Director of Employee Relations & Human Resource Business Partners

Location US-MA-Boston
Job Posted Date 1 month ago(2/9/2018 4:20 PM)
Job ID
full time


Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings together world renowned clinicians, innovative researchers and dedicated professionals, allies in the common mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related diseases. Combining extremely talented people with the best technologies in a genuinely positive environment, we provide compassionate and comprehensive care to patients of all ages; we conduct research that advances treatment; we educate tomorrow's physician/researchers; we reach out to underserved members of our community; and we work with amazing partners, including other Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals.


This position, reporting into the VP of Human Resources, will establish a vision and strategy for employee relations to include roles identified as faculty, staff, and labor. This position will manage a team of HR Business Partners (HRBPs) and HR Generalists who serve as “the trusted and respected partner” for over 8,000 workforce members, including over 400 union members.  Managing the risk to the Institution associated with union activity (e.g. grievances, arbitration, negotiations) and employee-relations issues of varying magnitude is foundational to the role.  Additionally, this role serves as the strategic HR partner for faculty members. The incumbent will be responsible for leading strategic initiatives that span the entire workforce and proactively address areas of opportunity.


  • Provides strategic leadership to DFCI executive team on complex employee and labor relations matters. Ensures team is handling employee relations matters in a consistent manner while addressing the unique needs of the various client groups. Keeps team informed of best practices, changes in laws and regulations and employment trends.
  • Serves as an advisor to HR Leadership and DFCI Executive team on workplace themes and trends and proactively works with the appropriate leadership team on responding to relevant themes/trends. Helps to draft Institute-wide memos on behalf of leadership on subjects like employee engagement, annual sexual harassment notice, etc. Serves as a critical role as the voice of staff and managers to the leadership team.
  • Serves as the Human Resource Business Partner to existing adult and pediatric faculty members on matters related to performance management, leadership development, HR faculty-driven initiatives, engagement surveys, etc.
  • Works with internal and external counsel, in collaboration with the designated Human Resources Business Partner, on all matters related to union avoidance, contract negotiations and/or union grievances. Sits on two bargaining committees with the respective HR Business Partner. Serves as HR Leadership’s designee on any grievance procedures.
  • Serves as the main point of contact for our in-house and external general counsel. Holds bi-monthly meetings with in-house counsel to review open cases and upcoming trends/needs in employment practices (ADA, FMLA, MPLA, DOL, Unemployment, etc.).
  • Plans and actualizes the collection of HR metrics that identify for executive leadership any trends or gaps in the workforce experience or management landscape. Partners with HRIS to ensure that analytics are meaningful, timely and reportable externally.
  • Oversees the unemployment process which includes helping the HR Generalists manage the vendor relationship, review costs on an annually basis, make final determinations on how cases should be managed (contest versus not contest, attend hearing versus not attend, etc.)
  • Assigns, manages and responds to all HR related reports made via DFCI’s Compliance Hotline. Manages cases in a timely manner with assistance from appropriate internal experts (legal, compliance, risk and/or HRBP) and recommends remedies while appropriately documenting actions taken, escalating sensitive or critical issues to the appropriate members of management.
  • Sits on Institute-wide committees to represent Human Resources. (e.g. Broad Institute, Off Campus Clinical Site Planning Steering Committee, Employee Assistance Program Committee, etc.)
  • Partners with other HR leaders to help support and implement initiatives and workforce members’ adherence to these initiatives. Serve as member of the HR Operations Team.
  • Manage and develop team, creating opportunities for professional growth, setting job goals and expectations, and encouraging collaboration among team members, the HR department and with the organization.
  • Other duties as required.


B.A. /B.S. required. J.D. desirable but not required. Advanced degree or SPHR/PHR preferred. In depth knowledge of employee relations, labor relations, complex workplace investigations, federal and state laws and regulations is required.  8-10 plus years of progressive experience in HR or a related field of experience and at least 3-5 years of management and labor negotiations experience required.


  • Must have exceptional leadership qualities: strategic thinker with an orientation for action and results, creative, responsive, able to plan and execute effectively.  
  • Comfortable facilitating presentations with senior leaders and executives.  May be required to garner support for challenging but necessary initiatives.
  • Able to toggle between strategy and day-to-day operations while leveraging the capacity and capability of the team.
  • Must be able to function effectively in ambiguous conditions; recognize trends, and identify systemic approaches to solving problems in a fast-moving, constantly changing environment.
  • Track record for exceptional service and creativity in service to complex organizations and demands of clients within such institutions.
  • Must have a consultative, relationship building approach and the highest level of professionalism and discretion.
  • The ability to communicate and influence effectively “up, down and across” the organization is critical. Must be experienced as a collaborator and team player.
  • Proven experience in support of creating a diverse and inclusive workforce in all aspects of their work and leadership.
  • Must have experience in managing complex issues and making decisions with widespread implications
  • Must be a leader that others can learn and develop from and who actively engages in the attraction, development and retention of talent at all levels.
  • Viewed by the HR organization as a key member of the leadership team, requiring extensive collaboration and communication among all HR teams.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication, particularly in drafting sensitive, high-visibility, and risk-related documents or employee communications.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is an equal opportunity employer and affirms the right of every qualified applicant to receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, national origin, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, age, ancestry, military service, protected veteran status, or other groups as protected by law.


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