Gaining an Edge

Guest post by Adrian Coysh 

Three of the questions posed for the 2016 RHUB EDGE event included: –

  • How will talent behave?
  • What will employers do?
  • How will recruiters have a competitive edge?

One of the key focuses for HR people at present, along with Health and Safety, is Diversity and Inclusion (D & I).  If your clients’ Internal Recruitment or HR connections have not signalled that this is a priority, it is only because the “heat” has not yet come from their senior management.  Consider this 2014 release by the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX): –

“Under Listing Rule 10.4.5(j) NZSX listed companies (excluding overseas companies) are required to include in their Annual Report quantitative data on the gender breakdown of the Directors and Officers at the financial year end.

This rule came into effect for financial years ending on or after 31 December 2012.  All companies required to provide a gender breakdown under this Listing Rule have done so.

NZX takes a leadership role in the “diversity on boards” initiative through membership of various groups, including the ’25 Percent Group’ and as a sponsor of DiverseNZ Inc”.

Some of your clients may have already stipulated to you that a shortlist without gender representation, will not be acceptable.

DiverseNZ is an initiative by Global Women and was launched in 2012.  Last November, the Deputy Prime Minister Bill English further launched Champions for Change”, with the aim to encourage diverse leadership in New Zealand businesses.  English stated “diverse boards and management teams encourage productive, innovative and forward-thinking organisations, which was crucial to New Zealand’s future success”.

Global Women are supporting this “Champions for Change” initiative.  The Co-Chairs are Dame Jenny Shipley, Chair of CERA and Genesis, and past Chair of Global Women; together with Anthony Healy, CEO and Managing Director o BNZ.  A full media release is here which includes a list of participants.

Shipley said business leaders who did not engage with diversity, would be left behind: –

“All business models are turned on their head.  Today customers have power, they can destroy a brand value in an instant, in a day if they want to, on social media.

“If you have a group of people who are leading a company that are diverse you’re going to have hugely successful companies that will be great places to work, shareholders will be satisfied.”

In March of this year, the summit referred to in the media release was held, which was very successful, and included many CEO’s and Chairs of NZ’s major businesses.  Note – only these people could attend, and no proxy’s were allowed.  A workplan was proposed around the key action themes of sharing the case for change, measurement, and accountability.  Growing talent pools and mainstreaming flexibility is now being developed.

A key feature, is the word “measurement”, and would see these businesses voluntarily disclose other diversity achievements much in the same way as the NZX requirement.

As an example of another D & I initiative, Workbridge jointly announced with Z Energy earlier this month, that Selwyn Cook would be their Employer Ambassador.  Workbridge is an MSD funded organisation which creates employment opportunities for disabled people.

Selwyn is very passionate about employing disabled jobseekers, and has been recognised for his efforts by winning the 2014 ACC Attitude Employer Award, 2015 EEO Trust Employer Award and more recently, he was this year’s winner of Kiwibank’s Local Hero of the Year Award.

In the first six months as Ambassador, Selwyn will be meeting with Z Energy retailers and suppliers, with a view to encouraging them to consider recruiting Workbridge jobseekers.  When you consider that apart from selling fuel and oil products, many service stations are actually mini-supermarkets and are definitely in the FMCG sector.  So be proactive if you have clients in the FCMG sector, as they may now have a financial motivation to now review their D & I capability, particularly regarding the employment of disabled people.

In conclusion, I reiterate that D & I will be a key focus for your clients, even if your client contacts are not aware of it yet.  Consider Dame Jenny Shipley’s warning very carefully, about the brand value of your clients, and of course, your own business for that matter.

Collectively, we can all do better as professional recruiters, and engage with organisations which are supportive of people from the diversity sector.  This will mean that as a collective, we are “ahead of the game” before it comes around to bite us.

This is your edge.

Adrian’s long experience in recruitment is now being channelled into assisting organisations with their Diversity and Inclusiveness initiatives and building Talent Pools.  He is the Auckland Partner of JobCafé, a website portal that provides organisations direct access to many diverse Talent Pools.  JobCafé and is only one of three employment suppliers provided for the Government State Sector, to enable them to source disabled job seekers – the other two being MSD funded Workbridge, together with Work and Income.  Visit for more details.