Career Analysts Ltd

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Career Analysts Newsletter

Issue 1 - 2011


This Issue Contains:


Christchurch Earthquake Fund Raiser

We are having a bake off to raise funds for the Red Cross so if you are near our Wyndham Street offices on Thursday 10 March from noon to 1pm and would like to contribute some baked goods to our fundraiser, or come and purchase some delicious home-made goodies, please come and visit us.

Please click here for more information.

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Helping Your Staff to Help

By Jo Mills

With the Christchurch quake still top of mind, those of us outside of Christchurch are trying to think of ways we can help.  This tragic event speaks to all of us, and many of your staff will be wanting to find ways to support colleagues, friends and family in Christchurch.  Obviously everyone is deeply affected by this but those with specific values/motivators/skills may like to pick up additional roles to help and lead company support.  The CA team have been brainstorming how we can help, and thought we would share some ideas that may be achievable within your business also.

  • Host/help a family from Christchurch.  Temporary accommodation can be a great help during this time. One of our team is currently helping a family hosted next door -  sharing spare school uniforms, doing school drops offs and having her children buddy the newbies at school
  • Buy Canterbury – where possible, we can support our Christchurch businesses by purchasing goods made in the area and continuing to hold faith in the ability of those businesses to deliver. Someone with a creative flair could design and distribute posters to encourage this.
  • Paying invoices fast – for the accounts payable team, perhaps there is an opportunity to pay Christchurch businesses invoices early or at least on time.  Never underestimate the importance of cashflow!  A member of the accounts payable team could put their hand up to lead this initiative.
  • Offering spare office space on a temporary basis – access to phones, internet, fax and photocopier and printers may help that SME keep their business going during this time.  A staff member may wish to take responsibility for liaising with the Christchurch Chamber of Commerce to offer this support, and manage the logistics of making this happen.
  • Consider who in the organisation has project management and great organisational skills – tap into these skills to co-ordinate the support  from your organisation (it doesn’t necessarily need to be led by HR).
  • Fundraising initiatives – you may be surprised at the experience some of your staff have in this space.  Skills developed during school fund raising, church, club or sporting events can be utilised during this time and gives your people an opportunity to showcase these skills in a new way. This is also a great way to allow those who highly value personal meaning and contribution in the workplace to find a way to live these values at work.
  • Utilising social media to generate donations – we don’t usually encourage our staff to get on facebook during work hours, but perhaps there could be an exception to get the word out there.   This initiative could be promoted and led by an enthusiastic, face-book savvy staff member who can leverage the power of this great tool.
  • Escalating concerns – staff can encourage Christchurch colleagues to access available counselling services or other support when needed.  Your staff may be talking to your Christchurch team regularly about work issues, but can also take care to note any concerns about well being or coping and escalate to their manager.
  • Developing an intranet support page – one of the team may be keen to manage a page of support services offering the above ideas, or access to other support e.g. counselling services, practical support (such as hosting or spare vehicles available in the region).
  • Encourage staff to map out key skills they have to offer and products or services they currently offer to the market, and then brainstorm how these could be used to support our Christchurch friends.  

We know that we are all doing all we can during this time, and our hearts go out to those who are personally impacted by this tragedy.    Including as many staff as possible in your aid support, will enable them to make their contribution during this difficult time.

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Which Talent Trends Will Impact

Small & Medium Businesses in 2011?

By Tania Howard

There are numerous articles about what to expect from the Employment market and talent management trends for 2011 however many aren’t relevant to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).  We will be affected differently than bigger businesses that have candidate ‘pulling power’ and greater resources.

 I’ve looked at the talent trends most likely to affect small and medium businesses and highlighted them here.  Have you considered how the rugby World Cup will create skill shortages and conversely opportunities to scout talent this year?  That and employment law changes will make for an interesting year.  

Attrition on the up.   ‘Unsatisfied employees’ now exceed those ‘satisfied’ as reported by Hewitt Associates, a worldwide HR Consultancy in September 2010 and requests for CV writing services are on the increase. In January requests for CV writing services through Global CV Solutions, in New Zealand increased by 300% on the previous January.   They reported there was a distinct difference this year with requests arriving from people more established and senior in their career.  Both are indicators of employees planning to leave.  Attrition will only happen as fast as opportunities are available, but valued employees may leave for larger businesses whose hiring has taken off sooner or consider contractor opportunities.   

Slow return to hiring.   Many small businesses prefer to hire temps and contractors over permanents until there is more market certainty.   Temps and contractors can provide SMEs the flexibility and competitive edge we require but they generally cost more hourly, due to the nature of a short-term role.  Recently there are more roles advertised as well as recruiters being hired again; with higher attrition expected we need to be prepared for replacement hires, which are more likely than hiring for growth.   Temps and contractors should be hired with the same rigour as a permanent person, especially if they deal with customers, which is often the case with contractors looking after large strategic projects.

 Employment law changes to the Employment Relations and Holidays Acts.  The extension of the 90 day trial period to businesses with 20 plus employees will take some stress away from employment decisions. Along with having more flexibility around dismissals, as of April companies may be less nervous about deciding whether to upscale business operations and take someone on.   

Overwhelm and exhaustion from employees who have had to carry the load after redundancies. Some of these people are at the end of their tether and expect to be eventually compensated; if companies aren’t yet in a position to recognise this (or have the attitude that they’re lucky to have a job) then these will be some of the first to move. 

Move towards companies doing their own recruitment.  Many larger companies are bringing their recruitment in-house, and some medium businesses are reporting they are now under instruction to recruit themselves.   They will need more structured processes, improved interview techniques and handing of the entire end-to-end process, as well as sorting through the mass of applicants that haven’t yet abated.   

Accessible technology to assist recruitment.  In the past Applicant Tracking Systems have only been accessible to larger businesses.

With medium businesses moving towards carrying out their own recruitment they will need assistance (that isn’t associated with agency fees) to manage large applicant flows.  Several large players now offer smaller systems and as several NZ owned companies are about to launch recruitment systems specifically for SMEs this will now be affordable. Agencies will also benefit from this technology; many small agencies have not been able to invest in technology until now.  

Increase in background checks.  We will continue to see criminal history testing and drug testing and reference checking is becoming more rigorous.  With the insufficient checks carried out on Stephen Wilce at NZ Defence Force and John Davy at Maori TV still top of mind companies are being more careful.   Ensure there’s a clause in employment contracts so that if anything is found after the person’s start date your company has a fall back position.  

Skills shortages in key areas won’t go away and are already reported as increasing.  Companies will get better at using referral programmes and social media to reach possible candidates.  This will drive businesses to consider their employment brand; where they already use Facebook and Twitter they will start to utilise these for recruitment or start developing social media strategies.  The Rugby World Cup will cause short-term shortages in hospitality, security and traffic management amongst other areas, related businesses will need to employ inexperienced people and provide better induction training.   There is also a long-term flip side to this year’s big event…   

Rugby World Cup opportunities.  With 85,000 visitors forecast (44% will be here for the first time and 19% are expected to be Kiwi expats) there are ample opportunities to try and capture talent.  To be fair these people are here for the rugby but they will be staying much longer than the usual tourist with the average being 23 nights.  Many will have such a great experience they will consider immigrating here so it’s a great time to capture international talent.  Smart SMEs will find opportunities and vehicles to utilise the Rugby World Cup to target some of our more skilled visitors to our shores. Think long term; you may not have a vacancy now but know you will in six months - it often takes a while for people to go through the immigration process and you may just be able to nab that specialist who puts you ahead of your competition.  

So even though recruitment may start slowly this year and gear up as the economy moves, it’s more important than ever for SMEs to get it right.  A bad hire can be much more devastating in a smaller business than a large one.  There is much businesses can do this year to punch above our weight through our people.  Briefly; ensure you’re a respected employer, appreciate and recognise your current valued employees, develop stronger recruitment processes and utilise opportunities and technology this year to attract great candidates and cull the not so suitable.    

There are great opportunities to compete with larger businesses to attract talent.  Make 2011 the year to ensure competitive advantage through your people.   


Tania Howard is the director of Talent Seed a recruitment advisory company that trains and advises organisations towards best practice recruitment. At previous roles she reduced her company’s frontline recruitment expenditure by a third and earlier set up a team and processes to hire 800 people within 4 months as International Recruitment Manager.  She specialises in reducing bad hires and legal risk when recruiting, and assisting businesses to compete for talent. Tania can be contacted via

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Pathways to Executive Roles

As part of our career strategy programme, we often work with senior managers who are mapping a pathway to executive level roles.  Having a strategy is imperative to ensuring those roles are obtained – the days of surety of role access through tenure alone are over.  Managers who are proactive around developing a strong reputation, networking, commercial nous and leadership expertise present a clear and unique value proposition for their current employer or potential future employers seem to be better positioned to achieve their c-suite goals.

Key steps for creating a career pathway to the executive suite include the following:

Gap Analysis

Completing a gap analysis can be the first step for creating the career pathway to the executive level role.  A recent article by the HBR (“The New Path To the C-Suite”, Harvard Business Review, March 2011),  details key requirements for executive level roles such as CIO, CFO and Executive level Marketing and Sales, HR and Supply Chain roles. Key points from the article include:

  • Leadership and business expertise is of greater importance than technical and functional expertise at the C level. The ability to offer insight and contribute to strategy and key decisions are critical skills to support the CEO.  This resonates with what we hear from the market around key talent gaps within organisations. The technical expertise is there, but to reach that next level up, talent need to be able to step up and contribute in a new way. Executive roles often act as key advisors to the CEO, and the ability to think critically about the whole business understanding short and long term decision impact is essential. 
  • “Top team members now tend to have more in common with their executive level peers than with the people in the functions they lead”.  This provides an opportunity (and justification) for senior staff to move into new functional areas, and we know of several examples within our own clients of executive level roles, such as HR, been sourced from alternate business areas.
  • Relevant technical expertise (e.g M&A expertise for company in acquisition mode) is required.  In a fast moving world, all of our skills date quickly and constant re-evaluation of our ‘tool kit’ that we offer is required.  We encourage our clients to be thinking about the next skill set required for their future, and to be actively developing new experience and expertise. However technical expertise is the bare minimum and is not a guaranteed entry to this space.
  • Credibility, influencing, communication and partnering skills come through as key requirements.   Those who are actively partnering with other members of the team, have the credibility to market their views to the CEO/Board/Executive team, and are effective and persuasive communicators will stand out.

However, understanding current executive level requirements is only part of the analysis.

Anticipating future business needs and developing skills sets to meet these needs is also key.  Research similar businesses and their growth, monitoring global trends and considering the long term vision of your organisation will help to craft what those future needs might be.  The gap analysis will highlight where the skill/competency areas of development are, and a customised and targeted learning programme for the individual can then be created.  Roles within the organisation which are lateral career moves, and therefore may not have been considered previously, but do build key career competencies can also become more attractive and a clear step to the top.

Self Analysis

Knowing the gaps is one part of the process but individual commitment and desire for those roles should not be assumed.  Although the executive level might seem to be the next natural career step, the desire and motivation also has to be there and the timing (e.g. balancing family commitments, desire to travel etc) has to be right.   

Working with numerous talent programmes and senior staff, we have noted that the aspiration is often assumed.  For the individual it is important to understand what they actually want career wise and the personal investment they are prepare to make. For the employer, learning and development will be different for those on a career path to the ‘top’ versus someone who is quite happy to stay at the level they are at. We would recommend investing in development both types of individual – but making sure the investment is the right one. Read our article Career development and the 9 Box Matrix:  Are you missing the aspiration piece? for more on this.

To learn more about our career strategy programmes for yourself for your staff,  please contact the career analyst team on 0800 TALENT or

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Motivating the Balance Driven Employee

We are all motivated differently, and while some of us are prepared to sacrifice work-life balance for challenge or to build our expertise, others of us put work-life balance ahead of all other drivers. For an employer, there are several ways that we can assist these individuals to achieve the balance sought, while motivating them to achieve their career and work goals.


Motivated to balance work and

personal commitments


The balance-driven individual’s career needs...

Balance-motivated individuals define success in broader terms than just career success. They may feel that their identity is more tied up with how they live their total life, where they live, how they deal with their family situation, and how they develop themselves than with any particular job or organization. Their future career path may be closely integrated with lifestyle considerations.

The primary concern of balance-driven individuals is lifestyle.

Ideas for individuals who are motivated by balance:

  • Identify what they mean by balance – they are likely to want to make all of the major sectors of your life work together toward an integrated whole but this means different things for different people. Reassess this regularly, as their life or family situation changes, their needs may too.
  • Look for small strategies which will allow them to move a little closer to their balance goals, particularly if the ideal is not currently possible (the organization may have different points that they can be flexible on, and some where they can’t)
  • Consider the key skills they need to feel more balance –  development around organizational skills, managing multiple tasks, saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to the right opportunities, communicating their needs,  minimizing stress etc. Help your staff member to create a development plan for developing these key skills so they can achieve balance sooner
  • Don’t assume the balance driven employee isn’t career driven.  Find out where they are flexible and open to development to further progress their career e.g. they may not be willing to move cities, but may be willing to travel outside their city on occasion.  When presenting career opportunities help them to carefully consider what sacrifices they would be prepared to make, the value they would gain in their career and the value they can add to the employer .

For more information on this topic,  please contact the Career Analyst team on 0800 TALENT or


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The Great Escape: Quitting the Rat Race

By Diana Clement

Read expert advice provided by Jo Mills, General Manager at Career Analysts in this Herald article published 3 Jan 2011.

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2-Day Career Coach Training



23 & 24 March 2011

9.15am to 5pm

Auckland CBD

This training is designed to assist managers, HR, mentors and career coaches assist others with their career decisions, maximising the future opportunities and career success of those they work with.

The Career Analyst career coach programme empowers coaches with a proven career coaching process that delivers enhanced career clarity, insight and awareness in coachees. It is designed to ensure that future career coaches have the practical skills and resources to deliver positive outcomes for their staff and others they support, assisting others to build their career and personal performance and create effective career management dialogues.

The purpose of this course is to equip you with the skills, confidence and ability to coach people to successfully achieve their career goals and fulfil their potential.

Click here for more info about the Career Coach Training and the topics covered each day.

To book or for more information, please phone 09 523 0000 or email Career Analysts at

We have limited spaces, so please let us know as soon as possible.

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