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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,400+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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HR Guides

The following HR Guides have been produced in association with Wolters Kluwer and are available to HRINZ members only.

Disclaimer

These guides have been published in good faith for the general information of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ). HRINZ and Wolters Kluwer accept no legal responsibility for the contents of these Guides and appropriate professional, legal advice and assistance should be sought in particular cases.



  • The use of alcohol and drugs, inside or outside the workplace, can lead to employee impairment while at work. It may cause poor concentration, risk-taking behaviours, errors of judgment, carelessness, slower reaction times and poor decision making — and result in harm or injury to the affected employee or to other people.

    This guide provides practical advice and information for Employers on how to manage alcohol and drug use in the workplace.

    Revised February 2016

  • Difficult employees are individuals who are hard to manage, or do not perform up to expectations, or misbehave in ways that fall short of misconduct, or don’t follow the accepted workplace norms and standards, or don’t get on well with other workers. They take up much more of a manager’s time and energy than they deserve, and nothing a manager does seems to improve the situation.
     
    The behaviour and attitudes of difficult employees affect other people in the workplace, as well as productivity, quality, service levels, and safety. Difficult employees must be dealt with, quickly and firmly.

    Revised February 2016 

  • An employer should act whenever an employee’s behaviour or performance falls below the organisation’s standards or requirements, or whenever there is an incident of misbehaviour or misconduct.

    However, disciplinary action should not be the employer’s first thought when there is unsatisfactory performance, misbehaviour or misconduct. 

    Revised February 2016 

  • The Human Rights Act 1993 and the Employment Relations Act 2000 both deal with discrimination in employment. Their provisions are mainly complementary, although there are some key differences.

    Other legislation — such as the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 and the Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973 prohibit discrimination in their areas of concern.

    Revised February 2016 

  • The Privacy Act 1993 seeks to promote and protect individual privacy. It sets out 12 principles which might be seen as good practice guidelines regarding:

    • the collection, use, and disclosure by public and private sector agencies of information relating to individuals; and
    • individuals’ access to information about them held by public and private sector agencies.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Issues of gender equity have renewed prominence in the New Zealand workplace — ranging from concerns about imbalance between the sexes in the membership of company boards, to the number of women in top executive positions, through to the gaps in the remuneration of women and men.

    Revised February 2016

  • The Employment Relations Act 2000 provides for the continuity of employment of affected employees in the event that an employer’s business is restructured.

    The Act establishes rights for employees in certain specified categories — often referred to as vulnerable employees — if, as a result of a proposed restructuring, they will no longer be required by the employer because their work is to be performed by another person.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Exit interviews may provide employers with information and impressions they can use to improve their HR and management policies, procedures, and practices — with a view to increasing employee satisfaction and lowering turnover rates.

    Reviewed February 2016 

  • The new industrial revolution has brought dramatic change to work and life for most people. To help their workers cope with these changes, many organisations are adopting more flexible working arrangements and management practices. They encourage their people to achieve an appropriate work-life balance; they offer more flexibility in working hours, time off, and leave arrangements; they encourage career breaks and patenting leave; and so on. Increasingly, more flexible human resources and people management policies and practices are seen as necessary for organisations to be competitive in a more mobile and demanding labour market.

    Reviewed February 2016 

  • In the past three decades, computers have significantly changed the working environment, simplifying and speeding up many tasks across many work areas. However, with these advances have come some potential health issues.

    Reviewed February 2016 

  • In New Zealand, after the Pike River coal mine explosion in 2010, the government established a Royal Commission to report and make recommendations to prevent similar events in the future.

    At the same time, it appointed an Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety to research and evaluate New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system, and recommend measures to achieve a 25% reduction in workplace fatalities and injuries by 2020. The Taskforce reported in 2013, calling for “an urgent, sustainable step change in harm prevention activity and a dramatic improvement in outcomes”.

    The government accepted the recommendations of the Royal Commission. It also accepted the Taskforce’s key recommendation for a new legislative base for health and safety management and regulation.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Ask an internet search engine how to prepare a CV, and it comes back with more than 50 million results. No wonder, then, that it’s difficult to come up with universally applicable guidelines for what is always an individual document. With so much advice available, it’s clear that there is no best or set way to prepare and present a CV, nor are there rules about what to include.

    Revised February 2016


  • All employees are engaged under a contract of service — known as an employment agreement under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Whatever it’s called — induction, orientation, and on-boarding are common terms — the induction process may be the most significant phase of an employee’s organisational career.

    Revised February 2016 

  • KiwiSaver is a voluntary, work-based savings scheme which is designed to make it easier for New Zealanders while in employment to save for their futures.

    Revised 2016 

  • It’s been said for years: change is a process, not an event.

    Why then do we see so many organisations undertake major change events, often involving boardroom and top executive removals, restructurings, and redundancies?

    At the same time, other organisations are apparently able to renew or reinvent themselves, without crises and sudden and disruptive changes.

    The simple answer is that change can be both process and event. 

    Revised February 2016 

  • There are performance problems and problem employees. Deal with the first, and the latter might just fade into insignificance.

    Ignoring a performance problem is an almost certain way to develop a problem employee.

    The key is to deal with the performance problem. It may be an issue with quantity or quality of performance, or with some aspect of the employee’s behaviour. But the problem is with the performance, not the employee. 

    Revised February 2016 

  • Mediation is a process of third-party intervention to help the parties to a dispute resolve their problem. The mediator is usually independent of the parties, and the mediation is typically carried out on a confidential basis. 

    Revised February 2016 

  • Medical problems — whether they are physical or psychological — will inevitably affect the continuing relationship between an employer and an employee. Unless handled carefully and effectively, a medical condition can be very costly for both the employer (in terms of employee absences, calls on managers’ time, effects on production or service delivery) and the employee (extending as far as loss of job).

    Revised February 2016 

  • Occupational tests are used to predict how well a person will perform in a particular job or environment.

    Tests can contribute to selection, learning and development, performance management, succession planning, career counselling and other HR processes by providing additional information about employees and potential employees. 

    Revised February 2016 

  • Performance management is a continuous process which links the performance of each employee to the business goals and achievements of the organisation.

    Performance management is not a system of annual performance appraisals.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Carefully checking the background of prospective employees is an important and time-consuming aspect of recruitment and selection.

    Most people are honest and accurate about their qualifications and previous work experience. Unfortunately, some are not. And recent reports show that dishonesty in these matters is as prevalent at the top of the organisation as anywhere else.

    Revised February 2016

  • The duty of good faith requires employers to be open and communicative in the employment relationship. Providing easy access to information about all aspects of the organisation and the employment relationship is part of fulfilling that duty.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Successful organisations attract people from a wide range of backgrounds and ensure that they feel welcome and can contribute to the best of their abilities. In a skills-short labour market, it becomes even more important for employers to give themselves the opportunity to recruit from the widest possible talent pool. 

    Revised February 2016

  • Recruitment should not involve a simple replacement of one worker with another. Each vacancy is an opportunity to consider whether the current job content and design remains relevant, and whether the current set of job holder skills and experience is appropriate for the future.

    Revised February 2016 

  • In an era of continuous change, redundancy is a prominent if unwelcome feature of the economy and the labour market. In a legal sense, redundancy is just one of the grounds that an employer might use to terminate the employment of an employee. However, that masks the social, economic and personal impact on those who are made redundant.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Sexual harassment is unacceptable, and should not be tolerated by any employer or employees.
    It is also unlawful discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993 and grounds for a personal grievance action under the Employment Relations Act 2000. Employers are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees and others — and safety and health are compromised by sexual harassment.

    Revised February 2016 

  • Social networking and social media are, increasingly, central to the marketing and service strategies of many organisations. The potential is, apparently, unlimited. 

    Much of the discussion of the non-marketing use of social media and social networking focuses on negative aspects (e.g. gathering information from a job applicant’s Facebook pages), rather than on positive ways that digital conversations and communications can enhance and exploit the organisation’s talent resources.

    Revised February 2016

  • The purpose of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 is to promote the public interest by “facilitating the disclosure and investigation of matters of serious wrongdoing in or by an organisation” and “protecting employees who . . . make disclosures of information about serious wrongdoing in or by an organisation” in accordance with the legislation.

    Revised February 2016 




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