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Guest Blog: Why employing staff to #workschoolhours will ultimately improve your profit and your people

Guest Blog by Dr. Ellen Joan Nelson

Why employing staff during school hours will improve staff retention, productivity, innovation, inclusion and diversity, staff well-being and ultimately, profits.

Following my PhD research, which focused on the experiences of women in the workplace, I conducted an unintentional, further, research project focusing on the experiences of working parents, primarily mums. The stories from these parents fall into two broad categories, with a
relatively even split between the two. Parents either:

  1. return to work full-time and resent the fact that they barely see their children during waking hours in the week, as well as the associated financial cost of childcare.
  2. Or they negotiate some kind of part-time arrangement, where they work less hours, to spend more time with their children. This comes with a corresponding reduction in their pay.

However, their workload or outputs are not reduced.

What is the cause of these two disappointing outcomes? I believe it is the mismatch between the work schedule and the school schedule. It seems crazy that we live in a modern-day society where the adults and the children have different schedules!

So I thought, why not try and align the two schedules, by reducing the workday for all staff (without reducing salaries), and making more accommodations over the school holiday periods? #workschoolhours.

Now, this is where things get really exciting. This is not just a nice ‘pie in the sky’ idea, aimed at making things better for staff (parents and non-parents), as well as wider society – which it would do.

There is actually a business case to do it, and organisations love a good business case!

There is plenty of research to support that outputs can be achieved in less than 40 hours. For example, the 4-day-work-week movement is already demonstrating this increase in productivity. The most productive members in the workforce are often part-time workers, as they are already completing their workload in less time. Further, if the stress regarding the misalignment of work and school could be taken away from working parents, just imagine how much happier they would be at work, how much more innovative and creative they would be, how much better their focus and concentration would be?

We know that staff well-being is important, not just because we care about our staff (which we should), but because it also impacts organisational performance. Happier staff generate more profits. Imagine the competitive advantage you could achieve, by being able to
attract and retain the most talented staff, if your organisation operated within school hours?

There are significant benefits to structuring roles around school hours, and employing highly talented working parents. To listen to the full #workschoolhours talk, click here: https://www.ellenjoannelson.com/workschoolhours/

Ellen Joan Nelson, PhD, MBA (exec), BA
You can contact and learn more about Ellen at ellenjoannelson.com and ellen@ellenjoannelson.com


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Personal Spot-light Story: A rural career, Covid-19 and a move into the trades

The last two years of the pandemic, have presented multiple new opportunities for both candidates and industry – women in particular have reconsidered careers out of necessity looking a little outside the traditional box of female careers.

I stumbled across Emily (online) from NZ Custom Trees, who has recently moved into a new job working in the trades for their family’s franchised NZ Building Shed Company. Hers is an interesting story, one about persistence, hard work, an open mind and a sense of ‘why not’?!

I caught up (virtually) with Emily, to ask about her career story so far, and what motivated a move into her current role. I hope it sparks something in you to consider a job in the trades and construction.

Tell us briefly what you have been doing most of your career?
I live in Canterbury on a lifestyle block with my husband and two children aged 1 & 2. We run a few sheep, some cattle and a horse.

I grew up on a Sheep and Beef farm in North Canterbury as a 6th Generation farmer and my life plan was to be a sheep and beef farmer so I went on to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln University after which I did some shepherding and general farm hand work on sheep and beef farms. I quickly realized the progression in the Dairy farming industry so decided to change careers and excelled within the dairy farming industry quickly, resulting in managing a dairy unit and being responsible for the team of staff, all aspects of animal health and nutrition in only a few short years.

My next step was to purchase my own herd of cattle, however due to needing an artificial hip I had to step back from the physical demands of farming and looked for an opportunity within the Agricultural industry where I could also be my own boss. I found this as a real estate salesperson working for Farmlands Real Estate in North Canterbury, initially as a PA while I completed training and then as one of the salespeople. Working as a rural salesperson allowed a lot of flexibility to enable me to stay in the Agricultural scene and allowed opportunity to get involved with organisations such as young farmers while also discovering other passions outside of agriculture like business, property investing and photography.

I worked for Farmlands Real Estate for three years until I started a family and took on a little bit of truck and bus driving work to cover the bills at the same time as setting up my own company so I would be able to stay busy when I was at home with the children.

The company is NZ Custom Trees Ltd in which I make and sell artificial life-sized trees for commercial businesses, I operate my business part time from home and my husband and I also run a shed building company which we have recently franchised NZ wide.

You’ve just jumped into a tradie job, what motivated the side-step into this particular industry?
Due to Covid-19 and lockdown issues a lot of the sales from my Artificial tree company stopped and all events we had planned for the remainder of the year were cancelled virtually overnight , we have also just finished franchising our shed Building company NZ wide, so my workload went from an absolute struggle to twiddling my thumbs.

This prompted me to look for employment. I was applying mainly for Executive assistant type roles, or other similar office based positions. All roles I was applying for were at or below my skill set so I thought I would pick up a job almost instantly…. boy was I wrong! I applied for jobs for about a month and most came back as “you haven’t progressed to interview stage” meanwhile we were interviewing for another builder in our shed building company for a 6-month fixed term position but we were let down continuously by our applicants.

I made the joke to my husband that I was looking for a job, he was looking for a worker… maybe I should go building (lol) but he thought it was a good idea and maybe I should give it a go.

So I gave it a go and although very sore after the first day I really enjoyed it!

What are you currently loving about the work you do?
I love the guys I am working with, it is a really great team and a positive nurturing work environment. I definitely wouldn’t be able to work with my husband so its nice that he is in the office currently.

I am working Monday to Thursday so this allows me flexibility to keep my company operating and have gone back to outsourcing my production while I am busy on the construction site.

I enjoy getting up before the sunrise and I love the feeling of coming home exhausted after a long hard days work. The hours are long; I generally leave home before 6am and am back home after 6pm which does make the home-work balance a little difficult but the crock pot is now my new best friend.

How have you been welcomed or inducted into this new industry in terms of those you work with?
The team are really great, they explain things well and are supportive when I make silly errors. They are very thorough with the training and I have learned new skills every day.

I am quite unfit, so was in a lot of pain carrying the heavy tool belt around and lifting large rafters for the first few days. However, my body is building up strength to it now. I am also being trained in moving the heavy boards that are easier on the body.

What message do you have for other women who might be considering a move into the trades and construction?
I definitely recommend other women should consider getting into the trades, as it is a really great industry which is currently booming. There are a lot of different types of roles within the industry as well. If you are keen to see if construction is for you I would recommend contacting a local construction company and see if you can be an apprentice for a day and see if it’s something you would enjoy before you invest in the tools. Fitness and strength is another key part, so building some strength beforehand may help with your job application as well as make those first few weeks a little easier on your body.


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7 simple tips on putting purpose back into your week

Good News Monday

7 Hot Tips to Get Through Each Day of Your Week


Monday | Mane
Make your bed

Experts suggest that the small effort of making your bed each day (or at least the start of the week) can greatly improve your productivity for the rest of the day by setting the right intention.

BONUS POINTS: When you, your partner or your kids do it TOGETHER!

Tuesday | Turei
Tick off one key job

By ticking off at least one key job from your to-do list, helps you to progress family, life or career plans and enables you to regain a sense of control. Putting pen to paper, although odd in the digital age, is a powerful thing…do this regularly and see how your progress moves.

BONUS POINTS: If you tell your partner, friend, boss or colleague – accountability is imperative in reaching your goals!

Wednesday | Wenerei
Wake up early

Have you heard about the 5am Club? Some people suggest doing this everyday…I’m not! But at least starting with one-day a week (and why not Hump day?) to rise early, walk, run, stretch, meditate and make time for YOU has got to be good. Let’s start this week!

BONUS POINTS: If you manage to get to bed before 9pm on Tuesday night! Because damn you Netflix and wanting time to yourself when the kids are in bed or just because!

Thursday | Taite
Think about your thoughts

You could also call this ‘mindfulness’. Ask yourself what thoughts commonly take up your waking (or trying to sleep) mind? What plays through your head a lot? What’s that incessant ‘itch’ you can’t quite scratch? Dig deep. Stop and think about those thoughts and discover what they’re trying to tell you.

BONUS POINTS: If you open up and share it with a loved one or someone you trust.

Friday | Paraire
Feed the fun!

Just because we’re self-respecting adults, does not exclude us from fun, OR play for that matter. Will the child from within and remember what you love and that which feels fun for you. For me, it’s dancing in the kitchen, dancing with my kids after watching a movie and hearing the preceding words from my 6-yr old son saying “pick me up” because he loves dancing in my arms and I’m a sucker!

BONUS POINTS: If it gets your heart rate going!

Saturday | Rahoroi
Soothe your soul

You’ve made it through the week and now it’s time to make time for YOU! Catch up for coffee with a friend, take a bath, book a massage, get your ‘hair did’, go out for a date with your partner or simply wiggle your bare feet and toes into some fresh green earthy grass – it’s an actual thing…called grounding and I don’t think we do it enough.

BONUS POINTS: If you can keep it under $50…because we’re worth it, but also because we’re adults with bills! ha ha

Sunday | Ratapu
Start family stand-up meetings

Your family (whatever that looks like for you) is your greatest team, your greatest asset and it really does hold true that Together Everyone Achieves More. Any time that suits on a Sunday, start having stand up meetings to schedule the week ahead. Plan with your team, who needs to do what, set priorities, must-dos and nice to-dos, either way, get ALL involved. It’s not your job to take that mental and physical load each week. Ask for what you need and empower others!

BONUS POINTS: If you can involve the kids with around 50% of the responsibility. As parents, we are their biggest teachers and role models, so start them early.

Action Exercise

Implement these actions into each day of your week this week
and see what changes for you. We can do this together!

Te Whare Tapa Whā

Supporting your spiritual, mental, physical
and family Well-being

Till next time…

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Why hiring women into the Trades makes good business and social sense

In June this year, the Trade Careers Insights Report was released by CoGo with some real value-adding results. The report was completed by both Women and Employers throughout New Zealand. You can download the full report here.

WOMEN Participant Profiles (as a majority)
– On Geo-location

  • 30% were from Auckland
  • 14% were from Wellington
  • 13% were from Canterbury
  • 9% were from the Waikato
  • 35% represented the remaining regions

– On Age

  • 70% (as a clear majority) were 35 years plus

– On Current Paid Employment Status

  • 12% were Managers
  • 24% were Professionals
  • 11% were Technicians or a Trade worker
  • 24% were Clerical and/or Administrative (noting this is RecruitMum’s biggest talent offering, just saying)

– On Type of Employment 

  • 31% were working 30 hours or less (PTE)
  • 45% were working between 31-40 hours (FTE)

EMPLOYER Participant Profiles (as a majority)
– On Geo-location 

  • 26% were from Auckland
  • 11% were from Wellington
  • 21% were from Canterbury
  • 7% were from Waikato

– On Age 

  • 39% were between 30-39 years old

– On Employer Size 

  • 28% had 2-5 employees
  • 19% had 6-9 employees
  • 15% had 200+ employees

– On Employer Type 

  • 40% were Residential Construction Companies
  • 13% were Commercial Construction Companies

So that tells you a little about who responded…

A simple need that came out of the report, is that women just need a supportive boss, supportive colleagues and supportive workmates – like in any other workplace. Yet a simple result like that clearly tells us we must still have a ways to go in construction in New Zealand to reach this simple reality. Here’s the good stuff to get us moving towards that goal…

The Trades ARE appealing! And our Wāhine are definitely attracted to the industry. Here’s why:

  • You’re outdoors
  • We can push stereotypes (and other stuff on site)
  • We can be role models forging new careers for other women
  • We can refute the perception that tradies have to be strong
  • We can create something tangible
  • It provides stability of employment
  • We have valuable and transferable skills to contribute

However, the report detailed that there are still clear barriers to entry for women. These were: not knowing where to start, duration of training and upskilling (to become qualified), flexible roles to accommodate childcare and discrimination and bullying that simply put, needs to go!

So, why should you hire a woman or a Mum into the Trades? Here’s some worthy reasons – Women are:

  • Lighter on your (very expensive) tools and machinery
  • Better at completing tasks and have better attention to detail
  • More dedicated with something to prove
  • Good at customer service and time management (on top of their trade skills)
  • More curious and bring new ways of doing which are often better
  • Women bring a good attitude to work (as after all, skills can be taught, attitude usually cannot), and finally,
  • Having more women around diversifies the workplace and makes you more of a competitive and attractive business

The report also detailed that as far as recruitment pathways go, women are finding it difficult to access or know how to go about getting into the Trades; while employers (coincidentally) are finding it difficult to recruit women. Kia ora – I’m Clare from RecruitMum – I’m pretty sure I can help with that!

What can we ALL do? Well here’s 4 TOP TIPS the report shared to get you started…

  1. Consider removing “apprenticeship” from the job title and description
  2. Consider older more mature women, as they bring considerable and transferable skills and experience
  3. Train your staff to better support women in the trades – your words matter and will improve workplace culture and social cohesion
  4. Offer flexible working options (RecruitMum can connect you to some people in this area if you need support on the ‘how to’)
  5. Hire through RecruitMum – we’re a NAWIC member! (this was not in the report, but clearly needs adding)

So, what does the future hold?

Answer – A LOT and I for one am excited. RecruitMum has been in development mode for a good part of the year to address some of these results and needs in the industry to better support our construction employers and of course to champion our Mums and Wāhine into exciting, new work environments. If this is a journey you’d get value from joining me on, Get in Touch for an honest, no strings attached conversation or just some good coffee sometime once we’re in Level 2!

Till then, stay safe.
Kia kaha



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Choose-days Talent!

Looking for top talent this month?

The end of a year and the eve of a new one will naturally see movement in the workplace, as employees review the skills they’ve gained or the ones they haven’t before moving on or out! Here are some of the industries in our talent pool who might create the most impact on our pandemic response with this type of movement…

Recent statistics in NZ ranked Admin Assistants (2nd), Business Analysts (10th), Building Trades (11th), and Civil/Structural Engineering (14th) in the top 20 most needed industries for workers central to the country’s response to the pandemic.

RecruitMum currently offers a range of talent in all four of these industries (and more!), with depth in Administration Assisting along with a pretty cool relationship with NAWIC, in supporting the Construction industry. Contact me, if you want to know more!

Understanding what women want at work

Organisations are boosting their efforts to attract more women as the business case for gender diversity becomes more and more compelling. When it comes to choosing an employer, women’s priorities are often different from those of men, so it pays to know what women want.

Emma Southward, Managing Director of recruitment firm 40 Foot Consulting Limited, did her MBA thesis on gender diversity in New Zealand business leadership and says that “companies with more women in the C-suite have better financial performance than companies with fewer women.”

Laws of attraction data shows men and women share the same key priorities when choosing an employer. Their top priority is:

  • salary and compensation (16.5% men versus 15% women),
  • work-life balance (14.1% women versus 13% men) and
  • career opportunities (12.5% men versus 10.5% women).

Caroline North, research manager with SEEK, says women’s desire for work-life balance and career progression may give employers food for thought.

“Career progression is generally viewed as climbing up a ladder and I think we need to change the way we think about it in order to support flexible working lives as well as what career opportunities and development can actually look like,” she says.

“If it’s only about climbing up a ladder, it becomes very much a full-time worker’s opportunity for growth. How can you develop growth and also part-time work or flexible working?”

What I’m learning…

The global pandemic, other than presenting a shi**er of a year for many, ultimately came to teach us a few things about how we need to change the workforce (among others)! I like to think RecruitMum is part of that change in creating space in encouraging a better-balanced career life for Mums. Creating a service that ensures they can not only play an active role in their kid’s lives, but they can deliver a point of difference to a business bringing much-needed life-skills, soft-skills, proven experience, and emotional intelligence to the workplace to improve performance and growth and fundamentally be far more than just a good hire. It means, that frequently hiring from such an untapped talent pool, will help embed a culture of supporting family and showing your customers and staff that you care about the big things.

If you’re a business who cares about social impact and knows the value of supporting change (as well as being part of it) then drop us a line and let’s learn about each other’s business and find solutions together.

Nga mihi
Clare Russell
Director | RecruitMum