Ngāi Tahu's Cultural Confidence Programme is the winner of the Deloitte Top 200 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership award for 2021.
The Cultural Confidence Programme addresses the complex challenge of supporting Ngāi Tahu in the businesses, without alienating or othering staff members who come from a different background.
CEO Arihia Bennett explains the programme came about because the large iwi organisation has to give a positive slant to employing and developing Ngāi Tahu. Yet at the same time, it is a business and as it grows it needs to employ the most competent and capable people. "It means growing our own people, involving them as leaders and employees. But we have to stretch beyond our own and that means looking at inclusion. We reach all the corners of the world. It's important for us to reflect that and to embrace an inclusive dynamic culture", says Bennett.
Ngāi Tahu Holdings was set up to administer and grow the tribal pūtea five South Island hapū received after signing a Deed of Settlement in 1998. It runs as a business employing 600 staff, around 15 per cent of these workers are of Ngāi Tahu descent.
A 2015 staff engagement survey highlighted a need for significant improvements in diversity and inclusion. It showed that non-Ngāi Tahu staff doubted the company's commitment to them.
After the survey, staff discussion groups identified two important goals. First, there was the need to support everyone in the business regardless of their whakapapa so they would feel valued, included and connected to the organisation. Second, people wanted clear expectations and support to develop their cultural confidence so they could fully participate in the organisation.
Ngāi Tahu's approach to cultural confidence goes further than most workplaces. The programme teaches employees about Ngāi Tahu history, the injustices faced post-colonisation and the iwi's intergenerational ambition for the future.
It uses a methodology that aligns with the best-practice advice given to US employers responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. This includes supporting employees to recognise their own privilege, listen to the experiences of minority groups and encourage reflective thinking.
Components of the programme were developed with diverse members of the workforce and trialled in smaller parts of the business before rolling out across the organisation.
New employees are now sent on an overnight marae stay when they join the business. It's part of a full immersion cultural experience the business runs in conjunction with the 18 Ngāi Tahu affiliated Marae.
Bennett says the programme aims to give non-Ngāi Tahu employees a strong sense of knowing where the Ngāi Tahu whānau are coming from and who their customers are. It gives them both the EQ and IQ dimension.
Part of this is about giving the employees a sense of their own cultural confidence, which starts with honouring who they are and where they come from. It could be their social background, their community background or their ethnic background. From there they are offered opportunities to build on their cultural confidence.
Over the years the board has gone from around 30 per cent Ngāi Tahu representation to around 70 per cent. It has meant building, developing and positioning corporate leaders. The executive team has gone from around 20 per cent up to 80 per cent Ngāi Tahu. The wider staff is roughly 50 per cent Ngāi Tahu.
In their recommendation, the award judges praised the Cultural Confidence Programme, which they said is an innovative and comprehensive response to a very specific diversity and inclusion challenge.
"Ngāi Tahu's purpose — Mōtātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei — For us and our children after us" — had the unintended consequence of raising doubts in the minds of their staff who are not of Ngāi Tahu descent, about the company's commitment to them," said judge Ranjna Patel. There have been high favourability ratings for the programme with employee engagement scores lifting quickly. In the most recent engagement survey, 78 per cent of staff said they had a sense of belonging and 80 per cent responded that they had a real feeling of including and belonging.
Fonterra's Good Together or Tātou Tātou programme is about creating value for the dairy cooperative's farmers and customers using sustainability, innovation and efficiency.
The programme has two main goals. The first it to reconnect farmers back to their co-operative.
Over the years that relationship had withered for many farmers and by 2018 Fonterra realised it was in clear need of repair. The business performance was at a low and there was a low level of engagement with the farmers. A second goal is internal, where groups operating inside the organisation need to relate their work back to the wider business.
Doing all this means going beyond the organisation's traditional boundaries and reaching into the wider community.
Fonterra is a global business and has a diverse workforce spread around the world, but it has a special responsibility at home. The Māori strategy Haea te Ata is an important part of this. It complements Good Together and sets out to bring Te Ao Māori into the heart of the business.
Three ideas underpin Haea te Ata: Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga and Whanaungatanga.
Manaakitanga is about caring for people; Kaitiakitanga is about protecting the natural environment today for future generations and Whanaungatanga is about people coming together with a common strength and purpose.
At the senior management level Fonterra appointed a director of inclusion and Māori strategy. There is now a global head of diversity and inclusion, ahead of Māori culture and ahead of Māori business development. Four Māori business development managers who are located across New Zealand bring the business closer to communities and provide support to farmers and other stakeholders.
Fonterra became a Tupu Toa partner in 2018. It's an organisation that links companies to young talent from tertiary institutions with an emphasis on including more Māori and Pasifika young people in the business world.
The company introduced a Te Reo Māori standard to make sure it uses the language respectfully and appropriately. Consistency and correctness in te reo helps build stronger links with iwi.
Global head of diversity and inclusion at Fonterra Haylee Putaranui says it is one thing to use the Māori language, but you have to ask what you stand for, what are those values and how can you naturally weave them into what you do. "We had farmers who don't like us using the language, even something like opening an email with kia ora. We need leaders to go back to them and say, 'that's our language, that's the co-op's language and we won't be stopping it'".
Putaranui says the results of the initiative fall into two categories. The first is that people are now comfortable having conversations around topics they would not have done in the past. Earlier this year more than 1000 people joined an online panel on racism. At the same time, the conditions are in place so that Fonterra members and employees can have difficult conversations in a safe way.
The award judges acknowledge the Good Together Tātou Tātou programme is making a real difference to inclusivity throughout Fonterra's global business. They praised the company for launching the programme in the middle of a pandemic saying: " It has enabled the company to more deeply engage with its diverse groups of employees spread all over the world, in authentic and impactful conversations, underpinned by Te Ao Māori values.
Finalist: SkyCity Entertainment Group
SkyCity Entertainment Group won the Deloitte Top 200 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership awards in 2018 and 2020. This year it is back as a finalist after the company updated its Te Roopū Māori o SkyCity initiative which aims to improve the engagement with and growth of Māori employees.
As part of a 2020 review, SkyCity set out to identify the issues that are the most important to the business's internal and external stakeholders. There was a long list of issues, but six key areas or pillars emerged as the most pressing: customers, people, community, suppliers, environment and shareholders. For the 2021 financial year, the company decided to prioritise two of these; its dealings with the community and with the people who work for the business.
SkyCity's priorities for dealing with its community pillar were to develop deeper connections with iwi in New Zealand and indigenous peoples at the company's site in Adelaide in South Australia. It planned to do this by building the organisation's confidence and capability to engage with Māori and indigenous people.
To address the people pillar, SkyCity worked on diversity, inclusion and belonging. It recognised the diverse workforce represents a competitive advantage. The company focused on creating meaningful career and development pathways, looking after health, safety and wellbeing in addition to employee engagement.
All of these have been long-term goals for the organisation but picked up momentum in the last 18 months. Along the way, the board chair, Rod Campbell, announced SkyCity's commitment to understand and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, at the pōwhiri to welcome Michael Ahearne as the new CEO. This was led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
Claire Walker, SkyCity's chief people and culture officer says the work started with Tahuna Te Ahi programme, the Māori leadership programme that featured in the 2018 awards. "We've had four or five cohorts emerge from that programme. The participants in the first cohort decided they wanted to establish a Māori employee group. We created an opportunity for the Roopū to become a community within our inclusion council."
In midwinter, SkyCity celebrated Matariki in partnership with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. This was an authentic, culturally appropriate experience for staff and the guests.
Te Roopū Māori o SkyCity was also behind a Covid-19 vaccination roll-out for employees in partnership with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. It prioritised Māori and Pasifika staff who might otherwise have had difficulty getting their shots.
The award judges commented that SkyCity's Te Roopū Māori initiative is another strong step forward in the company's well-established commitment to be a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.
The level of empowerment of the leaders of the Te Roopū Māori initiative is exceptional and this has enabled a huge amount of progress to be achieved in a relatively short period of time.
• The Diversity and Inclusion Leadership award is sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson