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Competency Framework– Kahikatea Ka Taea

The HRNZ professional pathway is underpinned by a competency framework known as Kahikatea, Ka Taea.  

"The bellbird can reach the lofty height of the kahikatea"

HRNZ encourages you to develop your professional knowledge and competence to a high standard. Kahikatea, ka Taea is a framework which:

  • identifies skills (competencies) you need to have

  • indicates levels of ability you should have at different stages of your career

  • guides your professional development to become a chartered member of HRNZ.

Overview: You need competencies in four areas to be effective

To be an effective HR practitioner, you need to be skilled in the five main areas listed below. All of them require you to understand your organisation’s business objectives and needs so you can apply HR principles appropriately.

  • Personal credibility: Build trust and credibility with all major stakeholders.

  • Business technology: Understand the general technologies that power the business. 

  • Business knowledge: Understand how the business works.

  • Strategic contribution: Understand how HR policies and practices contribute to the overall performance of the business in the long run.

You should progress through three levels in your career

Depending on the stage of your career, you’ll have developing, competent, or advanced abilities.

Developing practitioners focus on HR delivery and work under supervision

  • Focus: Learn and apply the HR competencies at an ‘entry’ level, focusing on HR delivery.

  • Performance: Work under supervision.

  • Challenges: Meet simple challenges. Your decisions have restricted impact on risk, cost, and benefit.

Competent practitioners work independently

  • Focus: Apply HR competencies independently.

  • Performance: Operate independently.

  • Challenges: Meet moderately complex challenges. Your decisions have medium impact. You take full responsibility for your actions.

Advanced practitioners innovate and lead

  • Focus: Lead others.

  • Performance: Operate at an advanced level, contributing innovatively. You’re at the top of your career in a senior role with organisational responsibility.

  • Challenges: Meet highly complex challenges. Your decisions have organisation-wide impact.

A closer look at the competencies you need

This section further describes the five competency areas, beginning with the core skills (personal credibility) and ending with the most advanced (strategic contribution).

Personal credibility: Build relationships based on trust

As an HR practitioner, you’re a role model and credible business partner. Credibility is built on effective relationships, a good track record, personal awareness, and communication.

  • Effective relationships: Build relationships based on trust and credibility. Put your customers’ interests first.

  • A good track record: Meet commitments and achieve results consistently. Have professional integrity: behave professionally and ethically, and keep up to date with HR, business, and industry knowledge.

  • Personal awareness: Manage your behaviours and emotions.

  • Communication: Communicate effectively at all levels.

Business technology: Understand how technology supports HR practices

Business technology enables businesses to implement strategies. You need to understand how to use technology for HR practices, encourage its use, and use data to make decisions.

  • Technology for HR practices: Understand how technology supports the business and HR practices, and know how, where, and when to apply it most effectively.

  • Technology use: Encourage employees to use technology for communication.

  • Data for decisions: Analyse data to make HR decisions. For example, in a business case on new technology.

Business knowledge: Relate the business environment to HR

Having sound business knowledge requires you to keep up to date with HR practices and apply them to business needs. That includes talent sourcing and development, performance management, work and organisation design, and leadership. You’ll shape organisational capability, and understand business goals and success factors.

  • Organisational capability: Understand how employees make a difference to an organisation. This includes how employment, engagement, retention, development, employment legislation, and unions affect organisations and their success. Help develop sound organisational capability: the culture, process, or identity that the organisation is known for.

  • Business understanding: Understand how the organisation achieves its business goals, and how it’s affected by internal and external factors (this includes knowing about financing options, growth strategies and how a business is structured).

  • Business drivers: Understand what’s important to the organisation’s success. For example, how it’s affected by external suppliers, production processes and capacities, competitors, financial management, and information systems.

HR delivery: Ensure you master the building blocks of HR

HR delivery is the technical basis of the HR profession. You must keep up to date with HR innovation and developments.

HR delivery is made up of multiple parts.

  • Resourcing: Analyse and plan for human resources and workforce needs, both current and future. Implement talent management and recruitment strategies.

  • Learning and development: Identify, design, and implement training to meet organisational objectives.

  • Performance management: Develop and maintain a performance management system that supports the business and recognises employees’ achievement.

  • Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS): Use HRMIS systems including analysing the people related data they provide. Know about options for HRMIS and be able to manage a project to introduce or improve systems.

  • Remuneration and reward: Develop, implement, and monitor remuneration strategies and policies that are effective and equitable.

  • Cultural awareness and diversity management: Develop and implement strategies that acknowledge diversity and respect the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Change management: Develop and manage change processes that allow employees and HR structures to evolve with the company. Communicate changes to employees and support them through the process.

  • Organisation development: Develop and implement systematic change strategy for an organisation that enables it to better adapt to its environment through changes in culture and capability.

  • Health, safety, and wellbeing: Develop and implement health, safety, and wellbeing strategies and policies that contribute to a culture of safety and wellbeing.

  • Legal compliance: Develop and implement policies, processes, and systems to ensure the organisation complies with employment law and HR legislation.

  • Employment relations: Carry out individual and collective bargaining, work with unions and identify and resolve employment relation issues.

  • HR measurement: Develop scorecards, statistics, and measures that show the effect and effectiveness of HR practices and policies. Identify successes, concerns, and solutions.

  • HR policy development: Develop, communicate, and implement policies and strategies that support the organisation’s HR goals.

Strategic contribution: Help develop an organisation that responds to business changes

Contributing strategically requires you to think and act from the perspective of the business. You need to help respond to external business conditions by taking action internally. You’ll be able to take a long term view and be able to work out the things that you need to do today to prepare for the future.    You will also know how to apply the notion of people as a competitive advantage to the organisation you are in.

  • Business context: Understand suppliers, competitors, and strategic partners, as well as current trends (social, technical, economic, political, environmental, and demographic).

  • Customer expectations: Know what motivates the organisation’s customers so you can shape an organisational culture that meets their needs.

  • Strategic development: Look for opportunities and barriers to business success, identify and manage risk, and help develop a flexible organisation that responds to change.

Code of Practice

In addition to the Competency Framework, HRNZ has a Code of Practice which all members are expected to adhere to.  The Code of Practice covers the following areas:

  • Professional Expertise
  • Professional Conduct
  • Dealing with Others

For a full description of the code of practice and examples of how these might apply to you see the full document here.

To test your understanding of the Code of Practice, take our on-line assessment here.

To achieve Chartered Membership members must demonstrate an understanding of the Code of Practice as part of the Chartered Member application process.  There is also a requirement to repeat the Code of Practice on-line module every three years to retain Chartered Member status.

Emerging Professional Members are also required to complete the Code of Practice on-line module as part of their Application.