#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: Frucor, values and engagement

In our second week of discussion about engagement in the month of July, we focused on a case-study on Frucor engagement, values and culture. One of the threads that I picked up on, that I’d never really thought about before and made a lot of sense, was the role of internal communications in engagement.

If we consider that engagement is comes from finding meaningfulness in your job and connection to a wider purpose, then communication is integral to this. Communication is about much more than broadcasting information, it’s about engaging the head, heart and hands of people.  Zoe Mounsey is going to dig out a paper she wrote on the topic and share it around. I really look forward to reading it.

Engagement is not just the responsibility of the organizations, it is the responsibility of individuals. The values and culture are not up to ‘the business’ to create, everyone’s contribution makes a difference:

However, leadership plays a pivotal role in bringing culture, values and engagement to life. We had some discussion around whether leaders are born or developed, and I don’t think we came to a conclusion either way. However, leaders have to live the values themselves for them to flow through:

Values should be aligned with individual values and, it’s nothing new, but they should also be more than what is written on the wall. We all know that though. If everyone is aligned to the culture and values of the organization this is where effective performance happens.

As HR peeps, what is our role in this engagement = performance equation? It’s quite simple really, if you hire – retain – reward people who align to the values and culture you want to build, engagement should follow. Then, when people are engaged, high performance should result. Yup, we solved that discussion: Engagement does equal performance. Or did we loose the naysayers this week by talking about a case-study?

Focusing on engagement does need to be done in an authentic way. By focusing on performance only, this can be seen as inauthentic to the values and culture you are trying to create. Not everyone is motivated by money, so this cannot be the only outcome.

Join us next week to continue the discussion on engagement and performance.


#NZLEAD PREVIEW: Frucor, values and engagement

We continue our discussion on engagement this week by looking at a specific case study where values and leadership have been integral parts of creating a highly engaged culture. But firstly a disclosure. I work for the company in this case-study and part of my role is working on engagement. So yeah, I’m biased, but it’s actually a great story.

Frucor is a drinks company. You may not have heard of the company brand but no doubt you’ve heard about the product brands: V, H2Go, Just Juice, just to name a few. Both Frucor Australia and Frucor New Zealand achieved Aon Hewitt Best Employer accreditation status this year. For Australia it was the third year in a row, for New Zealand, we also won in 2011.

Frucor credits it’s high engagement to a strong values-based culture. The Frucor values have been around for about 8 years. However, a values refresh was undertaken last year to provide some aspirational ‘stretch’ to the values language.  Really, the values are not that old cliché of something on the wall that are nice to look at. They really are such a strong part of the way things are done. Don’t believe me? Well when your employees come up with rap songs about the values that’s a strong signal that they are really owning it.

Performance is important to Frucor, as it is with any company. Frucor is adapting to cope with an increased intensity of change coupled with a complex supply chain and an even greater emphasis on a quality product. But it’s a tricky balance to up the ante on performance in a way that supports and strengthens values and culture.

One of the ways that Frucor has done this is through enabling leadership. Frucor invests heavily in developing leadership skills. Particularly leadership capabilty to articulate the direction and purpose of the business and support people in achieving that vision. But anyone can articulate vision and strategy right? The key difference is how that is done. So I’m going to throw another cliché in here – genuine authentic leadership. This is way way easier to say than do but the thing that has the biggest impact. As the Frucor NZ CEO, Mark Callaghan said “when you really do care about how people feel it creates an environment of honesty, openness and trust.” People really do know if you are trying to BS them with an ulterior motive.

Frucor really does care about it’s people. Take it from someone who lives and breathes it every day – you should have read enough of my blogs to know I’m not just giving you the party line and that is really really how it is. This geuine, authentic approach to engagement underscored by a strong leadership enabled culture is what makes Frucor a great place to work.

So this week’s questions:

Q1) How much do you think values has an impact on engagement? What works well? What doesn’t?

Q2) What is the role of leadership in engagement? Why is it so important? What have you observed?

Q3) How do you enable authentic leadership?

Q4) Can you really achieve engagement if you are focusing on increased performance as the outcome?