Director, People Operations

Director, People Operations

Director, People Operations

Director, People Operations

March 16, 2023
New York, New York
Position type
Experience (minimum)
10+ Years
Education (minimum)
Travel required?
Base salary (minimum)
Not specified


Helen Keller Intl

Job Announcement

 Director, People Operations

New York, NY preferred

Other locations in the US or countries where Helen Keller has a presence will be considered


Guided by the remarkable legacy of its co-founder, Helen Keller, Helen Keller Intl partners with communities striving to overcome longstanding cycles of poverty.  By delivering the essential building blocks of good health, sound nutrition and clear vision, we help millions of people create lasting change in their own lives.  Working in more than 20 countries – across Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States – and together with a global community of supporters, we are ensuring every person has the opportunity – as Helen did – to reach their true potential.


Helen Keller is seeking a Director, People Operations to optimize our policies and processes in support of a positive and inclusive workplace culture and to ensure a strong and stable infrastructure to sustain organizational growth.


The ideal candidate will share our view that how we work with and treat one another, and how we interact with our donors, partners and clients are essential to both a healthy workplace culture and to positive program outcomes.


Functional Relationships

Reporting to the Vice President, People & Culture, the Operations Director is a senior member of the global People & Culture department who will partner with global colleagues from other departments who support our field projects to ensure alignment and appropriate adaptation of all People & Culture policies, procedures and systems to each country office and program portfolio.


The Director will directly supervise a US-based team of professional level staff and serve as a subject matter expert to global colleagues requiring support, as well as on cross-departmental working groups. S/he will also engage and supervise consultants and other vendors, as assigned.


Helen Keller has a matrixed reporting structure. Regular communication and a spirit of teamwork among colleagues, both hierarchically and laterally are essential to make this structure thrive.


Scope of the Position

The Director serves as a leader on the global People & Culture team, contributing to the annual HR & Culture risk assessment and the development of Helen Keller’s strategic People & Culture and human resources management plans with a specific focus on benefits procurement and administration, compensation design and analysis, payroll administration, HR systems and their integration into enterprise-wide systems, and compliance.


The Director will lead the continuous improvement of US-specific and global HR systems.

In addition, the position will direct People Operations for all US-paid staff, including US domestic employees, US expatriates, and international hires from other countries assigned to work outside their home countries, and will serve as a subject matter expert on people operations to our country offices, in partnership with regional leadership.


This position supports management to understand and comply with relevant internal and external policies, laws and regulations. To be an effective partner, the incumbent must seek to understand and support the organizational business model and program objectives.


S/he will be a client-focused resource providing operations support to build and cultivate a high-performance, ethical team culture that reflects our organizational values of rigor, integrity, grit and compassion to better fulfill our mission.


This position will ideally be based at the New York City office (on a hybrid basis), with occasional field travel to the country offices.


Specific Responsibilities


As a member of the global People & Culture department

  • Foster and contribute to efforts to apply a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens to all aspects of people management.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, both individually and on organization-wide workgroups to develop and roll-out organization-wide policy, procedure and systems changes.
  • Participate in the continuous reflection and improvement on policies and practices related to compensation and benefits including, but not limited to: job analysis; survey participation; job matching; building harmonized salary scales; benefits gap analysis; and communicating effectively about our practices.
  • Participate actively in the HR Community of Practice. Coordinate and/or lead sessions, as requested.
  • Cross-train on and back-up the duties of colleagues, providing surge support where and when needed.


As the lead for People Operations

  • Lead the development of an annual people operations work plan that sets priorities for projects that align with the organizational and departmental strategy.
  • Delegate authority, consult with, and guide staff to achieve goals and contribute to an atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development.
  • Model collaboration for your matrixed team: effectively consult and inform colleagues to maximize efficiency and knowledge sharing and integrate guidance and direction from subject matter experts in your office and elsewhere in the global organization to maximize performance.

For Global staff

  • Lead efforts at the continuous improvement of software systems and data quality to provide efficient daily HR administration and reporting to inform management decisions.
  • Liaise with VP, Information & Operations systems and team to integrate new and existing HR systems and reporting tools into enterprise-wide systems work.
  • Collaborate with VP to produce reports for the HR & Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Consult on efforts to ensure procurement of benefits that meet our minimum standards across all our country offices.

For US-based staff and international assignees

  • Lead the procurement of benefits and recommend changes to ensure our package is well suited to attract and retain staff.
  • Participate in and analyze salary surveys and lead collaborative process to regularly review and update salary scale designed to attract and retain talent.
  • Keep abreast of changes to labor laws and trends in our INGO sector. Ensure our policies and handbooks are kept up to date and that changes are effectively communicated to our colleagues.
  • Liaise with labor counsel and tax experts, as needed to gain insight, and troubleshoot matters arising.
  • Partner with Director, Talent Management on fair and consistent interpretation and application of all policies. Consult and offer guidance on job grades and salaries.
  • Supervise team to ensure timely, high-quality administration and communication of payroll and benefits throughout the employee life cycle, and to troubleshoot matters arising.
  • Ensure all processes are thoroughly documented and staff are cross-trained to ensure redundancy of critical processes.
  • Manage compliance of retirement savings plans: liaise with co-fiduciary, compliance and audit vendors.
  • Liaise with Finance department on payroll processes to ensure proper segregation of duties, timely filing of taxes, validate reconciliation of tax compliance, payroll audits, etc.
  • Liaise with Business Development and Grants & Contracts to provide documentation needed for our donors and ensure alignment of our policies with donor expectations.
  • Liase with and provide data to vendor who prepares our EEO filing and Affirmative Action Plan.

For staff in our project offices

  • Partner with the regional People & Culture leads to support country program leadership and Human Resources staff to build a highly effective HR function in each place we work, manage each office effectively and cultivate a positive work environment. Collaborate to:
    • Harmonize People & Culture practices with Helen Keller global standards and guidelines while observing all local labor laws.
    • Advise and assist in the interpretation and implementation Helen Keller policies and procedures. Introduce new or revised policies.
    • Ensure understanding and compliance with host country labor and tax laws.
    • Ensure handbooks, recruitment guidelines, reglements interieurs, etc. are regularly reviewed, updated as needed and carefully adhered to.
    • Conduct at least semi-annual compensation analysis.
    • Analyze and recommend annual salary increase to keep pace with the local market;
    • Lead quality control of data in and usage of HR systems and reporting tools.


Required Skills/Abilities

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. French language skills a strong plus.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including active listening skills, the ability to communicate effectively across cultures, and to negotiate effectively with internal and external colleagues.
  • Ability to comprehend, interpret and apply the appropriate sections of applicable laws, guidelines, regulations, ordinances, and policies.
  • Ability to acquire a thorough understanding of the organization’s hierarchy, jobs, qual-ifications, compensation practices, and the administrative practices related to those factors.
  • Demonstrated interest in development / public health programs and an understanding of the synergy between the programmatic, operational, and financial components of development programs strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to partner with senior managers to address HR needs, and to effectively coach and mentor staff.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the application of information technology to this type of work including a variety of HR systems, and Microsoft Office Suite or equivalent, including Excel.
  • Pro-active learning, keeping abreast of current and changing HR trends and practices
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team including ability to prioritize workload, assume responsibility for work, and follow through to completion.
  • Collaborative, flexible and solution-oriented. An ability to maintain balance when under stress.
  • Demonstrable respect for all persons regardless of religion, ethnicity, class or gender, with a high comfort level working in a diverse environment with a demonstrated commitment to high professional ethical standards.
  • Personal commitment to Helen Keller’s mission and goals and the values embodied by Helen Keller Intl’s co-founder, Helen Keller: compassion, grit, rigor and optimism.
  • Ability and willingness to flex work hours to accommodate multiple time zones, and to travel when need be.
  • Ability to undertake international and field travel (approximately 5%). Please note that all US staff must be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and all staff must be up to date in order to travel internationally.


Education and Experience

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum of 10 years directly relevant HR experience in an international organization, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Working knowledge of multiple HR disciplines for both US domestic and international employees including compensation practices, benefits procurement and administration, HR systems and relevant employment laws.
  • Experience in a multi-national/multi-cultural organization, including experience supporting the HR function for international assignees. Experience supporting HR in more than one country strongly preferred.
  • Experience in a non-profit and general knowledge of the rules and regulations pertaining to donor funded projects, a strong plus.


The midpoint of the salary range for this position is $132,500 with a minimum of $106,000 and a maximum of $159,000.

Actual base salary may vary based upon, but not limited to, relevant experience, base salary of internal peers, and business sector.

To Apply

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to .  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


In the spirit of our founder and namesake, Helen Keller is dedicated to

building an inclusive workforce where diversity in all its forms is fully valued.


We are an Equal Opportunity Employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities.  If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need to request an accommodation during the application or interview process, please contact us at the email above or call: +1 646-356-1789.

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