#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: Why is Performance Management so HARD?!

Performance management is a topic that is always bagged on by people within the business. HR is then the department that is targeted because it is the department that is process driven, they seem to forget that HR is there as an advisory component to ensure that the business acts within policy and legislation.

Throughout the chat it was evident that various people believe that the performance management process should be stricken and it embedded into the culture in a way that doesn’t seem process like. Have we forgotten that the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) and Employment Relations Act 2000 is based on process and ensuring that a company follows the process. This may not be the same in other companies, but this is the case in New Zealand. Without a process of dealing with performance management, a company dismisses an employee, the employee raises a personal grievance which goes to the ERA and the company is held liable because they didn’t follow the process laid out under Section 103A of the Employment Relations Act 2000. So again, how would it work to have the process stricken and hope that managers deal with performance issues in a correct and fair way?

I don’t believe the process is broken or incorrect, I believe it is the way in which the process is applied which is broken and incorrect.

This is where HR comes in. HR works within the scope of company policy and legislation. I believe that coaching and training around performance management, how to work with the process and how to deal with issues as soon as they become apparent is what HR should be focusing on. There should also be thought given to “what is performance”. Are we actually addressing the right issues? Are we working in a way that is favourable for all parties? Managers are the decision makers but most of the time they rely on HR to provide sound advice on what should be done and when.

The answer isn’t to remove the process, but to ensure we are applying the process correctly. Managers are decision makers, HR do not make hiring decision (not in NZ) and HR doesn’t have delegations in which to make decisions about dismissing or performance managing employees. HR provides advice and guidance on how to do the above and in that I believe that HR needs to focus on the way in which we train and coach managers as they are the decision makers. Effort needs to be made in that area – and we need to stop complaining that HR is a process driven department because at the end of the day, if HR doesn’t ensure that companies stay within policy and legislation, WHO WILL?

#NZLEAD RECAP: HR and Social Media

Shona Glentworth nzlead

This enthusiastic discussion about social media and HR was conducted by committed SoMe (SoMe stands for Social Media) fans, who had already worked out what it meant to them and who recognised the potential for organisations. We agreed that there is potential for Social Media within organisations to support brands, recruitment, learning & development and engagement. Continue reading