Global Human Resources and Operations Director

 

Innovations for Poverty Action

Global Human Resources and Operations Director

New Haven, Connecticut

 

Summary


Innovations for Poverty Action is expanding its team, creating a Global Human Resources and Operations Director position to work closely with the Managing Director to build, improve and manage the organization’s global human resources, IT and administration systems.

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) applies rigorous research techniques to develop and test solutions to real-world problems faced by the poor in developing countries.  IPA operates on the belief that innovative action driven by evidence of what works accelerates the eradication of global poverty.  IPA partners with frontline organizations to develop and test solutions to poverty through randomized evaluations.  Combining technical rigor, immediate policy interest, and solid grounding in the needs of the poor, IPA’s work helps practitioners better allocate their resources and improve their operations.  For more information about IPA, please visit: www.poverty-action.org

The Global Human Resources and Operations Director will work directly with the senior management team and country directors to develop and implement human resource policies and procedures adequate to meet the complex needs of staff and consultants locally and internationally.  In addition, s/he will assess and further develop the global technology and administrative needs of the organization.  This is an exceptional opportunity for an entrepreneurial and sophisticated human resources and administration professional with the drive and determination to apply deep technical know-how towards eliminating poverty internationally.

 

About IPA

Founded in 2002 by Yale Economics professor Dean Karlan, IPA’s associated researchers are scholars at several leading universities, including Yale, MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, Princeton and Dartmouth.  In the last eight years, IPA has grown to approximately 500 employees and local staff, with nearly 358 projects (56 of which are completed) in 43 countries including the United States.

Innovations for Poverty Action aims to fill two voids that currently exist in development work: insufficient evaluation of what works -- and why -- in poverty reduction, and insufficient use of research results to develop and scale effective interventions.  To fill these gaps, IPA employs social science tools, mainly from economics, psychology, political science and public health, to design and test programs that adapt to the local context and to the real behaviors of people.  Using research results to identify effective interventions, IPA disseminates lessons to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors around the world.  IPA’s funding has grown from $4 million in 2007 to almost $30 million in 2010, reflecting significant grants awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the Hewlett Foundation and, the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

To achieve its goals, the organization’s primary objectives are as follows:

  • Innovate: Develop innovative solutions to poverty and policy problems worldwide.  Use frontier knowledge from economics, psychology and public health. 
  • Evaluate:  Conduct randomized controlled trials to evaluate public policies.  This provides the highest quality and most reliable answers to what works and what does not.  Our evaluations seek to generate insight into why particular strategies work – not just whether they work – so as to make the findings useful for scale – up and replication in other settings and countries. 
  • Replicate:  Replicate evaluations in multiple settings.  We can learn from one evaluation but we can learn much more about what to do after seeing replications of similar interventions in multiple settings, and learn when ideas work best, and when they do not.
  • Communicate:  Communicate lessons to donors and implementers.  The ultimate aim of IPA is to help resources be allocated effectively.  The communication strategy targets both donors, to help guide them to programs and ideas that have been proven effective, as well as to organizations, to help guide their programming decisions towards more effective ideas and implementation strategies.  We do this through non-technical communication on individual studies and sets of studies, as well as through synthesis articles and conversations that frame key policy issues and present reliable evidence to help guide development practitioners, policymakers, investors and donors towards better decisions and allocation of resources. 
  • Scale: Scale-up of effective solutions.  This includes hands-on technical assistance or direct implementation if appropriate, as well as extensive communication and advocacy efforts. 

 

Since its inception, IPA has contributed to or directly managed approximately 335 evaluations and has worked with the staff of more than 40 development organizations to design rigorous research projects.  IPA has attracted financial support from a diverse group of funders indicating broad support of its mission and capacity to address key challenges facing developing countries.

IPA’s work relies on a remarkable team of staff, consultants, researchers and partners.  Specifically, the team of approximately 500 is comprised of US-based IPA employees, US-based contractors, US citizens working in country offices, US consultants working abroad, non-US citizens working in a country that is not their country of origin, and non-US citizens working in a country that is not their country of origin as consultants.  In the US, professionals work as support staff, research support staff, and project based staff.  Staff in the field support country offices generally or individual research projects.  To further complicate the HR function, IPA has a fairly unique management structure – almost all staff have two supervisors to allow researchers to focus on the technical aspects of their projects and free them of administrative burdens.  IPA’s commitment to quality research requires an organizational oversight and systematic approach to policies and procedures that the HR Director will have to assess, upgrade and implement.  With a culture driven by a service mentality and adherence to high quality standards, IPA staff and consultants are deeply committed to the organization’s mission and this position will serve as a critical part of IPA’s infrastructure.

 

About the Global Human Resources and Operations Director

The role of the Global Human Resources and Operations Director will be to address the myriad needs of the organization’s internal stakeholders and external research affiliates.  Because the organization is complex, and because it has grown rapidly, all HR, administrative, and IT systems need to be assessed and potentially upgraded to ensure that the needs of employees and consultants, (both logistical needs and fundamental safety concerns) are taken care of.  A strategic thinker and a team player, the Director will work collaboratively to understand and assess key components of the policies and procedures within the organization and recommend upgrades with both the big picture and the affected individuals in mind.  S/he will be called upon to analyze past processes, identify areas requiring improvement, contribute as a thought-partner to developing infrastructure moving forward, ensuring efficient communication, and most importantly, implement the new practices. 

A strategic and seasoned executive, the Director will work on myriad human resources, administration and policy needs including, but not limited to: 

  • Play an advisory role to the larger strategic planning within the organization, including advise on provisions specific to US and international employment laws, tax issues related to operating in a variety of countries and contexts, and other country registration issues especially as they relate to human resources;
  • Assist in the development of HR frameworks around the world;
  • Research and recommend appropriate cost of living adjustments globally and determine appropriate fringe benefits rates;
  • Manage safety and security policies globally factoring in cultural and regional differences and realities;
  • Head up working groups associated with HR including the Managing Director, legal counsel, country directors, finance/payroll team members, and IT as necessary;
  • Advise on the structure of the HR department and the HR staff as the organization grows;
  • Oversee payroll, salary, benefits, fringe, and reimbursement and retirement policies;
  • Review and develop new employee offers and comprehensive onboarding processes;
  • Oversee the development of an employee performance review process;
  • Set up procedures for assisting staff with acquiring appropriate work permits in developing countries as new offices open and new employees/contractors are brought into existing country offices;
  • Oversee maintenance and tracking of personnel files and employee records;
  • Recruit and track interns.

 

In overseeing Information Technology, the Director will: 

  • Supervise the operation and expansion of the IPA network;
  • Oversee the supply process for all technology related;
  • Assess the needs of country office networks and establish proper infrastructure and support;
  • Manage the operation and expansion of the IPA email network;
  • Analyze SharePoint and other internal tools and determine the highest and best use of and enhancements to relevant technologies;
  • Oversee the development of US and field office IT policies, ensuring adequate infrastructure for necessary communications globally.

 

In overseeing general administration, the Director will:

  • Assess needs for office space in the US and in field locations;
  • Assist in the development of internal administrative procedures for US and field offices including basic procurement guidelines;
  • Provide advice on the development of services for projects that involve scaling up proven interventions and/or delivering assistance directly to beneficiaries as part of a research study.


Qualifications

This position requires a sophisticated forward thinking professional with the gravitas to manage the big picture and details, often simultaneously.  S/he will be devoted to the mission of IPA and be capable of thinking broadly and strategically about the organization’s current and evolving needs both domestically and internationally.  In addition, s/he will have many of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • Master degree (such as an MPA with strong emphasis on organizational management or an MBA), but a BA with significant and relevant work experience also may apply.   At least five years of human resources and administrative experience is required.  Preference will be given to candidates fluent with the challenges germane to global non-profits with country offices, particularly in developing countries.  The ideal candidate would have experience in setting up and managing country operations for a large non-profit in one or more developing countries.
  • Familiarity with US academic institutions is preferred; including experience interfacing with professors and Ph.D. level researchers who will have expectations that their basic needs will be met so that they may focus on research practices and processes.
  • An independent style and a capacity to research options for major organization-wide policies independently and then propose solutions are required.  Thorough and pragmatic analytical skills will be required to serve the organization’s complex needs. 
  • Management skills suitable for supervising, advising and overseeing a complex technology infrastructure.  Basic technical skills are required, but advanced capacity is not necessarily, rather the Director will need to oversee a staff of three serving the technology needs of the organization globally.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with proven ability to lead, develop, and mentor staff during organizational development and transitions.
  • An up-beat demeanor along with a sense of humor, a positive can-do attitude, and the humility to regularly incorporate the feedback of others into the work processes.
  • A love of cultural diversity and a comfort with and capacity to travel internationally is required.

 

To Apply

Please submit your resume along with a cover letter outlining your interest in this specific position to:  dberman@poverty-action.org with your first and last names in the subject line.  Please include your salary history and how you learned of this position in your cover letter.

 

Innovations for Poverty Action is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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