The HRINZ Auckland HR Awards night is an occasion to celebrate excellence in the field. This year Angela Atkins, president – Auckland branch, hosted the event on the 27th floor of a waterfront high rise with stunning views over the harbour.
Five award winners presented on the initiatives that had contributed to their success, including Michelle Strawbridge – HR manager at Staples Rodway. The latter, an accounting firm, is part of an industry group comprising BDO, WHK, and Grant Thornton. All four companies compete for the same graduates. In the past, graduates sat the same test four times when applying to each firm – an inefficient use of time and a considerable expense.
“Our journey began with a meeting around the boardroom table,” Strawbridge said. At that meeting the conversation turned to graduate recruitment – and a unique initiative emerged. This entailed collaborating to find a provider that could design a test and institute a system whereby all four firms could access one group of data using a purpose-built web application, while ensuring privacy.
The benefits have been tangible: Staples Rodway’s testing spend has decreased by 50%; application numbers have increased by 60%; and the time to hire has reduced.
Brett Marsh, general manager corporate support – Spectrum Care, talked about his board’s attempts to travel into the future to make the best decisions today. In part because of the increasing demand for independent living from families of those living with disabilities, because of the move to individualised funding, and the increasing complexity of caring for those with disabilities, Marsh and his team chose to up-skill their staff.
They achieved this by strongly encouraging employees to acquire different qualifications – in work time – for which the organisation paid. Since then, hundreds have obtained national certificates: 182 have completed their National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Foundation Skills); another 180 have finished their National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Core Competencies); and 121 have graduated with a Certificate in Applied Leadership.
“People say to me, why do you spend so much money on training staff and then they leave? But I turn that around, what happens if you don’t train them and then they stay?” Marsh joked.
Other speakers included Dennis O’Callaghan, manager reward consulting – Strategic Pay, who talked about the contemporary issues in remuneration, Lauren Voyce, director of HR & Talent – McDonalds, who discussed learning and development at McDonalds, and Robynne Sam, OD consultant – IAG New Zealand, who described her effort to create a consistent approach to staff recognition at IAG.