Neil Morrison: Industry events and publications help to develop careers

Neil Morrison, HR director at Random House, uses industry events to develop his career and keep informed about industry changes.

These include conferences run by the Corporate Research Forum, of which Random House is a member.“They are fantastic, both in terms of research and thinking, and also in terms of networking and sharing ideas,” he says.

Morrison also believes social media platforms and online blogs are great tools for HR and benefits professionals to develop their knowledge.

He is a big fan of online blogs by industry professionals.

“It’s about being mindful of industry issues,” he says. “A lot of the insight helps professionals form their own opinions.

“It’s not about just picking ideas up and dropping them in [to my own organisation], but providing a different perspective on, for example, employment relations that may make me think about something I’m doing, or something around a particular incentivisation scheme that might make me question, in my organisation, what would be right for me.”

Morrison favours US thinkers, such as Laurie Ruettimann, HR professional and speaker, and editor of online blog “She really writes challenging things,” he says.

“More people make a career out of HR and benefits in the US and, therefore, they feel more confident to challenge the status quo. A lot of the British scene is quite safe, and where [professionals] try not to be safe, it’s like dads dancing at a party: it’s all a bit samey.”

Morrison says employers can help to evolve the current status quo in the UK HR and benefits industry by encouraging their staff to innovate.

But he also thinks employees need to take responsibility for their own career development, and ensure they continuously read a wide range of industry literature.

“New benefits recruits should seek a range of sources of industry thinking, both established and independent,” he says. “Independent voices can be as informative as established media.

“It’s important to understand the macro-economic climate via the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Confederation of British Industry, but it’s also interesting to pick up individual voices via blogs, articles or networking.”