Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

“Why I have a thing for New Zealanders”

“Why I have a thing for New Zealanders… In particular, 9 reasons why I think New Zealand based companies are great to work with”.

I love working for Core Schedule. They are an NZ based company, founded by a New York expat living in Wellington. Now, it’s not the first time I have worked for a successful NZ start-up. A few years back I worked at Xero, a little Accounting SaaS company you might have heard of. Ok, not that little, in fact, Xero has gone on to be one of the most successful Startups of all time and with over 2 million subscribers globally there are no signs of it slowing down. Legend has it that Xero, which was founded by Rod Drury, was done so in an apartment with a dodgy solution for accessing wifi from a nearby café. Running his own business gave Rod insight into just how clunky traditional accounting software was, and after his money arrived from the sale of AfterMail the founding Xero team set out to develop a cloud accounting platform with the first multi-perspective general ledger. And the rest is history.

Core Schedule tackles the challenging and complex areas of healthcare rostering to improve the lives of people working at all levels in the sector. It is another successful company to come out of the thriving New Zealand tech industry. So it got me thinking, why is it thriving? AND why is it that I get drawn into working for NZ tech companies? Well, it probably comes down to aligning to my own personal values of Creativity, Innovation, Love (Care/People First), Adventure and Fun.

So based on that, here is a list of 9 reasons why it is awesome to work with Kiwis:

  1. People First- Well this starts from the top. With a leader like Jacinda Ardern who actually can combine the qualities of empathy and leadership into her role and was also the first world leader to actually take maternity leave whilst in office just proves that people come first in New Zealand.  
  2. Pride stems from culture and community rather than from the self, for Kiwis. Culture is respected and honoured in every gathering so there is a distinct sense of collective responsibility.
  3. I am one of those Aussies who follows Jacinda Ardern on Facebook and I think it is partly because I feel like I am part of a tribe with a tribe leader that is approachable, and that I am part of the family. “Evening everyone, thought I would jump online and just check in with everyone as we all prepare to hunker down for a few weeks,” said the New Zealand leader via Facebook Live as the country prepared for its month-long Covid-19 shutdown. She pointed to her grubby sweatshirt. “It can be a messy business putting a toddler to bed.” There certainly is less ego in the hierarchy and I have felt that across both companies. 
  4. Everyone plays in the band, especially leaders. Singing and dancing are part of life. Both are proven to have positive impacts on mental health and well-being. Xero even had a band for many years and at Core Schedule I have lost count how many times I’ve been asked if I do Karaoke.  
  5. Companies care about purpose. The ‘Why’ factor over profit. Which I believe has much better long term effects for business. 
  6. There is a balance between having fun and being productive. Which leads to even more creativity. 
  7. The country is crazy beautiful, like almost unreal, a work of art perhaps. This seems to flow through into everything. Quirky, colourful, creative people and places. 
  8. Emotion is celebrated in New Zealand. Feelings have value and you are not discouraged to share. I have had several male leaders across both companies get quite emotional at times which once again just highlighted true compassion, empathy and love. 
  9. New Zealand is progressive. As a member of the Aussie LGBTQI+ community, this is something that I have watched with envy from afar. Keep leading the way NZ!

So there you have it, with a list like that why wouldn’t I want to get amongst it. You should too! You don’t need to quit your job or book a flight. There are a bunch of NZ tech companies already doing great things here in Australia and you should definitely consider them in your tech stack.

Jasmin Kelly

Healthcare Roster Specialist

December, 2020.


Bay of Plenty District Health Board uses Core Schedule to help COVID-19 response

Bay of Plenty District Health Board uses Core Schedule to help COVID-19 response

During one particularly memorable Sunday for staff at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board in Tauranga, New Zealand, an immediate COVID-19 response was demanded. It would involve standing up a drive-through community-based assessment centre within three days.

Helen De Vere, Programme Manager – Innovation & Improvement, was given the unenviable task of staffing the testing centre. Calls were put out via various networks for healthcare volunteers to staff the new services and the applications came pouring in.

“A lot of people replied, volunteering to do various shifts,” she says. “We’d be running seven days a week, 8am to 8pm, so we needed a lot of people over multiple shifts per day, with various specialists required to undertake specific roles.”

“I was left with a massive spreadsheet that had people’s names and phone numbers and email addresses and what roles they could undertake and their registration details and all of that. People were telling me, ‘I can do a shift this Tuesday, and maybe next week I could probably do Wednesday.’”

“When you’ve got 400 people emailing and calling you their specific preferences, it becomes a bit of a nightmare. I’d almost clear the emails by 8pm each night, then nearly cry the next morning as there were already another 80 emails to plough through. I was constantly on the phone confirming shifts and begging people to do extras. It was brutal.”


The scheduling solution

Once she came up for air, De Vere discussed with her senior management colleagues the need for scheduling software, especially given the anticipated and ongoing logistical exercise of the coming COVID-19 response. Presently the process relied too heavily on manual input, making it hard to forward plan and roll shift patterns forward.

Her colleagues agreed and partnered her with a specialist from the IT team in order to explore various software options.

“He proposed a couple of solutions, but they didn’t do what I needed them to do. Then he introduced me to Core Schedule, and I got on a Zoom meeting with the co-founder, Dr Stephen Pool,” De Vere says.

“As I spoke to Core Schedule, it became apparent that they could make their solution function as I required. They were very responsive and candid and responded positively to about 95% of my requests. I sent them my spreadsheet of horror, and they created something I could interact with and showed me how to use it.”

De Vere now had a system that automated many of the previously manual tasks, which allowed her to communicate with various groups easily, and that gave staff some control and complete visibility over their own rosters. It meant a reserves bench of staff could also be filled, so if people dropped off the schedule, there were always more staff ready to automatically take their place.

Implementation of the software, including training, took just one week.

“The rostering was more than a full-time job when I used a spreadsheet,” De Vere says. “Now it’s maybe one hour a day, and even that is generous – many days it’s just half an hour.”


Technology brings adaptability and functionality

When De Vere approached Core Schedule, she was trying to manage around 20 shifts a day on a spreadsheet, says Dr Stephen Pool, Core Schedule’s co-founder and CEO. She was managing the process admirably, but clearly it was an overwhelming task that allowed no room for error, or for vital contingency planning.

COVID-19 means all medical workforces have had to be split into various groups, including those that can work in ‘COVID hot zones’ and those that must stay clear, Pool says. Contingency rosters have had to be drawn up for every shift. Staff scheduling, already an extremely complex process, has become more so as a result of COVID.

“Core Schedule has been built, and rebuilt, to be extremely modular,” Pool explains. “We can easily add features and reorganise functions and change the way information is stored to match the needs of a specific client. The modular nature of Core Schedule offers flexibility and the power to become customised and bespoke to a client’s needs.”

“I don’t know of any other scheduling software with this modularity, capability and functionality. And the best part of it for our clients is the speed with which we can get them up and running, automating the dull, manual tasks and freeing up their talented staff to do far more important work.”

QMNA - Webinar - Santa Clause & The Grinch - 06 October 2020

QMNA Series- Santa Clause & The Grinch

Quality Manager Network Australasia

Core Schedule is a comprehensive rostering tool for hospitals. It makes the complex task of staffing hospitals easy by tailoring our comprehensive and powerful enterprise product to work with the specific nuances of your individual schedules. Core Schedule is the most nimble and adaptive staff scheduling software on the planet.

We not only do more than others, we also empower people to make fast and smart decisions with accurate data on past, present and future states of the schedule.Whether a manager is trying to balance a budget, a nurse needs next Wednesday off, or the entire hospital is responding to a major community disaster in real-time, Core Schedule’s tailored system has it covered.

Vaughan Meneses presents a webinar on this amazing product! .

Tuesday 6 October, 12pm- 1230pm AEST

Follow this link to register:

$30 Non-members

This webinar is free for QMNA members.
Members can access the discount code from the Education page of our website to use when registering.