Fast-track plan lifts di­ver­sity

DHB’s Ma¯ ori and Pa­cific job in­ter­view pol­icy tipped to be adopted else­where

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - Ni­cholas Jones

All el­i­gi­ble Ma¯ ori and Pa­cific job can­di­dates are be­ing au­to­mat­i­cally fast-tracked to in­ter­views for open­ings at Auck­land DHB.

The change seeks to in­crease work­force di­ver­sity, and has al­ready re­sulted in more Ma¯ori and Pa­cific can­di­dates be­ing in­ter­viewed and hired.

The pol­icy, which be­gan in June, is likely to be adopted by the pri­vate sec­tor, a hu­man re­sources lec­turer says.

Jar­rod Haar, pro­fes­sor of hu­man re­sources man­age­ment at Auck­land Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, said the change was pos­i­tive.

“The fact this ini­tia­tive has led to more Ma¯ ori and Pa­cific peo­ples be­ing hired shows this ap­proach is needed. Fun­da­men­tally, the play­ing field is not even. This seeks to ad­dress that.”

Haar wasn’t aware of such poli­cies be­ing used in the pri­vate sec­tor, but be­cause di­ver­sity strength­ened com­pa­nies it was “only a mat­ter of time”.

The coun­try’s big­gest union also backed the pol­icy. The Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (PSA) rep­re­sents more than 65,000 work­ers, in­clud­ing many em­ployed by DHBs.

PSA or­gan­iser An­drew Skelly said the move was pos­i­tive. There were no is­sues about merit as hires would need to meet spe­cific com­pe­ten­cies and stan­dards, and many roles need an an­nual prac­tis­ing cer­tifi­cate.

“Auck­land is get­ting more and more di­verse, and they need to en­sure the num­ber of Ma¯ ori and Pasi­fika staff are grow­ing and not shrink­ing. And they had for a time been go­ing back­wards, so it’s re­ally good they took proac­tive steps to en­sure they pulled the hand­brake on.”

Ma¯ ori and Pa­cific can­di­dates must still meet core cri­te­ria for a role to progress to in­ter­view. If not hired, man­agers must give feed­back to HR, so the can­di­date can be coached to im­prove their chances next time.

A new as­sess­ment tool prompts in­ter­view­ers to think about “re­flect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and pri­ori­tised health out­comes”, along with tra­di­tional skills and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Sim­i­lar changes could soon be made to boost di­ver­sity in the pub­lic sec­tor.

State Ser­vices Min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins re­leased pro­posed changes for what he has called “the most sig­nif­i­cant re­form of the pub­lic ser­vice in 30 years”.

Pro­pos­als in­clude “link­ing di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion to merit-based ap­point­ments” and “adding di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion as an el­e­ment of equal em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties”.

The Auck­land DHB pol­icy has sim­i­lar­i­ties to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule”, which since 2003 has re­quired teams in the US com­pe­ti­tion to in­ter­view at least one mi­nor­ity can­di­date for head coach­ing open­ings. It’s been mir­rored in the US pri­vate sec­tor.

Fiona Michel, chief HR of­fi­cer at Auck­land DHB, said more Ma¯ori and Pa­cific can­di­dates were be­ing in­ter­viewed and hired.

“No one is em­ployed just be­cause of their cul­tural back­ground . . . we are al­ways look­ing to re­cruit the best per­son over­all for the job, which in­volves a num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions in­clud­ing skills, ex­pe­ri­ence, ca­pa­bil­ity, as well as cul­tural knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing.”

The pop­u­la­tion Auck­land DHB serves is more than 10 per cent Ma¯ ori and about 14 per cent Pa­cific. Its work­force is 4 per cent Ma¯ori and 7 per cent Pa­cific.

Jo Bax­ter, As­so­ciate Dean (Ma¯ori) at Otag Uni­ver­sity, said hir­ing strate­gies made sense, given other DHBs were eye­ing the same limited pool of can­di­dates.

Bax­ter, direc­tor of a unit aim­ing to grow the num­ber of Ma¯ori health science grad­u­ates, said not hav­ing Ma¯ori and oth­ers “in the room” dur­ing de­ci­sion-mak­ing hurt those groups.

The change comes as an of­fi­cial health com­mit­tee calls for com­pul­sory cul­tural com­pe­tency train­ing for every­one work­ing in ma­ter­nity and neona­tal care.

The new HR pol­icy be­gan in June.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.