Te Wiki o te reo Māori, celebrated every year in September, shines a light on the culture and language of Māori, inspiring and supporting everyone in Aotearoa to speak in this national language.
Last week's celebration was extra special as it commemorated the 50th anniversary of Te Petihana Reo Māori delivered to Parliament on September 14, 1972, carrying more than 30,000 signatures asking for active recognition of te reo Māori. Three years later, it expanded into what we now know as Māori Language Week.
Te Wiki o te reo Māori presented an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on our own journey and our continued commitment to strengthening and celebrating diversity more broadly within Randstad New Zealand.
becoming a more culturally aware organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand's recruitment sector
Equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) is an important and ongoing part of the conversation at Randstad. As a leading organisation within the recruitment sector, it’s important to us that we play our part in contributing to a more inclusive, equitable society within New Zealand.
As part of this journey, we are committed to identifying meaningful ways to embrace the Māori worldview within our workplace.
Randstad is on a journey to create a more culturally aware environment. As an organisation, we understand the need to mirror the rich diversity of the communities that we live and work in. This is an important part of doing business in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud of the diversity of our team, and are committed to further strengthening Māori representation within our business through our people, the candidates we represent to market and our operations.
As Claire highlights, there are several ways in which Randstad is actively driving this focus. The organisation is a member of Diversity Works, and is working with organisations like Manavation and also creating opportunities for employees to be curious and actively involved in supporting Randstad’s diversity and inclusion goals.
making diversity a core ingredient of Randstad’s workplace culture
Randstad is strongly committed to creating a diverse workforce. As an organisation, it recognises its responsibility for shaping the world of work and has a mission to ensure fairness, equality and diversity in attracting, hiring and compensating employees.
Claire states the organisation is working globally and locally to strengthen the company’s ED&I practices.
Claire explains, “As a connector of talent, we understand that diverse teams and workplaces create better outcomes, and we see the benefits in so many ways - in our thinking, ideas and relationships.
Overall, the company's leadership team is gender-balanced, and the workforce matches the make-up of New Zealand's multicultural society, with more than 26 ethnic backgrounds, including Māori, Pasifika (specifically Tongan, Samoan, Cook Islands), Indian, British, American, South African and Filipino. Even so, Claire says the team wants to improve what ED&I looks like within the organisation.
As part of this journey, the company is currently working through an audit with Diversity Works using their Aotearoa Inclusivity Matrix. One aspect of the audit involves gathering data as a baseline to better understand the diversity of current employees.
According to Claire, a confidential survey was sent out, allowing employees to voluntarily share their identity data to help guide future thinking around workplace ED&I frameworks and ambitions.
Recognising the need to put more structure around its ED&I initiatives Randstad’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed to ensure that the business has an impact and commitment beyond the HR team.
At its core, the purpose of the committee is to put a people-led structure around Randstad’s ED&I policies, and as people from all parts of the company can join as a committee member, it broadens the voice and impact of ED&I across the business.
The team is made up of people who bring their own unique perspectives, including Pasifika and Māori understanding, gender diversity, HR principles and neurodiversity. In addition, the committee is tapping into external networks, gaining insight into practices of other companies further along in their journey.
It’s incredible how supportive other businesses are, and this is one area we would also like to be able to share with our clients. These insights have helped our committee build upon our framework and purpose for what ED&I looks like within Randstad NZ.
tuning into the Māori lens in partnership with Manavation
When it comes to building inclusive bi-cultural competence, Randstad is actively establishing and participating in various Māori-led activities and initiatives.
About 12 months ago, Randstad put in place a partnership with Manavation to promote more cultural confidence among the team. Manavation offers handcrafted courses and workshops to encourage beginners embarking on their te reo journey. The organisation is entirely focused on helping businesses and individuals to integrate the Māori language into everyday life.
The Randstad team have access to modules on the Manavation platform to learn Māori phrases and has had the chance to participate in courses.
All employees have access to online learning, virtual classes and cultural confidence workshops to support their understanding of a Māori worldview in candidate and client interactions.
In addition, as part of this programme everyone was encouraged to create, develop and share their own pepeha. Claire states as part of this year’s Māori Language Week, Randstad continued this initiative, encouraging everyone to practise their Reo in the workplace.
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building Māori cultural competency and partnering with leading businesses
Miria Jacobs, a consultant with Randstad and member of the ED&I committee, is passionate about supporting the intent to create a more inclusive bi-cultural workplace.
The key thing, for me, is respect for our heritage and respecting our Tangata Whenua, and where we came from. For people who may not be as involved in the Māori community as others, or are from different backgrounds, it's important for them to understand our history and culture. I think it’s fantastic to allow people from all walks of life to feel completely comfortable bringing their culture, history and heritage into work, and wearing that proudly.
moving forward one step at a time
Within Randstad NZ, the conversation around equity, diversity and inclusion and becoming a more culturally competent organisation is ongoing. It's committed to working on building more purposeful ED&I thinking and initiatives into the way it does business in New Zealand.
However, it also recognises that this doesn't happen overnight, and it requires working with those who have the passion, sensitivity and understanding required to traverse such a topic.
For Randstad NZ, this means not trying to do everything at once, but moving step by step, ensuring the whole team is working together, to create a more enlightened and supportive path for themselves, their colleagues, and clients.