Harvard University — Director of Human Resources

Harvard University

Director of Human Resources
Harvard Kennedy School

Job Code
H0460M HR Generalist Management VI

Job-Specific Responsibilities
The Director of Human Resources is a member of a high-performing team of colleagues providing a broad range of HR services with a focus on service excellence, solutions-oriented approaches to problems, flexibility, and innovation for the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) community. We seek an experienced HR professional who is driven by developing creative and innovative programs and solutions, is collaborative and thrives on building relationships, and has an entrepreneurial spirit. We are committed to creating and fostering an inclusive culture and community and we seek candidates who share our commitment.

Reporting to and in collaboration with the HKS Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), the Director will take a leadership role in the planning and execution of key HR initiatives and functions that support the school community. The Director should have demonstrated expertise in HR practices and initiatives, including diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. We work in a decentralized structure and we must balance and integrate local and university-wide initiatives, programs and policies.

Key areas and responsibilities for the Director include, but are not necessarily limited to:

Diversity Inclusion and Belonging and Title IX

  • Plays a lead role in diversity, inclusion and belonging initiative, working closely with community partners, including the HKS Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, to develop and deliver strategic, responsive, and effective human resources services and strategies intended to develop and foster an inclusive community that attracts, respects, and supports a diverse, inclusive, anti-racist community.
  • Serves as the Title IX Resource Coordinator for staff and fellows, responding to disclosures of sexual and gender-based harassment and other sexual misconduct within the HKS community; partners with other Title IX Coordinators across the University; partners with the Central Office for Gender Equity as needed and ensure trainings are conducted for the staff and fellows at HKS; participates in providing annual trainings for fellows and new staff as needed.

HR Programs and Communications

  • Responsible for the design, and coordination of a wide variety of workforce programs and initiatives, such as performance management, employee engagement, rewards and recognition, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Develops clear and concise communication to all key stakeholders regarding HR programs, policies, processes, and initiatives.
  • Identifies needs and develops/coordinates training for the staff community to enhance and build skills for managers and employees.
  • Assists with and manages investigations and the resolution of escalated employee relations issues; mediate disputes as needed.

HR Operations

  • Represents the school and CHRO at university-wide meetings and committees and serves as local project lead as requested; advises and ensures CHRO is informed in decision making as needed.
  • Manages HRIS Manager and provides direction regarding HR administrative and operations functions to three additional HR support staff.
  • Identifies and analyzes key HR data and metrics to inform overall HR strategy.
  • Interprets and communicates policies; ensures compliance and evaluates and advises on options and solutions; makes recommendations for approaches and alternatives.
  • Shares responsibility for other operational aspects of the office including HR initiatives in employee engagement, policy development, reward and recognition, performance management, career development, and training. Leads and/or partners with colleagues and other offices on special projects as needed.

Typical Core Duties

  • Responsible for effective staff management for a group or team of employees, including hiring and orientation, training and development, workflow and performance management, and the promotion of an inclusive and innovative work environment
  • Build relationships with senior business leaders to understand needs and develop/deliver tailored HR programs and processes
  • Contribute to the business strategy by helping senior leaders to identify, prioritize and build organizational capabilities
  • Establish and implement short and long-range goals and services to support key local and university objectives
  • Provide strategic human resources consulting services; develop, deliver and manage a full range of HR programs for multiple organizational units
  • Address a wide range of complex problems and assist in the resolution of escalated employee relations issues and mediate disputes
  • Provide expert advice and coaching to employees and managers
  • Collaborate with senior HR leadership to ensure appropriate level of resources as work/projects peak and flow
  • Identify opportunities for program and process improvement
  • Design and implement effective performance management to create and sustain a high performance workforce
  • Represent the school/unit at the university level and to external constituencies
  • May collaborate with a centralized HR function to provide service
  • Ensure compliance with University Human Resources policies, procedures, and requirements and applicable legal regulations

Basic Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or equivalent work experience required
  • Minimum of 10 years’ relevant HR experience
  • Supervisory experience

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Minimum of 10 years’ relevant work experience in a multi-discipline Human Resources environment, including demonstrated experience in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Must be solutions-oriented and flexible with a creative approach to problem solving.
  • Ability to engage, inspire and influence people.
  • Strong negotiation skills and the ability to conduct difficult/sensitive conversation successfully.
  • Solid grasp and knowledge of employment and labor laws/regulations, Title IX, and anti-discrimination policies and processes.
  • Presentation skills and the ability to develop and deliver relevant, effective training programs to broad audiences.
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate relationships and work collaboratively and cross-functionally with all levels of employees, providing excellent customer service.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (including advanced MS Excel) and HRIS applications and analytics tools.
  • SHRM or HRCI certification preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience with the administration of bargaining unit policies and procedures.

Additional Information

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.
Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks.
Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

Please note: This is an in-person/on-campus position based in Cambridge, MA, with possible flexible work options.
Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement and exceptions may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage: http://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-information/.

Salary Range: $109,200-$193,000
Note: Starting salaries typically fall in the lower half of the salary range; however, they are ultimately determined by the scope of the position, the candidate’s relevant experience, and internal equity.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership-because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.
Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
Harvard Kennedy School’s mission is to improve public policy and leadership so people can live in societies that are more safe, free, just, and sustainably prosperous. Our teaching, research, and engagement with practitioners focus on these priorities:

  • Protecting security, freedom, and human rights
  • Strengthening democracy
  • Advancing social justice
  • Increasing economic well-being
  • Enhancing sustainability
  • Improving public leadership and management

You can be part of this endeavor. Explore and learn more about Harvard Kennedy School.

Harvard offers a generous benefits package including:

  • Time Off: 3- 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
  • Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
  • Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.
  • Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation and complimentary health services.
    Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

Certificates and Licenses

  • SHRM or HRCI certification preferred.

Working Conditions

  • Work is performed in an office setting.

Job Function
Human Resources

Sub Unit

USA – MA – Cambridge

Office of Human Resources

Time Status

00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.


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