Director of People Operations

Center for Global Development Director of People Operations
Location Washington, DC., United Stated
Application deadline 30 April 2022
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Salary $140,000 - $150,000 USD
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The Center for Global Development, is an independent, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC with a CGD Europe office in London.

The role

Seeking a Director of People Operations to lead the DC office’s human resources/people operations function, including recruiting, onboarding, compensation, benefits, employee relations, culture/DEI, performance management, organizational initiatives, internal communications around HR issues, HR technology and other people systems, workforce planning (in collaboration with CFO and other senior leaders), policy administration, retirement plan administration, and compliance. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of Administration, this is an excellent opportunity for an experienced, empathetic, HR expert to have a significant impact on CGD’s operations and mission in the field of international economic development.

Key roles and responsibilities

Human Resources/People Ops

  • Develop, implement, and drive key HR initiatives across the organization to support CGD’s talent and culture. Promote a rewarding, people-centric culture that aligns with organizational mission, vision, and goals.
  • Drive organizational effectiveness and change management, partnering to support new initiatives, significant policy changes, process improvements, adoption of new tools, and other key activities.
  • With the Assistant Director of Operations, manage and carry out a full range of HR processes and functions. Provide guidance and line management, while supporting the professional development of the AD to ensure a deep bench of people with expertise and service within the organization.
  • Ensure that recruiting processes are consistent, streamlined, and targeted toward a diverse applicant pool. Train colleagues on inclusive recruitment strategies to help produce a diverse candidate pool and work with leadership and directors on workforce planning and hiring needs. Line manage the recruitment function with one direct report.
  • Ensure equitable, transparent, and competitive compensation and benefits programs that incentivize and reward performance. Oversee performance management/annual review plans and processes.
  • Provide employee relations support to leadership, directors, and staff, counselling employees on work-related issues while interpreting and applying organizational policies.
  • Ensure all HR programs are effective and in compliance with local and national regulations. – Keep abreast of current guidelines, legislation and new regulations, as well as changes and trends in the field related to GDPR/data privacy, background screening programs, recruitment, employment law, FMLA, etc.
  • Recommend leadership improvement in policies, procedures, and programs to improve operations.
  • Oversee various technology platforms like HRIS, ATS, benefits administration technology, payroll (with AD), and retirement platforms.
  • Consult with legal counsel on employment matters as appropriate.
  • Participate in internal committees, working groups, and special projects.
  • Maintain a comprehensive approach for dealing with employee complaints or concerns.
  • Serve as a coach and mentor to staff, as appropriate, to improve performance. Conduct investigations when employee issues or concerns arise. Partner with the leadership team, external support, other staff, and/or legal counsel to resolve employee issues fairly, consistently, and expeditiously.

CGD Operations

  • Serve as the lead of the operations team, overseeing space planning, facilities, office administration/office services, and technology.
  • Partner with the Director of IT to ensure staff technology needs are met and IT team goals are aligned to organizational goals and strategy. The IT Director will report to the Director of People Operations.
  • Collaborate with wider operations team and leadership on COVID response and future work planning.

Experience and skills

The ideal candidate is:

  • An empathetic leader who can inspire confidence and build credibility within the team and the wider organization.
  • Able to zoom in and out frequently. On a given day, the Director might participate in strategic conversations which affect the entire organization and then pivot to an employee relations issue that might require 1:1 coaching and advising.
  • A true partner. Can work across every function to solve people operations issues. Effective at collaborating both remote and in-person, with colleagues in DC and London.
  • A true generalist. Has broad experience and in-depth knowledge in all functional areas of HR, with specialized expertise in at least two.
  • Has an established network of HR peers upon which to draw. This should include networks of DEI practitioners, facilitators, and/or experts.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity. The incumbent must be able to gather and synthesize input from a range of others that might be contradictory, unclear, or reflect divergent priorities and make sense of the way forward, then guide a process that builds consensus and get results.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum of 8 years of experience
  • Experience managing a team, including other HR and/or operations professionals
  • Exceptional writing and communication skills
  • Poise, confidence, discretion required
  • Experience partnering with a wide range of internal constituents including leadership, board members, managers, associates, early-career colleagues, and interns.
  • Proficiency with Office365, applicant tracking systems (ATS), HRIS, onboarding, and performance management tools
  • Excellent follow-through and attention to detail, with the ability to track and manage multiple critical initiatives
  • Bonus points for experience with evaluation, selection, and implementation of a PEO with a global partnership (ADP for example).