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Craig Morris DistFHRNZ

What was your first role in HR, and what role do you currently have?

My first HR role was in Canada; it was shortly after University and I joined a large insurance company as a Recruiter. My current role is National People Manager for Coastguard New Zealand. 

What led you to a career in HR and the position that you are in currently?

My path to HR was a bit unusual in that I studied to become a zoologist, but took night courses in what was then called 'labour relations'. I found people more interesting than fish so pursued that as a career.  Over the years I was fortunate to gain more responsible positions in a wide range of industries and in the public sector.  When approaching retirement I wanted to join an organisation where I could be closer to all the people in the organisation and where I could make a difference. 

What do you enjoy about working in HR?

I enjoy all aspects of HR, although job classification inspires me less than other generalist areas.  Employment relations started my career in HR and continues to be the most enjoyable; finding outcomes to problems that are best for both sides of a situation is gratifying.

Are there any specific highlights of your career that you wish to share?

I have been fortunate to have 2 highlights that I am most proud of - in 2010 I was honoured to receive the HR Professional of the Year Supreme Award from HRINZ and when Chartered membership was introduced by HRNZ, I was appointed the Chair of the Chartered Member Assessment Panel.

What career advice would you give to someone early on in their career in HR?

My advice to people early in their career would be to see HR as a Profession rather than a job. Professions require integrity and compassion along with a balance between what is good for both an employer and an employee.  HR has a privileged position in good organisations and can influence positive outcomes for the business and its people.

Please describe your journey towards becoming a Distinguished Fellow. How was the experience?

My journey towards becoming a Distinguished Fellow was always pleasurable, from being a member, to President of Auckland Branch, to serving two terms on the Board of Directors, to volunteering to assist with projects. Being nominated for the status of Distinguished Fellow was unexpected, and being conferred is a real honour to be considered by one's peers as deserving.

Are there any goals or projects are you currently working towards/ working on, that you wish to share?

I am currently leading a project to make our 2,100+ volunteers at Coastguard's experience the best it can be. They are on call 24 hours a day every day to save lives at sea and they deserve the best appreciation we can offer.