NZPPA Award Winners 2023

On 8th December 2023 at the NZPPA 16th Annual Payroll Conference held in Auckland, the winners of the NZPPA awards were announced:

NZPPA Payroll Practitioner of the Year 2023

We had 4 nominations for this award:

  • Ha Le, Ministry of Social Development
  • Josh Wilson, Admin Army
  • Kay Wilson, Anglican Life
  • Danie Payne, OnTrack

All team entries were of an exceptionally high standard.

All are seen as essential to their business and payroll success.

The Winner of the NZPPA Payroll Practitioner of the Year 2023

Josh Wilson – from Admin Army

  • Joined during the busy season and immediately demonstrated remarkable adaptability and skill
  • In-depth expertise and Software Proficiency – extensive knowledge of Holiday Pay Calculations and system accuracy checks performed
  • Innovative Contributions and Service Development by championing the “payroll heath check service” for clients
  • Client Impact and Success Stories, where his input has been instrumental in resolving complex payroll challenges and driving client satisfaction
  • Professional Growth and Team Leadership attending the NZPPA Australian Payroll Processing Course and leading payroll conversions along with helping develop best practice guide documents


NZPPA Payroll Team of the Year 2023

We had the most entries ever for this award (7):

  • Fletcher Building
  • Admin Army
  • BECA
  • Farmers
  • Fulton Hogan
  • OnTrack

All team entries were of an exceptionally high standard.

Project work, managing changes to business structure, etc were all part of the work submitted.

Which just shows the depth of payroll professionalism there is within our industry.

The Winner of the NZPPA Payroll Practitioner of the Year 2023

Air New Zealand – Payroll Operations and Payroll Enablement Squad

Over the last 12 months, Araraurangi | Air New Zealand has embarked on our ‘Full Potential’ (FP) journey. One feature of this has been an agile transformation into new ways of working and new reporting structures. Previously Payroll Operations sat in the Corporate Services division reporting to the CFO and was supported by an IT team in the Digital division. Under our new FP model we now have 5 of our Payroll Operations team sitting in a squad in the Employee Enablement Tribe, led by a Payroll Operations ‘Product Owner’ (PO), and right alongside the payroll platform support and technical experts, and all working on a combined backlog. This backlog includes items from a regulatory perspective, through to union collective agreement changes (both bargain outcomes and variations), to retro calculations, to processing of bonuses, and continuous improvements from both a system and process perspective.

Over the past 12 months, these teams have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to collaboration, excellence, and continuous improvement, making a significant impact on our business and the well-being of our 11,500 employees. The collaboration between our Payroll Operations and Payroll Enablement Squad is a testament to their dedication to enhancing payroll processes. By utilising survey tools and conducting workshops with the Payroll Operations team, they proactively sought out the pain points of the team, leading to the validation and identification, and then implementation of numerous improvements, some which had been sitting unresolved for years.

The teams’ efforts were not limited to process enhancements alone, they played a pivotal role in supporting the remarkable growth of our airline. Despite the challenge of integrating thousands of new employees into the payroll system, spanning across our many union collective agreements, our payroll teams collaborated and executed amazingly well. Their ability to manage this complex task seamlessly reflects their expertise, adaptability, and commitment to ensuring accurate and timely payroll processing for all employees.

Key Achievements:

  1. Process Improvements: Through a collaborative approach, the teams identified pain points and implemented improvements that have streamlined our payroll processes, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy for all our employees. One example of an innovative solution was the new aircrew ‘Crew Claims Portal’ which automated thousands of previously manually processed claims coming in from our thousands of aircrew, and saving the payroll team around 800 hours of processing time per year, along with better validation, accuracy, and timeliness of payment. The focus on process improvement positively contributed to a +53% increase in Engagement of the Payroll Operations team themselves, and the impact of their efforts is also evidenced by positive feedback received through surveys and other channels.
  2. Scalability: Despite the substantial growth in our workforce, the payroll teams efficiently managed the onboarding of thousands of new employees to our global payroll, demonstrating their capacity to concurrently handle increased volume and complexity. An upgrade in our servers that was also successfully prioritised and delivered together has meant payslip generation processing times have gone from 8+ hours to 2 hours, resulting in employees seeing their payslips at a similar time to when they get paid, versus often waiting until the next day. The server upgrades have also meant employees are being paid earlier in the day as other processes are also improved, creating vital additional capacity should the payroll teams need more time.
  1. Union Collaboration: Successfully navigating payroll processes across different union collective agreements is a testament to the teams’ expertise in compliance and their ability to maintain positive relationships with diverse stakeholders. The Payroll Enablement Squad especially, along with key Payroll Operations experts, are active participants in union bargain and variation activity. This ensures the interests being solved for consider upfront what is achievable technically and the associated timeframes that the change requires, versus trying to deliver an already executed document. Unrequited feedback from our Workplace Relations lawyers and the business units on our team’s involvement in the last 12 months has been exceptional, with some multiyear complex issues being resolved and corresponding collective agreement variations ratified in the last few months. One such example of a specific process improvement positively impacting on union engagement is a change in how the simpler allowance and base pay changes are now implemented. This has meant agreed changes can now be implemented for employees in a few weeks post ratification, versus what used to take up to 3 months, a vastly improved experience for the employees concerned.

In conclusion, our Payroll Operations and Payroll Enablement Squad have found new rhythms and ways of working together under FP that have not only enhanced the efficiency of our payroll processes but have also played a crucial role in supporting the growth and success of our airline as we climbed through our post COVID phase, out from Survive, through Revive, and now in to Thrive. Their exemplary performance and dedication to their craft deserves recognition, and we wholeheartedly nominate them together for the “Payroll Team of the Year 2023”.

NZPPA Payroll Leader of the Year 2023

We had the most entries ever for this award (7):

  • Katy Ramesh, Fletcher Building
  • Bonnie Reece, Admin Army
  • Anne Lukey, Fulton Hogan
  • Di Crawford-Errington, OnTrack

Examples of exceptional leadership shown by all nominates.

Excellent feedback from team members on the leaders nominated and how they add value to their business and payroll.

Developing their team to ensure performance, teamwork and achieving shared outcomes.

The winner of the NZPPA Payroll Leader of the Year 2023
Bonnie Reece, Payroll Manager – from Admin Army

  • Exceptional Leadership and expertise, and commitment to educating clients on compliance
  • Significant Impact on her return from Parental Leave Transitioning to managing a growing team
  • Innovative Contributions and Client Success being instrumental in developing an internal best practice document for payroll
  • Foresight in upskilling team in AUS payroll processing which has opened new avenues for this business
  • Client and Team Feedback is glowing
  • Key Contributor to the businesses Growth
  • A visionary Leader in our industry