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Top professionals among HR Awards winners

For immediate release

Media release: Human Resources Institute New Zealand (HRINZ)

3 March 2009

Transformational business project and top professionals among HR Awards winners

A project that transformed an underperforming Auckland postal centre, a top HR professional considered a business leader and a high-flying trans-Tasman achiever were all recognised at the HRINZ HR 2008/09 Awards.

Beverley Main, Chief Executive of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand which organises the awards, said the awards recognised the importance human resources played in shaping an organisation.

“Looking after your people should be the number one priority for organisations; people are the drivers that move an organisation forward. With the current economic situation, it is more important than ever to ensure your talent is performing to their potential.

“As the awards this year showed, integrating human resources at a senior leadership level can improve staff retention and morale and, as in the case of one award winner, greatly improve business.”

NZ Post winner of HR Initiative of the Year for turning around underperforming delivery centre

New Zealand Post has won the supreme Human Resources Initiative of the Year title in the HRINZ HR 2008/09 Awards for a programme which transformed an underperforming delivery branch.

Chris Fitzgerald, who was Postal Delivery Business HR Manager at the time of the project, received the award on behalf of the company at a black tie gala organised by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ).

The Great Operations and Leadership (GOAL) programme was implemented at New Zealand Post’s largest delivery branch in Marua Road, Auckland. From being the poorest performing branch in the country with challenging employee relations, the delivery branch is now high performing and the ‘go to’ branch for new initiatives.

The programme focused on building teams, a structured approach to branch operations and improving succession planning through training and development.

“It helps support leaders to be successful as a best practice postal delivery operation,” said Rachel Hathaway, Delivery Group Leader at the Marua Road branch.

The judges were impressed with the planning of the programme which has resulted in much-improved results.

“The degree of planning has enabled New Zealand Post to achieve substantial and significant improvements in financial measures, productivity, customer satisfaction, turnover, safety, and employee engagement. Return on investment is proven and impressive,” said the judging panel.

Judges noted that internal succession was working effectively, employee engagement had been turned around and the underperforming site from 2006 is now a “flagship site” with plenty of visitors coming to find out why it has been successful.

Chris said “it’s great to have such a strong commendation of the programme. It is the strong partnership between operations and HR throughout the design and implementation that has made it a success.”

HR professional a business leader and HR Person of the Year

Massey University human resources manager Alan Davis has won the supreme HR Person of the Year title at the Awards’ black tie gala in Wellington.

Alan impressed judges with his ability to influence at a strategic level. In his commendation, the judging panel noted that, “he is not only an HR Leader but also a Business Leader”.

One of Alan’s biggest achievements was to build and implement a capability framework for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery (MAF). He said that through this he learned about organisational governance, consulting to build a shared agenda, leading multiple work programmes to deliver results and design a strategic approach to talent management.

The judges praised his ability to design strategy, wrap an appropriate story line around it and deliver effective outcomes for the business.

“I feel honoured to receive overall person of the year title. Everyone is a product of the people we work with and I have been privileged to engage with a range of very capable business and HR leaders in my career,” said Alan.

Alan has had a number of significant senior HR roles across a range of industries in both the public and private sector, including at Telecom, Westpac, the Department of Corrections and MAF.

Alan has recently taken up his role at Massey University as Assistant Vice-Chancellor (People & Organisational Development) leading a team of 30 staff across three campuses.

The judges commented that, “Alan’s development of others, his breadth of experience and his ability to act as a Business Leader positions him well to be an ambassador for this coming year as the Supreme Award Winner and the HRINZ HR Person of the Year”.

Alan was also winner of the HRINZ Generalist HR Person of the Year, one of three award categories from which the overall Person of the Year is selected.

Auckland high flier wins Young Practitioner of the Year

Hudson’s Australia and New Zealand HR Operations Manager Roz Urbahn has won the Young HR Practitioner of the Year title in the HRINZ HR 2008/09 Awards.

Roz impressed the judges with her passion for both her role and for HR as a profession.

“She talked to us about the need to have a voice at the ‘top table’, the ability to talk the business language and to have a quality team in delivering results,” said the judging panel.

Roz was nominated by the Executive General Manager of Hudson, Marc Burrage who praised her insistence on commitment to action and accountability.

Mr Burrage commented that one of her biggest contributions has been to the organisation’s employer brand. Roz’s work and reputation has been central to their being seen as an employer of choice in the industry.

The judges said she was helping to drive her organisation forward and was a role model for others in doing that.

“It’s wonderful to receive the award and recognition for the work I’ve been doing, especially over the last couple of years. I look forward to continuing to use my skills in my role and help others in the industry.”

Roz has worked for major multinational companies including Frucor Beverages, Vodafone Australia, Vodafone New Zealand and Westpac Bank Australia.

Roz has been asked on several occasions to make comment about a number of HR issues in the media. She has been on live television, written newspaper articles and has authored a blog for young women at

Wellness award

Manukau City Council also won the Southern Cross Wellness award for their Wellness Connection Programme which has helped to reduce absenteeism. The programme encourages employees to keep healthy and has reduced sick leave significantly in its first three months, due in part to ‘Wellness Champions’throughout the organisation promoting the programme.

Winners in the HRINZ HR Awards:

• HRINZ HR Initiative of the Year – New Zealand Post
• HRINZ HR Person of the Year – Alan Davis, Massey University
• Generalist HR Person of the Year, in association with Melbourne Business School –Alan Davis, Massey University
• Young HR Practitioner of the Year, in association with Wheeler Campbell – Roz Urbahn, Hudson
• Southern Cross Wellness Award for commitment to wellness – Manukau City Council


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