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NZ software company launches staff badge system

NZ software company launches staff badge system

22 November 2017

Learnt a new skill at work? Achieved a career milestone? A New Zealand tech company has developed a new way for employees to digitally track their professional development, secure pay rises, and eliminate workplace biases.

Auckland-based tech company Propellerhead will introduce its digital badge system from early 2018 — a feature which aims to make traditional annual reviews irrelevant and remove workplace biases such as those towards gender, race, and religion.

Propellerhead Operations Lead Jonathan Cupples says the digital badge system follows the example of global companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and NASA.

The cloud-based program works by listing all types of skillsets relevant to how each employee does their job, providing the framework to prove achievement of each one, and rewarding a digital badge once completed.

“It will allow employees to very clearly prove what they know and what they need to do to up-skill, increasing their salary in the process,” Cupples says.

Once the tasks have been completed to qualify for a badge, the employee is assessed by two senior employees. Once all the badges in a set are achieved, the employee may qualify for a pay rise.

“Earning a badge means you have evidence of your ability in a particular area. Badges include both technical and ‘soft’ skills, as we believe many individual skills often go unrecognised, but are still immensely important and can also be the difference between an intermediate and senior salary level.”

For example, a software engineer will have badges which recognised their technical skills, as well as their communication, attention to detail and organisational skills.

There are also optional goal badges for employees to note their career ambitions, and measure their performance against skills required of senior and junior variants of their position.

“This is a modern alternative to the traditional annual review process,” Cupples says. “It is irrelevant in our modern workplaces to have a meeting once or twice a year where we expect to address all the elements of our career progression.

“Badges provide real-time career tracking, creating a much more transparent and sustainable model for both employees and employers to keep tabs on where they are at, where they want to go, and how they are going to be remunerated for this progression.”

The system could also have huge impacts around eliminating discrimination, Cupples says.

“Talented people come in all forms, and a badging system helps to eliminate potential discrimination by focusing on your qualities as a person, rather than your race, gender, nationality, colour, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, or gender.”

Propellerhead was founded in 2002 by Andrew Weston and specialises in enterprise software solutions.

The company’s clients include Auckland Museum, Skinny, NZ Post, Spark Wholesale, Auckland Transport, and the Ministry of Education.


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