‘Kāore te kumara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka’

Kia ora Koutou,

I was raised on Hongoeka Marae.  One of the first things I learnt while growing up in my community is you get more respect being humble than you do ‘showing off’.

There is a famous Maori proverb “Kāore te kumara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka” translation – The kumara (sweet potato) does not say how sweet he is

This proverb accentuates the value of humbleness.

Maori and Pasifika people are extremely humble and I know as a fact they have missed out on opportunities because of this. In a previous life, I spent many years in recruitment and have sat on New Zealand recruitment panels both in government and private organisations and have been involved with selection processes (designed by so-called experts who do not have humility as a part of their culture) and witnessed Maori and Pasifika candidates being marked down ‘because they did not speak up or sell themselves”.

In my case, I have been able to point out the situation to people on the selection panels about the prejudice of this selection criteria.  However, given nearly 80% of all recruitment panels do not have people who truly understand this cultural difference, how many Maori and Pasifika are missing out on jobs, and for organisations how many great people have they missed out on due to these very common practices.

The scary thing is I have witnessed many HR and Recruitment people, even after I have pointed out what is happening, fervently state that if a person is not able ‘to stand up for themselves’ or ‘show leadership’ they should not be hired regardless of their culture.  This has to be stopped.

In a world that is rapidly demanding that people speak up and promote themselves both in person and in digital form, how do Maori & Pasifika deal with this dilemma?

  1.  They go against their own values and ‘become’ a self-promoting ‘pakeha’ when looking for a job or pitching their business.  Not an option for many.
  2. They work hard and hope that someone recognises this.  Not really a practical solution, given the current situation with recruitment processes and the global trend to grow your personal brand if you truly want to accelerate your success.

There are really only three real practical solutions.

  1. Education.  Organisations need to either train staff to better understand this situation (a difficult solution right now, given the amount of prejudice throughout New Zealand and the world).  So they must include people in the recruitment selection process who understand this and will ensure a fair playing field for all applicants.
  2. Consultants like myself are engaged to help with a recruitment or procurement process.
  3. Marketers like myself become champions for people who find it difficult to self-promote and help them work out how to do this while also remaining humble. Then executing a strategy that builds their brand using a third-party approach.

This issue is the reason I have adapted my consultancy services to help both employers and people who struggle in this world of self-promotion.  My goal is to help educate organisations in New Zealand on this serious problem while also teaching those who want to remain humble how to do this, and still build the dream life they deserve.

I hope you found this information helpful.

 

Nga mihi

Tony Cutting
Consultant/founder The Kumara Vine
www.kumaravine.co.nz

 

 

Building diversity into your organisation using Te ao Māori

First of all ‘Diversity’ is important because our country, increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, gender, people with a range of abilities and disabilities as well as many different ethnic groups. We can learn from one another, but first we must have a level of understanding about each other in order to facilitate collaboration and cooperation.  It also makes perfect sense economically to engage with people from all groups in your community.

A diverse organisation has more intellectual power, provided people can be ‘who they are’ at work.  This then allows them to share their culture, knowledge and skills, it makes them feel valued and they are more likely to repay their employer with loyalty and passion.

A great starting point for everyone (Employers, staff, prospective staff) can be to adopt the following Māori values;

  1. Manaakitanga
    One of the fundamental principles in Māori culture, manaakitanga is the enactment of mana-enhancing behaviour towards others. It is a measurement of people’s ability to extend kindness and generosity. The concept of manaakitanga includes understanding tapu sacredness and mana dignity. In our relationships, we are acutely aware of our mana and the mana of others.
  2. Whanaungatanga
    The people are our wealth. Whanaungatanga is about being part of a larger whole. Māori are related to all living things and thus express whanaungatanga with their surroundings. Whanaungatanga is about knowing you are not alone, but that you have a wider set of connections that provide support, assistance, nurturing, guidance and direction when needed. Understanding of roles and responsibilities are also part of whanaungatanga. Whanaungatanga embodies the ambitions of collectivism. Interdependence with each other rather than independence is the goal.
  3. Rangatiratanga
    Rangatiratanga describes the attributes of a rangatira leader and how these are given expression through humility, diplomacy, generosity, resilience and empowerment. We understand the importance of practicing what you preach, walking the talk, following through on commitments made, integrity and honesty.
  4. Kotahitanga
    Focused on developing and maintaining a unity of purpose and direction and avoiding approaches and decisions that lead to division and disharmony. A commitment through oneness of mind and action to achieving its vision emulates the practice of Kotahitanga. All are encouraged to make their contribution, to have their say. It is the consensus of the collective that determines what is best for the group.

There are many other values we could add, however I believe if an organisation truly adopts these values and nurture their staff to understand them fully, you then have the environment you will need to attract diverse talent and more importantly develop an environment where they most like to stay.

This is not about putting the values up on your wall, its about running masterclass sessions where the value is fully discussed and people are encourage to talk about this approach and how they feel about them.  Management needs to re-enforce these values and champions within the team should also be encouraged to help people understand WHY and how they are used.

So how do we build our Diverse team?

The majority of organisations will need to change the way they recruit by moving from a reactive ‘I hope people apply to my advert’ to a proactive environment where you build talent networks, marketing channels, talent pools, develop appropriate employment branding to use in these channels i.e. do not just post job adverts into them.

You will use different approaches to target the diverse audience you are looking for.  Essential if you want to build a true talent pool of diverse people, is to develop relationships with other organisations that are happy collectively working with you to build a pool for your group.  This concept is foreign for many organisations, yet collectiveness is such a powerful tool for finding talent, keeping the pool engaged and helping each other when looking for ‘hard to find talent’.

Get to know each other.

Once everyone truly understands the values above you can start to get to know each other in a ‘safe’ environment.  Simple staff activities can help with this process.  In the past I have found ‘pot luck’ lunches where people bring food they normally cook and share with each other and explain where the recipes came from etc.

Another approach is to have someone write staff stories which are shared across the team.  These stories bring people closer together as they see similar cuircumstances and find common ground to talk about.

When will you know you have a diverse organisation?

When your board, executive team and your workforce are full with diversity.  At this stage you will not only see a diverse workforce but you have the chance to create a great culture and high performing team who are able to tackle problems many different ways using ideas and solutions from a the range of different thinking people you have.

 

Hope you found this helpful.

 

 

Tony Cutting
Coach/Talent Management Consultant
M. 021 911 722
tonycutting.com

PS.  Yes, I am happy to work with organisations who are keen to adopt this approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future of recruitment – update Feb 2017

The Problem with today…

HR Managers try to stay up to date with the latest HR trends but seem to struggle to find ways to sell and create truly diverse teams within their organisation.  Yet they are the very people who have put in place the very systems and processes which make this even harder.

The majority of recruitment teams in New Zealand (And likely around the world) have taken a massive step backwards and we have lost many of the countries truly skilled recruiters due to the ridiculous processes, so-called solutions like the governments ‘AOG’ preventing any new solution from being looked at for long periods of time (Not a smart move in a world where technology and the re-engineering of processes are moving at breakneck speed).

Ironically recruitment in the 1980’s and early 1990’s was more efficient and effective than what is being used by most organisations today.  You see back then advertising was run by large newspapers who had staff with decades of knowledge, understanding the importance of branding and positioning – not a simple on-line job board that you post your current job to, then sit and wait for great talent to call.

Newspapers albeit too expensive pushed branding campaigns, stories and positioned your adverts so as to reach an audience who was actively seeking work as well as entice passive readers to consider working for your brand.  Their reach was phenomenal and they dominated the marketing landscape with loads of content that attracted a diverse range of people to pick up a paper and read.  Jobs for accountants were featured in the financial sections, IT jobs in the Infotech weekly section all filled with content that pulled in the right eyes and target community.

Today our employers seem to think we will just look them up on the web.  They may invest heavily in branding on their own website that really only reaches the people who care about these pages – themselves.  They spend little on pushing out the brand to the communities they want to attract. “But we put our job on Seek”

This is where I apologise to the small number of organisations who actually proactively brand their organisation and push out solid employment branding campaigns.  The challenge for them is finding the right media to be effective, there is just no one community like the old newspaper that does this job anymore.

Simply throwing and expensive video on each advert you place on Seek just does not cut it – sorry, you are still only pushing out to the desperate and dateless who need a job. What about the passive person, you know the one that would really help your organisation improve its diversity add that value you were really looking for?

The future – in my eyes

So what would be the best solution? One that combines the marketing power of the old newspapers (which gave you a  lot more than just news, the content appealed to a wide variety of people, solid branding campaigns, human interest stories, humour and sport, local events – great stuff).  I think on-line community “newspapers” will start to appear and take advantage of the proactive marketing principles those wise old newspaper people of the 1980’s knew all about, creating marketplaces that appeal to all facets of the community.  I have been playing with this idea with my projects kapitnow.co.nz and wellingtontoday.co.nz and the initial results have been outstanding.  However, it is not perfect – yet.

These will be helpful but will not for organisations who need skills and talent beyond the reach of these marketplaces.  This leads to where the future really lies for Recruitment and its been happening for awhile and we would already be there if the so-called ‘Strategic’ HR people had not slowed its progress through some pretty poor decision making (apologies to all my ‘Strategic’ HR friends).

You see for me the future is proactive recruitment.  Do not wait for the people you want to apply for jobs, find them, get to know them and hire them.  This immediately solves the diversity issue as you can target whatever person you want with this approach. Forget about “We must advertise to make it fair for everyone” a chef just is not right to develop your system’s code and these days unless you advertise on every site available, then you are just not being fair. Not everyone looks at Seek and the real talent certainly is not searching for a job, they are going to get tapped by someone like me searching a database.

LinkedIn has been leading the way in terms of real future based solutions that enable smart proactive recruitment, it just has some major financial flaws (It’s too expensive for most hiring managers to use).  About.me is also heading in the right direction but it does not appear to capture the data needed to allow for solid searches.  However, About.me will help those recruiters who become very familiar with advanced Google searches to find talent affordably.

So for me the ultimate future based recruitment system is one that allows you to market to the communities you want to find talent (branding, employment branding, organisational success stories) as well as uses simplified smart queries on all the ‘People’ databases being created around the world as well as the personal websites which will no doubt prolificate as people realise the advantage of having your very own website gives you for future employment, contracting and consulting.

Unfortunately, this will not apply to my system jobcafe.co.nz as our firewalls are effective enough to prevent these types of searches – but this may not be a good thing long term.

So the future is a smarter search engine that can interrogate all ‘talent pools’ on the web and the web itself,  the realisation we all should have great personal websites will become more obvious to people, so will joining communities that enhance their search ranking.  Smart employers will brand, and market themselves in marketplaces like our site

Smart employers will brand, and market themselves in marketplaces like our site kumaravine.co.nz celebrating Maori and Pasifika success or our other project possibility.net.nz targeting and promoting people with disabilities.  These are real communities that bring a significant diversity of thought to an organisation.however, this content will change, it may include job opportunities but is also likely to be more about brand activity, organisational success, culture and ‘why’ when the recruiter or hiring manager comes proactively calling you should connect with them.

Government Agencies may still be placing job adverts but most other organisations will realise this is a waste of money.  And the great news, real recruitment skills will return and processes will become sensible. Find, attract, engage,

Find, attract, engage, nurture and leverage your talent.

By the way, unless you own the business you’ll probably be a contractor or consultant.

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