HR assumes more strategic role as publishers take people policies more seriously

HR is becoming an increasingly high-profile function in the book publishing industry, according to Rachel Stock, HR director at Random House Group.

“HR has historically been seen as an administrative function in publishing firms, which can be fairly unstructured and ad hoc. Creative people don’t necessarily appreciate a particularly formal way of working and they certainly don’t respond to corporate ‘HR-speak’. But the industry is changing,” Stock said.

Book publishing companies were starting to take issues such as diversity, pay and talent management more seriously, according to Stock, and HR itself is becoming more strategic as a result.

Random House, which counts Jilly Cooper and Terry Pratchett among its authors, implemented an online HR administrative system in 2000 and has since been able to focus more on adopting a business partner approach.

The firm, which employs 1,000 staff in the UK, has recently created a new role to focus on developing HR policies and establishing an online recruitment strategy for the group. The new recruit will report to Stock and work with a team of 13 HR practitioners.

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