NZ Rugby attempt to change off-field behaviour a 'smart business' move
Worker rights advocates are patting New Zealand Rugby on the back for letting an independent panel rub salt in its wounds.
Human Rights Commission equal employment opportunities commissioner Jackie Blue said adopting the advice in the Respect and Responsibility Review was a "smart business" move for the organisation that had extreme cases of employee misconduct and an entrenched sexist culture.
"It is a business model. It wants to be successful."
Most businesses now acknowledged that a diverse workforce was a win-win for workers and employers, Blue said.
"[Businesses] want to be the employer of choice."
Bringing people in from outside a business to write its short and long-term goals for diversity and equality was the "gold standard".
Resolving employee issues and complaints internally often worsened conflict, she said.
But only large organisations like NZ Rugby had the time and resources to do that, Blue said.
NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said finding the time and resources for his staff to take on the review's advice would be a challenge.
His leadership team could see a "new look in the New Year" to meet the targets set out in the review.
He said NZ Rugby was ready for change, but the organisation was in no position to offer advice to other companies yet.
"It is too early for us to be preaching to anybody else."
Blue agreed that NZ Rugby's success would be in its progress.
But she said she was impressed to see it follow the path of other poor performing organisations that had tackled diversity and equality and turned their business culture around.
"Should businesses take on board the independent review model? Absolutely."
NZ Rugby's 10-person independent Respect and Responsibility Review, led by New Zealand Law Society president Kathryn Beck, recommended six goals for better off-field behaviour, including leadership, developing people, nurturing wellbeing, gender equity, proactive engagement and accountability and independence.