Everest Group Blog

29th Jun 2011, 5:33pm

Changes to the Employment Relations Act as at 1 July 2011 mean all employers must have signed employment agreements for all employees.  The obligation applies irrespective of when the employment relationship started. 

The amended provision specifies that an intended agreement (generally a written agreement not yet signed) "must not be treated as the employee's employment agreement" if the employee has either not signed the agreement or not agreed to any of the terms and conditions. 

Penalties imposed on employers for failing to meet basic obligations under the Employment Relations Act have been attracting penalties at levels that are significant. 

The absence of a written employment agreement often surfaces in the context of a personal grievance or other employment relationship problem.  Having failed to meet basic obligations under the Act immediately places an employer at a disadvantage in the context of resolving such issues.

Anyone requiring assistance preparing employment agreements or managing the issues associated with the latest obligations should contact Senga or Diane at Everest Group who will be happy to assist.

15th Jun 2011, 2:33pm

Paid parental leave payments will increase from July 1, 2011, by a maximum of $17 a week taking the maximum weekly government payment to $458.82.

The minimum government payment for self-employed parents will also increase from $127.50 per week to $130.00 per week.
The maximum rate of paid parental leave is adjusted every year to account for any increase in average weekly earnings.
Parents eligible for the scheme are entitled to up to 14 weeks paid leave at a rate calculated on the basis of their average weekly earnings.
For more information about paid parental leave and to calculate entitlements go to www.dol.govt.nz/paidparental

7th Jun 2011, 11:55am

From 1 July 2011 all employers are obliged under the Employment Relations Act to retain a signed copy of the employment agreements of all current employees or a copy of the terms and conditions of employment if the employment agreement is not signed.

Now is the time to complete an audit of your employee files and take action.  We recommend that you review all employee's files to ensure there is a copy of a signed employment agreement on file.  If there isn't then provide your employees with one.

We can make it easy for you - give us a call at Everest Group if you need help with the audit and/or completing the employment agreements.

27th May 2011, 10:27am

Hamilton's Everest Group is one of dozens of Waikato service providers boosting business capabilities through the Regional Business Partner Waikato Programme.

Opportunity Hamilton and Waikato Innovation Park are managing the government initiative in the region, giving business owners access to thousands of dollars of funding, advice and support.  

Opportunity Hamilton business development manager Adrian Dixon said quality service providers like Everest Group help make the programme valuable to small and medium business owners.  

Click here for the full article in the May edition of the Waikato Business News.

11th Apr 2011, 10:44am

The NZTE Management Capability Development Voucher Scheme (CAPDEVS as we like to call it!) has been created to facilitate subsidised training support for small and medium sized businesses.

NZTE Capability Development Vouchers are available through our local Regional Business Partner, Opportunity Hamilton.

The vouchers can be used to help you access services that build your management capabilities, which in turn may accelerate the growth of your business.

To be eligible for the vouchers your business needs to:

  • have fewer than 50 employees
  • be registered for GST in New Zealand
  • operating in a commercial environment
  • privately owned or a Maori Trust
  • demonstrate a desire to innovate and grow.

Vouchers can not be allocated until you have been assessed by Opportunity Hamilton.   Once you have been allocated a Voucher you may be eligible for a 50% subsidy for our training services.

Everest Group Limited has been accredited as a training provider under the scheme and offers the following services.  The training is offered in a variety of different ways; one-on-one coaching, workshops, workshops with follow on coaching, courses, and courses with following on coaching.  Please click on the link to find out more information or call us on 0800 EVEREST.

23rd Feb 2011, 11:20am

Everest Group endeavour to regularly support local charities.  Our latest sponsorship is with Rotary Club of Waikato Sunrise.  Rotary Club of Waikato Sunrise is the host club for the children's charity event "Circus Quirkus".  This is a dynamic and memorable act, which will be held on Wednesday 8 June at Founders Theatre.  This is to entertain children with special needs from all over the greater Waikato area.

18th Feb 2011, 9:55am

1 April is coming!   What impact will the new employment changes have on your business?   In short - quite a lot!  Prior to 1 April you will need to make some key decisions about how the changes will be managed in your business.  Do you intend to use the new trial period?  What training will your managers need on how to manage the trial period effectively?   Do you intend to implement a policy excluding the cashing up of annual leave or do you intend to allow it?   Don't leave it to 31 March to start thinking about how you will manage the change in your business.  

23rd Nov 2010, 1:41pm

Published in The New Zealand Herald, 10 June 2010.

How positive are your workplace relationships? Would your manager, colleagues, customers or suppliers recommend you?

The value of building and maintaining effective business relationships may be obvious to people in sales-related positions, but positive workplace relationships can impact any person's career. In an environment where many opportunities stem from recommendations and referral, every interaction has the potential to influence future career success.

The process of building business relationships comes more easily to those with a genuine interest in the people they work with, beginning with colleagues and extending to customers or suppliers.

People notice and recommend people with whom they have beneficial interactions and where they have been left with a positive impression.

Diane Hallifax, human resources specialist of Everest Group, points out that most people value a relationship where there is personal interest and connection, rather than just a business transaction. The trick to this stems from being a good listener and remembering details about the other person, such as asking after their family or whether they enjoyed their holiday.

"People like to know that someone is listening to them and are generally really impressed when details about themselves are recalled in later conversations."

Odette Shearer, consultant with Pohlen Kean, agrees that sharing a little about oneself helps to foster effective relationships and that to capitalise on the relationship there needs to be mutual trust, built through regular contact, understanding the person's objectives and communicating with honesty.

Within a workplace, internal understanding, communication and co-operation are integral to achieving organisational objectives. Positive relationships between teams are fundamental to achievement and a career may well be impacted where the importance of such internal relationships is overlooked.

Lynlee Wilson of the People Group says that effective relationships exist where employees are actively meeting with other people within the business. The intent is to gain a better understanding of each other's roles to work together more effectively.

Wilson finds "people are often surprised on our management programme that there are specific skills they can learn about engaging with other people".

Internal Opportunities
Internally, it is often the people who have been identified as having "high potential" who are successful in being identified for promotional opportunities, says Wilson.

"This tends to happen with employees who are fully engaged and have demonstrated their willingness and skills to other people in the organisation, not only their immediate manager."

Within a larger organisation, Shearer suggests the benefits of fostering relationships with managers of other divisions, alerting them to interest in their area of the business and seeking feedback as to the likelihood of consideration to join their team. While demonstrating commitment to career growth, the individual would gain insight into how they are perceived by other managers and where any personal development might be beneficial.

Hallifax highlights the importance of open relationships with managers, including having the confidence to discuss aspirations. If goals are not expressed, they are less likely to be achieved.

"People who develop effective relationships get the breaks in life because their managers know what they aspire to and can provide them with opportunities to realise their dreams."

External Opportunities
The hidden job market refers to employment opportunities that are not openly advertised. It is significant, says Wilson, because often, in anticipation of an opportunity within their organisation, the hiring manager will explore the market through their networks to source suitable "pre-validated" candidates. Wilson says taking a long-term view is important. "People are constantly moving around and may at some point have an opportunity for your skills and experience, as long as they know of you and what you can do."

Recruitment consultants actively invite referrals within their networks. Shearer refers to the "six degrees of separation" by which, through establishing a relationship with one person, the potential exists to access all the people within that person's network.

"Where effective relationships exist, opportunities open up," says Shearer. Conversely, the impact of negative behaviours can become a major hindrance to a person's career. Wilson sees the New Zealand marketplace as perhaps having only two degrees of separation when the question is asked, "do you know Person X?" To build effective relationships, recommendations include:

Active listening to understand other team members.
Awareness of other people's objectives and priorities.
Demonstrating a genuine interest in people's lives.
Actively contributing to organisational projects and initiatives.
Acknowledging the achievements of others.
Inviting and providing feedback.
Offering referrals and recommendations.
Respecting confidentiality.
Supporting organisational change.
Embracing opportunities.
Building relationships outside your current organisation.
Maintaining contact with former colleagues and managers.

How can an individual assess the strength of their relationships? Hallifax says a good measure is that you are remembered, that you receive a positive response when you make contact, that people ask to speak to you directly or make the comment "I have heard about you".

A LinkedIn profile page not only supports active networking but also provides a platform to ask for recommendations or, better still, allows the people with whom you interact to post unsolicited recommendations.
Wilson recommends people with an online presence to Google search themselves to measure their online profile.

For more formal feedback, Hallifax suggests asking the question of the direct manager at a performance review, or seeking customer comment through customer surveys. Building effective business relationships takes time and commitment, but the benefits are valuable.

By Robyn Webb

27th Oct 2010, 9:15am

Jobs online shows that in the three months to the end of August 2010 the number of advertised skilled jobs increased by 7.7%.  Total advertisements increased by 7.4.%.

Advertised skilled jobs increased across all regions and across all major occupational groups.   The strongest growth was seen in Christchuch (up 10.1%) followed by Auckland (up 7.9%).

The number of job vacancies has increased consistently since June 2009, when they were at their lowest point due to the recession.

4th Oct 2010, 1:24pm

An online system has been introduced to help employers check if job applicants are entitled to work in New Zealand.  The system is called VisaView and you can find out how to register at www.immigration.govt.nz/community/stream/visaview/

Once registered, you’ll be able to check a prospective employee’s entitlement to work simply by providing information such as a passport number and the last name of the applicant.  VisaView will check against the Department of Labour’s database and in most cases provide the employer with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, together with any specific work conditions that may apply. VisaView is free to use and will provide a real-time response in the majority of cases.

VisaView also maintains a history of enquiries you’ve made, which will be a useful way for employers to demonstrate due diligence in relation to compliance with requirements of the Immigration Act 2009, which comes into effect on 29 November 2010.

16th Sep 2010, 12:02pm

Wow!!!  We've done it.   After months of discussion, planning, late nights and many wines we have finally pulled together our new, improved website.   Some of the features that we are really excited about include the ability to blog, providing you with free resources, more information about what we do and how we do it.   We have also been embracing social media as a tool and look forward to keeping you up to date with new developments in employment legislation, best practices and workshops we are presenting.    Special thanks to the team at Interspeed for their patience, tolerance and expert advice!

Tell us what you think....what you'd like to see more of and what we could be doing better!  

7th Sep 2010, 10:07am

Two key pieces of legislation are under review - the Employment Relations Act and the Holidays Act.  Two bills have now been introduced containing details of those proposed amendments.  However these Bills are not yet law.  Submission close on 13 September for the Employment Relations Act and 17 September for the Holidays Act.   Select Committee reporting to Parliament is due on 5 November and if passed, most amendments will be effective from 1 April 2011.