

it is natural to feel for people, to sympathise or empathise with their situation. These feelings cannot be ignored but, like the gut feeling, they should play a secondary role to the decision made in your head. It wouldn’t look so good if your decision said, “We felt sorry for her and she was a really nice person, so we let her off”.

It is critical to collect the best evidence available in a fair manner.

Sometimes the decision you want to make (in your heart) cannot be made on the evidence. In these cases, you should rely on your head – the first brain. If you cannot support the decision made with robust and solid evidence-based reasons, the decision may be vulnerable to challenge.


First, it is critical to collect the best evidence available in a fair manner.

Our gut reactions and feelings may play a role in decision-making, but it should follow the decision made in our head.

To check your process, take time to step back and ‘put the shoe on the other foot’ to test your approach from the perspective of the person being investigated.

Decision-makers should then dispassionately consider all the evidence and be able to justify the decision made with evidencebased reasons.

Bindy Tatham is a licensed investigator, and along with Rachel Kent has recently set up an investigations firm in Wellington called Professional Insight. Bindy and Rachel are enrolled barristers and solicitors of the High Court and have broad experience in managing and investigating professional misconduct, and have both worked for, and alongside, a number of professional regulators. Email for more info.

Domains of knowledge

SPRING 2022 HUMAN RESOURCES 41 Read back issues of
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FuturepredictionsforHR Whyresiliencejustgotpersonal NewZealand’sMagazineforHumanResourcesProfessionals Human Resources online at:
The changing face of Aotearoa

A bold discussion gone wrong

(usually an exit with dignity, on terms that the employee is likely to accept). Such a discussion can be very useful when the parties are likely to be able to agree on an acceptable outcome.

HR professionals are used to helping managers to raise issues with employees. The conventional approach is to follow the steps set out in the Employment Relations Act 2000: sufficiently investigate the issue, raise the issue with the employee, give the employee a reasonable opportunity to respond, genuinely consider the employee’s response, and make a decision that a fair and reasonable employer could have made. In the case of poor performance, these steps often have to be repeated several times before dismissal is justified. We all know how long this usually takes!

The ‘without prejudice’ approach

Some leaders cut straight to the chase. They initiate a frank discussion with an employee (often termed a ‘fireside chat’ or an ‘off-therecord discussion’). They identify the problem, are honest about whether the employee has a likely future with the business and offer a solution

If the parties cannot agree on an acceptable outcome, that discussion is very difficult to resolve. It usually smacks of predetermination, with the employer expressing a genuine desire to terminate the employment relationship; the classic constructive dismissal scenario of ‘resign or you will be fired’!

Predetermined outcome?

This is what happened in the case of Blakeley v ACM New Zealand Ltd. Ms Blakeley was a branch manager with ACM. She met with her regional manager in June to discuss her branch’s perceived poor financial performance. In July, Ms

Blakeley travelled to Auckland to participate in a managers’ meeting. Her participation in the meeting was perceived as limited and disinterested. Her manager ended Ms Blakeley’s participation (or lack thereof) in the meeting early by calling a taxi and sending her home.

The discussion usually smacks of pre-determination by expressing a genuine desire on behalf of the employer to terminate the employment relationship – the classic constructive dismissal scenario of resign or you will be fired!

David Burton, an employment law barrister, looks at a recent case involving leaders entering discussions with an employee regarding their future employment.

The following week, Ms Blakeley’s regional manager asked HR to write a script for him for a meeting he intended to hold with Ms Blakeley. There was general agreement about the course that the meeting would take. Ms Blakeley accepted that the meeting would proceed on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.

Before an employer embarks on a bold discussion, the employer should realise that... a Plan B and even a Plan C should be prepared in case the discussion does not go well.

At the meeting, her manager told her that her performance and the behaviours she had been demonstrating were unacceptable. She was told that the company wanted to terminate her employment and that if she did not accept the company’s exit offer, her employment would most likely be terminated through a formal disciplinary process.

Textbook case

The company and Ms Blakeley were unable to agree on a financial settlement. Efforts were also made at mediation to agree on an exit

for Ms Blakeley. When this was not successful, Ms Blakeley resigned two days later and raised a personal grievance on the basis that she was constructively dismissed.

The Employment Relations Authority concluded that it was almost a textbook illustration of one of the leading decisions on constructive dismissal. In the Woolworths case, the Court of Appeal held that constructive dismissal includes, but is not limited to, cases where:

• an employer gives an employee a choice of resigning or being dismissed

• an employer has followed a course of conduct with the deliberate and dominant purpose of coercing an employee to resign

• a breach of a duty by the employer causes an employee to resign.

The Authority Member said, “I have no qualms concluding Ms Blakeley was constructively dismissed.”

The Authority also considered whether the so-called ‘without prejudice’ meeting should be excluded from consideration. Again, the Authority had no difficulty in concluding that it should be considered in evidence.

Ms Blakeley had been informed that, after the parties failed to agree on an exit, she would be back to work as

normal, pending a formal disciplinary process. She had already been told that the relationship was untenable and she had no reason to believe that the process would be conducted fairly or with an open mind. The employer’s intention had already been signalled.

The courts only deal with situations where the parties have been unable to agree on an outcome. There are likely to be many cases that we do not see where bold discussions have been successful. However, before embarking on a bold discussion, an employer should realise that agreement may not be reached; a Plan B and even a Plan C should be prepared in case the bold discussion does not go well.

Blakeley v ACM New Zealand Ltd

David Burton is an employment law barrister. 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. For more info, visit or email

Domains of knowledge


Creating the future of work: three traps to avoid

What comes to mind when you think about the workplace in 2032? Alex Hagan, futurist and course lead on the HRNZ Strategic Workforce Planning course, looks at what to avoid when creating the future of work.

Chances are when you think about the workplace in 2032, you’ll think about things like increasing flexibility, hybrid working, the gig economy and artificial intelligence. And you’d be right – many of the trends that immediately come to mind will dramatically shape the nature of work and workforces in the decade ahead.

Trends are already upon us Something interesting happens when you reflect on your list of future work trends with a second, related question: ‘Which of these things are already here?’ In doing that, it becomes clear that when we think about the future of work, we often think about things already happening – the now of work.

In my work as a futurist, I find that we often fall into three opportunitylimiting traps when we plan for the future. The first is that we go ‘straight

for the bullseye’ when thinking about the future of a domain by thinking only about trends already impacting us.

The future of our workforces will be shaped by… demography, economics, policy, the environment, social and cultural change, and technology.

A broader lens

Trends, by their very nature, are already here. While their challenges might increase in intensity in the future, they are challenges we already face today. Instead, we should look to the periphery of our domain to anticipate some of the more profound potential changes to come. The future of our workforces will be shaped by the future of our organisations, and the future of our organisations will be shaped by demography, economics, policy, the environment, social and cultural change, and technology. It is by looking at these broader domains that we can get a sense of the future, rather than the now, of work.

To do this, we need to look broader. Rather than going straight for the ‘bullseye’ by directly answering the question ‘What is the future of work?’, we need to look at what’s happening in society more broadly and how these events may impact work in the future. After all, even in darts, only amateurs go straight for the bullseye. Professionals play the game differently, often only aiming for the bullseye right at the end.

Multiple mapped options

A second trap we fall into when planning for the future is that we often identify trends but do not explore their implications. Identifying the trends but not their impacts results in very little actionable insight. Take, for example, artificial intelligence. AI is a technology trend that is already present, will continue to reshape work as we know it and could play itself out in many different ways. While we cannot exhaustively and confidently predict all of the impacts of AI on the future of work, we can map multiple possible and plausible futures. Instead, planners often become overwhelmed by uncertainty and, as a result, do not take action.

Good futures thinking does not make predictions about the future but rather explores multiple plausible


and possible futures and ‘maps’ how we might navigate things we can’t control but will need to respond to. We need to think further into the future about the high-impact trends where we can’t predict what’s going to happen precisely. Exploring multiple scenarios can help us make informed decisions today, even in times of uncertainty.

Good futures thinking… explores multiple plausible and possible futures and ‘maps’ how we might navigate things we can’t control but will need to respond to.

Deeper opportunities

The third trap in planning for the future is to have a knee-jerk reaction to trends. Trends can be risks to navigate, but they can also be opportunities to leverage. Remote work is a trend that the literature about the future of work has been describing since the 1960s. The communications technologies many of us have become accustomed to just recently are not new. Skype was created in 2003 and Zoom in

2011, but it took a global pandemic and a government mandate for many businesses to adopt these as mainstream communications tools.

To take full advantage of remote work and trends reshaping work, we need to dive deeper into root causes and identify the opportunities they offer.

In many cases, knowledge work and its location have now been disintermediated, and telerobotics is likely to expand that change to physical labour. Yet most organisations continue to hire people within commuting distance of our offices and occasionally allow them to work from home. At the same time, we worry about localised skills shortages. Few organisations truly leverage the communications technologies available today to access the world’s best talent, wherever they are. To take full advantage of remote work and trends reshaping work, we need to dive deeper into their root causes and identify the opportunities they offer.

Looking broader, further and deeper, we can truly create, rather than adapt to, the future of work.

Alex Hagan helps organisations to face fundamentally unpredictable futures with confidence through applied foresight, data science, and strategic workforce planning. The author of two books, Thriving in Complexity and What the Hell Do We Do Now?, Alex teaches his strategic workforce planning and workforce analytics masterclasses in New Zealand as part of the HRNZ Professional Development Programme. Bookings can be made on the HRNZ website

Domains of knowledge

Building ethical leadership

and consistent discussions about organisational ethical values. That’s why the objective here is to examine how organisations can build ethical leadership within organisations.

Leading by example

Researchon ethical leadership conducted by the Institute of Business Ethics in 2017 revealed that most New Zealand organisations do not obey a code of conduct. Karin Lasthuizen, who currently holds the Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Management at Victoria University’s School of Management in Wellington, found that the enforcement of ethics is very challenging because New Zealanders are generally resistant to questioning colleagues and employees if something does not feel right for them.

A lack of ethics institutionalisation within organisations can be due to the New Zealand business community’s general belief that New Zealanders are decent and ethical people (see The importance of ethical leadership).

Recent studies provide several interesting insights. Findings suggest that while New Zealand organisations have made progress with developing a code of conduct, there is a lack of training programmes or open

In their study, Brown, Treviño and Harrison defined ethical leadership as “the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers

Ethics are the future of work, and HR managers need to institutionalise ethical values in all HR practices.

through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making”.

For organisations to develop ethical leadership practices, it is crucial that the leadership team exercise ethical behaviours that show the organisational values.

Continuous two-way communication and accountability for ethical and unethical behaviours and standards can help build trust with followers. Research suggests that employers lead by example; however, often there is a disconnect between

organisational leadership styles and values. For this reason, HR managers can develop ethical leadership training tailored to their corporate values. This will help leaders to upskill and develop the necessary individual characteristics to practise ethical behaviours. HR managers should also have clear rules about ethical values and behaviours, which will create open and honest communication channels for leaders and followers –a crucial underpinning for authentic, ethical leadership.

Building ethical capabilities and ethical climate

Building ethical capability and climate in an organisation is crucial because it can help to tackle ethical dilemmas that HR managers face. To develop ethical capabilities, an organisation must be able to identify and respond to ethical issues. Ethical capabilities can be supported and developed by individuals, leaders and the ethical environment. To develop an ethical climate, HR managers can

Anna Earl outlines recent research into ethical leadership and provides some tips for HR professionals.
We see a strong trend in the eagerness of New Zealand’s younger generations to work in organisations with ethical values.

ensure that everyone, despite their status, understands what constitutes shared beliefs of what is right and what is wrong.

New Zealanders are generally resistant to questioning colleagues and employees if something does not feel right for them.

Most organisations in New Zealand do not provide training for employees on procedural steps to address unethical behaviour. The institutionalisation of ethics in organisations needs to go beyond introducing a code of conduct. HR managers need to have straightforward training programmes

during the induction process to help individuals to categorise ethical issues.

Ethical capabilities and climate can influence organisational reputation and legitimacy, which can significantly influence recruitment processes and success in finding top talent. We see a strong trend in the eagerness of New Zealand’s younger generations to work in organisations with ethical values. This can be detrimental for organisations because younger generations have employment options and want to work for organisations with high ethical standards. So, to attract the top talent, HR managers need to create financial and human capital to develop ethical leaders and an ethical climate within organisations.

Ethical leadership can help organisations to change and to develop an organisational culture where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and call each other to account if someone does not exercise ethical values. To give people a voice, HR managers can build relationships with the employees and leadership teams. Ethics are the future of work, and HR managers need to institutionalise ethical values in all HR practices.

Dr 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 and stakeholder relationships. In particular, she is interested in organisational change under complex institutional conditions, as well as the role of leadership styles and multinational enterprises.

of knowledge

Open the door to bold thinking

reflection, I do admire his vision. While I was looking for a practical and immediate fix, he was asking what an exceptional outcome would look like. While I was thinking about ‘right now’, he was describing where we want to be in a few years’ time, without limiting his aspiration by today’s constraints.

The back door to my house is falling apart. It’s a beautiful old door, but the panels are coming apart and the stained glass is rattling in its frame. Every winter the wood swells and the door gets stuck –so, of course, we force it open, weakening it even further. I’d feel sad to replace it; I’m pretty sure it’s an original feature of our 1920s bungalow, but the door is getting worse every season.

Last weekend my husband and I had a talk about what we should do. My suggestion was to glue and clamp the door to get it functional again. My husband’s idea was to landscape the backyard and create an outdoor entertaining area covered above by a massive deck, which would shelter the door from wind and rain and protect it from damage in the future.

At the time, I found his line of thinking decidedly unhelpful. We don’t have the time or the means for such a bold undertaking – and probably the lion’s share of the work would fall to me – but on

I’d like to bring a bit more of that bold thinking to my role as a leader. I think it’s a critical capability for all leaders, not just the CEO. The way we have led – ourselves, our teams and our organisations – in the past won’t serve us in the future. With the pace of change continuing to accelerate, we won’t keep up if we’re anchored by how we do things now. Strong leaders need to think beyond what’s possible, or even imaginable, today.

The leaders I admire are unapologetically aspirational. They aren’t scared to nudge the people around them past the point they feel comfortable, inspiring them to reconsider what’s achievable. If I am to have the greatest impact, that’s the type of leader I strive to be. Tomorrow’s leaders won’t be satisfied with small steps. They’ll help their teams and their organisations take giant leaps forward – just as our customers and our people will expect of us.

At Southern Cross Health Insurance, we’ve recently refreshed our strategy. One of our strategic priorities is to be the healthiest high-performance workplace in Aotearoa – no small feat. I’ve been blown away by how readily our people have leaned into this bold goal. It makes me feel proud and excited for the future of work.

In the meantime, I can start with my door. I’ll be calling in a carpenter to do some remedial work, but I might just ask what it would take to build a timber awning over the door. The kind that might one day double as framing for a deck off the living rooms above.

Barker is Head of

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.

Our regular columnist Natalie Barker, Head of Transformation at Southern Cross Health Insurance, looks at how bold thinking plays out at her home and her work. Natalie Transformation at Southern
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HRNZ 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
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