The ‘good employer’ is a term used in legislation relating to the public sector in New Zealand, imposing legal obligations on chief executives relating to equal employment opportunities.
A ‘good employer’ is an organisation that provides and supports an environment where employees feel valued and respected, where difference is celebrated and diversity encouraged, where there is active staff engagement, transparency in policies and procedures, clear complaints procedures, and regular feedback.
The ‘good employer’ makes maximum use of skills and strengths of all staff but has special regard for those groups most commonly overlooked – MÄori, women, ethnic or minority groups, and disabled people.
There are many different paths to more equal employment opportunities. The following six-step methodology can be adapted by organisations of any size, to suit their existing data collection methods, structures and ways of doing business. It relies on excellent analysis of the issues, identification of what is working well, and areas where improvement is needed. This cannot be done without consulting staff and their representatives. They are the ones most likely to identify issues that need to be addressed, and to highlight what is working well so that the organisation can build on success.
1. Establish and review the workplace profile
2. Analyse the workplace profile and each employment element
3. Prioritise the issues and develop a plan of action
4. Take action to address priority issues
5. Evaluate the effectiveness of those actions and outcomes achieved
6. Plan actions for the future
The Commission has produced extensive guidance and tools to help organisations become good employers and regularly monitors Crown entities efforts to be good employers. There are seven key elements that organisations need to concentrate on as they move towards being a ‘good employer’. They are:
1. Leadership, Accountability and Culture
Uses diverse networks when recruiting staff; demonstrates leadership and vision that articulates the values of the organisation and the importance of people and diversity; a structure that is supportive and equitable; has managers that are accountable for providing equal employment opportunities for their staff and managing diversity; shows willingness to build engagement processes with employees and their representatives; opportunities for staff to participate in organisational decisions; and a learning culture which recognises and supports the aims and aspirations of all employees.
2. Recruitment, Selection and Induction
Implements an impartial, transparent employment process with no barriers or biases to employing the best person for the job regardless of gender, ethnicity and disability; and provides a comprehensive introduction to the organisation for all employees, setting out the organisation’s values and employee opportunities.
3. Employee Development, Promotion and Exit
Provides a learning environment and takes a positive, equitable approach to developing all employees through internal and external training; coaching and mentoring; develops employees in line with organisational and individual requirements; provides equal opportunities for all employees to move up through and out of the organisation in a positive way; and provides performance management practices that are transparent and fair.
4. Flexibility and Work Design
Workplace design and organisation takes account of the need to assist employees to balance work with the rest of their lives and ensures managers relate to employees in a respectful and flexible way, considering the employment requirements of all groups, including parents and other carers.
5. Remuneration, Recognition and Conditions
Has a transparent, fair, gender neutral remuneration system which is regularly reviewed; ensures equitable job opportunities and conditions; and recognises employee contributions.
6. Harassment and Bullying Prevention
Provides a zero-tolerance environment to all forms of harassment and bullying; takes a proactive approach to training managers and staff on their rights and responsibilities; has a specific policy and procedure for dealing with harassment complaints, and acts quickly to address them.
7. Safe and Healthy Environment
Provides a healthy and safe workplace and trains all employees on their rights and responsibilities; creates an environment that supports and encourages employee participation in health and safety; takes a proactive approach to employee health and wellbeing in order to provide physical, cultural and psychological safety; deals with issues in a supportive way; and reduces workplace obstacles to accommodate disabled people.