PositivePeople November 13, 2019 No Comments

How the NZ Immigration Accredited Employer process will work — Are you ready for the changes?

From 2021 to hire any employee on a work visa you must be an accredited employer. Accreditation under the new policy will be different from under the current Talent Accredited policy and it will have a significant impact on the pool of talent available to your business.

Current Policy – Talent Work Visa Accreditation

If you need to regularly recruit skilled overseas workers, you can consider becoming an Immigration New Zealand Accredited Employer. While you are accredited you can employ skilled migrant workers without first having to check if any New Zealanders can do the work. You must take direct responsibility for the workers you employ, for their work and you must pay a minimum base salary of NZD $79,560.

To gain Accredited Employer status for the Talent Work Visa, employers need to provide evidence that they are in a sound financial position, have good HR practices, have good workplace practices and be committed to training and employing New Zealanders.

Processing applications usually takes 2-3 months by NZ Immigration. Prior to submitting an application, employers may need to integrate a number of HR, workplace and training practices into their business.

If you aren’t an accredited employer you can still hire temporary migrant workers. However, the process for approval can take longer and you must provide more evidence to support your application.  

Future Policy

NZ Immigration recently made an announcement outlining immediate changes to the Talent Work Visa, as outlined above. In addition, by 2021, six different visa categories will be replaced by one Visa category and all employers wishing to employ a temporary migrant worker on this visa will have to become an Accredited Employer. There will be a staged process across different industries to smoothly handle what will be an avalanche of applications for accreditation. More clarity will be given in 2020 on this process.

More information can be found here.

Be prepared, get in first and win the war for talent

With such significant changes coming, there is considerable risk to your talent pipeline and business if you do hire migrant workers, so it makes sense to be prepared. Working through the accreditation process now for the Talent work Visa will help you:

  • Identify any gaps you have to fill
  • Get your visa requests processed faster and the process simplified now
  • To continue to recruit staff on temporary work visas while the changes take place, causing minimal disruption to your business
  • Get well set up to smoothly make the necessary application that you will need to submit as NZ Immigration announces the changes during the course of 2020

Positive People have especially developed and established an Accredited Employer HR Pack which covers an easy 5 step process designed to provide you with all the HR policies, documents and processes to meet the New Zealand Immigration Department Talent Visa HR requirements to become an accredited employer.

This enables employers:  

  • To understand their gaps for gaining accreditation
  • Provides templates and implementation guidelines to fill these gaps
  • Includes a follow up audit to support ongoing implementation and accreditation

Contact us now on 09-445 1077 to discuss the changes and how we can help your business be prepared for the future.

PositivePeople October 14, 2019 No Comments

Flexible Work – Making it happen.

Alan Pettersen, our Positive People Director, is open to flexible working arrangements as long it’s good for our clients, our company and ourselves. It’s about balancing everyone’s needs.

This comes into focus particularly during the school holidays as many of our consultants juggle work with the pressures of kids at home and the expense of holiday programs. No two situations are the same so Alan adopts the approach that as long as it works for everyone, complete flexibility is possible.

One of our HR Consultants, Chanel Finnigan, shares how flexible working arrangements during these school holidays have worked for her:

“In the first week of the school holidays I’ve really valued being able to take my children to New Plymouth to visit their cousins and check in with my Mum who has  had a couple of falls recently. Each day I’ve done work in the morning, managed to enjoy time with extended family in the afternoon, checked in with the needs of my clients again in the late afternoon and relaxed with my family in the evening. I worked additional hours in the two weeks leading up to the holidays so I was ahead of my project timelines and was therefore able have a week of no scheduled meetings.  I’ve valued being able to deliver my work with a flexi-time, flexi-place solution.”

Having a flexible approach to work is a key part of job satisfaction for the Positive People team, and one that is essential to the employment brand. Alan says

“I know I have a great team and I also know how hard it is to recruit and retain top HR professionals so it’s critical we live our employment philosophy  which is “to provide exciting opportunities for our people so that they work hard, love their jobs, love Positive People, have fun, are stimulated and challenged, and live a balanced life.”

Getting this right means all our clients have access to highly skilled HR experts, and we have a highly engaged team.

It’s a win for everyone.

PositivePeople October 2, 2019 No Comments


“This gradual but prolonged economic slowdown is at risk of ceasing to be about the data and starting to become about the people.” Sharon Zollner, ANZ economist.

With a sluggish economy impacting businesses across the country, the unfortunate reality is that restructurings become an option for businesses who find that the way they are structured is not optimal, resources exceed the work available, or the business is being sold, partially transferred or outsourced.

However conducting a successful restructure is not as easy or simple as it seems (READ MORE LINK) and because of the adverse consequences experienced by affected employees they have a high risk  of resulting in a Personal Grievance.

  1. Its critical to correctly move through the actual restructuring process. This can be a minefield in its own right as each step needs to be carefully planned and also set out in writing.
  2. Each person potentially affected should be treated with compassion, care and fairness.
  3. Make sure that other employees watching from the side lines can see that the process and approach taken by the management is one of sincerity and fairness so that after the process is complete no lingering feelings of dissatisfaction exist.

A restructuring has many elements in it that need careful consideration.

The first critical point to make is that any change, first and foremost, is a proposal only. It is not simply a case of a management decision that is then communicated with those affected. This mistake is often made and results in problems for the employer.

The second important point to make is that there must be a genuine commercial reason for the restructuring. It cannot be about individual or group performance. Any performance related actions that management wish to take need to be dealt with under a Performance Management framework.

The third essential point is that a full and fair consultation process must take place with those employees potentially affected. This requires a set process be followed that allows for representation, time to consider the proposal, time to provide feedback and the opportunity to suggest alternatives to a redundancy or to the change itself, or in fact, feedback on any aspect of the proposal.

Once these steps have taken place, then, and only then, is the employer in a position to decide about whether the proposal will proceed as originally outlined, be modified in any way or scrapped.

It can happen that management wish to modify a role. Usually a change of 20% to the role is the guide as to whether the role has changed significantly. Consultation around this change should be conducted as well. If it is marginal, then giving the employee the choice of either accepting the new role or of taking redundancy can be the prudent decision.

If new roles are established, then there is a need to work out how to fill the new roles. Options here include the placement of employees whose roles are disestablished into the roles, running a recruitment process internally or of advertising externally. This aspect of a restructuring process can be very complex, as you have to ensure you offer the right options for each employee and needs to be planned and managed well.

A key element of a successful restructuring process is in the planning. The planning needs to be meticulous so that the commercial reasons, the actual step-by-step process, the paperwork, the scheduling and a compassionate approach is thoroughly thought through and combined to achieve the desired result with minimum risk.

The paperwork and communication around restructuring is a critical element to get right.

Some employees in specific industries are afforded special protection in restructuring situations.

Because redundancy is such a life changing event for those affected, emotions can run high with both those affected and their unaffected colleagues. In this situation waters can be muddied. In an attempt to be compassionate, steps can be missed, and the process placed at risk.  This is exactly where a solid plan will stand you in good stead as you methodically work through a fair process.

Ultimately what you are looking for is an outcome that sees improvements required for the business come through as fairly and as compassionately as possibly with as little adverse consequence to those affected, and to the organisation’s morale and reputation.

Speak to us.

We have extensive experience in guiding you through these highly complex and risky situations. Contact us now if you need help.

PositivePeople August 28, 2019 No Comments

What we’ve learnt in 25 years of HR Consulting

It’s Positive People’s 25th Birthday!

So, this is a Special Edition.

Alan Pettersen, our Director, started Positive People working from a clunky computer placed on a dressing table. A year later and with the help of his son, Alan lined the garage and he had moved into his first office. The all year round air-conditioning came screaming in under the door. Great in summer, challenging in winter. A few years later and he was in a real office with space to meet with clients and hold meetings!

Now we are celebrating Positive People being in business for 25 years, with a dedicated, committed, talented and experienced team of 7 HR Consultants providing the best service that we can to businesses across Auckland and sometimes further afield. We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our clients for your ongoing support.

So, what have we learned over the years?
  1. Tech keeps changing, but people don’t – HR is about people, first and foremost
  2. Communication stands at the centre of HR – Good HR is all about great communication
  3. Values drive the organisational culture – Develop good values and deliberately attach desired behaviours to them. A great culture will follow.
  4. Great employees choose you, not the other way around – Constantly develop and fine-tune your employment brand to stand out as a sought after employer
  5. The greater the flexibility the greater the employment attraction – Work hard to create an ultra-flexible workplace wherever possible
  6. Workplaces are diverse and becoming increasingly so – Embrace diversity in all its forms
  7. Organisations make changes faster than ever before – Develop solid selection processes and early performance interventions so you’re always at the top of your game
  8. Everyone is more knowledgeable – Solid employment documentation and systems are essential, now more than ever before
  9. Training and developing employees is non-negotiable –The on-going growth and development of individual team members is essential.
Want to know more about what we’ve learnt doing what we do? In coming newsletters we will explore these topics in more detail.
Contact us for any HR related assistance. After 25 years of HR Consulting, we can help. Contact us on 09 445 1077 or info@positivepeople.co.nz
PositivePeople July 3, 2019 No Comments

Remuneration Strategy


Remuneration Strategy:

How to Use Remuneration to Gain a Competitive Edge


An effective remuneration and reward strategy is an essential tool to support overall business objectives and performance. This comes as no surprise when you consider that the investment in employee remuneration represents one of the biggest costs to the bottom line – one that can blow out if not kept in check.

By treating remuneration as a strategic investment, your remuneration strategy becomes your competitive advantage.


A good remuneration strategy will:

  • Allow you to attract, engage and retain key talent
  • Promote and reward behaviours that align to your values
  • Help you to ensure remuneration is fair and equitable across your organisation
  • Ensure what you pay is market related
  • Motivate employees to increase their productivity and performance
  • Control employee remuneration costs


So, what is a Remuneration Strategy?

A solid remuneration strategy will include:

  • Some form of job evaluation or sizing – there are several methodologies available to buy off the shelf and apply. Alternatively, engage with an expert to develop your own system based on key criteria within your environment
  • External market data and benchmarking – utilise salary surveys to gather this critical information. Most recruitment agencies release free surveys each year, and there are several paid options that will provide data more specific to your industry, location and Company size. We recommend using a combination of the two for the most accurate picture.
  • The design and implementation of remuneration structures. Usually this will be remuneration bands associated with each role – based on the job size and your external market data
  • Integration with your performance appraisal process. Your performance review outcomes should be one factor that feeds indirectly into annual remuneration reviews, along with Company performance, CPI changes and other external market factors.
  • In some cases – the design of some form of incentive scheme. Again, this should be indirectly linked to your performance review process and may range from monthly or quarterly commissions/incentives to an annual discretionary bonus.
  • Consideration of other benefits – i.e. non-monetary rewards such as medical insurance, additional annual leave, uncapped sick leave, flexible working practices etc.
  • An administrative system to support the strategy and processes. This may be assigning one of your team to manage the process and maintain the documentation, or you can utilise specialist software
  • Flexibility – the strategy must be responsive to changes in the organisation and external market.


Positive People can help. If you are interested in developing a Remuneration Strategy for your business, or reviewing your current practices call us on 09 445 1077 or email info@positivepeople.co.nz


PositivePeople July 3, 2019 No Comments

Managing your Team with Empathy

Managing your Team with Empathy:

Providing real support during traumatic times


Life events wash over all of us.

Keeping a team engaged and enthused despite outside personal pressures can be challenging for even the most skilled Manager. No matter how great your culture or team environment, when employees are faced with a major life event how you support them through this period can make or break their commitment to you and your business.

We have all had team members who have children with serious illnesses, overseas bereavements or other traumatic events to deal with. Company policies often don’t provide guidance on how to balance the organisation’s needs and the needs of the individual.

There can be a lot of pressure and stress involved in traumatic personal situations.

In circumstances like these, employees need to deal with the personal situation facing them, ensure they keep earning, as well as making sure they are not letting you and the team down. How you manage this is critical. No amount of future development opportunities offered can ever recover the loss of trust that occurs if their situation isn’t empathetically managed.

Building a business that balances empathy, fairness and overall standards, while allowing flexibility to manage at an individual level is key to making this a success.


To do this well we suggest:

  1. Know your team

Encouraging genuine relationships where your team are comfortable to let you know about personal challenges. This helps you to manage these situations for best results for the individual and business. If you have a team member who suddenly starts disappearing at 5pm on the dot this should raise questions – perhaps they just have a gym class to get to but also, could they be getting home quickly to help a sick partner with the kids? Do you know and would they feel comfortable telling you?


  1. Encourage the use of EAP or specialist support services

Managers aren’t counsellors and there is no expectation that you can help your team process grief or deal with complex mental health issues. You do however want to make sure expert support is available for these situations, so that your team members are able to return to full health.


  1. Allow Management discretion in the application of policies

Having fair guidelines for everyone ensures an even playing field in your organisation. However, there must be room to make exceptions. If you have a team member having important medical treatment do your Managers have the flexibility to change shift patterns to accommodate this? If a team member suffers the loss of a child can extended bereavement leave or AL be taken? We don’t think any of us would expect 3 days leave would be enough to cope with a situation like this. Company policies should not hamstring Managers from making sensible, compassionate decisions.


  1. Consider extensions of leave entitlements for special circumstances

You can allow anything that is over and above minimum statutory entitlements. You don’t have to wait until 6 months for bereavement or sick leave and you can give additional leave in special circumstances. You have a range of options available to you should it be needed, so making sure you consider this and have flexibility to support your team members through tragedy or traumatic events can make the world of difference for them.

People have long memories, and even though work is important it quickly takes a back seat when something personally traumatic happens.

Having Company standards but managing individual pressures will help to gain future commitment and engagement from your whole team and is – in the end – the right thing to do.

Positive People have 24 years’ experience helping organisations develop policies that provide clear expectations and help to get the best from your team. Contact us now if you need help.

Rest and Meal Breaks


Rest and Meal Breaks:

What the 6th of May changes might mean for you

Most employers are aware of the recent changes to rest and meal break legislation that were introduced last month. However, you may still be grappling with what, if any, change is required when you apply the new legislation to your workplace.


What changed?

Prior to the change, the law stipulated that employees were entitled to receive a ‘reasonable’ opportunity to take rest and meal breaks. The new legislation stipulates that employees are entitled to set breaks based on the number of hours that they work.


What are the entitlements?

Less than 2 hour total work period No breaks
2 – 4 hour total work period 1 x paid 10min break
4.01 – 6 hour total work period 1 x paid 10min break, 1 x unpaid meal break of 30mins
6.01 – 10 hour total work period 2 x paid 10min breaks, 1 x unpaid meal break of 30mins


When should the breaks be taken?

The employer and employee can agree when the rest and meal breaks are to be taken.

  • In many office-based roles, the employee will continue to have the responsibility to decide when to take their breaks based on the requirements of their role and their own preferences.
  • In other roles and work environments, you may have a roster that sets the rest and meal break times for all employees. This may be changed from time to time – usually in consultation with employees
  • You can also agree that flexibility is required around the timing of breaks i.e. “the first paid rest break can be taken at the end point of a production run at any time in the first half of the shift”.

Employers must consider their health and safety obligations in agreeing to the timing of breaks – i.e. in high risk environments or safety sensitive roles, you are obligated to manage the risks that may arise from worker fatigue.


What happens if you can’t agree on the timing of breaks?

The Act does outline the timing of breaks if the employer and employee can’t agree (see below), but also states that the employer can provide breaks at different times if it’s not reasonable or practical for breaks to be taken at the times set in law.

The times outlined in the Act are:

2 – 4 hour total work period ·         1 x 10 minute paid rest break in the middle of the work period
4.01 – 6 hour total work period ·         1 x 10 minute paid rest break one-third of the way through the work period

·         1 x 30 minute unpaid meal break two-thirds of the way through the work period

6.01 – 10 hour total work period ·         1 x 10 minute paid rest break halfway between the start of work and the meal break

·         1 x 30 minute unpaid meal break In the middle of the work period

·         1 x 10 minute paid rest break halfway between the meal break and the finish of the work period


Remember that even if you have employees that work in an office environment you have an obligation to ensure that breaks are being taken and your staff are sufficiently rested.

Positive People have 24 years experience helping employers develop HR policies and processes which are best practice, minimise risk and help to get the most from your team. Call us today to ensure you have your breaks sorted.

Winter Wellness and Managing Sick Leave

Winter Wellness and Managing Sick Leave

As we approach the shortest day (hello 22 June!), winter illnesses have inevitably made their presence known. This can create challenges for businesses as we stretch to cover the increase in unplanned leave. But what can be done?

Our advice is twofold: 

  1. Promote Wellness – this is the ambulance at the top of the cliff approach
  2. Manage sick leave effectively – this requires knowing some of the ins and outs of the relevant employment legislation

Ideas for Promoting Wellness

  • Focus on prevention:
    • Offer free flu vaccinations
    • Have a Doctor visit your workplace and speak to your team about managing common health issues
    • Have a wellness day where you supply some healthy food to encourage healthy eating to support the immune system – it could be as simple as a cup of good quality pumpkin soup and a fruit platter
    • Have a speaker come in to talk about the importance of sleep for wellness, and how to get a better night’s sleep
  • Encourage exercise:
    • Offer a rebate towards a membership at the local gym or subscription for a winter sports team
    • Offer free entry fees into a fun run and enter as a team
    • Encourage people to use their meal break to go for a walk
    • Start a step challenge and provide (or possibly loan) basic step trackers for participants who don’t already have one
  • If people are unwell, encourage them to stay home. Where possible and practical, that may include some or all of the day working from home.
  • Check with your cleaners to ensure they are putting extra time into cleaning door handles, light switches and common areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms to avoid germs spreading.


Managing Sick Leave – Answering your FAQs

Sick leave for casual, fixed-term and part-time employees

  • Like permanent employees, fixed-term employees are also entitled to five days sick leave after six months’ current continuous service
  • Casual employees are entitled to five days’ paid sick leave if they have worked an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month over a six month period. They will also be entitled to five days’ paid sick leave in each subsequent period of 12 months that follows provided that the above criteria continue to apply.
  • Sick leave entitlements are not pro-rata. For example, even if a part-time employee only works three days a week, they still get five days’ sick leave a year

Payment for sick leave where the employee has an irregular work pattern

  • Payment for sick leave is at the rate the employee would ordinarily be paid on the day leave is taken. This means:
    • If the employee’s agreement says they work 8 hours per day, but they regularly work an additional 30 minutes that day of the week and are paid for this, they should be paid 8.5 hours for their day off sick
    • If the employee has an irregular pattern, sick leave is payable if the employee was rostered to work on the particular day leave is taken, or could have expected to be rostered

Payment for part days off Sick

  • The Holidays Act describes sick leave in ‘days’ – so if an employee works for part of the day and then goes home sick, technically this may be counted as using a whole day of sick leave, no matter how much of the day the employee has worked before going home.
  • However, many payroll systems describe sick leave balances in hours and the employee and employer can agree to translate this to describing the entitlement in part days. For example, if an employee worked a half day then went home sick, their employer could agree to only deduct a half day of sick leave.
  • It is up to the employer to decide on an approach regarding part days of sick leave – for example you may choose to only allow whole or half days (not quarter days or exact hours). However, if this represents a change to the status quo we recommend consulting (if appropriate), communicating clearly and then applying the rule consistently

Medical Certificates

  • You can request a medical certificate after three consecutive days (regardless of whether these are all working days or not) at the employees’ cost, and you can request one earlier (even for 1 day) if you cover the cost.
  • You can request evidence (which may be a medical certificate) at the employee’s cost if they take any Domestic Sick Leave
  • You can request a medical certificate at the employee’s cost for any sick leave (even a day) if they have no remaining paid sick leave balance

Sick Leave while on Annual Leave

  • If an employee falls sick before or during scheduled annual holidays, the employee can take the portion of annual holidays they’re sick for, as sick leave. You can request a medical certificate before transferring the leave from Annual to Sick.

Managing sick leave well can make a significant difference, not just to your total efficiency but also your employee engagement and retention.

Positive People have 24 years experience helping organisations to get the best from their teams. If you need support with winter wellness or managing sick leave call us now.

360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

We all know how important leaders are to a business. Their ability to inspire and motivate their teams is an essential ingredient of business success.

Often in leadership development the focus is on what we want our leaders to improve, what we see as gaps in their knowledge and the results we want them to achieve.

If our leader’s success is achieved through their people, doesn’t it make sense to turn that around and ask what their team want from their leader?

360-degree feedback surveys are a powerful tool for figuring out exactly what a leader’s real development areas are. Every team is different, and every organisation is different, so leadership skills need to be adapted and developed continuously to achieve great results.

Making this a meaningful exercise can be challenging, so here are a few of our top steers:

  1. Let you leader choose the feedback participants alongside you

Typically, you will have 8 to 10 team members complete the 360. Choosing a balanced group is essential. Working together to select this group will ensure that the leader is engaged and receptive to the feedback.

  1. Brief the participants well

Sometimes the feedback in a 360 can be tough to take, so making sure your participants understand how to provide this feedback constructively is important. Phrasing questions so that they feed forward can help, using questions like “What would you like to see your leader do more of?”. Participants should also focus on skills and actions, not personalities. A personal attack in a 360 will never achieve good results.

  1. Have the leader rate themselves too

It’s always interesting to compare how we think we are doing against how others see us doing. This opens the conversation about why there may be differences in perception. Often leaders will establish an environment which motivates them but may not work for their team. Seeing these differences will help leaders realise that their team may have different needs from them.

  1. Make the feedback session a safe space

Its normal to be nervous receiving 360 feedback, and this can make your leaders defensive. The best way to approach this is to let them work through it in stages. Provide the report for them to consider, meet to help them work through it and discuss their thoughts on it. Then meet again to agree development areas. Having time to process the feedback can make it more meaningful. It can pay to use an external person or your HR Manager for the feedback session, as they can discuss the results dispassionately and the leader can respond honestly.

  1. Agree the development areas together

Just like any goal setting exercise, if your leaders have development areas chosen for them they won’t completely commit to them. This may mean that there are some compromises in their development plan. However, any development that moves them forward and improves their skills will benefit your business.

“If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams


Positive People have 24 years’ experience helping medium sized business’s develop great leaders. Contact us today to discuss how our 360-degree feedback surveys can work for you.

Responsible Digital Communication in the Workplace

Responsible Digital Communication in the Workplace

Many employees today spend a large portion of the day sending and receiving emails, IMs, DMs, social media posts and text messages. However, it’s very easy to be tripped up by the rules of digital etiquette, especially when you take into account the huge volume of messages, we send every day.

Effective digital communication in the workplace requires attention to detail and professionalism — every time.

So, how to you manage digital communication in the workplace?

As always, we think it’s important to be clear about your expectations, communicate these and then manage accordingly. Here are our top tips for responsible digital communication in the workplace:

  1. Consider your audience

As the sender you must consider the nature of your relationship with the receiver and tailor your approach accordingly. Using emoji’s is usually fine with colleagues, not so much with the CEO of a key customer.

  1. Apply the ‘front page test’

Never include anything in an email that you wouldn’t be comfortable with being made public. The main reason for this is that it could be! Also, it’s easy to accidentally send an email to the wrong person. If the content is sensitive, a phone call or meeting may be more appropriate.

  1. Use formal emails when required

These days we often don’t need to post or attach a letter. However, if the matter you’re emailing about is important and requires documenting you should keep this in mind and write your email accordingly. In these situations, your message should read almost exactly like a letter would.

  1. Be on brand

You represent your company in all of your work communications. If you work for a lawyer or accountant there will be different parameters than for those working in a less formal environment. Your level of professionalism and formality should be consistent with the company brand and industry.

  1. Be careful with social media

Social media posts by nature usually reach a wider audience faster than emails or other forms of digital communication. Be aware of your privacy settings, who can view each post you make and how the post reflects on you.

  1. Keep the personal separate from the professional

Always bear in mind the line between personal and professional communications. If you are communicating from a work account, about work and/or during work hours – keep the entire message professional. If you have a personal relationship with the recipient, send a separate message (or use another platform like text or IM) to communicate about other matters such as your after-work plans.

  1. Understand the consequences

If the content of your digital communication breaches the Code of Conduct of your company in any way or is otherwise problematical, you should be aware that a disciplinary process may follow. Communications sent using company resources are not private. All messages should be written as if your manager has been CC’d.

Positive People have developed an interactive workshop covering Digital Communication in the Workplace. Contact us today via info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to talk about how this module can be tailored to suit the needs of your business.