Our People | Northland DHB

Our People

Northland DHB’s people are its most valuable resource in supporting our organisational culture. People First – Taangata I te tuatahi is one of five Values what we pride ourselves on. To provide the highest levels of health services to our Northland communities we aim to attract, recruit, develop and retain people who will focus on what matters to the communities and whānau/families we serve.

 Profile Type Statistics
 Northland DHB Workforce Total workforce: 3,006 active employees
 Age Female average age: 46.04 years
Male average age: 45.88 years
 Ethnic Māori: 16.50 percent
Pacific: 1.06 percent
European: 60.98 percent
Asian: 10.11 percent
Other: 3.66 percent
Not stated: 7.69 percent
 Disability Specific data is not currently held for this category. Individuals with disabilities applying for vacancies are given full consideration based on the needs of the position.
 Gender Female: 2,389 employees (79.47 percent)
Male: 617 employees (20.53 percent) 
Leadership, Accountability and Culture

We engage our employees through positive relationships to foster leadership skills at all levels. A key priority for the DHB is fostering close working relationships with clinical networks, building on existing partnerships between managers and clinicians. Several clinical leadership forums have been established for all workforce professions to develop leaders and ongoing professional development.

Collaboration across services and occupational groups contributes significantly to staff engagement and patient outcomes as does the DHB’s positive relationship with its union partners. Staff satisfaction and retention is enhanced as training and development aligns to the Northland DHB Values, organisational compliance requirements, service needs and staff professional development.

Local engagement groups continue to meet regularly and remain integral to maintaining a cooperative working environment. The objective of the groups is to provide a forum for ongoing constructive engagement between Northland DHB and the unions that represent its employees.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:

  • strengthening clinical leadership with three Clinical Directors of Innovation & Transformation and the Director of Health Intelligence & Translational Medicine actively contributing at the Executive Leadership table
  • successfully completing the fourth annual Northland DHB Leadership Programme in January 2018. To date, 94 staff have completed this programme
  • continued collaboration between Northland DHB and its Northern Region partners to develop a regional approach to:

- reshape the workforce to deliver innovative and integrated models of care in response to changing population needs
- grow the capacity and capability of our Māori and Pacific workforce
- strengthen collaboration across the integrated care continuum in support of care closer to home
- optimise the pipeline and improve the sustainability of priority workforces.

Recruitment, Selection and Induction

Māori are under-represented in Northland DHB’s workforce, comprising just 16.50 percent (496) of the total staff. Northland DHB is committed to encouraging more Māori into health and disability fields. This applies particularly to areas where Māori are under-represented as health professionals and over-represented in their health needs. Our objective to ‘grow our own’ workforce has led to a number of development projects which have been implemented with much success.

Northland DHB holds the regional hub contract for Kia Ora Hauora. This was established to increase the number of Māori entering first-year tertiary study, and to recruit and retain Māori in health-related career pathways and into the health sector workforce.
We are committed to future proofing our service delivery by attracting, recruiting and developing high potential talent. Partnerships with education providers to promote health careers and strengthen student capability are key to nurturing a high quality entry pipeline. Strong relationships with the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and NorthTec continue to provide future opportunities for doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to join the organisation.

Robust safety screening processes and Our Values based recruitment processes are used to select all staff. Staff are welcomed and inducted to Northland DHB through an Organisation Orientation event, and through department/team inductions.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:   


  • promoting health careers

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) recruited 526 new Māori to their programme in the last 12 months
- promoting health as a career to all secondary schools (2018)
- supporting the University of Auckland Rural Grassroots programme in schools.

  • supporting science achievement

- Rangatahi Health symposium (45 students attended)
- Science for Hauora at Massey University (65 students attended)
- Science Wananga at NorthTec (16 Māori males attended)
- free science and maths tutorials through ‘See the Solutions’ (40 year 12/13 students registered for this support).

  • supporting tertiary achievement

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) has supported 181 secondary students into tertiary education
- 15 scholarships towards fees to tertiary students across the region
- 18 tertiary support packages to students in hardship (consists of any of the following: laptop & software, one-off accommodation grant, travel assistance)
- four Tertiary Support Grants to Māori student bodies at various tertiary institutions to support retention

  • transition to work

- Kia Ora Hauora (northern) has supported 331 of its members into employment. Work-ready programmes delivered regionally.
- 409 new employees have been welcomed through the Northland DHB Organisation Orientation.

Employee Development, Promotion and Exit

We continue to support staff participation in a variety of internal and external training courses, conferences, workshops and other developmental opportunities, to build capability and support career and personal development objectives. We provide medical staff with continuing medical education support and nursing and midwifery staff with professional development recognition programmes. Health Workforce NZ funding continues to be provided for postgraduate study for nursing and midwifery and the non-regulated workforce. The Learning and Development Department continues to provide a range of professional and personal development training opportunities.

Northland DHB generally has a low employee turnover. An online confidential Staff Exit Survey is offered to all department staff, along with the opportunity for ‘face-to-face’ exit interviews.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:

  • Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō (NMoA) – the national Māori nursing and midwifery workforce programme is now in its tenth year. The programme is sponsored by the Director of Nursing and Midwifery of Northland DHB and aims to increase Māori nursing and midwifery leadership across the health sector. The ‘flagship’ of the programme is the eight-day leadership training wānanga which is the only marae-based kaupapa Māori leadership development programme for Māori nurses and midwives in Aotearoa. Since the programme began, NMoA has achieved nearly 300 graduates. In 2018 an Intensive Leadership programme has been developed to support a cohort of NMoA graduates to take their next step into leadership roles.
  • we continue to engage with local Māori stakeholders via Kia Ora Hauora which targets Māori to consider health as a career. From January to March 2018, 30 secondary school students registered with the programme
  • the Level 3 Certificate in Health & Wellbeing for Healthcare Assistants has been approved to run permanently
  • Northland DHB’s cultural ‘Engaging Effectively with Māori’ quality programme has been attended by 72 percent of staff. This programme has been externally facilitated since 2016. For the second half of 2017/18 a core group of staff started a professional development path to become ‘internal’ facilitators for the organisation, ensuring the message of promoting relationship centred care approach continues
  • the Learning & Development Department provided 193 internal course events in 2017/18, with almost 1,900 attendances. Courses included personal development, project management, leadership and communication skills. These courses are also open to Hospice and our Primary Health Organisation partners
  • in April 2018 the online learning environment was moved to the Ko Awatea LEARN platform, joining 13 other DHBs. In the 2017/18 year there were 7,200 online course completions. Many of the online courses are available to our wider primary health sector partners who increasingly access our online environment
  • employee voluntary turnover for 2016/17 was 9.5 percent, lower than the national average of 11.13 percent across all DHBs.
Flexibility and Work Design

Northland DHB operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing full-time and part-time opportunities. Flexible work hours based on employee needs and the requirements of the position are available. Specific disabilities are recognised and provided for.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:

  • the culmination of a two-year project to select a videoconferencing tool of choice to enable Telehealth for the Northern Region. Zoom videoconferencing has been recently introduced and the interest in it and its potential for use across a broad range of clinical and corporate cases for Northland DHB and the Northland Health Sector has already exceeded our expectations
  • endorsement of our digital mobility strategy by the executive leadership team. The strategy focuses on better use of the existing mobile devices for staff at Northland DHB, improved enablement of services (particularly for community) and improving access to clinical information
Remuneration, Recognition and Conditions

Northland DHB adheres to the good employer requirements in section 118 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 that covers:

  • good and safe working conditions
  • an equal employment opportunities programme
  • the impartial selection of suitably qualified persons for appointment
  • recognition within the workplace of the aspirations and needs of Māori, other ethnic or minority groups, women and people with disabilities.

Northland DHB’s workforce is covered by 19 collective employment agreements. A smaller proportion of staff is on individual employment agreements. Transparent job evaluation criteria, developed in consultation with relevant unions, are in place for a range of employee groups. Specific merit programme criteria are available for most employee groups.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:   

  • International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife was recognised and celebrated with the annual nursing and midwifery awards held in May 2018.
Harassment and Bullying Prevention

Northland DHB’s zero tolerance to bullying and harassment is reinforced by policy, training and support provided to all staff. Clear guidelines are outlined in the Managing Unacceptable Behaviour in the Workplace Policy. All current and new managers are required to attend training that supports their ability to recognise, investigate and ameliorate such concerns when they occur.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:

  • together with our union partners we developed an electronic reporting tool for violence, bullying and harassment which was launched in late 2017 and continues in use. The tool provides an improved means to enable reporting, escalation, investigation and resolution of bullying concerns raised by staff
  • further to the outcome of the independent review of Russell McVeagh, consultation with Union partners will occur in late 2018/19 to consider appropriate, relevant changes to the policy on sexual harassment.
Safe and Healthy Environment

Northland DHB is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all employees, patients, visitors and other workers. The organisation is required by legislation and contractual obligations to have effective emergency and corporate risk management systems and processes in place.
Following results from an all-staff survey in March 2017, ensuring the wellbeing of staff at Northland DHB is a challenge that the organisation is keen to prioritise.

Achievements in 2017/2018 include:


  • 76 percent of staff across the four hospitals participated in the flu vaccination programme. This contributed to the health and safety of staff, our patients and communities
  • reaching the 2017/18 Health and Safety objectives for the Executive Leadership Team and Board
  • reducing the number of Lost Time Injuries continues to be a focus, whereby the 2017/18 targets were regularly exceeded. The number of lost time injuries (27) reduced from the previous year (37) and the frequency rate (5.9) remains significantly below the national (11.6), northern region (11.1) and medium-sized (9.4) DHB average benchmarks. The severity of injuries has declined
  • successfully retaining Tertiary (the highest) level accreditation in ACC’s Partnership Programme audit
  • supporting employee wellbeing throughout the organisation. Subsequently the role of a Workforce Development & Wellbeing Manager was established to provide oversight and coordination for staff wellbeing. From this a number of working groups from across the organisation and with union partners have been established
  • establishing a Workplace Violence Prevention Group whereby awareness campaigns and online training have displayed Northland DHB’s commitment to eliminating workplace violence. Further face-to-face workshops are planned for the future.


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