There is no doubt about it, most of us have been impacted in some way or other with Covid-19, whether you’re in a business where it’s back to work this week, in an industry that will be facing challenges for some time yet, or perhaps somewhere in the middle.

Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of being involved in co-facilitating a number of webinars – from both an HR and a payroll perspective. Our most recent webinar was hosted through the Cambridge Business Chamber with panellists covering these four areas of business: strategy, marketing, finance and of course HR.

The focus of the webinar was preparing for the “new normal”. It’s this concept that I want to talk about a bit more and pose these questions:
• Have you started to think about the future for you and your team?
• Do you have a staffing plan for the next few weeks?
• Do you need to make changes? What do you think those changes might encompass?
• Can you share the load across the team when you are making changes?

Whether you’re thriving, holding steady, surviving or drowning as a business, these are critical questions you need to ask. For each of these four business scenarios, we’ve put some points together on four key HR areas that you might want to consider.
1. Staffing – gearing up or down
2. Recruitment – creating capacity or no immediate change
3. Remuneration – increasing or in a holding pattern
4. Documentation – updating employment terms and conditions whether they are temporary or more permanent

The panel’s handout provides some great points to consider across each of our specialist fields. For a copy of the handout please email us on [email protected]. Contact information for each of our panellists is included in the handout.

On a sadder note, we know that some of our clients are going to need to make changes in their team structure and how they work – changes which won’t be easy or pleasant to make. We’d like you to know that we’re here to support and guide you, so please pick up the phone and have a chat on 07 823 3250 before you embark on the change journey.

We know that for some businesses it’s going to be challenging over the next few weeks. Here are some things we hope you find helpful.

1. If you have staff who are in self-isolation – Flowchart

This flowchart will help you with making decisions on when and how to pay.


2. We have put some Workplace Pandemic Planning Guidelines together

These are available on a complimentary basis by dropping us a line to [email protected].

3. Government Initiatives

Clicking on the link below will give you some helpful information on Government initiatives to support business, employers and their team.

If you need more HR help, please give us a call here at People in Mind on 07 823 3250.

Please note:
This information is offered as a guide only and for any situation you may be facing we recommend that you obtain independent professional advice. Of course People in Mind can provide that advice – just call us or email us and we will be in touch.

… facial recognition isn’t just for you anymore – we mere mortals now have this capability in our workplaces too!

Biometric data to track employee attendance has long been in use but until recently it’s largely been in the form of finger and thumb print scanning via a digital clock. But our growing ability to use technology and artificial intelligence makes other forms of digital recognition much more accessible.

Could voice and facial recognition be the next big thing in managing employee attendance? I’m unlikely to ever introduce it in my workplace but I can see the sense in using it for roles where safety and security are significant risks. Like airline pilots – I’d take great comfort in knowing that the pilot is the real deal.

We’re a nation of small businesses (accounting for circa 90% of businesses in New Zealand). We work side by side with our employees and I’m sure we know our staff well. Unless you’re a large employer or you’re trading in the high-tech, high-security market then it might not be the right technology for your business.

But if you are thinking you might be an early adopter of this technology, you should ensure you have a robust approach to implementing it. Consultation, fair play rules and total transparency are critical as is the ability to respect particular beliefs and to have a Plan B option for employees with genuine concerns about using this technology. Don’t just jump on board because it’s the latest trend – do your research! Before you commit to it, if you are given the opportunity to trial it first, consider trying a pilot programme with some of the team. You want to ensure it’s right for your workplace.

If you want a chat about whether this technology is right for you, give us a call (07 823 3250) or send us an email [email protected].

2020 will see three key changes in the employment law space:

1. On 1 April the minimum wage increases to $18.90. We are encouraging our clients to think and plan for wage increases for their team now, even if the increases don’t kick in straight away.

2. On 27 June, new legislation around triangular employment relationships will come into force. This will largely affect our clients who hire labour through agencies and/or have third party labour hire relationships. If you are in this category, we encourage you to get better acquainted with this important change to employment law as it may have consequences for you.

3. From 1 July this year, government funded parental leave payments will increase from 22 weeks to 26 weeks.

We’ve themed 2020 – now’s a great time!

And now is a great time to focus on ticking off some of those items on your HR job list, starting with thinking about your overall approach to wages this year.

Now’s also a great time to get some of those policies in place you’ve been thinking about – our top 5 recommendations:
• professional development support
• personal presentation standards
• drugs & alcohol in the workplace
• smoking & vaping
• GPS in your vehicles

Now is a great time to update your staff hand book (or put one in place if you haven’t got one). We recommend keeping it simple and having more detailed policies to refer to when the need arises.

And last but not least – now is a great time to review your employment agreements, especially if you haven’t looked at them for 2+ years (as they will now be out of kilter with the legislation). The clauses our clients most frequently asked for in 2019 included:
• clearer wording around annual leave requests with a focus on prior approval
• flexible hours clauses to help manage business demand better
• protection of intellectual property
• restraint of trade provisions
• plain English wording

We can assist you with anything HR, and especially with any of the above, so give us a call (07 823 3250) or send us an email ([email protected]).

And until the 29th of February, we have a special offer to help you get started. Our starter Professional Development Support policy is just $125 + GST.

At People in Mind, we’re big supporters of spending locally so it’s great that we can participate in the Totally Locally programme – an initiative just launched this month by the Cambridge Business Chamber.

Totally Locally is about supporting our local businesses and making a difference to our town. If each of us spent just $10 extra a week in our home town of Cambridge instead of somewhere else, the flow on effect is big! When we spend local, we help create new job opportunities and more importantly we give businesses a lift and Cambridge becomes even more of a great place to live, work and play!

Our Totally Locally Cambridge offer for employers with recruitment on their mind is …..

We also like to support our local community in other ways…

• We believe it’s important that all businesses and not-for-profit organisations should have access to HR. That’s why we sponsor these amazing community organisations…
– Cambridge Chamber of Commerce
– Cambridge Swimming Club
– Cambridge Safer Communities
– Destination Cambridge
– Cambridge Lifeskills

• We offer a discount off most of our services for not-for-profit organisations.

• And this year we’ve created a summer internship opportunity for a Uni student looking for some real-world HR experience. We have welcomed Paige Frampton to our work family, working one day a week over the summer. We love Paige’s enthusiasm and here’s how she sums up the experience so far… “The variety that HR offers on a day to day basis is compelling, and I am so eager to learn more and more!”

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For me, it tells a lot.

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Over the life of a business, there are a multitude of scenarios business owners and managers face… you might be starting a new business from scratch, buying or selling the business, expanding your business, changing location, and the list goes on.

Often it’s not until you are in the middle of one such scenario that you realise the value of having standard employment procedures in place.
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Winter is my favourite time of the year, but with winter usually comes the winter ills. For some businesses, managing absences can be challenging. Even trickier is managing a sick employee who comes to work when they shouldn’t!
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