How Inclusion Is Playing A Leading Role In A Great Work Environment

Inclusivity is a buzzword in the HR field.

Of course, you want to create a space that is warm and welcoming for all team members regardless of age, gender, culture or background.

But inclusivity can be so much more than that.

Embracing the full potential of your team members and creating a positive working environment is incredibly valuable on a personal and professional level.

That’s why inclusion is playing a leading role in retention, innovation, and so many other key areas of business. Let’s investigate this further to see how you can create an inclusive environment at your workplace.

What Is An Inclusive Workplace?

Creating an inclusive workplace is not about investing thousands of dollars or overhauling the way you do things. It is simply about creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, heard and supported regardless of their background, identity, or differences.

Leading from the top, focusing on inclusivity is creating a place where diversity is not only acknowledged but celebrated. All individuals should have equal opportunities to contribute, grow, and succeed.

Everyone should feel a sense of belonging, no matter who they are. Age, gender, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, or economic background should not be factors – in fact, you should actively work against discrimination or unconscious bias in these areas.

Inclusion is the way, as it fosters a place where people want to be every day and encourages the desire to work towards the common goals of the business.

The Value Of Inclusion

Inclusion is a valuable thing to foster in any environment, but especially in the workplace. Here’s why:

Self Confidence

Knowing you belong and matter helps you to have greater self confidence. New Zealand is becoming an increasingly diverse place. So, it makes sense that our workplaces are becoming equally diverse. Sometimes, majority groups can make others feel excluded simply because they have a habit of emphasising what they have in common.

This isn’t always done intentionally, but it has the negative impact of making those in the minority feel like an outsider. This can negatively impact their self confidence and make them less likely to engage with their role, the business, and the rest of the team.

If everyone can be consciously aware of their behaviour and foster inclusivity, every team member can feel confident, happy and engaged in their work.

Innovation

Businesses that innovate can stay relevant and reach their full potential. That’s because they can adapt to the constantly changing environment that surrounds them and come up with creative solutions to challenges.

When inclusivity is a focus, all your team will feel empowered to speak up and offer their ideas. This is when the best solutions come to light as you can gain perspective from all areas of the business to create practical innovation that works.

Retention

When your team feel the sense of belonging, support and fulfilment that inclusivity brings, you can significantly increase your staff retention rate. If they feel valued and included within your company, then they are more likely to develop a strong sense of loyalty.

Creating a space full of equal access development opportunities, flexible work arrangements for all, fair and inclusive policies, along with a diverse leadership representation shows your team that anyone can succeed and advance within the business. This obviously sets the stage for good talent acquisition and retention.

Why Inclusion Is Playing A Leading Role

Because the world is such a diverse place, inclusivity is a big focus, and it should be. More and more people want to work in an inclusive workplace. They seek out businesses that offer this environment for two reasons. The first one is obvious, they want to feel like they fit in. The second reason is that they don’t want to be part of a company where their colleagues might feel excluded.

That’s why inclusion is taking a leading role in creating engaged and productive workspaces. When inclusion is a core business value you can get the best from your people as they all feel respected, heard and valued. Most importantly, your people will feel safe.

Creating An Inclusive Workspace

Core Values

Simply creating a diversity policy is not enough. Inclusivity needs to be embraced by everyone in the company, not simply seen as a policy to follow. When everyone embraces the concept of inclusivity, then they will all have an opportunity to thrive in an empowering environment.

This vibe should start from the top down with management leading the way. When your managers and leaders show sincerity and genuine interest in inclusivity it helps to intertwine these concepts into the daily behaviours of the business.

Seek Feedback

It can be difficult to know what your team want from a workspace unless you ask them! Collecting feedback is a powerful way to discover what your employees value. The way to produce the most fruitful results is to have them complete an anonymous employee survey so each team member can express their views without fear or judgment.

Collecting the feedback is only part of the process though. Once you have the results, it is important to make company wide changes in line with the needs of your team.

Review

Another important task is to review what is taking place in your business currently. What are some quick fixes you can enact to support a model of inclusivity? Getting some quick wins on the board will show your team you are committed to progress.

Then, it’s time to examine the more time-consuming aspects like policies, recruitment and remuneration. Employee policies should not have any barriers to inclusion. Review what policies you have in place and make changes accordingly. Clearly communicate to all your team what discrimination and harassment look like and the resulting consequences of this negative behaviour.

Your recruitment process should ensure any vacant role is equally accessible to all applicants and that no particular groups will be negatively impacted in the recruitment process.

Remuneration should be transparent and carefully structured. That way you can give guidance on starting salaries and any bonuses while ensuring pay equity is in place for all segments of the workforce.

Include Inclusion

Inclusion should be part of everything that you do. It should become part of your onboarding process so that new team members instantly feel welcome and connected to your business. It should also be part of the daily practices within your office, with meetings, activities and conversations that promote inclusion and understanding.

Don’t forget virtual inclusion either! Remote work is great for flexibility, but it can be isolating. Maintain human connection with those working remotely and ensure mental health resources are available for all.

Making Your Workspace Inclusive

No one wants people to feel excluded, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming to tackle inclusion in the workplace. Gaining the calm and practical advice of an expert HR team can take the stress out of the process and ensure nothing is missed.

The Spice Gals are the team to help you!

With extensive HR experience and a true focus on the human side of Human Resources, this is an area we are passionate about. We’d love to help ensure your workplace is a space where everyone feels relaxed, accepted and valued. Chat with our team today to see how we can help!

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.

Ideas to Help You Create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Being an employer of choice  can help you attract the best kind of candidates and turn them into loyal team members, and in the current market that’s got to be a business goal!

But, it isn’t something that happens by accident and there is one key strategy that will help you drive your approach – a rock solid, values focused Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

So, firstly what is an employer of choice, why is it important to be one and how can a well-crafted and thought through EVP help you achieve it? That’s what we are going to discuss right now.

What Is An Employer Of Choice?

When it comes to employment, there are many choices that a candidate can make. The most important choice is probably which company they will work for. Lots of things can drive that decision, but one thing will put your organisation at the front of the list before any others.

That is, being recognised as an Employer of Choice via your EVP.

An employer of choice is a business that has a reputation for being a preferred place to work. Basically, it means people want to work for your organisation as they perceive it to be a highly desirable employment opportunity.

A business can earn this title for many reasons, but the main ones that stand out in an EVP are having a positive workplace culture, offering attractive compensation and benefits, providing opportunities for career development, and displaying values of diversity, inclusion and a focus on employee wellbeing.

Why Is It Important?

Why is it important to be an employer of choice and have an enticing EVP? Well, put quite simply,  it will make it easier for you to attract and retain top talent, helping your business thrive in any market.

Because your employees are fully focused on your business and not looking for other opportunities, they will be motivated and productive in their work. They will have your business’s best interests at heart, and because they also usually share your company values, they will work in alignment with your company mission.

Being an employer of choice does not only serve you on an employment front. A positive employer reputation will set you apart from your competitors. It can also be a key differentiator when potential clients, partners or investors are considering working with you.

Key Strategies To Creating a Rockstar EVP to Become An Employer Of Choice

Becoming an employer of choice should be your ultimate goal but the roadmap to get you there will be defined by your EVP.  Here are some key strategies you can use in your EVP to position yourself in this space:

Work/Life Balance

This is the elusive balance that every worker is looking for! Achieving it is not simply about correctly splitting your time between home and the office. True balance is about far more than that.

Flexibility is a really important  aspect of your EVP. Allowing your team to work from home is definitely part of it, but you’ll also want to consider flexibility in working hours and working location. Then, there could be the option for job sharing and flexitime.

Basically, it is about allowing your employees to have job control. That is, providing the autonomy to recognise an agreed output and empowering your people to focus on that, rather than clock watching the specific hours worked in a set location. And because you have this fantastic reputation as an employer of choice, your employees are not likely to abuse this privilege.

Defined Business Values

Values can help to shape your organisational culture and are an important inclusion in your EVP. When your employees understand, embrace and most importantly share your set of values, it fosters a sense of belonging and unity. A strong, shared culture can improve teamwork, morale, and overall job satisfaction.

Those values also serve as a compass for decision making, helping leaders and team members to make choices that align with the company’s core principles. A consistency in decision making can lead to better business practices – another reason that people will consider you to be an employer of choice. And you’ll attract customers who share the same values.

Valuable Employee Benefits

It makes sense that you need to offer competitive remuneration to be considered an employer of choice. But you don’t want to stop there when it comes to your EVP. Attractive employee benefits can help to support your company values and enhance your overall workplace culture and EVP.

Yes, you can offer traditional benefits like insurance, enhanced KiwiSaver contributions and performance bonuses, however, to really enhance your EVP it doesn’t need to cost the earth.  Why not embrace and take advantage of new and relatively inexpensive trends like:

  • Digital recognition platforms where your team can interact with each other, you can celebrate key milestones and identify top performers.
  • Gamification which allows fun activities or training modules where employees can score points, participate in competitions and top leader boards.
  • Peer-to-peer recognition where colleagues and teammates can recognise each other, rather than managers simply handing out rewards.

Defined Career Pathways

Part of being happy in your work is knowing that there is a chance for progression or new challenges. Seeing potential for growth within a business from the outset via an EVP could also be extremely important to a potential team member when they’re making their employer decision . Clearly defining the career pathways within your organisation helps people recognise where they could move to next.

Offering internal advancement opportunities can only help the reputation of your business. It demonstrates that you value your existing team members because you are willing to promote from within.

As part of the pathway definition, you should also include the training and development opportunities for your employees to obtain the necessary skills or knowledge to progress along the pathway.

Support The Important Things

Your people are the lifeblood of your business and clearly showing this within your EVP will pay dividends in attracting high calibre team members. You can demonstrate that you acknowledge and understand their value by supporting the things that are important to them:

  • Wellbeing programmes show that you value good mental health and help your team members maintain a positive mindset.
  • Advocating for diversity and inclusive workplace practices demonstrates that every team member is valued equally.
  • Your local community will support your business, so show your social responsibility by supporting your community through involvement, participation and support.
  • We only have one planet, so adopting sustainable business practices where possible will help to show you care.

Become An Employer Of Choice

Is it time to give your business brand a boost and really become an employer of choice? Then, you’ll want to make sure you are backed by a skilled and knowledgeable HR team.

That means you need the Spice Gals on your side. If you wannabe an employer of choice with a strong and attractive EVP, then we can definitely help you make that happen. Chat with us to find out how we can help you create a team culture that attracts and retains THE best talent around.

Contact us now.

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.

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. 

Christmas Is Coming: Let’s Wrap The Year Up Positively

 

Christmas is just around the corner. 

While you might not be ready for it yet, the silly season will stop for no one!

That means there is only so much time to get everything wrapped up before the end of the year. But there is also a silver lining to the situation. 

The good news is that Christmas creates a great opportunity to celebrate the successes of the year and signals an appropriate time for a well-deserved break.  

So, how do you make sure everything is wrapped up in time and you are ready for Christmas? 

We’ve got all the info you need right here. 

Celebrate the Year 

As the year draws to a close, it is the perfect time to celebrate all the great things that have happened in the last 12 months. These achievements don’t all have to be enormous ones, it is appropriate to celebrate all the small things as well. 

Thank your team for all that they have done this year. After all, it hasn’t been an easy one. With the pressures of Covid, rising inflation, and the ongoing navigation of a new normal after the last couple of years, they deserve a giant thank you! 

Don’t worry about it feeling cheesy. Sometimes a bit of cheese is worth it! Especially as it will remind your team that they are respected and valued by you.  

It is also vital that you create the right kind of feel moving into the new year. It’s time to look forward with a positive outlook. So, finishing this year on a positive and celebratory note will help set your team up for a great year ahead.  

A cool way to do this is to help your team members set goals to work on in the new year. They should be positive goals that focus on moving forward – perhaps career progression, training and development, or project work. 

Is it Time to Party? 

The annual Christmas party used to be a staple in everyone’s calendar. Then, 2020 rolled around, and the obligatory Christmas party took a backseat. You can revive it again this year or take a different approach to bring everyone together. 

We know budgets are tight, so it doesn’t have to be an expensive event. A casual team BBQ, a potluck dinner, a round of mini golf, or a trip to the bowling alley can all be fun. It’s simply about marking the end of the year and giving your team the chance to connect socially. If your team enjoy some time together in a relaxed and neutral setting, it will only help to build great morale and teamwork in the workplace. 

Don’t forget those team members who are working remotely. Round everyone up and regroup with an end of year get-together. And if it’s not possible to get everyone together in one location, what about an online Christmas party via video conference? Take your party connections to the next level by delivering little gift boxes of treats that can be opened and enjoyed while everyone is “partying”. 

Wellbeing Check 

After a draining year, it is timely to check in with all the members of your team to see how they are really doing. Christmas might not necessarily be a merry time for everyone. So, it is a great opportunity for a wellness check with your team. 

We spend such a large portion of our lives working, so it is important that your team feel mentally safe and valued at work so they can perform at their best. A wellness check can help you determine if that is the case for your people. 

This process is about honest and open conversations, as well as actively listening to what your team members are saying and what they might be reluctant to say. Remind your team of available support options – like speaking with HR, anonymous feedback, or any EAP avenues. 

Christmas Break 

Many businesses will choose to close for a period over Christmas. Will your business be one of them? If so, you will need to ensure you notify all your employees of the closure at least 14 days in advance. 

As part of that conversation, it is helpful to communicate what options your team have for leave. Obviously, they can take this as annual leave if they have enough available. But it is important to provide options for those without an adequate leave balance. You may choose to let them take leave in advance or require leave without pay. 

You can find more information about how to handle an annual closedown period here

The Christmas holidays also mean there are plenty of public holidays to observe. You’ll need to make sure you are following the correct public holiday guidelines for your staff in terms of wages and rostering. This applies regardless of whether you are having an annual closedown period or not. Make sure you are following the rules by checking out the public holiday guideline info here.  

Ready to close the book on 2022? You are not alone there! And if you need help tying up any loose ends or planning for a productive 2023, then the Spice Gals are here for you. 

We can help you navigate the guidelines around public holidays and annual closures or set up the ultimate wellness program for the new year ahead. For any and all HR queries, get in touch with our Spicey team! 

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.

Beginning A Different Kind of New Year

New years roll around at an alarming pace.

The year only just seems to start and then before you know it, you are singing Auld Lang Syne, raising a glass, reviewing the year that has been and preparing your business for another trip around the sun.  

But this new year feels unlike the others we have experienced before. 

2021 was meant to be our fresh start after a rather trying 2020. Then, it pulled a total fast one on us and turned out to be worse!  

So, as we cautiously begin 2022, we have none of the lofty ambitions of last year. This will not be our year to return to life as it was before COVID. 

This will be a different kind of new year. But, we are no less optimistic about it! 

Let’s explore how you can make the most of another uncertain new year and prepare your team for the next 12 months. 

 

Beginning A Different Kind Of New Year 

Acknowledge The Year That Was 

It is pretty tempting to sweep the events of 2021 under the rug and pretend that they didn’t happen. Not only were we dealing with potential threats to our health, but we all had an additional layer of stress created by working from home. Juggling home schooling, the endless quest for uninterrupted work time, worries about job security and toilet paper shortages were no joke! 

So, now is the time to congratulate your whole team for making it out the other side. 

Look back on the year and celebrate the things that went well. Thank your team for their dedication in tough times and congratulate yourselves for making it work. While the year was hard, it taught many businesses that work conditions could be flexible. Now, we can continue that flexibility and use it to our advantage. Allowing your team to continue embracing flexible hours and working locations where practical, will be a great morale booster. 

 

Maintaining Mindset 

All the stresses of the last two years might have had a negative impact on your staff morale. And when morale is low, so too is productivity and output.  

Helping your team maintain a positive mindset despite everything that has happened is an essential new year task. The right mindset will boost productivity, increase employee engagement, and help to retain valuable team members. 

With a new protection framework now in place, we should hopefully see fewer disruptions to life and business operations. So, capitalise on that positivity by allowing your team to work when they are most productive.  

Physical safety has been a huge focus in the last two years and we have the masks and hand sanitiser to prove it. But, mental wellbeing and safety are just as important. Help your team manage their schedules to prevent burnout, connect with each individual to check how they are coping, and encourage the whole team to take their breaks and holidays. 

 

Keep The Comms Flowing 

Your team have dealt with a lot of uncertainty lately and we are not out of the woods yet. It would appear COVID is here to stay, so make sure you are communicating well and often with your team. 

Give them as much information as you possibly can as this will reduce some stress and build an important level of trust. While targets might move, dates might change and the goalposts might shift, your team will appreciate the transparency of regular updates and receiving up to date information. 

By establishing open lines of communication from your side, your team will also feel as though they can share concerns or suggestions they might have. This allows them to feel as if they have some control over an uncertain situation. Of course, that will only mean good things for their overall morale! 

 

Unifying Under A Collective Vision 

No one can possibly predict what will happen this year, the last two years have certainly proven that! Yet, you can establish a vision for how you want your business to operate, the characteristics you value and the impact you want to make. 

By creating this vision, you are providing your whole team with a roadmap for the year. While there might be some unexpected potholes to navigate or bridges to build, the end destination remains the same. 

By unifying your team under a collective vision they will feel valued, important and part of something bigger than just themselves. It will help you all to move forward and stay optimistic, regardless of what the year might bring. 

 

Make Time for Fun 

In the midst of a global pandemic, it is easy for work and home life to feel very serious. With restrictions to adhere to, daily news reports to read, mandates to follow and ever-increasing stress levels, things can get negative quickly. 

But, they really don’t have to. Just because there is some serious stuff going on in the outside world, it doesn’t mean your team can’t make time for fun.  

Connecting with each other in a social way can lighten the mood and build a great team culture. Whether you choose to have a monthly quiz night over Zoom or Microsoft Teams, a picnic in the park with the cricket bat and beverages, or a family friendly game of Never Have I Ever, your team will be able to blow off steam and connect. 

Laughter is the best medicine, so keep things fun and lighthearted where appropriate. 

 

Looking Ahead 

Rather than looking back on everything you have been through, look forward towards the amazing things you could achieve this year. That will keep your whole team focused on the future and optimistic about what the year will bring. 

While things might remain uncertain, you can keep your team moving forward and unified under a clear vision and collective goals. This will ensure they maintain a positive mindset and together you can overcome any future challenges. 

Want some more practical ways to maintain great staff morale during a very different kind of new year? Then we can help you do it. Full of Spice and practical, actionable strategies, our team will help your team remain strong in the year ahead. Contact us today 

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

 During times of crisis, it’s natural for our focus to become very singular. We go into survival mode, prioritising the things that will help us endure until life returns to normal.

While this is understandable, it’s often not the best course of action when it comes to people management.

Leaders who focus on saving the company at all costs may ensure it stays afloat during the storm, but end up paying the price when the dust settles and the bigger picture comes back into focus.

Ethical leadership is about balancing the needs of the business with those of your employees. It’s never an easy task, even at the best of times. But if you succeed, your team – and your business as a whole – will be stronger.

So, what does it look like to be an ethical leader? And how can you get the balance right amidst uncertainty?

Read on for our Spicey insight.

How To Be An Ethical Leader During A Crisis

Why Ethical Leadership Is Vital To Success

Can a business succeed if the leaders are unethical?

A recent study published in the Journal of Business Ethics reveals that it is possible, but only for a brief period. For long-term success, ethical leadership is vital. And this is even more important during times of crisis.

Ethical leaders are better at engaging and retaining staff, and a culture of ethical leadership ensures your business becomes an employer of choice.

People vs Profits

During the early days of the pandemic, things changed so rapidly that businesses were at risk of getting whiplash trying to keep up. And while we’re a way down the road from that now, an element of uncertainty is still present.

Decisions often need to be made rapidly, putting the pressure on managers. Amidst the unpredictability of life, employees look to leaders to provide clarity, honesty, and a sense of stability. Managers must rely on empathy to communicate with their teams, but need to retain a fact-based approach to assess business decisions.

And there are tough decisions to be made. Do you choose your employees over financial rewards? Profit over people? And where do you draw the line? How do you do the right thing when everything feels wrong?

Ethical leadership isn’t about perfection. Sometimes, the right decision isn’t necessarily the easiest or most comfortable one. But as long as managers are guided by ethics, their choices will be the right ones.

When your employees can see that you are doing your best by them, they tend to rally. There’s a bond created by feeling as if “we’re all in this together.” Instead of jumping ship during tough times due to a lack of faith in management, staff are more willing to make sacrifices to help the business survive.

Qualities Of An Ethical Leader

There’s no flowchart for ethical decision-making: every business and situation is unique. However, there are specific guidelines to help managers find their way to ethical leadership.

We love the V.I.T.A.L method referenced in an article by the Human Resources Director.

This method of crisis communication provides a roadmap to help business’s work through difficult times using five key concepts:

  • Visibility – don’t hide behind others by delegating the uncomfortable discussions. Communicate with your people rapidly and often, even if it’s to let them know you are still waiting for more information.
  • In It Together – always refer back to your business’ mission, vision and values. Create a culture of inclusion and empowerment.
  • Transparency – share what you know, don’t hide bad news, address rumours, and keep your employees as informed as possible.
  • Accessibility – be available for your people, and let them know where to turn when they have concerns or need support.
  • Listening – really hear your people when they talk to you. Understand where they are coming from, and give them an outlet to speak up.

Remember, your customers and future potential employees are far more likely to remember how your business behaved during a crisis than how high your profits were during that year.

Ethical leaders must strive to model the values of their business when making difficult decisions. This means embracing integrity, authenticity, and compassion. It’s about being real with your team, especially during hard times.

Ethical leadership is as important to us as it is to you. Which is why we want to help you embody it within your HR policies. Reach out to us today to chat about how we can Spice you up as an ethical leader!