Understanding The Compliance And Ethics Involved With AI

Let’s talk AI.

One of the most impactful business innovations of the last few years, you are probably already enjoying some of its power in your workplace.

But, like Uncle Ben said to Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility!

Yep, it is your responsibility to ensure your business is utilising AI without breaking any rules, laws or regulations.

It’s time to consider whether you are using AI ethically and in compliance with privacy legislation.

Let’s look into these key aspects to see if you are playing by the rules.

What Is Considered AI?

What exactly is considered to be AI? In the workplace, artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of computer systems or software that perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. Because they are designed to mimic human behaviour and automate processes for efficiency, they improve accuracy and overall business performance.

These are some common examples of the kind of AI found in a standard workplace:

  • Chatbots or AI-powered Assistants: The components that handle routine customer or internal queries and admin tasks.
  • Automation: Software solutions that handle mundane or repetitive tasks like data entry, calendar management, triggered communication and more.
  • Machine Learning: Software that focuses on the use and analysis of data, along with algorithms to learn in the same way a human would, to improve its accuracy over time. Examples of machine learning can be as simple as product recommendations based on previous purchases, or as complex as talent acquisition and employee retention software.
  • Data Analysis: By using certain algorithms, AI can analyse large amounts of data quickly and accurately to identify patterns and trends that can be used for business improvement.
  • Predictions: The analysis of historical data can help to form predictions or forecasts for the future, allowing for insight into staff turnover, financial performance, or inventory management.

Your Responsibilities

By utilising AI in your business, it is your responsibility to ensure it is being used both ethically and legally. That means paying attention to these areas in particular:

Privacy

New Zealand has very strong privacy laws under the Privacy Act 2020. Among other things, the Act regulates how you collect, use and handle personal information. This applies to the data belonging to every individual who interacts with your business, including employees, team members, contractors, suppliers, clients, guests and inquiries.

The Privacy Act states that you need to gain consent from the people whose data you are using and only use the data for the purpose that it was collected. You also need to protect that data. So, you need to ensure that any AI tools comply with these principles.

Be mindful that simply uploading people’s private information into an AI data system may breach privacy laws. Before doing anything, check the security and privacy parameters for each individual AI tool to confirm it complies with NZ privacy standards. You might have to gain consent to use any personal data within AI technology systems.

Intellectual Property

One of the major things individuals use AI for in the workplace is content creation. Emails, marketing posts, images – all these things can be created by AI. But is it ethical to do so?

By the nature of what AI is, it draws information from many sources on the internet to form your content. That means, it harvests thoughts and ideas, even direct quotes, from content that has already been written and published. What takes seconds to pull together with AI took the original authors hours to craft. You are benefiting from their hard work before you.

Not only is this ethically questionable, it also puts you in danger of potentially breaching copyright. While New Zealand does not yet have specific laws relating to content created by AI tools, it’s important to recognise how the content is formed. Rather than copying and pasting the content that is generated by a tool like ChatGPT, it is best to use it for idea generation or a content starting point.

Business Assets

Speaking of intellectual property, it is vital that you take steps to protect your business’ own intellectual property when using AI. As many AI software solutions are new to the market, we don’t fully understand how they process the data that is input or who can access that information in the future. That’s why you and your team should be cautious about what you load into AI programs.

It’s best to avoid inputting extremely sensitive business information. Translation: don’t put your trade secrets into AI as you don’t know where they might end up! After all, we highly doubt the Colonel is going to be loading his secret ingredient blend of 11 herbs and spices into ChatGPT! That info is just too precious to risk getting into the public space.

Using AI Responsibly

How can you ensure you are using AI responsibly in your business? These are some of the ways:

Policies

Rather than blindly using AI in your business, you need to form policies around what tools you will utilise and how they will be used. Think consciously about which ones you intend to use and how they will impact the data you have an obligation to protect. Are there any risks that need mitigating or could a non-AI tool be used instead?

Then, choose tools that do not jeopardise privacy laws and be transparent about their use by documenting everything in an AI-specific policy. Once the policies are in place, the job is not done. Technology evolution always moves at a lightning fast pace, so you need to instigate human reviews regularly to ensure your AI tools are not retaining or disclosing data incorrectly.

Team Training

Your policies are only going to be effective if your people understand them! So, you will need to arrange training for your team members to ensure they are aware of their obligations when using AI tools. They need to be able to use the tools effectively and responsibly and understand their limitations.

Training should be practical, showing your people how to physically use the tool, such as inputting data and examining the results generated, along with the AI-generated decisions. But training should also delve deeper, highlighting that AI should still respect an individual’s privacy rights, their intellectual property and that it should avoid discrimination and harm.

If they feel that AI is creating any negative impact within your business, encourage your people to speak out so that it can be remedied.

Help And Support

In the greater scheme of business, AI is a relatively new technology that we are all learning to navigate. If you have concerns about the potential impact on your business, now is the time to take action. Reach out to our team if you would like assistance in forming the policies and training program surrounding AI in your workplace.

Are You Prioritising Employee Wellness?

Mental Health Awareness Week is 18-24 September this year.

It’s a fantastic initiative that shines an annual light on the importance of employee wellness and good mental health.

This year the focus of Mental Health Awareness Week is equipping yourself with proven tools to boost your mental health.

We thought we would explore this concept in relation to the workplace, as this can be an area of prolific stress for many people.

So, this September (and beyond), let’s shine a light on how important it is to prioritise employee wellness and the ways that you can do that in your workplace.

Are You Prioritising Employee Wellness?

Prioritising employee wellness is an important part of being a responsible employer. But wellness is not just attributed to one thing. To achieve true employee wellness, you should look at things holistically. These are some of the areas you should be considering:

Physical Health

Physical health and mental health are closely connected. So, it stands to reason that encouraging good physical health can positively influence your team’s mental health.

Regular physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals are known as “feel-good” neurotransmitters and play a crucial role in regulating mood and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Getting active also helps to lower your cortisol levels, allowing your body to better manage and reduce stress.

All this activity contributes towards better sleep, improved cognitive function, stronger self-esteem, and greater emotional regulation from a strong mind-body connection. Basically, strong physical health is good news for employee wellbeing!

How can you achieve it?

Here are some strategies you can use to encourage good physical health in your workplace:

  1. Wellness Programmes: Fitness challenges, health assessments, and nutrition workshops are all examples of ways you can get your team to focus on their own physical health.
  2. Active Workspaces: Give your team the chance to be passively active with things like standing desks, walking meetings, and space for stretching or moving around.
  3. Active Commuting: Make it easy for your team to use a bike or their feet to get to work by providing bike racks, showers and changing facilities.
  4. Workplace Fitness: You could even arrange on or offsite fitness classes, yoga sessions, or group walks – promote them well and make the options easily accessible.
  5. Supportive Policies: Support good physical health with policies like paid time off for medical appointments, discounted gym memberships, flexible working hours to play sports or participate in other physical activities and allocated physical activity breaks.

Financial Health

Financial problems can be a common source of stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact mental health of your team. After all, it’s hard to be relaxed and happy when worrying about money.

Financial health is a growing concern in the current climate. The cost of living seems to rise weekly (without much sign of slowing), and it doesn’t help that a potential recession is looming. Protecting the financial health of your team can give them a greater sense of security, improved relationships and better quality of sleep, which all contribute to stronger mental health.

How can you do it?

The first step in creating an environment of good financial habits is to ensure you pay your team correctly and on time for every pay cycle. Then, the second step is providing opportunities for good financial education.

Education around Kiwisaver, budgeting, medical insurance, and general financial awareness are very important to share. It’s also important to educate your team that good financial health is a gradual process and can require consistent budgeting, saving and planning to achieve. There are some excellent resources to support this education process on Sorted.

Finally, keep an eye on the individual members of your team to ensure that financial stress isn’t having a significant impact on their mental health. Make sure you have the appropriate support from trained mental health professionals to call on if you feel that financial stress is setting in.

Checking In

Regular check-ins with your team can help to promote good mental health in the workplace. It is an opportunity to foster open communication, show recognition and appreciation, offer feedback, problem solve, and affirm the support system that is available to them. These check-ins contribute towards maintaining a positive work environment and fostering wellbeing amongst your team.

How can you do it?

Make regular check-ins a priority for team members that are on site and those that work remotely too. That personal touch will remind them that they are a key part of the organisation.

These catch ups can be an informal chat or a more structured meeting. Try to connect with each member of your team monthly at least, or more regularly if you see that anyone is struggling.

Work/Life Balance

Striking the right balance between professional responsibilities and personal life can result in reduced stress levels, increased happiness and improved mental wellbeing, which are all essential for good mental health.

But it’s important to remember that balance can look different for everyone. Depending on the individual, balance can involve setting personal boundaries, managing their time effectively, having flexible conditions, and having their needs communicated and heard. Achieving balance is an ongoing process and adjustments might be needed as circumstances change.

How can you achieve it?

As an employer, you can play a crucial role in helping your team achieve a healthy work/life balance. And it is worth achieving it too. Managing to create an environment of balance can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity, plus all-round positive vibes.

Here are some ways you can help your team find their balance:

  • Flexible working hours and the potential to work remotely (if possible)
  • Set clear job and performance expectations and listen to feedback about whether the expectations are realistic and workable
  • Cut out unnecessary meetings and encourage collaborative communication channels instead
  • Monitor and manage workloads to prevent excessive stress
  • Encourage regular breaks during the day and longer-term annual leave to recharge batteries
  • Provide time management training
  • Encourage disconnecting from work related duties outside working hours
  • Have your managers model healthy work/life balance behaviours to lead by example
  • Provide training on how to set appropriate boundaries so that work does not encroach on personal time

Lead From The Front

There is a reason that flight attendants tell you to put your own mask on before helping others in an emergency. You can’t possibly help anyone else if you don’t have your own ducks in a row first! This applies to mental health in the workplace too.

It is important for leaders to consider their own mental health and lead from the front in this area. Burnout is a real threat for everyone, you are not immune just because you are management. In fact, you can be at greater risk due to the pressure of the role. So, ensure your managers and team leaders continue to look inwardly as well as caring for their teams.

Let’s Talk About It

Encourage your team to talk about any problems they are experiencing in the workplace. This will help to encourage perseverance and consolidation at the same time.

Communication will be a big part of highlighting the importance of good mental health in the workplace. So, you want to empower your managers with valuable tools that allow them to help others through effective communication and understanding.

How can you do it?

Having a mental health first aider in your workplace can be invaluable. If you don’t currently have one, visit Tepou for a list of accredited instructors.

You should also ensure there are plenty of Mental Health resources available for your team. A great place to find these resources is on the NZ Mental Health Awareness Week website.

Prioritising Employee Wellbeing And Mental Health

We don’t have to tell you that employee wellness is really important. Without it, you can’t hope to have a positive workplace with happy and productive employees.

So, how do you put employee wellbeing at the forefront?

A great way to do it is to engage the services of an expert HR team. HR will ensure you shine a spotlight on the HUMAN element of your workplace; after all, it is literally in the name! Rest assured that HR experts know a thing or two about building great, positive spaces for humans in the workplace.

Sometimes it can be difficult to establish whether you have effective employee wellness policies or if there are some areas that might need work. The team at Spice HR are some of those HR experts that can help you to establish the right wellness practices to suit your team and management.

Get in touch with us today to make your employee’s wellbeing a priority.

When Automation Meets Human Leadership

It’s no secret that we are living in a world of developing technology.

And one of the biggest advancements in recent times is automation.

Incredibly helpful for streamlining processes and creating capabilities, automation is a useful tool that can aid with HR functions in your business.

However, it is important to remember that ‘Human’ is right there in the name when you are talking HR!

So, let’s explore what happens when Automation meets human leadership and how you can strike the right balance in your workplace.

When Automation Meets Human Leadership

What Is HR Automation?

HR automation refers to the use of technology and software to streamline and automate various Human Resource processes. This can include tasks such as record management, employee onboarding, performance management, payroll, and other administrative tasks.

There are a variety of HR automation tools available, with the most popular being an HR Information System (HRIS). These tools can help businesses save time and reduce errors by automating routine HR tasks, enabling employees to self-serve certain HR functions, and providing managers with better insights into employee performance and engagement.

Some of the benefits of HR automation include improved efficiency, increased accuracy, reduced administrative burdens, and better compliance with employment laws and regulations. Additionally, by automating certain processes, businesses can free up their HR team to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as employee development and engagement.

How To Use HR Automation

HRIS can help enhance engagement and productivity when it comes to the HR functions in your organisation. An HRIS can offer transparency and real-time data to allow for better feedback and reward and recognition.

Here are some of the benefits of using an HRIS in your business:

Easier onboarding

An HRIS can help to streamline your onboarding process as many of the manual tasks (like paperwork, orientation scheduling and sending welcome emails) can be automated. This can save your HR team time and creates an efficient process where nothing is missed. Onboarding progress can also be tracked, ensuring new team members are always fully onboarded and ready to start work.

By having a central platform that employees, managers and new hires can communicate through, it reduces confusion and ensures everyone is on the same page. Generally an HRIS also integrates with your other HR systems, such as payroll and recruitment platforms, so it makes it easy to have your new team member accurately set up in all the necessary systems and onboarded effectively.

Better training experiences

Even though automation is a big part of an HRIS, you are still able to personalise training programmes within the system, allowing managers to create tailored learning plans for individual team members based on their roles, skills and development needs. This is especially helpful as it means each training module is then relevant and useful to the individual employee, creating a more effective learning experience.

Having an HRIS that your team can log into means training material is easily accessible in one location, and everyone’s progress can be monitored.

Performance reviews

The automation capabilities of an HRIS can streamline your performance review process. Automate the tasks of scheduling review meetings, sending reminders to employees and managers, and collecting feedback from the right people to create an efficient, consistent and standardised review process.

Your system can also help you deep dive into performance data to identify high performing employees and areas of improvement. This helps with remuneration and creating plans for additional training and support where needed. Helpfully, this can also integrate with your payroll system too!

Having the review process standardised allows for timely feedback to be provided.

Staff engagement

You can use an HRIS platform for sharing employee appreciation and recognition. You can also track and monitor employee engagement outside formal review times via pulse surveys.

A wealth of data

Over time, an HRIS becomes a repository of HR documentation and employee history. It means you will always be able to lay your hands on specific HR detail when you need it.

It also allows for quick and easy reporting on HR data, creating the opportunity for analysis and prediction of trends that might influence your people strategy.

This data portal is not only of benefit to HR, it also has self-service elements to ensure leave requests and employee information remain up to date.

Keeps people connected

Workplaces have evolved in the last few years. While we used to all sit side by side in the office, things are quite different now. So, your HRIS can be used as an internal communication hub. This provides a seamless connection for all team members, whether they are in the office, working remotely, or a hybrid of the two.

Considering Human Leadership

Technology is clearly a massive part of our daily functions. But, we can’t rely solely on robots yet! There are simply some things that AI and automation systems cannot do. We still require strong human leadership to complement technological advancements.

Employees still want to be able to connect with their leaders on a human level. They don’t want leaders who are emotionally distant. They need connected, empathetic leaders who value investing in relationships with their team members.

Part of that is creating an environment of positive role models. It’s also about creating a great team vibe and leaders who provide personal and timely feedback on employee performance. Finally, today’s team members don’t simply want to work for managers, they want to collaborate on projects together and work for common business goals.

Leaders may need further training in soft skills to facilitate all of this. This will help them to develop trust and share accountability with their team. Remember that “Human Leadership” prioritises employee wellbeing and corporate culture. There is no longer a cookie-cutter approach to managing humans.

Balancing Humans And Automation

Creating the perfect working environment is about balance. You want to incorporate the benefits of automation that an HRIS offers, but ensure that your team is still backed by strong human leadership.

Need some help striking that balance?

Then the Spice Gals are here to help you do it. Have a chat with our team today!

How To Create Inclusion With Cultural Diversity In The Workplace

The world is an amazing place. Packed full of rich cultures, there are people from every corner of the world who have something unique and beautiful to offer. 

Which is why celebrating the richness of the world’s cultures is the focus of World Cultural Diversity Day. Held every year on 21 May, its purpose is to generate social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue to help achieve peace and sustainable development.  

So, with this important day looming, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore the importance of embracing cultural diversity in the workplace. 

Let’s look at what workplace cultural diversity is, why it is beneficial for your business and how you can create an inclusive workplace culture for all. 

How To Create Inclusion With Cultural Diversity In The Workplace 

Recognising Cultural Diversity In The Workplace 

New Zealand is an incredibly diverse place. We have a large range of cultures, ethnicities and religions living in our beautiful country. Recognising this cultural diversity in the workplace is not only essential, but it can also be very beneficial! 

Employees from different cultural backgrounds work alongside each other every day. So, it’s imperative to recognise the needs and values of the different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities amongst your team.  

Successful businesses are increasingly those that recognise the importance of promoting cultural diversity in the workplace and who take deliberate steps to create inclusive environments, allowing team members of all backgrounds to thrive. 

What Embracing Diversity Can Do For Business 

There are many reasons to embrace cultural diversity in your workplace. Firstly, as we’ve already mentioned, we live in a diverse society, so any number of cultures can be represented in a workplace. Recognising and embracing that allows people to be comfortable in their workplace and allows them to be at their best every day. 

When people are comfortable, they thrive. Being part of a diverse and inclusive environment creates increased creativity and innovation, improved problem-solving abilities, and a better understanding of different perspectives and ideas. Creating a welcoming workplace culture that values diversity promotes a place of respect for all team members. 

Aside from the team culture aspect, it is important to note that many younger employees (who make up a growing proportion of workers) hesitate to join organisations with poor ethics and diversity. So, it could actually be detrimental to your business to ignore the diversity that no doubt exists in your workplace! 

The Benefits Of Workplace Cultural Diversity 

Cultural diversity can bring many benefits for both employers and employees. Some of the key benefits are: 

  • Better understanding: Working with people from different cultural backgrounds brings the opportunity to learn from each other and gain a better understanding of different customs, beliefs, and values. This can lead to an overall greater cultural awareness and more sensitivity, which can improve communication and collaboration. 
  • Improved customer service: Having employees who understand and can relate to different cultural groups can be a real advantage in terms of customer service. Customers will feel more comfortable and valued when they encounter employees who share their cultural background or are sensitive to different cultural needs. 
  • Greater innovation: A diverse workplace brings together people with different backgrounds, skills, experiences, and perspectives. This can lead to greater creativity and innovation as employees are consistently exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. 
  • Improved problem solving: As well as innovation, diverse teams are often better equipped to solve complex problems. That is because they bring different perspectives and approaches to the table. This can result in more effective problem-solving and decision-making company-wide, giving your business a competitive advantage. 
  • Employee retention: When employees feel valued and respected for their unique contributions and perspectives, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover rates
  • Increased profits: Being known as a culturally diverse company earns you a great reputation, both as an employer and as a company of choice for customers. People who align with your company values will choose to shop with you, potentially leading to increased profits. 

How To Embrace Cultural Diversity In The Workplace 

Creating a harmonious, culturally diverse workplace doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some of our best tips to make it happen: 

Company Values 

Consider ways that you can tie your organisation’s core values to your employee’s personal principles. This will give them a strong connection with your business. Not only does this help to create cultural diversity in the workplace, but it can also increase engagement within your team and improve staff retention. 

Conscious Recruitment 

When you recruit consciously, you are aligning your hiring process with your organisation’s mission and long-term goals. It involves looking at each candidate in depth, not only to assess their skills, but also how they would fit into your organisation as a whole and whether they believe in your mission and align with your values.  

The great thing about recruiting in this way is that you can share your values around cultural diversity to avoid bias when hiring. 

Celebrate Different Cultures 

We can all learn a lot from each other whether it be skills, knowledge or cultural experience. By celebrating different cultures in your workplace, you can integrate and recognise other cultural values and points of view for greater understanding and communication. 

Encourage inclusion by hosting shared cultural lunches and recognising specific festivals or other significant dates. Not only are you promoting learning and acceptance, but you can all have a great time while doing it! 

Adopt Flexibility 

You may find that people from different cultures have different needs in the workplace. So, adopting flexibility will allow you to cater for everyone. Get to know your team members and ask them what their individual needs are. Then, come up with a way that each employee can maximise their opportunities while still adhering to their culture. Remember, one size does not have to fit all! 

Encourage Communication 

We may not all speak the same native language, but we can all still achieve excellent levels of communication. Ensure you have a workplace that creates spaces for open and honest conversations. Address conflict as soon as it arises and encourage awareness and respect amongst your team. 

Consider Cross-Cultural Awareness 

You may even choose to undertake a cross-cultural awareness programme within your organisation. This is a form of training that helps all your team understand and respect the cultural diversity that exists within their workplace. It helps address language barriers, and specific cultural communication styles while promoting being open to the differences in each culture without stereotyping or bias.  

Embracing Cultural Diversity 

Diversity is part of what makes the world a fascinating place and promoting inclusion in your workplace can have many benefits for employers and employees. 

So, if you are ready to embrace diversity in your workplace, we are ready to help you do it. Chat to the Spice Gals today about how to create an environment of inclusion. 

How To Perfect The Hybrid Working Experience

There aren’t too many good things that came out of the pandemic. But, there is one thing in particular that was positive – and that is an evolution of thinking about the way we work.

By being forced to stay in our homes throughout the lockdown period, we proved that we didn’t necessarily have to be in an office space to work effectively.

And as the restrictions eased, hybrid working became a thing.

Now, more than a year on from lockdown, people are still embracing hybrid working to achieve better balance and to better utilise company resources.

With a new way of working on the table, you have probably had to examine your traditional processes. Hybrid working is here to stay, so it’s time to perfect the experience for your team and your organisation. Here’s how you can do it.

A New Way Of Working

What is hybrid working? Well, you’re probably already doing it with your teams without using the fancy term!

Hybrid working is a flexible working arrangement where your staff work some of the time in a traditional office space and some of the time at a remote location, usually their home. The degree of flexibility should be based on the needs of the organisation and the individual workers.

It is this varying level of flexibility that makes hybrid working so amazing … and also quite hard to manage – especially if everyone is operating on different hours and days!

That’s why it is vital that you master and perfect the hybrid working experience so that it operates well for your business and for your employees. Here’s the steps to follow to do that:

Step 1: Review Current Arrangements

If you are like most New Zealand businesses, you probably threw together some basic hybrid working parameters back in 2020 and have been weathering the storm ever since. Chances are, those hastily set up working arrangements could do with some updating by now.

The first step is to review what you already have in place and assess how it has been functioning. Is it serving your business well and are your employees benefitting from the flexibility? What’s working really well and what could do with some refining?

Have a chat with key management and some of the employees who are using the flexibility of hybrid working to get their input. That way, you’ll have information from both sides of the working arrangement – business and individuals.

Step 2: Make A Plan

Now that you have your feedback, it’s time to create some clear guidelines about how hybrid working will function going forward. While the specifics might be slightly different for the individual depending on their role and level of responsibility, having some guidelines lets everyone know what the expectations are.

Remember that you want to create an arrangement that works for both the business and your employees. You want your employees to still feel like they have autonomy over their workload, but at the same time, working hours need to be productive and produce the right results for the business.

Step 3: Document It All

Once you have created your plan, it is important to document the hybrid working parameters so that they are widely understood and can be enforced.

Things that should be discussed and documented are start and finish times/working hours, the locations used for working (and if team members have all the resources they need at each location), and expectations around how working from home should be – dress standards for meetings, digital security etc.

Other Considerations

Another thing you might want to offer your team is ‘Flexications’. Working from home is one thing, but could your team work from a different country? A Flexication is the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, mixing holidaying with work. It allows location-independent work conditions so that your employees can work from literally anywhere, completing their work obligations while adventuring in their downtime.

In terms of remote working, a Flexication doesn’t have to be much different to working from home from a business perspective. You just need to be clear on employee expectations like time zones and how this will be managed, ensure they are covered by Health and Safety procedures, that reliable WiFi and server access is available, and that privacy policies are met.

Why Go To The Trouble?

Setting up hybrid working parameters may feel like a lot of work. And you might wonder if it is worth all the trouble. We can assure you, it is if you do it right.

Offering hybrid working can help your staff to feel valued and respected. This often means that they are more engaged in their work and ultimately, more productive. It also helps you to be recognised as an employer of choice and encourages great staff retention. All of these things help to create great results for your business.

Perfecting Hybrid Working

To harness all of the positive aspects of hybrid working, you need to make sure you address the potential negative aspects. With people in the office at different times throughout the week, it can have a negative impact on company culture and how your team interact with each other.

It’s important to keep your employees engaged despite the distance. You can do this by planning deliberate social connections such as regular virtual or on-site team meetings and regular one-to-one check ins. Encourage collaboration with cloud based communication and document sharing tools to actively keep teams connected.

Make mental health a priority as it is easy to feel isolated when you are predominantly working remotely.

Also, ensure the current workspace is an enticing place to return to so that your staff actually want to be in the office as opposed to the comfort of their own homes.

Hybrid Help Is Here

Here at Spice HR HQ, we embrace hybrid working for our team. So, we’ve personally been through the process of setting hybrid working parameters that suit everyone, but still generate great company results.

So, if it’s time to review your current hybrid working arrangements, you can count on the Spice Gals to help you create parameters that are good for your business as well as your team.

Reach out to us today to chat about perfecting hybrid working at your place.

It’s All About Job Descriptions

Let’s talk about Job Descriptions…

They are vital documents within your business, not just for your team members.

They are obviously key for employees as they detail the tasks involved within a job and help to set expectations about what is involved with a role.

But they are equally important for employers.

Integral to the recruitment and onboarding process, these documents perform an essential settling role. And by keeping your job descriptions regularly updated, you can maximise the talent in your team and even boost employee engagement.

Want to find out how to do all of that with one little document? Then, keep reading to discover the power of a great JD.

The Importance of Good Job Descriptions

A good job description is more than simply a list of tasks for an employee to perform. It is an opportunity to create a valuable resource that will further the success of your business.

We know, it sounds like a lot of responsibility for one document. But we promise you, a JD is up to the task if crafted correctly!

Job Descriptions should have plenty of thought put into them to ensure they are accurate and that they align with your company values.  By compiling all the information about the role, your expectations and the skills required, into one place, you have a centralised resource that your employees can engage with and follow.

Having this resource on hand can mitigate risk as your employees will always know what is expected of them. This, in turn, can boost productivity and support greater employee accountability. It’s a win for everyone!

Not Just for Recruitment

A job description is obviously a key resource when recruiting. It helps a potential team member gauge whether the position is a good fit for them and produces quality candidate options for employers to choose from.

But, while a job description is a great resource for attracting the right talent to your business, it is so much more than that too.

It can also form an integral part of your onboarding process. By having this resource on hand, your new team member can become familiar with and engaged with their new role quickly as they know exactly what is expected of them.

It also gives you, as the employer, an opportunity to review the job role through a fresh set of eyes to ensure you are maximising the skills of your people and that the role remains effective within your business structure. 

3 Key Ways A JD Can Boost Business

Extended DISC ® Recruitment

When recruiting for a role, you don’t only hunt for the right skills and experience. You also want to ensure the candidate that you choose is the right fit for your team, personality wise.

A great way of doing that is by using Extended DISC®profiling. What is it? Well, Extended DISC®profiling begins with a short personality assessment that determines an individual’s personality type. Each person will show a different dominant trait – dominance, influence, steadiness, or conscientiousness. Obviously, some of these traits are better suited for certain roles than others.

You can use the information gathered from the Extended DISC®profile to see how suited a person will be to the particular role you are recruiting for. You can make the profiling process more powerful by linking the job description, ensuring you get the right fit for your team and the role. This is something our Spicey team specialises in, so reach out to us for help with this process.

Updating and engaging

Job descriptions only remain effective if they are updated regularly. They should be updated annually to capture any changes that have occurred in the last year. This is a process that should be done in consultation with your employees to ensure the details of the actual role (not what you think the role might be) are captured accurately.

By involving your team in this process, you are putting in the groundwork to retain good people and keep them engaged with your business. When your employees are involved in decisions like job design, they often feel more committed to the role and its success. It can also assist in shaping the position to their personal strengths.

Expectations and performance

It is hard to excel at something if you aren’t sure what is expected of you. Accurate job descriptions fix this problem as they help people understand exactly what your expectations are surrounding their role. This allows them to take greater accountability. When people know the specific demands of their role, they are also able to be more productive.

On the flipside, if your employees are not motivated and not meeting expectations, a detailed job description can help you to manage their performance. It can form the basis of the documentation for performance reviews, open conversations and, if needed, resulting disciplinary actions.

So, how are the job descriptions looking in your business? Are they detailed and effective? Are they relevant? Are you combining them with Extended DISC®profiling to find the most ideal candidates?

If you are feeling a bit sheepish about the answers to some of these questions, then reach out to our Spicey team now. We are experts on all things job descriptions and can help you get yours nailed today.

Let’s Check In With Our Mental Health

As Mental Health Awareness Week approaches in New Zealand, the focus of many companies turns towards ensuring their teams are checking in with their mental health. 

This is now more important than ever! 

Sure, we are hopefully over the worst of the pandemic restrictions, but the ongoing repercussions are most definitely being felt. 

So, let’s explore what you can do to check in with your own mental health, as well as the mental health of your team. 

Let’s Check In With Our Mental Health 

Do You Have The Right Support? 

Many people have developed strong skills of resilience in the last few years. Resilience was a vital tool to help navigate the choppy waters of Covid and everything that the virus brought with it! 

Whilst resilience remains an essential skill, we cannot rely on this alone. There comes a time when everyone reaches their maximum point of resilience and it’s important to make sure the right additional resources are in place. 

Consider who you know that could provide key support. It could be a spouse, friend, family member or co-worker. If none of those are suitable, then there are plenty of other options for external support.  

Creating Healthy Habits 

A big part of maintaining good mental health is forming the right habits. Now, that doesn’t simply mean eating healthily and getting enough sleep. Whilst those things are certainly important, you also need to consider your mindset and working relationships.

Relationships in the Workplace

You have probably heard that you draw a lot of energy from the people that surround you. So, it is vital that the people you spend the most time with have a positive influence on you.

Of course, this is not always possible. You may find that you have someone in your team or workplace that you don’t see eye to eye with. Obviously, you can’t cut these people out – even though you might want to! Rather, mindfully manage the interactions you have with them using the following tips: 

  • Actively listen 
  • Stay calm 
  • Stick to the facts 
  • Keep the interactions positive
  • Show empathy – try and see things from their perspective
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Take a pause when you need to 
  • Focus on the result or end goal that you’re after

Mindset 

Mindset is another large component of good mental health. Having a positive state of mind can really help to improve wellbeing, productivity, and confidence. So, how do you create good mindset habits? Well, here are some of our favourite tips:  

  • Squash the negative self-talk and celebrate wins – no matter how big or small
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – accept yourself for who you are and recognise the value you add
  • Be mindful and appreciate the good things in life 
  • Recognise and accept your emotions to process them easily 
  • Only focus on what you can control
  • Learn from your mistakes 
  • Practice a ‘glass half full’ mentality

Building Workplace Mental Health Awareness 

Whilst it is great to recognise and celebrate good mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week, we really want to encourage workplace practices that last all year round. 

Here are some great ideas to consider: 

  • Introduce ME Days: everybody has days where they simply don’t have the energy to adult! A ME Day (or mental health day) is the perfect solution. It’s a day kept separate from annual leave, where your team members can take time off. A day to recharge the batteries, if you will! 
  • Wellbeing committee: show your team that you value wellbeing by setting up a committee dedicated towards it. This allows nominated staff and management to consult on wellbeing issues to create a positive environment for everyone in the workplace. 
  • Wellbeing programme: get serious about improving and maintaining good mental health at your workplace by establishing a formal wellbeing programme. The programme could include all the things your team value – flexible working hours and conditions, onsite fitness, healthy food options/education, assistance programmes… whatever works for your people. 
  • Five Ways to Wellbeing: The Mental Health Foundation of NZ has created plenty of useful 5 Ways to Wellbeing resources to download and implement within your workplace.
  • Workshops: The cool thing about professional development is that it doesn’t need to be role specific. There are plenty of types of training centred around resilience and psychological safety that can truly empower your team. 
  • Employee Assistance Programmes: Alongside traditional EAP Providers, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far check out the Xero Assistance Programme. This offers Kiwi small business owners, their employees and family members access to free and confidential counselling and support until the end of the year – regardless of whether you are a Xero customer, or not!  In addition Xero ,have a lot of useful free support resources for businesses – check them out!  

Supporting good mental health should be an essential focus for all NZ businesses. If you feel as though you need help developing or expanding your workplace wellbeing programme, then the Spice Gals are here to help. Get in touch with us today

 

How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Winter wellness – it’s all about rugging up warm, getting that flu jab and staying home from work if you’re unwell, right? Well, that’s part of it.

But have you thought about how you’ll care for the mental wellness of your team this winter – particularly at work?

Deadlines, demanding customers, COVID-19 worries, long hours, remote working – the list of things that can knock our wellbeing at work is endless. And the long, grey winter months can make it all feel so much worse. But improving our mental wellbeing is priceless.

So, how can you ensure you are being an ethical leader and creating an environment of winter workplace wellness? Read on to find out.

How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter

Why Workplace Wellness?

Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand. There’s evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. According to WorkSafe NZ, focusing on mental health in the workplace is essential because:

  1. It’s good for business. When people are happy in their environment, they are more productive, take less sick leave, and are more likely to remain in their jobs for longer.
  2. It’s a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act (which is as much about mental health as physical health!)
  3. It’s a moral and ethical obligation for all of us to do the right thing by one another.

Workplace wellness creates a better working environment for everyone, so it becomes a pleasure to be at work despite the dreary weather outside!

Navigating The Winter Blues

The winter blues are a well-known phenomenon. They are most heavily felt throughout the workplace. As the temperature drops and the weather worsens, it is harder to get those sunlight hours that our bodies desperately crave.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that your team may be feeling those winter blues and have a plan to combat their impact as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to regularly check in with your team – individually and in a group setting.

Encourage open lines of communication so that your team can discuss issues or problems they are facing, have constructive conversations so that they can build resilience, and develop perseverance.

A Guide To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Here at Spice HR, we believe that good mental wellbeing at work is crucial, which is why we support the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation.

Whilst these are general principles, they can be practically applied in the workplace. Here are the five areas your team should focus on for great workplace wellness this winter:

  1. Connect

Listen and talk, be present, feel connected. Speak up when you need to, and listen to others. Keep the communication lines open by encouraging discussion

2. Give

Give your time, knowledge, and presence – an essential part of connecting!

3. Take notice

Recognise the good things that your team are doing and the things that spark their creativity and joy. Even the little things count. Appreciate them!

4. Keep Learning

Embrace new experiences, see development opportunities, and provide ongoing learning experiences for your team members.

5. Be Active

Encourage your team to keep active throughout the day even if their role requires them to be at a desk. Do what you can, help them enjoy what they do, and don’t forget to move your mood and your body! Just move – no matter how you do it!

Here at Spice HR, we think that number 1 is particularly crucial: Connect. Many struggling with mental wellbeing try to hide their feelings, afraid of other people’s responses. If you create workplace cultures where people can be themselves, they will speak more freely about mental health concerns and reach out for help when needed. It all comes down to open lines of communication.

Are You An Ethical Leader?

Part of supporting good mental health in the winter workplace is ensuring you behave like an ethical leader. That means taking the time to build a healthy workplace environment for all of your team members.

Ethical leaders tend to choose people over financial reward. While economic growth is essential for many businesses, you will struggle to achieve your goals if you don’t have the buy-in of your people. That means balancing your decision-making to ensure you are doing the right thing by your employees and doing what is best for the business.

There are plenty of ways you can do this. But ultimately, it comes down to creating an environment in which people want to work. An environment that embraces excellent communication. One where people’s opinions and ideas are respected, management show transparency and shares information, and staff feel heard.

Ensuring your team leaders and management have a sense of empathy is vital to supporting their staff appropriately.

Ready To Spice Up Your Workplace Wellness?

Achieving great workplace wellness can be challenging at any time of the year, yet that challenge increases significantly during the winter months.

Need more guidance to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace? Reach out to the Spice Gals!

Spice HR support small and medium businesses who need help getting HR frameworks in place – and we love helping businesses boost staff wellbeing.

So: stop right now, thank you very much – and drop us a line!

Why It’s Vital To Understand Your Team And How To Do It

Can a computer programme really help you understand your team? When it’s based on proven behavioural psychology concepts, utilises complex algorithms, and is successfully used by tens of thousands of organisations worldwide – yes, it can!

The key to building a successful team is understanding your people.

There are several ways you can do this, but Stay Interviews and Extended DISC© assessment tools help you do just that.

These assessments help leaders intentionally and intelligently understand employees while empowering workers to communicate with one another effectively.

Let’s take a closer look at what stay interviews and Extended DISC© are and and how they can help you understand your team.

Why It’s Vital To Understand Your Team And How To Do It

What Is A Stay Interview?

You’ve heard of an Exit Interview, right? Well, a Stay Interview can be even more valuable than the exit variety! At a Stay Interview, you sit down with each team member to gather information about what they value about their job and what can be improved.

By understanding what your team values, you can work to improve things in your workplace. This is going to raise employee retention rates in the long term. You may also discover some helpful tips from your team members that you can easily implement to improve culture, processes and more.

Not only that, but you are creating open lines of communication with your team, building their trust and engagement. Conducting a Stay Interview can be more effective than an employee survey as you are creating a two-way conversation situation where you can both bounce ideas and create opportunities for clarification or to answer follow up questions.

Stay Interviews are the in-person way to help you understand your team better. But, what about technology solutions?

What Is Extended DISC©?

Extended DISC© is a psychology-based assessment tool that helps organisations understand – and therefore better manage – their staff.

Based on the theory developed by psychologist Carl Jung, the Extended DISC© system is one of the most popular behavioural assessment tools in the corporate world. Extended DISC© provides insight into how individuals think, communicate, and interact using a series of questions and algorithms.

According to the science behind the Extended DISC© system, people can be divided into four central behavioural styles, indicated by the following letters:

  • D-style (Dominance)
  • I-Style (Influence)
  • S-Style (Steadiness)
  • C-style (Correctness)

The results of these assessments help shape an understanding of each individual’s strengths, challenges, and communication styles.

How Extended DISC© Assessments Can Help Your Team

Great teamwork doesn’t happen by accident. It takes patience, intention, insight, strong leadership, and the right mix of personalities to build a cohesive team.

In people management, everything boils down to personality and behaviour. Communication issues, conflict, poor performance and low productivity can often be traced back to personality clashes, misunderstandings, or incorrect role fit.

Extended DISC© offers a way for individuals not only to understand themselves better but also understand others more deeply. With these insights, leaders are better able to place employees in the right roles within their teams and manage them in the ways that mesh best with their Extended DISC© profiles.

Extended DISC© assessments help you to empower your team members to better understand their own conscious and sub-conscious behavioural styles. Discovering Extended DISC© as a team is even more valuable. Each staff member can identify and empathise with other behavioural styles, which improves communication and minimises the chance of conflicts.

Overall, job satisfaction increases, and increased performance and productivity comes with a more positive workplace culture.

Get The Best Out Of Your Team

One of the most valuable leadership qualities is the ability to get the best out of your team.

Everyone responds differently to different situations: some of your employees might do their best work under pressure, while others may perform poorly. One person may appreciate a heated debate with a colleague, while another individual could find the exchange stressful and negative. Some people are natural leaders who crave the opportunity to grow, yet others are happy to take a back seat and perform the job they’re comfortable with.

There is a place in your team for all these personality types, but you must be able to recognise each one to create a team environment that meets everyone’s needs.

Extended DISC© is a fantastic team-building tool as it can help you understand the dynamics of your team, identify where the key strengths lie and determine what gaps need to be filled.

A Valuable Workplace Asset

Alongside the in-depth Personal Analysis for each staff member, the Extended DISC© Team Analysis is invaluable.

Here’s how Extended DISC© describe it:

“The Team Analysis gives you an easy to use framework to understand complex issues quickly, solve problems and improve performance. It helps you align your business or team strategy with the behavioural characteristics of your team members.

The Team Analysis combines the results of the Personal Analysis results of your team into one report. It shows the team dynamics, the strengths and development areas of the team, and how the team members are adjusting their behaviours in the existing work environment.

Some popular applications of this tool include team development, strategic decision making, leadership development, organisational development, turnover reduction, conflict resolution and succession planning.”

 

What Does Team Building Look Like In 2022?

In the past, managers have made educated guesses while hiring and building teams and hoped that their people gelled well. But in 2022, team building doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Tools like Extended DISC© provide concrete, usable data to support leaders in building and managing highly effective teams.

DISC© provides a reliable framework to help make decisions and adjustments around people management while empowering staff to take responsibility for their interactions with each other.

Team building aims to create stronger bonds between team members and help them respect their differences while working towards common goals. There is no singular “right” way to achieve this – every team is different, and what works for one may cause havoc for another.

Post pandemic, managers face additional challenges when creating a strong team, such as hybrid work arrangements and remote workers. Team building may not happen as organically as it does in an office environment.

Today’s leaders need to be more intentional about providing opportunities for workers to interact – through structured exercises as well as more informal activities.

Want to know how to best manage the different personality types within your team?

Spice HR are Extended DISC© Accredited Practitioners and can help you with personal growth, team building, leadership, and recruitment. We are also masters at helping you maintain an excellent team culture with tools like the Stay Interview.

Contact us today to find out more.

How To Tackle Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

Many things became redundant during a pandemic – travel, music festivals, alarm clock sales (yes, really!) and for many, the good old office work environment.

But businesses still need to keep moving forward. They still have to serve their customers, source their supplies, and recruit and train new staff – only, all these “business as usual” processes look a lot different now than they did pre-COVID.

At Spice HR HQ, we’ve experienced changes too: our dynamic duo has become a beautifully rounded team of five.

We personally experienced what it’s like recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new staff remotely – a process that may be daunting for those new to the world of managing remote employees.

In this blog, we’ll explore how recruiting and onboarding are done differently over lockdowns and post-COVID and offer some insight on how to approach it with your business.

But first, we’d love to introduce you to the newest Spice Gals on our team.

How To Tackle Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

Let’s Talk About Spice

2021 was a year of growth for Spice HR, which meant we were able to bring a few fresh faces onto our team.

Pre expansion, you would be communicating with the original Spicey duo, Nicole and Nichola – but now, your documents and emails may be crafted by Justine, Bianca or Nina.

Let’s do a brief intro so that you can put a face to each new name:

Justine

Justine has more than 20 years of management experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the team. She has a passion for helping others thrive and for encouraging equity and inclusion. She believes there are always opportunities for improvement, continued personal growth, and doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

Nina

Nina has a new HR degree under her belt, along with a past life as a manager. She has a passion for all things HR and has come on board to help our clients with their HR projects. When she’s not neck-deep in HR, Nina is running around after her toddler or out and about exploring the best places to grab a bite to eat.

Bianca

Bianca is our Spicey queen of all things admin. With 20 years in the workforce to back her up, she’s the one taking care of all the details and making sure everything runs smoothly. Like any good Spice Gal, Bianca is always up for a challenge and will often dive into the world of HR to lend the rest of us a hand. Like most Aucklanders, Bianca is looking forward to jumping on a plane and travelling again when the opportunity arises.

There you have it – with five members, we’re now officially as big as the actual Spice Girls and well on our way to Spice Gal World Domination!

Our newest team members have been onboarded and enveloped in the warm glow of our spicey culture. If you’re wondering how that works in times of lockdown and remote work, keep reading for some insight.

Things To Consider When Hiring and Onboarding New Staff Remotely

While the fundamentals of recruiting and onboarding remain the same, the process may look a little different. Due to lockdowns or location, some managers may not meet their employees in person before hiring, but that doesn’t need to be an issue.

In fact, thanks to digital advances driven by the pandemic, it’s now easier than ever to take care of hiring and onboarding new staff remotely. Let’s take a closer look at each part of the process.

Recruiting Remotely

The right fit remains one of the most important aspects of recruitment. And getting the right fit means effectively marketing your employee value proposition. To attract an employee who embraces and enhances your culture, you must be able to describe and demonstrate that culture.

This goes further than just your job advertisement or position description. Put some thought into how your brand appears from the outside looking in, via social media, your website, and word of mouth from previous and current staff.

Share pictures and videos online of how your team collaborates, even in a remote work environment. Talk about your camaraderie in an authentic way, and work on building genuine connections between your existing employees to organically build a great culture that’s visible to all.

Virtual interviews are often more efficient than in-person interviews and can be less daunting for candidates. Zoom or Teams are usually the go-to methods here, and most people are more than familiar with how they work by now!

When it comes to paperwork, it’s now possible to do it all digitally. Even contracts can be signed virtually using a tool like DocuSign or HelloSign. That means a faster, more efficient hiring process. And if you’re lucky enough to have an HRIS, then it’s all automated for you!

Onboarding New Staff Remotely

How does onboarding new staff remotely work? You can’t give them an office tour and introduce them to your team during a morning coffee break, so what’s the procedure?

Well, setting expectations is still crucial, so it’s important for managers to communicate with a new hire before their first day on the job. This is an opportunity to provide any documents or materials that they need to understand how your business works.

Share your values and culture in ways that feel appropriate; written documents followed up with a Zoom call for a more in-depth chat is a good start.

You’ll also need to share copies of your code of conduct, employee handbook and any other documents that can help your new hire integrate into the business smoothly.

How Do You Onboard Remotely?

One on one and group video calls will be needed to introduce the team, and these should continue regularly to ensure that camaraderie and connection develops between your employees.

You may even want to set up a mentor or “buddy system” so your new hire has a closer relationship with a specific person (whether that’s their direct manager or a colleague) – someone who’s on-call to help them navigate their new role.

Bear in mind that it can take a little longer for someone to integrate into a new work environment remotely. They don’t have the opportunity to interact with managers and colleagues as organically as they would in an office environment.

Give them the time and resources they need, and don’t assume that if they’re quiet, they’re doing just fine. Managers must be proactive and check-in, ask for feedback, and be ready to provide more support if needed.

Spicing Up Your Hiring and Onboarding

It can be tricky to navigate the process of hiring and onboarding new staff remotely in this world of post-pandemic business.

If your business needs some support to recruit and onboard new team members – remotely or otherwise – the Spice HR team are here to help.

Contact us to find out what we can do for you.