Position Description

Head of People & Culture
Location Chicago, Navy Pier
Job Code 352
# of Openings 1
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Chicago Public Media is one of the largest, most decorated, aggressively creative, and journalistically ambitious public radio organizations in the nation. They are home to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station broadcasting at 91.5 FM, and Vocalo Radio, Chicago’s Urban Alternative music station at 91.1 FM. They are the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Sound Opinions, Curious City and most recently, a growing portfolio of podcasts that include podcasting’s first blockbuster Serial, Making Obama and Making Oprah, and Public Official A. WBEZ’s award-winning newsroom is growing in order to tackle the stories that matter most to the community.  As an essential source of news and context, Chicago Public Media is a powerful connector among lines of difference.


At Chicago Public Media, they believe independent journalism is essential to a well-functioning democracy and access to fact-based, objective news and information a right of every citizen.  They serve the public interest by creating diverse, compelling content that informs, inspires and enriches.  They connect diverse audiences and help them make a difference in the community, the region and the world.  They employ many who are inspired by their mission and who want to belong to an organization that inspires, supports, and challenges.


Mission Statement: 

To nourish the public conversation by telling the stories that matter—stories that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.



The head of human resources Role

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Head of People & Culture will play a crucial role in building the human capital strategies and tactics the Organization needs to achieve its goals.  The Organization’s senior business leaders are committed to developing a long-term human capital plan that ensures the organization is building a diverse and inclusive workforce and one that is reflective of the community it serves.  This HR Leader will be a visionary and pragmatic leader, inspired by a passion for achievement, while managing the tactical activities that allow employees to be successful in their jobs. 


The successful candidate will serve as a trusted advisor, coach and colleague to the CEO and the executive leadership team.  The new leader needs to be a proactive partner and collaborator, stimulating and supporting senior executive in their ability to effectively recruit, deploy, grow and lead talent throughout the organization.  Additionally, a key role of this position will be to advise the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors, in collaboration with the CEO, on compensation and benefit plans, including providing and discussing competitive analyses.


He/she will provide leadership, vision, development, and overall management of all HR activities and staff, the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, learning and talent development efforts and reinforcing the organization’s culture, values, and mission through the design and delivery of exceptional programs and services.  These programs and services should facilitate the professional development and continuous learning of team members, particularly executives, front-line managers and emerging leaders.  Across the organization, this HR professional will be a leader in ensuring consistency in having the right people, doing the right things for the right reasons.


The successful candidate will be a hands-on leader, focusing the human resource function to attract, motivate, and retain the most qualified talent available and provide optimal service internally. He/she will act as a catalyst and motivator for the continued development of a strong, open, community-centric culture.  The Head of HR will advise executive leadership in the development of long-range goals and initiatives as well as reprioritizing existing resources to support strategic initiatives; and accurately and clearly communicate performance expectations, opportunities, and issues to support the business lines. 


Key Responsibilities:


  • Advisor to CEO & Executive Leadership:  Provide strategic thinking on people selection, organizational effectiveness, performance management, talent development and change management. Engages with the CEO and Executive Leadership team to support the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals, and key metrics by developing short and long range Human Resources plans, strategies, and policies; understands the Organization’s strategic business goals and uses this information to develop the appropriate HR strategy and tactics, including training and development programs that support and are completely aligned with these goals.


  • Human Capital Plan:  Create an HR strategic plan that aligns with that of the Organization.


  • Culture Development: Develop practices that foster an accountable, engaged & high-performing workforce and a workforce that lives the values of the Organization.


  • Diversity & Inclusion:  Create and implement the over-arching company strategy for Diversity & Inclusion as it relates to the mission, values and culture of Chicago Public Media


  • Learning & Development: Establish the learning strategy and oversee training and development curricula to ensure program goals align with the mission and vision for the Organization.


  • Talent Acquisition:  Develop a compelling employment brand and recruitment process for attracting, hiring and retaining high-capacity talent.
  • Talent Review & Management: Create a talent review process that engages all managers in assessing and developing talent.


  • Performance Management: Implement a performance management program that emphasizes performance, collaboration and integrity, as well as the Organization’s values, and incorporates clearly defined structures that empower employees to manage their own development and career trajectory.


  • Develop and Coach HR Team: Build internal consulting competencies to ensure that the HR team is perceived by the line organizations they support as a credible business partners, culture & change stewards, capable talent managers, organizational consultants, strategic thinkers, impactful coach and responsive solution providers. Ensure appropriate skill sets are in place to accomplish desired objectives and implement an action plan to develop or acquire these competencies.  


  • Compensation Strategy: Create a compensation philosophy and structure that attracts motivates and retains talented staff. Assess market competitiveness. Design and develop support for strategies to maintain and enhance competitive position.  Ensure compensation plans for both immediate and long term are aligned with the strategic plan and direction the Organization is going. 


  • Stay Current:  Proactively seeks knowledge expertise in the HR field, as well as stays abreast of general business trends and practices.




The Head of HR must be a strategic leader with a strong business acumen, proven experience in building collaborative teams and relationships across all levels of the organization.This leader must have the passion, energy and intellectual curiosity required for a growth-driven environment.


  • Best-in-class HR practices experience gained from a company recognized for excellence in the human resources function.


  • Senior HR leader with expertise in talent review, talent management, change management and developing high performance work cultures.


  • Experience in developing competitive compensation plans and structure.  Specific emphasis on developing short- and long-term incentive plans aligned with the company’s strategic focus and objectives.


  • Established track record of driving, delivering and measuring results by way of establishing key HR performance indicators.


  • Ideally experienced in diversity & inclusion, learning & development and culture initiatives within companies going through change and where HR has played a significant role.


  • Ability to and desire to do the day to day work in addition to setting the strategic direction of the HR function


  • Experience managing employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.


  • Prior experience as Head of HR or divisional HR executive.




  • Understanding the Business

Has a strategic business orientation and acumen.Exhibits financial literacy and marketplace insight regarding how the organization works and how strategies and decisions impact the mission as well as the overall financial, and operational results. Manages HR budget.Understands the evolving market; knowledgeable about policy, technologies, regulations, and outside influences that could impact the business; ability to oversee and manage successful relationships with external vendors; understands the competition and who they are; proactively engages HR strategies and educates others to lead the organization toward a Best Place To Work position.Has the desire for and capacity to develop a deeper understanding of the Organization’s priorities and the drivers underlying those priorities.


  • Team Work and Collaboration

Balances team and individual responsibilities; exhibits objectivity and openness to others’ views; gives and welcomes feedback; contributes to building a positive team spirit and collaborative culture; puts success of team above own interests; builds morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; supports everyone’s effort for success; recognizes accomplishments of other team members. Not only lead and set strategy, but willing to be a hands-on executor and implementer. Operate as a coach/player.


Develops strong, trusting relationships with internal customers (i.e., peers, management and employees at all levels); manages difficult employee situations; gains understanding of the employee needs and responds promptly; solicits employee feedback to improve service; responds to requests for service and assistance; meets commitments.Builds relationships with all employees and is a trusted person that individuals are comfortable consulting.


  • Communication

Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive and negative situations; listens and gets clarification; possesses strong presentation skills; writes clearly and informatively; shares information and keeps coworkers abreast of issues as needed.


  • Managerial Responsibility

Provides regular feedback to others; supports the actions and decisions of direct reports; helps direct reports learn from their mistakes; shares ownership for successes and failures of the group; takes action and empowers others to take action to remove obstacles that impede work from being accomplished; resolves issues when they occur and settles conflict constructively.


  • Strategic Thinking

Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; understands Organization’s strengths and weaknesses; analyzes market and competition; identifies external threats and opportunities; adapts strategy to changing conditions.


  • Problem Solving

Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; gathers and analyzes information skillfully; develops alternative solutions; works well in group problem solving situations; uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.


  • Decision Making

Resolute and determined to solve problems in a timely manner given information available and with an appropriate level of collaboration; decisions are high quality and respected.


  • Project Management

Develops project plans; coordinates projects; communicates changes and progress; completes projects on time and budget; manages project team activities.


  • Getting Work Done through Influence, Persuasion and Consensus-building

Manages people well; gets the most and best out of people, and has the capacity to counsel and coach other managers on how to do the same; sets and communicates guiding goals; measures accomplishments, holds people accountable, and gives useful feedback; delegates and develops; keeps people informed; provides coaching for today and for the future.


  • Evaluating and Deploying People Accurately

Reads people accurately; diagnoses strengths, weaknesses, and potential; effectively coach’s managers and employees through the process of determining what skills are required to fill a job or role; and then ensures the hiring or development of the best available person for that role.

  • Focusing on Action and Outcomes

Attacks everything with drive and energy; not afraid to initiate action before all the facts are known, but does not act prematurely; drives to finish everything he/she starts.


  • Relating Skills

Warm, friendly, and interpersonally agile; easy to approach and talk to; relates well to all kinds of people; makes a pleasant first impression and builds solid relationships.

  • Caring About Others

Quick to help others; has and shows empathy for others; truly cares and is concerned; goes out of his/her way for others; makes time to listen; makes allowances for those in trouble.

  • Inspiring Others

Leads by example.Is skilled at getting individuals, teams, and an entire organization to perform at a higher level and to embrace change; negotiates skillfully to achieve a fair outcome or promote a common cause;communicates a compelling vision and is committed to what needs to be done;inspires others; builds motivated, high-performing teams; understands what motivates different people.

  • Acting with Honor and Character

Is a person of high character; is consistent and acts in line with a clear and visible set of values and beliefs; deals and talks straight; walks his/her talk; is direct and truthful but at the same time can keep confidences.


  • Being Open and Receptive

At ease and relaxed; easy to talk to and get to know; listens attentively; is an open book; has a positive sense of humor; deals calmly with stress and gives people a chance to catch up.


Personal Attributes:

  • Smart, synthesizes information quickly
  • Warm, engaging; intuitively motivates others
  • Authentic and highly approachable
  • Driven to do the best
  • Sense of humor and balance to understand critical priorities



A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field.An MBA or related Master’s degree and SPHR certification is preferred but not required.A combination of education and professional experience will be considered.

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