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Klaas Blokker

Manager Payroll & People Solutions

I manage a team of 30 people called Payroll & People Solutions, which is part of our HR Shared Services function.

We manage payroll for nearly 10,000 employees, respond to employee queries regarding their pay and HR related issues, administer an in-house health insurance scheme, and assist employees with staff travel bookings and queries. What makes this team so great to work with is that everyone is very professional and dedicated to continuously improving processes and service to our internal customers in a complex environment. Air New Zealand has a very diverse mix of employment arrangements with complex contractual rules that need to be correctly interpreted, configured and processed. Although the team have come a long way there is always room for improvement and this keeps us challenged and motivated.

Where did your journey start?

I started my career in HR after completing a degree in Industrial & Organisational Psychology, working my way up from HR Advisor to HR Manager for the New Zealand operation of a large multi-national company, prior to joining Air New Zealand in 2005.

Where’s your journey taken you so far within Air New Zealand?

I spent a year as HR Manager for the Cargo division and then moved on to HR Manager for Zeal 320, the Air New Zealand subsidiary which at the time was transforming from the stand-alone airline Freedom Air to back into the Air New Zealand brand. This was a time of tumultuous change for this part of the company and provided just the kind of challenge, excitement and development I was looking for. After a couple of years in this role, I also took on HR responsibility for all Air New Zealand short-haul pilots and cabin crew, so I was very fortunate to always have a lot of variety in my work. In 2010 I was looking for a bit of a career change away from generalist HR roles, and was very fortunate to be offered my current role of Manager Payroll & People Solutions.

Where do you hope your journey will take you?

A key driver for taking on my current role was to develop my line management skills while still being involved in HR. I hope this combination of HR and line management will open up new opportunities for me – either more senior HR or other line management roles.

What Air NZ value do you feel you best represent and why?

Can Do and Be Yourself – Actions speak louder than words and I believe I have a good track record of getting stuck in, making improvements and letting my results speak for themselves, without having to get too hung up in office politics or other game playing.

What’s the best story you’ve been able to tell after a day at work?

My manager and I went to Melbourne to attend an Australasian Shared Services Conference which included the announcement of an award for “Excellence in Improvement & Innovation” in shared services. Being up against some very large multi-national companies, we didn’t seriously expect to win this award, so imagine our surprise when we got announced as the winner and my manager had to deliver an impromptu speech in front of 500 people! It was great to then deliver this news to the team back home as it was a well deserved recognition for years of hard work in developing a very high performing and professional HR Shared Services function.

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