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Head of HR

The Pirbright Institute
Pirbright, Woking
Band F; £49,697 to £69,670 subject to skills/knowledge/experience. Full benefits outlined below.
Closing date
12 Jun 2022
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Organisation position and purpose:

The main purpose of the post is to add value in ensuring the Institute makes best use of its people, informing and shaping HR strategy and delivery of HR operational plans to meet organisational needs. It involves leading the Institute’s HR function, collaborating with other departments, and forging external networks in support of the organisational aims.

We are passionate about ensuring that the Institute is a top performing organisation, with a diverse range of talent. This means we are committed to creating a culture where everyone can bring their whole self to work, and their uniqueness is truly valued. To achieve the Institute’s vision, we will need the skills and abilities of a truly diverse workforce that represents the communities we live in and serve - providing greater innovation and creativity, greater stakeholder insight and where colleagues can be themselves and can use their full range of talents

Main duties and responsibility

Strategic and Operational aspect of the role

  • Leading the development of HR Capability and best practice across the Institute.
  • Implementing and monitoring relevant aspects of Pirbright HR strategy and policy. Ensuring the CEO and Senior Leadership Team are regularly briefed on relevant matters.
  • Identifying and assessing key risks, managing and mitigating these risks as part of the Institute governance framework.
  • Overseeing regular reviews of the Institute’s workforce requirements, to ensure optimum staffing and skill levels to meet Institute’s requirements in the short, medium and long term. 
  • |Enabling organisational change.
  • Leading the HR function on all aspects of employee relations, providing professional employment law advice in line with current legislation and the relevant Pirbright policy/ BBSRC Employment Code.
  • Consulting and coaching senior managers in the Institute to ensure appropriate practices, culture, inclusion and leadership standards and professionally challenging senior leaders, where appropriate.
  • Overseeing the management of third-party suppliers and outsourced services to ensure they deliver against contract and key metrics and provide value for money. 
  • With the Reward Specialist, develop and deliver appropriate reward and benefit strategies, and ensuring accurate and timely delivery of monthly payroll.
  • Managing budgetary control for all aspects of Pirbright HR including recruitment, Institute Core Training and Occupational Health.
  • With the Learning & Development (L&D) Manager, identifying and delivering solutions to meet organisational learning and development needs and promoting the aim of being a ‘learning organisation’.
  • Driving the organisation’s wellbeing strategy.
  • With the Head of Communications, promoting and enhancing employee engagement.
  • Providing leadership to the HR team in delivering and enhancing an effective HR service, meeting the changing needs and priorities of the Institute, with efficient service for staff and management central to delivery. 
  • Successfully driving the development of people initiatives including effective performance management, people management capability, career development, inclusion and reward.
  • Designing and implementing HR projects, programmes and operational services.
  • Collaborating with internal support teams to ensure effective, efficient and integrated processes with HR, to make it as easy as possible for managers to work to key procedures.
  • Managing the delivery of organisational recruitment and resourcing requirements to provide competent staff in a timely and cost-efficient manner. 
  • Developing a range of L&D solutions to support management, individual and team development and competency, and reviewing existing programmes for impact, 
  • Overseeing the development and management of the Institute Apprenticeship Programmes.

Management Information/ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Regularly reviewing and reporting on HR Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and recommending interventions as required.
  • Ensuring robust management of HR data within the HR system (SelectHR), including accuracy, appropriate record keeping in compliance with GDPR requirements, as well as maximising the use of technology in driving efficiencies.
  • Evaluating HR management information, trends, and performance indicators to inform the development of strategies and key management decisions.
  • Regularly reviewing and reporting on ED&I data e.g., the Institute diversity profile, and qualitative feedback, to evaluate progress against our Athena Swan action plan and ED&I objectives.

Personal specification


  • Strong relationship building skills and ability to influence and challenge senior managers
  • Resilient and flexible and able to work in a dynamic and demanding environment
  • Demonstrate integrity and independence of role, act as a role model
  • Reliability under pressure
  • Decision making and problem-solving skills
  • Delivery and outcomes focused
  • An agent of change, identifies and challenges resistance to change
  • Tact and diplomacy, respecting confidential, high integrity
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills
  • Evidence of excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively with Institute staff, peer-review groups, external stakeholders, including presentation skills
  • Excellent people management skills and ability to delegate
  • Highly developed negotiation and conciliation skills


  • Coaching/mentoring and mediation skills

Specific requirements



  • Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) or equivalent by experience


  • A degree, HR qualification or equivalent experience



  • Proven experience in a senior level HR position that includes development and implementation of HR strategy and programmes
  • Evidence of managing key stakeholders, including Trustee Board members and building effective, credible working relationships; developing alliances to deliver organisational outcomes
  • Experience of delivering HR services and interventions, through multi-disciplinary HR teams, across the full employee lifecycle
  • Experience of TUPE or multiple terms and conditions
  • Experience of maximising the benefit of HR Systems, e-enabling processes, analysing management information and making recommendations from insights
  • Excellent knowledge of Employment Law
  • Experience of change-management, influencing and change communications
  • Ability to multi-task and use effective prioritisation to meet deadlines
  • Evidence of networking and the ability to build effective collaborative links, internally and externally
  • Evidence of leadership qualities in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Understanding of, and leadership on, diversity and equality of opportunity
  • Demonstrate business focus and a desire to succeed beyond what is expected


  • Evidence of working closely with Payroll Department and/or outsourced providers
  • Experience working in the public, not-for-profit sectors
  • Experience working in organisations with multiple funding streams 

Additional Information

This job description is only an outline of the tasks, responsibilities and outcomes required of the role. The jobholder will carry out any other duties as may be reasonably required by his/her line manager. The job description and personal specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of The Pirbright Institute.

This is a full-time role of 37 hours per week, Monday to Friday, with some flexibility for informal hybrid working. However, as this is a senior role, you would be expected to work the hours required to fulfil your duties. You are not eligible for overtime payments or other payments for working long hours.

We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups, for example individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds, women, and people with disabilities (visible and hidden).  We are committed to taking steps to increase the diversity of our employee and student community and removing any barriers to opportunities and success.

All employees shall actively participate in the Institute-wide quality assurance system in conjunction with the Institute’s Quality Manager. Employees are also expected to safeguard their own health and safety and security by following policies and all employees are responsible for the Health and Safety and security of staff under their management.

Due to the nature of the work we do, all successful applicants will be required to go through a comprehensive screening process including reference and qualification checks, financial and security clearances.

What we offer

  • Generous Group Personal Pension Scheme and life cover (subject to age and earnings)
  • 25 days annual leave per annum, pro rata, plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Buy and sell annual leave
  • Option to carry over up to two weeks annual leave
  • Pirbright gym with subsidised membership
  • Pirbright social club
  • Pirbright Lifestyle Hub (employee discount site)
  • Cycle to work
  • Subsidised staff restaurant
  • Childcare allowance
  • Free onsite parking
  • Electric Car charging facilities

To apply for this vacancy - please send a copy of your CV with an optional cover letter via our careers page -  linked below - Jobs | The Pirbright Institute

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