Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

NZ HR Advisor of the Year: the winner is…

Last week we revealed the runner up of the HR Advisor of the Year Awards. These awards happened at the HR Advisors Conference in Auckland last month. We had 4 very worthy finalists. Each finalist had an overview of their project presented, and the audience then voted on the winner.

Those attending said they loved hearing about real case studies, and so we thought it would be fantastic to share the story of our runner up and winner, to give others inspiration and ideas of what works and how to overcome obstacles!

Victoria and Sheree

Sheree Jack was our runner up (pictured on the right) and you can read about her story by clicking here.

Now we are pleased to announce that our winner, the HR Advisor of the Year NZ for 2017 is Victoria Petrie, HR Advisor at TrustPower (pictured on the left).

Here’s what made Victoria the winner!

Transforming their Graduate Programme

Trustpower had found that their existing Graduate Programme was no longer meeting theirs, or their graduates needs. The programme was a 1-year rotation in select areas of the business, over a 3-year period, and then the Graduate could apply for a vacant role. However many didn’t finish the 3 years before either resigning or going into a permanent role.

The programme was designed when the company had needed analysts who knew all areas of the business. Instead they would now have a bespoke graduate programme.

Victoria took on the project and:

  • Worked with managers to build something that would work. Once they appointed their first Graduate, they designed a bespoke programme for this person.
  • Created a survey and sent it out to the “young” professionals across the business to find out what they wanted to get to know each other, share ideas, and hear from some inspirational speakers.
  • Shaped our “Young Professionals” network. Victoria is now responsible for the annual planning, coordination and execution of the network, including engaging speakers, confirming the events calendar, managing each event and gathering feedback to shape, improve and increase interest/attendance.

The results?

Feedback was extremely positive. Both Graduates who had a customised programme liked the fact that they could see where their work was impacting on the organisation and particularly enjoyed being able to employ what they had learned at university.

Feedback from attendees of the Young Professionals network was also very positive. This programme included internal speakers from Trustpower. Victoria also liaised with the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce to coordinate a joint event with LinkT. Trustpower then held the event in their new building, to showcase their new Activity Based Working environment, and to meet and mingle in an environment where everyone was comfortable. Subsequently, this lead to Trustpower being nominated for, and winning the LinkT Young Person’s Employer of the Year Award.

Victoria also initiated “speed networking” to get people talking to people from across the company for 1 minute at a time.

Victoria said that she is really proud she was able to interpret a theoretical recommendation and shape a programme that is mutually beneficial to both Trustpower and the Graduates. She says “I’m very lucky to be part of an organisation that is flexible and focusses on continuously improving how we do things. I’m also very pleased that the Young Professionals network has received really positive feedback and that the relationship with the Chamber of Commerce resulted with us winning the Employer of Year”.

Becoming Paperless

But Victoria wasn’t awarded HR Advisor of the Year for just being involved in one initiative. She also helped with Trustpower’s journey to be paperless!

In February 2016 Trustpower moved to new offices and introduced Activity Based Working (ABW). To cut down on paper – they implemented DocuSign.

Victoria was responsible to assist the HR team with becoming paper intelligent and to write a paper chasing blog to share our journey.

She had to:

  • Check whether electronic signature was legal.
  • Determined whether we would need to keep paper copies.
  • Work out how to make this work with Docusign.
  • Write a blog about the journey!

The results?

The People & Culture team is now 100% paper-free.

The head office is 70-80% paper free.

Victoria is proud that in less than 3 years, the work that she has done has contributed to our team becoming 100% paper-free (with the help of ABW too).


We think that Victoria was very deserving of being the winner of HR Advisor of the Year and hope she enjoys her champagne and fancy dinner out to celebrate. With the Awards we wanted to recognise that HR Advisors can play a pivotal role in helping roll out initiatives and drive results, and both Sheree and Victoria are great examples of that.

If you know a fantastic HR Advisor in the UK or Australia, then entries are now open for the HR Advisor of the Year UK (for more click here) or the HR Advisor of the Year Australia (for more click here).

Thank you to Sheree and Victoria for sharing the story of your success. Congratulations again!

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2017 by in culture, human resources, Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , .
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