Head of People and Culture (MAT Cover)

Start Network is made up of more than 50 aid agencies across five continents, ranging from large international organisations to national NGOs. Together, our aim is to transform humanitarian action through innovation, fast funding, early action, and localisation.

We're tackling what we believe are the biggest systemic problems that the sector faces. Problems including slow and reactive funding, centralised decision-making, and an aversion to change mean that people affected by crises around the world do not receive the best help fast enough, and needless suffering results. Our work focuses on three areas to change the system:

·       Localisation: shifting power to those closest to the front line for more effective response.

·       New forms of financing: providing fast, early, and predictable funding to improve community resilience and preparedness. .

·       Collective innovation: sharing expertise, insights and perspectives to shape a more effective humanitarian system.

The Start Network is at a critical point in its journey. We have grown and diversified our membership over the past 10 years. We are now set to evolve into a decentralised “network of networks” by 2025. We are currently working with five national and regional networks (hubs) in Pakistan, DRC, Guatemala, India and the Pacific. They are developing locally-owned ways of anticipating and responding to humanitarian crises. We aim to support the emergence and development of further Hubs in the coming years.  Our ultimate ambition is to devolve leadership, membership, programming and decision making to the hubs, while the UK team transitions to provide services of support.

Start Network is committed to protecting people, particularly children, at-risk adults and affected populations from any harm that may be caused due to their encountering the Start Network as well as responding effectively should any harm occur.  We are also committed to safeguarding staff from any forms of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse of power as outlined in the Dignity at Work policy. 

Start Network embraces diversity, promotes equality of opportunity and eliminates unlawful discrimination. We are an equal opportunities employer and treat every application on merit alone.  We particularly welcome applications from disabled, black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC), and LGBT+ and non-binary candidates.  We offer a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants who meet our essential selection criteria. 

Our roles are open to discussion about flexible working.  This role is part-time as one role has been split in two for this maternity cover.  If you have the skills to do this role and the HR Manager role, please get in touch.  Our office is London-based, but requirement to be in the office will be determined later in 2021.  It is likely to be 1 day a week regularly, with additional ad hoc days e.g. for all-staff meetings. 


Working closely with the CEO, CFOO (joint leaders), the Head of People and Culture will have responsibility for strategic elements of the People and Culture function.  For this maternity cover, the role has been split to enable a better focus on strategic issues, with an HR Manager taking on day-to-day HR operations.  You will oversee this position, together with the HR Administrator and Team Coordinator. 

You will be stepping into the role to cover an exciting period.  You will have responsibility for ensuring we implement our strategy with wellbeing and equity, diversity and inclusion at the centre, also leading on organisational change initiatives.  You will act in an advisory capacity with regard to HR issues, led by the HR Manager.  The function supports approximately 40 direct employees and the wider team of approximately 70 employed by host organisations working together as one team.  In this small organisation, relationship building is key.

Part-time - 21 hours per week (3 day equivalent)

Fixed-term - 12 months maternity cover


·       Organisational development

·       Organisational change

·       Personnel and human resources

·       Leadership with empathy

·       Communication

·       Project management

·       Team management



Strategic Leadership

·       Support the CEO and CFOO to develop a culture of inclusive leadership, overseeing the relationship with a third-party provider for the second half of a leadership programme

·       Work with the SMT to build a culture where behaviours align to our values with equity, diversity and inclusion at the centre

·       Play an active role on the SMT, advising on organisational development and HR matters with support from the HR Manager

·       Scope out different models for the future of the organisation as a service provider to Hubs, seeking external international employment advice where relevant

·       Build relationships and work closely with the Nominations Committee, with the CFOO

·       Manage strategic cross-team projects that focus of organisational transformation, notably planning the shift towards a globally dispersed team


·       Support and steer the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group to deliver on plans and role model our culture, bringing in external support as needed

·       Support Wellbeing Peer Supporters, responding to the wellbeing needs of the organisation as they emerge, particularly in light of COVID

·       Oversee learning and development, including delivery of internal training with the HR Administrator and Team Coordinator and sourcing of providers

·       Act as an internal advisor in support of team leaders, such as through coaching sessions and facilitating workshops

·       Act as the ‘ear on the ground’ connecting with the People’s Champions and bringing relevant issues to the SMT

·       Bring in new ideas from outside the sector to improve our culture

·       Oversee sourcing, contracting and relationship management of third-party providers, such as CultureAmp, Xpert HR and training providers

Team management and HR oversight

·       Support the growth and development of the HR Administrator and Team Coordinator and HR Manager, taking a mentoring approach

·       Work closely with Heads of Teams in support of their people planning and matters related to team culture

·       Lead on internal communications for people and culture-related matters

·       Act in an advisory capacity to the HR Manager where needed

·       Budget-holder for the People and Culture budget, ensuring spend against the budget, reforecasting and other budgetary responsibilities


·       Actively listen and know when to hold space rather than fill it, inviting others to participate by asking questions based on an understanding of individuals

·       Communicate confidence and compassion to others to represent their voices by enabling space, sharing encouraging words, motivating language and offering help

·       Extend trust-building in others by giving them opportunities to lead, the chance to share their perspective and safe space to discuss lessons learnt

·       Provide leadership by inspiring and unlocking motivation in others across the network to lead and hold them accountable for the results

·       Inspire and motivate others by creating passion around our vision and focus, connecting with humility and empathy, and showing openness and resilience

·       Create and promote a learning culture, authentically sharing own learning and supporting others to do the same at organisational, team and network level

·       Identify cross-organisational gaps in the development of our people to deliver on our mission and actively seek to develop these areas across the team

·       Set strategic direction and provides clarity of vision, purpose and culture, enabling space for the team, members, Hubs and other stakeholders to shape the journey

Start Network Culture

·       To carry out the responsibilities of the role in line with the Start Network Code of Conduct and with a commitment to safeguarding adults and children

·       A commitment to the Start Network vision, principles, values and approach

·       The Start Network team is an agile group of individuals who use their experience and skills across the network, so flexibility to work in and with different teams and functions is a part of our culture.


·       Centrally located WeWork office with onsite drinks and snacks available free of charge

·       Access to cultural talks, events, pop-up sales, and a place to meet and socialise after work

·       Discounts at local cafes and restaurants in association with WeWork

·       Flexible working with options to work from home and remotely some of the time

·       Contributory pension

·       Life assurance equivalent of three times your salary

·       Family friendly policies, particularly maternity pay (21 weeks full pay)

·       Training and development opportunities for individuals and cross-organisationally

·       25 days’ holiday, bank holidays plus 2 paid company days over the Christmas period

Any offer of employment is subject to relevant checks. Please refer to our privacy statement and candidate privacy notice regarding treatment of your data.

Role posted - 2021-01-18T17:04:38Z 5:04pm, 18th Jan 2021 GMT