Staff Surveys as a Business Tool

Staff Surveys as a Business Tool


What questions should you ask in staff surveys?

When you think about employee surveys, what generally springs to mind are the employee satisfaction and engagement surveys which many organisations administer on a regular basis, the aim of which is to measure and understand how employees are feeling about the company and the work environment.

While the engagement survey is valuable because of its potential to make a significant impact on employee satisfaction and employee engagement if done correctly, there are many other types of employee surveys that employers can also use to gather vital feedback on important employment related topics.

Surveys can be tailored to address nearly any issue the organisation wants input on and, if handled well, the information can have a significant impact on the retention and productivity of your most important resource – your employees.

Outlined here are brief details of several different types of employee surveys covering most aspects of the employee lifecycle.

Engagement or Satisfaction Surveys

The engagement survey is the most common type of employee survey. They are often kept anonymous so employees can be frank and honest with their answers. Handled well, employee engagement/satisfaction surveys can be great tools for improving morale within an organisation. In fact, it’s generally seen that companies that encourage or engage their employees to provide ideas and suggestions have higher employee retention rates and job satisfaction.

Pulse Surveys

Regular, short surveys are called pulse checks. They are a fast and more frequent survey system, that does away with complex questions and is intentionally designed to be undertaken more often than the commonly used employee engagement survey. Pulse check surveys can be held monthly or quarterly (even weekly) and provide employers with a quick insight into the health of a company, hence the name ‘pulse’.

Health and Wellbeing Surveys

In these challenging times many people are working from home, or due to their work type they are not able to work at all. Therefore, checking on the health and wellbeing of your employees is essential. We recommend using the short pulse survey for this, so that you can gather feedback on their current state of mental and physical wellbeing. Example questions could be: how would you rate your wellbeing after X weeks of remote working so far; to what extent are you planning and engaging in activities to support your mental and physical wellbeing; what is helping you to successfully work from home; what additional support can we provide to help you successfully work from home; and how else can we help you at this time.

Employee Onboarding Survey

Creating a good onboarding experience for new hires is not a ‘nice-to-have’ process, it is crucial. A good onboarding survey asks new employees for their feedback on what went well, and what could have been improved. Don’t underestimate the importance of new employees feeling happy that their decision to join your company was the right one. We recommend that you take a 2-step approach to the onboarding survey with the new employee being asked to participate in short pulse type surveys in weeks one and five. Questions in the first survey are focused on the recruitment experience, their decision to choose your organisation and their initial onboarding experience. By week five when they get their second survey, they have had time to settle in and the ‘honeymoon period’ is pretty much over. They are asked to provide their thoughts about their overall induction programme, training, systems and support.

Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Survey

Building a workplace culture that prioritises belonging and inclusion is the best way to attract diverse and talented people, create a sustainable workforce, and—most importantly—make employees feel supported. Surveying employees on how they view the topics of inclusion, fairness, equity, respect, and diversity within your organisation can provide the crucial information you need to ensure you are engaging all employees. You can do this through specific pulse surveys or by incorporating pointed relevant questions in your general engagement survey. Example questions could be: All people have an opportunity to succeed in this organisation; I feel like I belong here; Senior leadership is prepared to effectively manage a culturally diverse workforce; and the people I work with treat each other with respect

360 Review and Employee Peer Evaluation Survey

A 360-degree survey is a process that solicits feedback on employee performance from several different sources: from managers, from peers, from reports, and from a self-assessment.

Exit Survey

In today’s knowledge economy, skilled employees are the asset that drives organisational success. Therefore, companies must learn from them—why they stay, why they leave, and how the organisation needs to adapt and change. A well thought out exit interview survey process can provide valuable information from departing employees, who usually feel comfortable providing frank and honest insights, which will help to improve the overall employee experience in future.

A Word of Warning on Employee Surveys

  • Employee surveys with high frequency can become less effective, as people begin to get ‘survey fatigue’.
  • Surveys should not be more frequent than fortnightly at most.
  • Poor communication and no follow-up – by running frequent surveys e.g., Pulse surveys, employers are setting up expectations that ‘things will be done’. Therefore, because employees are putting in the effort to give their honest feedback, proper action must be taken after evaluating the feedback. If you do not do anything in response to what they say, they will be discouraged to providing their feedback in the future. Hence you need to ensure you have appropriate resources available to communicate with employees and act on their feedback (which is the expectation you are setting).

Tips for Creating Effective Staff Surveys

  • Select topics and questions you want to get feedback on e.g., areas that will add value and insight to your business. These questions can cover a variety of topics, such as motivations, happiness, feelings about management, recognition, workload, job role, etc.
    Develop a solid employee communication plan to run before, during and after the survey and ensure you stick to the plan.
  • Analyse the responses upon completion – look at areas that feedback has shown need to be improved, as well as reflecting on the positive areas.
  • Analyse trend data, showing how results in each key area is changing over time.
    In accordance with your communication plan, share the results with employees in a timely manner.
  • Act – this is the most important step! Develop an action plan that includes key dates and who the person is who is responsible for delivering each item.
  • Review and repeat – pulse surveys need to be repeated regularly whereas the more comprehensive engagement surveys should be run annually.

ConsultingHQ has the expertise and experience needed to assist you with your employee surveys. If you would like to explore the possibilities of how employee surveys could benefit your business, please get in touch with Tanya Gray, Director.




HRIS HR Management Processes – The Future of HR.

HRIS HR Management Processes – The Future of HR.


Electronic HR Process & Record Management.

Two significant outcomes of the global pandemic for business owners are that

  • change to business processes is inevitable, as situations evolve. We must remain flexible in the ‘how’ – but not necessarily in the ‘what’
  • the definition of how and where work gets completed has been changed forever. A new paradigm of HR processes has arrived.

Consequently, changes demanded by a new way of working in a significantly altered new reality requires businesses to review and rethink how they manage various processes including HR functions and processes – an area that is ready and waiting for automation.

Human Resource is one of the last to take advantage of automated database-driven processes.

This is arguably one of the greatest time saving & risk reduction management tools available for business owners.

Just how well businesses are organised to use digital technologies is a fundamental source of competitive advantage and automating certain HR functions and processes can help to free up huge amounts of time, allowing managers to focus on more important value-adding priorities.

Key benefits of HRIS

Currently, many businesses still coordinate their HR functions and tasks through the use of spreadsheets and other time-consuming, data-heavy and manual processes.

However, in the current environment, the faithful old spreadsheet is no longer the best choice when it comes to workforce management. Spending time and resources managing error-prone spreadsheets and endless administration tasks means less time and resources can be devoted to more essential areas.

Which HR functions and processes can be automated?

  • HR administration – using valuable management time on minor tasks such as chasing people to return forms and then processing them adds no value to the process;
  • Employment relations – having the ability to produce fast and accurate attendance metrics when dealing with attendance issues assists managers ensure compliance;
  • Performance management – an online performance review system has the ability to improve employee productivity and engagement by facilitating continuous feedback. It enables employers to align individual and team goals with organisational strategies and streamlines the employee appraisal process by offering a range of pre-built goals and development objectives;
  • Policies and procedures – providing employee online access to these and allowing employers to update and add new ones as needed;
  • Remuneration and rewards management – managing the regular pay review processes in a timely and effective way with important information such as job evaluation data at hand;
  • Positive employee experience – being able to update their own personal details, seamlessly manage their leave and access information such as pay slips drastically improves the employee experience by having a sense of autonomy and of ownership over their personal information;
    Onboarding – consistent online onboarding processes ensures a well organised, faster induction process which can have a positive and lasting impact on new employees;
  • Learning and development – ensuring that people are trained, engaged, and productive is critical to business survival therefore having access to digital learning and development programmes are important. This includes training managers in how to lead remote teams, and retraining workers in essential new skills. With the current skills/people shortages, many companies are also looking at ways to upskill non-tech talent with technical skills as a way to fill knowledge gaps and create a more agile workforce.

HRIS Reduces HR Documentation Errors & Improves Compliance

The need to move toward electronic HR management is now greater than ever. Businesses that automate administrative and highly repetitive tasks can free up resources to focus on longer-term “macro” activities such as shaping organisational culture, building the workforce of the future, and addressing the needs of its people—particularly in critical areas such as diversity and inclusion.

Compliance-related concerns become significantly reduced, and along with that, risk of compliance-related grievances.

If you are looking at exploring the possibilities of how an HR system can benefit your business, ConsultingHQ can take you through our Employee Management System which has been designed for growing small and medium businesses. If you are interested in reducing time spent on HR administration and being able to manage your HR tasks more easily, please get in touch with Tanya Gray, ConsultingHQ Director.

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace

Global Overview of Workplace Vaccination.

A sharp upsurge in infections due to the Delta variant and a slowdown in vaccinations have pushed governments around the world to make COVID-19 jabs mandatory for health workers and other high-risk groups.

A growing number of countries now require proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid test to enter hospitality business or large public events – in particular, many indoor events mandate evidence of vaccination.

New York City for example, will become the first major U.S. city to require, from mid-September, proof of vaccination for customers and staff to be at restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses as the US enters a new phase of battling the Delta Covid variant.

Can I make vaccination mandatory for employees?

In New Zealand, getting the Covid-19 vaccine is voluntary for most people. However, anyone who works in a high-risk border or managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) setting legally must be vaccinated.

In addition to this, businesses providing services to potentially high-risk areas having conducted proper health and safety risk assessments and concluded that the role/tasks should only be performed by a vaccinated worker may require vaccination.

This is because of the health & safety risk whilst performing the role and the potential consequences of that risk, and holds true in situations where the use of PPE or extended distancing between workers is not viable.

Not all essential service providers require mandatory vaccination.

Be aware that just because an employer is providing services to essential workers, it does not automatically put the roles into the mandatory vaccination category i.e., a number of essential work activities do not present increased risk not manageable with PPE, etc.

This means that the focus is strictly on what is required to perform the role just as you would for any role e.g., a truck driver – which requires a specific licence.

WorkSafe has useful information and tools to assist with assessing the risk to ascertain if a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker.

Management of employee personal health records regarding vaccination

Vaccinated status or otherwise is personal information and the Privacy Act states that it should only be requested where necessary. It is not necessary if the work has not been assessed from a health and safety perspective.

If roles within your business meet the health and safety threshold, you can ask employees if they have been vaccinated but they do not have to tell you if they have, or why they chose not to.

The reality is that most employers do not have an environment that meets the very limited circumstances identified by the Government as justifying mandatory vaccination, and you could potentially be exposing your business to Privacy Act, discrimination, or disadvantage claims by insisting on having this information.

Importantly, you may not discriminate against employees who choose not to get the vaccination – there may be religious or medical reasons why a person cannot be vaccinated.

Can my main contractor or client mandate that my workers are vaccinated, wear face coverings and record their attendance?


As outlined above, if a particular role meets the health and safety threshold in terms of it being high risk and that vaccination/mask-wearing is a genuine occupational requirement then yes, you can mandate this for your role. Clients to whom you contract with can pretty much put in place whatever rules they want to, and your business needs to establish ways of meeting their requirements.

Roles that might have a genuine occupational requirement for vaccination include:

  • Front line workers – border/MIQ staff, medical professionals, supermarket workers etc
  • Aged care facility workers – due to the high-risk level for aged care residents if they contract Covid-19.
  • People working with children who are below the vaccination age.

Other roles which could also be considered as having a genuine occupational requirement include:

  • Hospitality/café workers who have face to face contact with customers, but not necessarily in a high-risk environment such as at the airport.
  • Back of house roles (e.g. administration) who work in higher-risk companies, but not actually in the high-risk area themselves.
  • Customer-facing roles, particularly in high traffic areas such as shopping malls.
  • Construction sites where there are high numbers of personnel in a confined area.

Employers need to assess the risk assess each job and decide if mandatory vaccination can be justified due to occupational requirements.

Recording attendance

At Alert Levels 1 and 2, businesses are only required to display a NZ COVID Tracer QR code or have an alternative way people can record their visit, but it is recommended that all businesses implement steps to encourage people to record their visit.

At Alert Levels 3 and 4, most businesses that are open must have systems and processes in place to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that everyone aged 12 years or older who enters their workplace records their visit. This means more than just displaying the QR code, as required at all alert levels. It requires the person in charge of the business or service to have systems and processes in place to ensure that people do check in.

Can I ask candidates whether they are vaccinated during a job interview?

Businesses can only ask candidates if they are vaccinated when this is justified by the requirements of the role. For example, if a business decides, following a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment, that certain work cannot be performed by an unvaccinated worker, it may be reasonable to ask about an applicant’s vaccination status. This information will need to be collected and handled according to the Privacy Act.

What can I do if my employee in a high-risk role refuses to be vaccinated or wear a mask?

If employees are doing work that can only be done by a vaccinated worker, but are not vaccinated, in the first instance employers will need to address any practical barriers to accessing vaccination (e.g., checking if travel or time off work is needed). There are a range of other options that employers concerned should think about before considering termination such as: changing work arrangements or duties, taking leave, and restructuring work. Obviously, employers should take care to be fair and reasonable in their response, and work through processes with employees in good faith before deciding on any outcome.

Fortunately, the acceptance and understanding within the New Zealand community that vaccination is a reasonable and responsible step we can all take to protect the health and Safety of ourselves, and others seems to be gathering momentum and increasing.

Summary of advice to employers around mandatory vaccination

  • Before requiring mandatory vaccinations of staff – assess the risk, it is likely that it can be solved via PPE/risk reduction measures. In fact, there are very few roles/industries where the risk is so great as to require mandatory vaccinations to keep employment. Therefore, dismissals resulting from lack of vaccinations is in the majority of cases not really an option.
  • Consulting and communicating with staff and ensuring the Privacy Act is maintained throughout the consultation.
  • Seeking feedback from staff about what you are considering – perhaps introducing a voluntary register to begin with.
  • If clients request mandatory vaccinations of your staff who attend their worksites – ask the client for further information so that you can understand their risk assessment which requires vaccination information as a condition of contracting services.

As this is a rapidly changing area, if you have any questions about vaccinations and employment or you just need some general HR guidance and expert advice, please give us a call, we would be very happy to assist you.

How to Develop a Training Matrix – Employee Development

How to Develop a Training Matrix – Employee Development

Developing Your Training Matrix for Employee Development

Our 2020 blog on the Employee Skill Matrix covered the role of the Employee Skill Matrix, particularly in terms of ensuring change management processes are undertaken fairly and carefully. It also described how a skill / training matrix can be useful in providing a structure for a variety of other important business processes that require sensible well thought out moves, whether they be temporary or permanent.

A training plan is an essential business tool for businesses of all sizes.

The training plan can be used for many purposes. For example, when analysing organisational processes and comparing with the existing team’s capabilities, it is advantageous to know what skills, qualifications & competencies your employees have.

This type of analysis allows you to quickly identify gaps in training or weaknesses in skills, also to know who has the required skill sets to carry out certain roles or tasks within the business. From a health and safety perspective, you can keep track of team member’s training records and the status of qualifications/certificates i.e., whether they are valid, expiring, or expired & ensuring your business’s compliance.

Situations when a skills / training matrix is valuable:

  • visually showing the tasks and skills required for specific roles and the current competency and skill level of each employee for each task;
  • knowing who can be re-deployed during periods of peak in demand or if a person is off sick;
  • when planning the implementation of a new project or technology, identifying employees: who have the skillset required; who could train others; and who needed training on what and when;
  • gathering important information for proposed restructures, and changes to employee roles;
    undertaking succession planning;
  • ensuring compliance by managing essential regulatory training and certificate updates e.g., fork-lift training and first aid certificates;
  • working with team members on their personal development plans;
  • setting staff training and development budgets; and
  • demonstrating that the business is actively training and upskilling New Zealanders when applying for Employer Accreditation with Immigration New Zealand.

A skill / training matrix is an essential tool for organising the information gathered in these activities and displaying it in an organised and easily read way.

The matrix itself can be prepared on a simple Excel spreadsheet or electronically via an online system.

Irrespective of what method selected, steps involved in building a training matrix include:

  • Listing all roles within the business (i.e., the positions);
  • Nominating the key skills required for each of the positions, the relative level of experience or competence required, and the relative importance of the skill to your business (NB: key roles require a robust succession plan to be in place);
  • Looking at each individual and working through the list of training requirements, recording whether it is a requirement for their job role or not. Where there is a requirement, record if the person holds the necessary certificate or qualification and where possible, the expiry date. If there is a requirement and their certificate is missing, record this also.
  • Rating each employee against each of the required skills for each role (regardless of the role they are presently in, taking into account the level of skill and level of experience.

This process should give you the crucial data you need to determine your training and development needs and to develop a training plan and budget.

Another important step in the overall process that goes hand in hand with this is having a relevant Learning and Development Policy and Performance Appraisal Process as this is where managers identify learning needs jointly with employees.



Below is an example of a simple skills / training matrix template.

example of training matrix

Technological and societal changes are coming at us thick and fast, and we need to keep up with the various skill and training requirements associated with change.

Your employees are a core and valued resource in your business and as such, there is a real need to have a continued focus and investment on growing staff capability. This approach also helps them to achieve their career goals and aspirations while at the same time contributing to your business success.

A skill / training matrix approach is an important business tool to assist you with this.

If you have any questions about setting up a skill / training matrix, a Learning and Development Policy, performance appraisal processes or you would just like some general HR guidance and expert advice, please give us a call, we would be very happy to assist you.

Business Financial Support During Covid Lockdown

Business Financial Support During Covid Lockdown

NZ Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy August 2021 is a payment to support employers, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021.

You can apply for a contribution towards the wages of your employees (or yourself, if you are self-employed) for a two week period. You can’t apply for the same employee twice for the same period.

We also have the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment available to employers and the self-employed. Employers cannot get the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 and Leave Support Scheme simultaneously for the same employee, at the same time.

  1. Who can get it

To get the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 you must:

  • operate a business in New Zealand that employs and pay the employees named in your application, and
  • meet the revenue decline test set out in the declaration, and
  • meet the other eligibility criteria set out in the declaration.

The declaration lists all the eligibility criteria in full, and you need to agree to this when you apply. You must meet all these criteria to get the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021.

The declaration will be available on our website from 9am on Friday 20 August 2021.

2. Application

You’ll be able to apply online from 9am on Friday 20 August 2021, and applications will be open for two weeks.

3. Payment rates

The Wage Subsidy August 2021 will cover a two week period at the rate of::

  • $600 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more)
  • $359 a week for each part-time employee retained (less than 20 hours a week).

You can’t get a Wage Subsidy for an employee for the period they’re covered by a Leave Support Scheme or Short-Term Absence Payment.

COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment

The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps businesses directly affected when there’s an increase to Alert Level 2 or higher for 7 day period (or more). The payment is in place to help cover wages and fixed costs for businesses directly impacted.

To be eligible, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, the decline being directly attributable to increased Covid Alert Levels.

Covid Resurgence Support Payment is available nationally.

What you can receive

  • $1,500 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (FTE), up to 50 FTE.
  • The maximum payment is $21,500.
  • If you’re a sole trader, you can receive a payment of up to $1,900.

Find out more information about the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and how to apply

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment applies to employers of people who are required to be absent while they await Covid tests, and are unable to work from home. This includes employees on casual contracts.

Specifically, the payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:

  • Cannot work from home, and
  • Need to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result.

This must be in line with public health guidance.  A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. You can apply for it once for each eligible employee in any 30-day period.

However, you can re-apply if a health official or doctor tells them to get another test.

Your business should encourage employees to call Healthline or talk to their doctor if they are unwell.

Find out more about who is eligible for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment, and how to apply.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If any of your employees have been advised to self-isolate, and cannot work from home, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for them. You can also apply if you are self-employed.

The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating. This includes employees on casual contracts.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
    $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.
    Employers, including self-employed people, and employees need to meet certain criteria to apply for the Leave Support Scheme.

Find out who is eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, and how to apply.

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

Organisations and small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme provides assistance to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. Bear in mind that only one amount can be drawn, to a maximum of $10,000 plus $1800 per full-time-equivalent employee.

Loans will be interest-free if they’re paid back within 2 years. The interest rate will be 3% for a maximum term of 5 years. Repayments are not required for the first 2 years. Applications are open until 31 December 2023.

Please contact us if you require advice around HR processes in relation to Covid-19