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Chief People Officer

Washington, DC, USA | Non Profit Organization

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Human Resources
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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As a member of the Executive Team, the Chief People Officer (CPO) leads Mercy Corps’ human capital work across the organization. As a trusted advisor and support to the CEO and executive leadership team, the CPO is responsible for optimizing all human resources activities and will lead significant people initiatives that impact organizational growth, strategy implementation, and cultural transformation across the organization. The CPO will be responsible for overseeing the functional units of the People Team and will work in close partnership with the Executive Team and Global Senior Leadership. The CPO will lead the People Team in engaging across the organization to champion a people culture grounded in our commitment to create an inclusive, psychologically safe and accountable work environment where every voice is respected and heard, as well as champion our commitments to addressing systemic racism in our People systems, and diversity, equity, inclusion more broadly. 

We are seeking a CPO that will think globally, be collaborative, role model inclusive and growth-minded leadership, build strong teams, problem-solve and have a solutions-focused approach. The CPO must bea systems thinker, who can help senior management handle the array of people challenges that might arise in the complex environments where we work and in a fully matrixed organization. The role also requires a doer, who is capable of rolling up their sleeves to execute solutions and operate a strategic People function. 

Responsibilities & Transferable Skills: 

Leadership & Culture

Role model, create and sustain a diverse and inclusive work culture where all team members are supported and can thrive

Preserve a culture of trust, transparency, safeguarding, diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization

Recruit, develop, and mentor People Team Leadership to ensure healthy team dynamics and work in strong collaboration

Strategy & Vision

Develop and implement human resources strategies that align with the overall mission and vision of the organization, resulting in innovative, best practices and policies that will service the full range of Mercy Corps’ People-related needs and help build a high-performing equitable and inclusive culture of learning, accountability, transparency and collaboration.

Optimize the People function/team, modernize and refine key processes and activities aligned toward achieving strategic objectives.

Work in close collaboration with Mercy Corps Europe Interim Executive Director and HR Director to ensure alignment of People Team priorities.

Partner with senior leaders throughout the organization to proactively address critical HR and complex people management, GDI, and safeguarding issues (individuals and teams) and where needed, co-design interventions through insightful, innovative thinking and problem solving.

Ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion is not only prioritized as a People-team priority but also support its integration across other pillars of Mercy Corps.

Provide strategic guidance on special People-related initiatives HR analytics & reporting, talent reviews, training, change management, organizational design, diversity and inclusion, and safeguarding prevention-related efforts

Use data to drive decision making and transparency Human Capital Operations 

People Team Operations

Ensure People Systems are high functioning, driving workflow efficiencies, data, and insights on our global team to drive strategic people conversations throughout the global organization. 

Lead all Safeguarding efforts to ensure the safety of Mercy Corps team members and project participants.

Ensure that the GDI priority is adequately resourced and prioritized across the People Team as necessary

Respond to the HR demands of a global, highly matrixed organization with geographically distributed field offices; oversee the articulation of global HR policy at the country and regional level.

Proactively manage resource allocation and maintain a competitive approach to recruiting and assimilating high-potential talent throughout the world. 

Advise on people programs and processes to enhance talent attraction, retention, development, and succession and ensure a strong employer brand by focusing efforts on the diversity of our global team.

Through the support and leadership of the Global Total Rewards Manager, effectively transition, communicate, and manage changes to team member benefit plans and equitable global compensation.

Ensure overall total rewards (compensation & benefits) policies and practices enable Mercy Corps to attract and retain the best global talent possible and according to local market conditions.

Procure financial and human resources by executive-level advocacy to ensure successful implementation of Mercy Corps' global people priorities. 

Oversee the team member Well Being agenda for Mercy Corps, ensuring that policies, systems and support infrastructure is in place to help team members thrive in situations of day-day stress as well as in extremis.

Influence & Representation

Lead the department communication strategy in order to mainstream equitable compensation changes.

Maintain relationships with senior leaders to craft responsive and relevant HR policies and broader People-related processes and practices reflecting ongoing changes in countries' conditions by examining how those contextual changes impact staff.

Serve as a thought leader and key spokesperson in international development and human resources forums, internally and externally; lead efforts to capture and diffuse innovations, best practices and lessons learned, and create opportunities and incentives for knowledge sharing.

Partner with country leadership to build outstanding People functions everywhere Mercy Corps works to ensure all global people priorities are delivered at the highest possible standard in every location.

Communicate and uphold the organization's values and ensure that they come through in all key initiatives and people-oriented decisions


People Team Functions:Global HR, Global Talent, Safeguarding, Learning, People Systems and Analytics, Gender Diversity & Inclusion, Global Total Rewards

Reports Directly To: Chief Executive Officer

Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Europe Executive Director & HR Director, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Sr. VP of Program, Executives, Regional Directors

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


Bachelor's degree required, MA preferred

Minimum of 10+ years of experience in human resources management and related functions

Track record of leading large and complex human capital teams

Strong leadership skills with the ability to develop, manage and inspire others

Understanding of systems and data used to support a high functioning People/HR department

Ability to problem solve in stressful crisis and emergency situations and complex environments

Ability to maintain strict confidentiality of sensitive information

Established ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing, in a multicultural, face-to-face and virtual environment and with all levels of the organization. 

Strong customer focus and understanding of how to deliver and communicate new ideas and change

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