Senior Human Resources Business Partner

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is seeking a Senior Human Resources Business Partner to join the People Operations team. This position is an individual contributor and is responsible for providing exceptional service through operational and strategic partnerships with supervisors, department administrators/leaders, as well as senior administration including complex employee and employment related matters and programs.  This role is responsible for the people-focused side of People Operations and the connection with the business side of department and Institution operations, responsible for establishing and enhancing these relationships, with particular focus on DEI and Workplace Climate goals. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for benefits. The successful candidate will play an important role which provides full-cycle talent-related services to departments, employees, managers, affiliates, foreign nationals, and other partners at WHOI. This is a hybrid work arrangement.


The Senior HRBP is a trusted service provider to employees, people managers, affiliates, foreign-nationals, and other partners, including Chairs and Department Administrators and other leaders within WHOI. This is a generalist position requiring accountability and ownership in the execution of the following functional areas of People Operations: 


  • Employee Relations
    • Coach people managers to handle complex employee and employment matters
    • Facilitate difficult and challenging conversations to achieve conflict resolution and closure recommendations
    • Manage Job Performance issues
    • Workplace Investigation Management
  • Foreign National Advisory and related programs
  • On-Boarding and Off-Boarding Programs
  • Organizational Development, including Succession Planning
  • Policy Guidance and Employment Law Compliance
  • Continual Process Improvement

As a member of the People Operations team, the Senior HRBP participates in day-to-day collaboration with all functions within the team and brings a positive solution-oriented approach to work, assisting in whatever types of tasks and projects may be assigned to support the team’s mission.  The expectation is that the individual in this position will exercise independent thinking, work with a sense of urgency, and be able to plan and execute complex projects with little guidance. Furthermore, this position will serve as a mentor to other members on the team.

Essential Functions

Provide consultative guidance and coaching to managers and employees on people operations-related matters, ensuring alignment with institutional policies, goals, and objectives. Regularly meet with administrative leaders of departments as assigned and coordinate activities of recruiters as required. Conduct new employee orientation meetings to welcome and ensure an inclusive environment. Conduct off-boarding to ensure understanding of reasons for departing employees and incorporate findings into future work for the team. Strategize and implement organizational development, workforce or succession planning, training, and performance management strategies. Assist in recruiting and in all aspects of administration of programs as needed.

  • Foster a “trusted advisor” relationship, establishing strong working relationships throughout the Institution with a customer service-orientated philosophy
  • Serve as the point-of-contact for assigned departmental employees and managers for employee relations matters, regularly meeting, using good judgement to triage and elevate issues appropriately and in a timely manner within the department and with General Counsel office as appropriate.
  • Support the Chief People Officer on EEO-related matters and other Department initiatives
  • Own and continuously improve the Onboarding and Off-Boarding programs including conducting new employee orientations and off-boarding/exit interviews
  • Function as a problem solver and change agent whenever appropriate and possible
  • Work effectively with Department Administrators and leaders of assigned departments/teams
  • Ensure effective coordination of workflow and communication with candidates and hiring managers with recruiters to ensure DEI recruitment goals are met
  • Manage WHOI’s Dual Career Program, utilizing available resources to assist in job search for a partner of a newly hired employee or affiliate
  • Collaborate with the Compensation team and stakeholders in the Institution on job descriptions and related compensation strategies, ensuring appropriate leveling in the process, including desk audits
  • Ensure key stakeholders in the Institution are kept current on employee related issues
  • Share in the responsibility to maintain compliance with our Affirmative Action Plan including proper collection and integrity of critical recruitment and EEO data, reporting and reconciliation of plan data, and the execution of goals associated with our Affirmative Action Plan requirements
  • Ensure compliance with all state and federal employment laws and regulations (e.g., EEO, FMLA, ADA, and FLSA.) 
  • Support non-employment appointment programs as required (i.e. Students, Guest Investigator, Adjunct Scientist, Guest Student) while working with the Academic Programs Office, Deputy Director & Vice President for Research Office and People Operations team
  • Manage all personnel related audits partnering with Finance and Administration


Non-Essential Functions:

Performs other duties as required.

Education & Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 5+ years of increasing responsibility in an HR Generalist/Business Partner capacity
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident status as well as pass a background check to satisfy the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State to serve as an Alternate Responsible Officer for the Institution’s Exchange Visitor Program
  • Prepare professional correspondence and documentation
  • Must work effectively, ethically, and tactfully with international constituents, government agencies, and both internal/external personnel of all levels
  • Must be highly computer literate and easily learn new software
  • Must exercise excellent judgment, discretion and ensure a high level of confidentiality
  • Attention to detail is critical, as well as ability to multi-task and be adaptive
  • Must be known as a proactive individual who takes initiative and successfully contributes to help create a positive team environment
  • Experience in a Not-for-Profit Organization, University, Scientific Research, and/or Research institution is preferred
  • Training as Mediator highly desirable
  • Training in Workplace Investigations highly desirable
  • Previous experience administering a foreign national program is highly desirable


Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to: occasional standing and/or walking along with being mostly and continuously sedentary.  Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Physical duties are subject to change. All are welcome to apply.


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