#NZLEAD RECAP: Disabled HR Professionals = An Enabled Human Resources Profession

Anne T

Discussion this week was based on my recent blog with the same title – see http://annetynan.wordpress.com/ , which highlighted three issues:

  • There appears to be little or no publicly available information about the issue of      disabled people working as HR professionals
  • Google search results invariably highlighted a division, with ‘disabled people’ on one side and ‘HR professionals’ on the other – i.e. it’s a ‘them and us’ scenario
  • HR has clearly done a great job helping other professions to open up to disabled   people but appears to have forgotten to do the same for itself

We asked four questions, all aimed at gathering information from the #NZLEAD community. As everyone who has been involved in tweet chats knows, they are a bit like trying to put together a meal with people throwing ingredients at you from every side. It was not until I went back through the tweets that I realised exactly who had said what, made slightly more complicated when we had forgotten to use the hashtag. The other fun aspect is that we often answer different questions or reply to earlier tweets all at the same time – it is a real Twitter Tower of Babel and I salute Tash and Amanda for their weekly dedication to this.

What follows is a brief summary that you should therefore take with a pinch of salt. I could not include all tweets so this is a sample – feel free to comment subsequently if you think I missed something crucial. I will follow up some of the issues myself in subsequent blogs but for the moment, this is what I think happened this week. This may be a longer recap than usual but it would be a pity not to share information when there is so little of it at present.

Experience:   What is your experience of disabled people working in HR?

The consensus seemed to be that most people had little or in most cases no conscious experience of working with disabled HR colleagues.

It was accepted that colleagues may have/have had hidden disabilities but it had to be assumed that these were undisclosed and with no obvious external signs.

However, we were fortunate to be joined in the chat by colleagues who themselves have either disabilities or other relevant experience. Have a look below but if anything seems incoherent, go back to the original #nzlead source. The tweets below are not consecutive.



What are the benefits of knowing the numbers and characteristics of                         disabled people who work in HR and their impact on others?

Opinions were divided about the need for data and published case studies but it was established that information is needed to fill the current gap.


Do you think that employees find HR more approachable if they can see                   that disabled people are well integrated into the department?

Most people felt that HR should always be approachable but that seeing people with disabilities working in HR could be beneficial.


What could/should organisations such as HRINZ and CIPD do to                                encourage disabled people to consider a career in HR?

Although there were a few suggestions relating to HRINZ and CIPD, people also looked beyond the HR profession itself for support.

Before we close…..

An unexpected but great finishing touch to this week’s #nzlead involved the sudden intervention of Vaughan Smith, Radio Announcer at The Edge Radio Station, wanting to know what #nzlead was all about. After Tash neatly informed him that:

And so we leave you to it! Thanks for joining the session.

Get in contact with Anne via @AnneTynan her blog http://annetynan.wordpress.com

or look her up on LinkedIn or her website https://sites.google.com/site/tynanequality/


#NZLEAD RECAP: Attracting and retaining talent through engagement


Thanks all for your spiritied contributions to last week’s #nzlead on attracting and retaining talent through engagement.  I thought there was a great mix of serious and provoking comment, humour and dry wit undoubtedly borne from personal experience.   Thanks must also go out to @pauljacobs4real for the role he played in performance managing my co-contributor @AndyBurner

The conversation kicked off with a discussion on how you best mitigate candidate perceptions of poor engagement through the recruitment and onboarding experience.  Overwhelmingly, the consensus seemed to be that honesty was always the best policy.  As it was pointed out, you just never know what will ultimately appeal to, and motivate, particular individuals.  Our gracious hostess pointed to the Daniel Pink concept of motivation  – a must watch if you haven’t already.

@blackbirdsthree in fact pointed out that a tough environment may actually be perceived as particularly attractive for the right person…

Question two, why organisations enter “Best Employer” surveys, unsurprisingly netted a range of responses.  @nzheadhunter and @carmenbailey both expressed a degree of uncertainty, perhaps mixed with a degree of healthy skepticism.  @HRManNZ, never afraid to call it as he sees it, perhaps captured it best however with his observation:

The observation was made by several contributors that there are now multiple awards with various winners.  What is the methodology? Are they genuine mechanisms for recognising engagement? Or more used as an employment branding tool? @alisonhallnz made a subtle, but significant contribution to this discussion, questioning whether regarding these awards as an actual “competition” actually misses the point:

The question was then asked, how do you effectively weaponise (I mean utilise) engagement as an employment branding tool.  Of course, winning one of the aforementioned prizes is great from a broader brand perspective, but overwhelmingly the feedback seemed to suggest that it is the actual employees that are the best advocates of the employment experience.  @NZrec summed it up with:

The conversation then moved to how you effectively get employees to own engagement, and what are the tools or levers that can be used to boost engagement.  The answers were quite varied on this particular point.  From:

(please note that @AaronDodd also suggested cattle prods, threats, intimidation and waterboarding…..)

Through to:

The variety of the comments again talks to the danger of adopting a “one approach fits all” method in terms of driving engagement.

@AndyBurner  made the observation that policy runs the danger of becoming a four letter word, reinforcing @HRManNZ’s earlier point that people inherantly seek an empowered and respectful working environment.   @HassanahRudd reinforced this view with a particularly pithy comment:

In summary, it seems that engagement is truly a tool for the attraction and retention of talent.  We seem aligned that driving engagement is critical, but often over-thought and over-complicated.  Without wanting to simplify the concept, it seems that treating people with respect, providing opportunities for empowerment and reward, and leading in a genuine and authentic way are all key to developing and sustaining a working environment that will sustain and encourage high performance talent.

Slightly off-topic, but a gem that I can’t help but highlight, came from @AaronDodd.  Not quite sure how it relates to engagment, but a timely reminder for us all.

Thanks again to @sterling_amanda for driving the discussion and ALL of last week’s participants and contributors.

Scott Duncan

#NZLEAD PREVIEW: Recruitment Processes – Are they still working?

During June, #NZLEAD has been discussion various topics around recruitment such as headhunting and sourcing, I wanted to talk about the actual recruitment process. Is it still working? Does it need to change? How should it change? Or is it just fine?

I recently went through a recruitment process which was actually the best one I have been through in a long time. From the day of my interview to the day of my offer it was exactly 7 days. This included my behavioural based interview, my reference checks, my verbal offer and my final offer. It was painless. So from a candidate perspective that was great! But I don’t want to focus on the candidate’s experience. I want to focus on the organisations process and how they go about recruitment.

In my experience this is the recruitment process used:

  • Job Advertising (2 weeks minimum)
  • Short-listing candidates
  • Offer top 3 or 4 an interview
  • Develop a behavioural based interview (mostly using previous interview questions or standard organisational wide questions)
  • Conduct the interview – using the “tell me about a time when you have used this competency” method
  • Contact the preferred candidates and notify of reference checks and psychometric testing (verbal, numeric and personality testing)
  • Have a meeting with the interview panel and decide who to offer the role to
  • Provide verbal offer to the preferred candidate
  • Negotiate (if needed)
  • Write up the contract and send the employment pack
  • Receive employment pack
  • New candidate/employee commences work

Now, that is a long and gruelling process. No wonder the cost of recruitment is so high and managers HATE doing it, especially when it has to be done often in a high turnover environment.

Some of these steps are definitely required – such as short-listing, reference checking (which SHOULD by done by the appointing manager), and the face-to-face interview. But I am wondering if the way it is currently done still works?

Does behavioural based interview questions really tell us if the candidate can perform the job? Does reference checking really give us a good objective picture of the candidate? Is psychometric testing really worth the money? Does that information actually tell us if the candidate can do the job or not? Which ones have stood the test of time and which ones need a re-think with the changing world of work?

So I want to ask the HR Practitioners out there and the Managers, Employees, External Recruiters and Consultants out there these questions:

Q1) Does the current recruitment step process work? If yes, what are the successes? If no, why not?

Q2) Could or Should it be improved and how would you see that improvement?

Q3) Have you used an alternative to the above mentioned process?

Q4) Can we make the process more streamlined, simpler, easier, less time-consuming and cheaper? If yes, how?