Specific advice for the business practices of Crown Entities

The Steps

There are many different paths to more equal employment opportunities. The following six-step methodology can be adapted by organisations of any size, to suit their existing data collection methods, structures and ways of doing business. It relies on excellent analysis of the issues, identification of what is working well, and areas where improvement is needed. This cannot be done without consulting staff and their representatives. They are the ones most likely to identify issues that need to be addressed, and to highlight what is working well so that the organisation can build on success.

Workplace Profile

The workplace profile needs to include factual information about the composition of the workforce. As a minimum, information relating to gender, ethnic background and job-based characteristics of the workplace should be included. This step should be done at the beginning of the financial year as it will be critical in helping with the analysis. Key questions to answer are:

 How many men and women work here?

  • What are the ethnic backgrounds of people who work here and how many in each group?
  • How many people with disabilities work here?
  • What types of jobs do these groups have?
  • At what level are people in the identified groups within the organisation hierarchy?
  • How many people in the identified groups work part time?
  • What are the average salaries of groups of employees so they can be compared?

 There are two workplace profile sample templates that can be used and adapted to suit different organisations: Gender Workplace Profile and  Ethnic Workplace Profile:


The organisation should undertake a thorough workplace analysis. This is the first step in identifying the issues which may be preventing the employment of, or hindering the advancement of particular employees, OR conversely uncovering initiatives that may be supporting equal employment opportunities. Analysis can occur through reviewing:

 The workplace profile

  • Human resource statistics
  • Information received through employee consultation and discussion
  • Human resource policies and practices relevant to the seven Employment Elements

The level of investigation will vary depending on the organisation’s specific circumstances. For example, if the organisation is re-structuring more time may be spent analysing recruitment data than other data.

For small organisations, this will be a much less time-consuming process. It is still important to clearly identify the issues facing the workforce, and the actions required to make the most difference. When analysing issues the key questions to consider are:

  • What is working well for all the staff?
  • Why? What are the reasons for particular individuals or groups doing well, or the reasons for them not doing as well as others?
  • What needs to be improved so that more individuals or groups can fulfil their potential?
  • What needs to happen to increase the diversity of the organisation at all levels?

At the end of this process the organisation should know its strengths and weaknesses and what the issues are for various groups within the organisation, as well as the priority issues for individuals.

Read more about MBIE’s The Pay and Employment Equity Analysis.

Diagnosing Equity Issues: The Pay and Employment Equity Reviews.

MBIE’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit has produced a pay and employment equity review process, and a supporting workbook. This process will assist organisations in undertaking gender equity reviews, as part of the Government’s Pay and Employment Equity Plan of Action. Learn more

Prioritising issues

Once the issues are known, the next step is to distinguish between those needing long-term focus and those needing focus over the next year. A realistic assessment should be made of what is most important to the organisation, and what can be achieved over the course of a year. A number of the issues identified may be the result of a single concern, or a handful of systemic key concerns. If these are addressed, the other problems may resolve themselves.

At the end of this process the organisation may end up with one or two key issues, or several smaller issues. It then needs to work out what the priorities are, based on a range of considerations. These may include the cost to the organisation and the employees if specific issues are not addressed, the speed with which the issue can be addressed, and whether addressing the issue fits with other changes the organisation is going through. For example, the priority issues might be any number of the following, or they might be quite specific to the workplace. Sample issues are: 

  • Lack of Pasifika or Māori recruits
  • Significant occupational segregation
  • Mainly Pākehā representation in management
  • Poor rate of return from parental leave
  • Women with children leaving the organisation in higher numbers than anyone else
  • No people with disabilities employed in permanent, regular, ongoing employment
  • Sex-based harassment or bullying in the workplace
  • Fewer training resources devoted to Asian or other ethnic minority groups relative to others
  • Lack of awareness among staff of equal employment opportunity practices
  • Little access to regular part-time or home based work
  • No leadership around the importance of good people management and the value of difference.

Priority issues can relate to any of the Employment Elements or can span a number of them.

Taking Action

The organisation now needs to determine what actions (or targeted interventions) it is going to take to address the priority issues that have been identified.

Example 1: poor rate of return from parental leave

  • Develop guidelines to facilitate conversations between employee and manager regarding future plans for job and baby
  • Implement a stay-in-touch programme
  • Make flexible work practices available for parents returning from parental leave
  • Train managers and employees on how to access flexible leave practices
  • Provide assistance for new parents to find childcare
  • Increase paid parental leave
  • Provide facilities to suit breast-feeding mothers

Example 2: lack of Māori representation in management despite good representation in lower ranks

  • Build relationships and engage with Tangata Whenua (local iwi)
  • Establish clear reasons why the organisation wants to attract Māori and do a culture audit to establish the importance of things Māori and workplace attractiveness to Māori
  • Establish mentoring and coaching programmes with emphasis on Māori
  • Establish succession planning scheme and provide career development opportunities, and leadership training for high potential employees with emphasis on Māori
  • Give line/operational experience to Māori in staffing roles, as line experience is more likely route to senior positions
  • Write job advertisements to encourage Māori to apply, and indicate the value the organisation places on equal employment opportunities
  • Train recruitment consultants and interview panels on EEO and advise them to produce a balanced field of appointable candidates
  • Remove names from job applications prior to circulating to relevant department or selection committees, and ensure interview panels have Māori representation
  • Track the diversity of applicants, interviewees and appointments to measure numbers and bias at different stages of the recruitment process
  • Make diversity of management a senior management performance indicator

Most actions will need to be continued over successive years before significant results will be seen. However, it is important to regularly assess whether the identified issues remain a priority. Many issues will be longer-term strategic problems which demand concerted action, on-going education and initiatives that will need to be continuously assessed and improved to meet prioritised EEO needs.

A poster of possible initiatives addressing each employment element, is available here.


Evaluation is always much easier if the organisation has previously identified what progress it hopes to achieve as a result of each action, and over what timeframe. An evaluation then measures whether and to what extent change has taken place. The effectiveness of the actions can then be considered. Some questions to help evaluate this are:

  • What change did the organisation hope to see as a result of the action, and over what time period?
  • What happened? How many people were affected? How long did it take? For example if gender and ethnic segregation were an issue in particular jobs or areas of the organisation, were there changes to the make-up of workers in these jobs?    Was the first female electrical apprentice appointed?
  • What is the link between the action and what happened? Do employees and/or their managers think the actions made a difference?
  • What were the learnings for next time?

Evaluation techniques may include the use of quantitative data that measures numerical changes, e.g. increases in the number of Māori in senior positions or a higher percentage of women in non-traditional jobs. Updating the workplace profile may be a useful way to measure changes. Additional data available through Human Resources or surveys may also need to be collected.  

Consulting with staff is useful at this point for identifying how well the interventions worked. Focus groups and one-on-one interviews provide an opportunity to get more in-depth qualitative information, where people can describe how the interventions affected their experiences at work. 

If the actions do not produce results, it may mean the organisation needs to analyse whether the right issues are being addressed, and to explore whether the best actions are being taken to address the concerns and issues. Finding a way to share experiences with other organisations with the same issues might help with ideas.

Plan Future Action

Many initiatives will take longer than 12 months to bear fruit. The organisation should be clear about what it will do in the long term to keep an issue on the agenda, or to monitor an initiative that will take a number of years to succeed. Future actions will be determined by the workplace issues that still need to be addressed, some of which will be ongoing or need more time and resources allocated to addressing them.