All posts by tro32

UC Onboarding platform will streamline process

UC has a new online platform to streamline welcoming new staff members to UC and to assist managers, administrators and buddies with setting up new employees before they even arrive.  

This was announced in Tū ki te tahi | Stand as One on 24 March – you can review that here: Tu ki te tahi blog.

Watch this short promotional video to gain an insight into UC Onboarding: UC Onboarding video

What is happening?

We are pleased to advise that Phase One of this project will go live next Monday 5 July 2021. This phase includes all those roles in academic support positions, such as tutors/teaching assistants, lab demonstrators and research assistant as well as casual roles. The emphasis of this phase is to ensure these employees receive essential Health, Safety and Wellbeing information. An email communication regarding the release of Phase One was sent to all managers last Thursday 24 June.

We are now working on the release of Phase Two, which is expanded to all new Professional/General staff. As this phase involves pre-start engagement as well as a full induction module upon arrival, we will release phase two in an agile way. Our plan is to first go live with pre-start, which is onboarding engagement between a manager and new appointee from offer acceptance through to start date. Shortly after that we will release the next stage of induction modules.

Who will this affect?

Phase Two of this project will require engagement with hiring managers, buddies and administrators who are involved in the staff onboarding and induction process for their dept. We will be communicating separately with this group with further information around what is required and will also hold drop-in sessions closer to the time of release. The platform also engages with other areas of service across UC, including IT, Security and Finance by pushing notifications regarding new starters. This platform requires no apps or logins, and can be used on either desktop or mobile. The platform pushes notifications to managers via a link at pre-determined intervals: it essentially coaches managers through the onboarding process.

More information

You can find more information on this exciting development on our People and Culture Intranet page here:

If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Rochelle Golby,

Employee Experience Manager, People and Culture

July Te Wānanga Kaimahi | Staff Forum – update

We’re looking forward to Te Wānanga Kaimahi | Staff Forum this Thursday 8 July. It’s in your calendar, but please accept the meeting to help us with catering. We’re back in C1 this time with refreshments in the foyer.


  • Tumu Tuarua Akoranga | Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Catherine Moran will talk about the Student Success Programme.
  • Amorangi Pūkaha | Pro-Vice Chancellor College of Engineering Professor Jan Evans-Freeman will update us on the progress of the sustainability strategy.
  • Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey will update us
  • Q&A session 

Plastic Free July:

To support Plastic Free July, University of Canterbury’s sustainability aspirations, and our value of tiakitanga – enhancing and nurturing our resources – all catering is plastic free. Please bring your own cup, or we will have biodegradable cups available.

Refreshments and networking:

Late morning tea paramanawa | refreshments will be served in the C Block Foyer at 11.30am after the programme concludes. This is a chance to catch up with colleagues from other parts of the university, build your network and your whanaungatanga – valuing people and their differences.

People and Culture are hosting and will be on hand to tell you more about our wellbeing app Mentemia.

How to ask questions:

Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey will address the key themes from questions at the forum. You can also ask questions in person at the event during the Q&A session. You can submit questions before the event if you cannot attend or if you just prefer to ask questions online.

Any questions not answered on the day will be answered later on the Intranet and the link will be shared with you in Tū ki te tahi. 

To access, go to, code: staffforum

Communications and Events   

Nuggets of wellbeing wisdom nuggets from Mentemia – Pillar 1: Chill

How are you feeling? Chill is the way we train our body to relax after stress. Very important! How do we relax? You can’t be stressed and relaxed at the same time – we seesaw between these two systems, but you can kick in the relaxation or ‘rest and digest’ system with these simple techniques: Actions

  • Breathe into the belly – this sends a signal to the amygdala (alert system) to stand down
  • Be present to the present

Thoughts and emotions

  • Put feelings into words
  • Develop an action plan
  • Learn that feeling uncomfortable sometimes is OK
  • Grounding ourselves – for example, stretch your arms above your head and plant your feet on the floor.

Find more short and sweet activities on the Mentemia app. Find out more about Chill here: The 6 Pillars: Chill on Vimeo Dr Fiona Crichton’s webinar made sense of Mentemia’s value for UC staff. If you missed it, you can watch the video here. Dr Crichton, a research psychologist, explained the research behind the app’s seemingly simple activities and reminders. Each activity is evidence-based and very effective in addressing chronic stress, especially for very busy people. No matter how full your schedule is, you will benefit from even a 2-minute wellbeing activity. You can download the app from your phone’s app store. Stuck? Don’t stress! Read more here: Mentemia | University of Canterbury Next blog: Pillar 2 – Do

Nuggets of wellbeing wisdom – introduction from the Mentemia launch – blog 1#

We launched Mentemia last month with an online webinar by Mentemia’s psychologist Dr Fiona Crichton. You were invited, but you may have been to busy to  join, which is exactly why you need to make the most of Mentemia’s wellbeing resources!

Just for you, I’ll summarise the Mentemia launch and each of the six pillars of wellbeing in a series of blogs to help you access wellbeing as simply and quickly as possible.

Or you can watch the webinar (45mins) here: University of Canterbury – Mentemia Staff Launch (

What is Mentemia?
• A workplace wellbeing platform/phone-based app
• Evidence-based, effective resources in bite-sized activities that everyone can add into their day
• Proactive tools based on the ‘six pillars of wellbeing’ to help you not just cope with stress, but thrive.

With a background in science and academia, Dr Crichton understands the unique university environment and the pressures on staff.

“You can’t look after others unless you are looking after yourself,” she reminded us.

She recommended that we integrate good habits and actions into our daily routines; not wait until we feel sad, stressed or overwhelmed. Just do one small thing from each pillar every day. It only takes a minute – literally.

Here’s a handy acronym:
Look after you – prioritise your own wellbeing
Experiment – find out what works for you
Adapt – change it up when needed
Develop habits – build small actions into your day

Dr Crichton recapped the physiology of stress, starting with the brain. As many of you will well know, but it’s worth remembering, the amygdala keeps us safe, and constantly scans the environment for danger. However, it has no context so it can’t differentiate between a thought, a memory or a new thing in the environment – they can all be perceived as threats.

The amygdala tells the hypothalamus to send out stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, and we all know how that goes – muscles tense for flight, fight or freeze, digestion shuts down, immunity is compromised, etc. All this happens before the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) has a chance to assess the situation and tell the amygdala to stand down.

Good stress/bad stress – some stress enhances performance; chronic stress impairs health and happiness.

What to do?

Dr Crichton says we want to encourage good connections between the PFC and the amygdala. We can train our body to relax following flight or fight, we can soothe an overactive amygdala and we adopt habits that help us stay calm in the first place – techniques that are all covered in the six pillars of wellbeing on the app.

In the next blog, I’ll look at Pillar 1 – Chill. For now, you can check out some ideas for a DOSE of feel good brain chemicals below.

Got something to add? Comments are welcome!

Download Mentemia now

Mentemia is also available to UC students – you might like to point your students towards the 6 Pillar videos on Vimeo.

Stay well,

Breeze from the Communications team.