HR Director (People Team Orchestrator)

People team
14 Mar 2021
Competitive for Not-for-Profit Organisation
As soon as possible
To be based within one of the following: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, UK



EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) is Europe’s foremost climate innovation initiative. Our mission is to leverage the power of innovation to build a zero-carbon, climate-resilient, just, and inclusive society. Climate-KIC’s strategy, Transformation, in Time, responds to the need for a 1.5° aligned, systemic approach to reversing global warming and developing climate resilience, commensurate with the complexity, scale and requisite pace of response to the climate challenge.

Established in 2010 and headquartered in Amsterdam, we orchestrate a community of more than 400 organisations comprised of large corporations and SMEs, municipal and regional governments, universities and research institutes, as well as non-governmental organisations and uncommon actors. We are an organisation of circa 160 people. We operate out of 13 hubs across Europe and conduct activities in 39 countries globally. We have historically managed €80-100 million per year in grants, provided by our founder and core funder, the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). We are transitioning to a multi-funder model with the objective of maintaining a flow of funds of circa €100 million annually to our community and to problem owners to deliver impact.

We use a portfolio approach for developing and deploying innovation, entrepreneurship, education and community mobilisation to unlock structural change in systems where emissions are tough to reduce – cities, land-use, industry, and finance. We do so by combining activities and innovation outputs from applied research, learning and reskilling, start-up incubation, movement building and innovation ecosystem building. Over the last ten years we have supported more than 4,500 businesses, in over 50 countries, that have gone on to attract over €1.5 bln of capital and featured regularly in the Forbes 30 under 30 European list. Our education programmes have influenced the lives of over 45,000 people who have launched a movement-building alumni community. In 2019, we launched Deep Demonstrations, a demand-led methodology for composing innovation portfolios across technology, policy, finance, social change, citizen engagement, and other relevant levers of change, in order to generate options and test transition pathways for place-based systems and value chains.

Our goals for 2027 are to ensure that 200,000 people across Europe are equipped with enhanced climate-relevant innovation and entrepreneurial skills; 10 million people benefit from improved resilience to the impacts of climate change; 50 cities, countries, regions and large scale businesses across Europe are achieving net-zero as a result of partnership with EIT Climate-KIC; 500 million tons of CO2 eq. emissions have been avoided cumulatively (approx. 1/10 annual EU production) and we have succeeded in leveraging €100 bln to scale-up innovations tackling climate change. Ultimately, we aim to become a leader in systemic innovation that contributes to a paradigm shift from a linear, industrial production system to a circular, regenerative model, leveraging the power of our unique community of innovators and inspiring change beyond it.


The People Team Orchestrator is accountable for building and shaping the conditions for EIT Climate-KIC to empower and enable its people to deliver on EIT Climate-KIC’s ambitious climate strategy. The role’s accountability encompasses the development of a vision and strategy for people in EIT Climate-KIC, coherent with the design principles and objectives of our new organisational blueprint and Transformation, in Time strategy, and the implementation of frameworks, methods, processes, practices and tools to build a deliberately development working culture, focused on personal growth, distributed leadership, networked collaboration, and impact in the world.

The main challenge for the People Team Orchestrator is to build the basics of a high performing organisation whose core asset is its people and their ability to support and enable systems transformation in partnership with others. Once the foundations are in place, the People Team Orchestrator will be expected to build on those basics towards a powerful, leading edge capability that extends from professional excellence in the complicated aspects of grant management to skill and proficiency in the complex nature of systems innovation and community orchestration. This span of activities and skills needs to be underpinned by fit-for-purpose policies and procedures, rituals and habits, and a constant attention to the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ and ‘to what end’ in everything we do.

EIT Climate-KIC’s strategy is founded on the notion that learning and innovation are two sides of the same coin – when leveraged together they are the most effective means to catalyse transformation in the face of the complexity and uncertainty that come with tackling climate change. EIT Climate-KIC’s new organisational blueprint is intended to encourage and support the blending of highly skilled innovation orchestration, entrepreneurship and education programming with professional grant and project management to identify viable solutions and pathways to change. This includes continuous exploration and learning about effective ways of working and operational excellence within the organisation, and in partnership with other organisations and institutions, including funders.

The role of People Team Orchestrator is at the heart of such a value proposition, ensuring that the organisation places people, their capability, their capacity for self-transformation and their wellbeing at the centre of its attention so as to enable the professional skill, role-modelling, relationship nurturing, resilience and mindsets needed to fulfil our purpose. EIT Climate-KIC aspires to be a place in which change is made possible by the people that work with us in every sense – building relational capital. To that end our ambition is to: attract unusual talent; learn through diverse perspectives; nurture self-reflection and growth mindsets; support high performance, growth and development in and through teams in delivery and in partnership; leverage stretch assignments, peer to peer coaching, and action learning; build muscle in appreciative enquiry, sensemaking and knowledge generation. An open and transparent feedback culture with high levels of trust, self-actualisation, organisational awareness and entrepreneurship are essential ingredients.

Enablement is just as important. Our people need the data, the performance and reward frameworks, the development practices, and a consistency of needs-based standards, service and support to make that happen. This is not a trivial task. EIT Climate-KIC is a small organisation operating across 13 jurisdictions in Europe, working with a one-company approach, balanced with respect for diversity and the specific needs of different places. Over the past two years, we have gone through a challenging process of redesign and restructuring. The person we appoint to the People Team Orchestrator will need to build on those foundations. This will require a highly innovative person, someone who combines systems thinking with a deeply practical and empathetic approach to HR, who can sponsor the design and implementation of policies, practices, processes and rituals that will support people across a distributed organisation to work effectively in turn with thousands of organisations across the world in order to effect change at a planetary scale.


Leadership & Impact Enablement

  • Take part in the main decision-making processes of the organisation, adopting decisions within the scope of responsibilities and contributing to organisation-wide decision making through membership in EIT Climate-KIC’s Management Team. Lead special initiatives as sponsor.
  • Contribute to building and facilitating a ‘Team of Teams’ working model across our organisation, and a deliberately developmental culture, to encourage empowerment, adaptive leadership, individual and collective accountability, self-organisation, deep listening, empathy, teamwork, and resilience.
  • Foster EIT Climate-KIC communities to strengthen collaboration across teams, appreciation for the value of diverse perspectives, personal development, organisational capability building, and sense-making in service of impact monitoring and learning. We use Communities of Purpose to generate learning and knowledge from our work and Communities of Practice to build capability in core skills.
  • Lead on the development of a Diversity and Inclusion strategy that will enable Climate-KIC to promote, increase and embed diversity and inclusiveness at all points in the organisation and to address unconscious bias and racial injustice in the workplace.

People Vision and Strategy

  • Develop a vision and strategy for people in EIT Climate-KIC to realise the organisation’s strategic direction and ambitions for climate impact (inclusive of Climate-KIC International Foundation and Climate-KIC Holding B.V.)
  • Horizon scan to identify relevant strategic partnerships and alliances and possible funding sources to help EIT Climate-KIC realise its people strategy, create a rich developmental environment and capability network over time.
  • Lead on the organisational architecture to support agile resourcing and assignment-based ways of working, and to support development of future capabilities and skills needed to deliver on EIT Climate-KIC’s purpose and mission.
  • Lead on the integration of EIT Climate-KIC people strategy, capability needs, development needs, performance and reward data into EIT Climate-KIC annual business planning to ensure proactive forward planning in resourcing, recruitment, cost management and reward management

Organisational design and development

  • Ensure that EIT Climate-KIC’s blueprint design – teams, roles, communities, interfaces, governance – continues to be an enabling factor in the achievement of the organisation’s objectives and strategic vision
  • Oversee ongoing organisational development, experimentation, learning and refinement– shaping of roles, positions, teams, communities and project/team resourcing – in partnership with the Learning Services and Strategy teams
  • Provide support and guidance for the ongoing evolution of business services, employment management and governance relationships between the Climate-KIC International Foundation and the Climate-KIC Holding B.V.

Change Management

  • Oversee the finalisation and extraction of learnings from 2020 and 2021 organisational reastructuring.
  • Sponsor the introduction of proactive change management approaches throughout EIT Climate-KIC to enable deliberate choices, agile responses to opportunity, and flexibility in the size and shape of the organisation.
  • Design and lead adjustments as needed in organisational size, shape, location and resourcing (growth/degrowth) in response to demand and funding availability across European jurisdictions.

Culture and wellbeing

  • Design, implement and sponsor initiatives to support and guide a deliberately developmental culture in EIT Climate-KIC, enabled by real time feedback, self-directed learning, peer to peer support and organisational commitment to personal development
  • Provide ideas and oversight for organisation-wide initiatives to encourage and support greater work life balance, self-care, physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Sponsor ongoing engagement with teams to build up an innovative and inspiring employee value proposition for people working in EIT Climate-KIC, linked to the community value proposition.
  • Foster innovation and excellence in internal communications, closely linked to building trust, change fitness and wellbeing.
  • Provide leadership, sponsorship and role-modelling for habits and practices that recognise and embrace diversity and work deliberately to build cross-cultural competence.

Mindset and Capability – in partnership with Learning Services

  • Partner with the Learning Services team, Performance Developers and the Social Activation and Community Mobilisation team to foster a growth mindset in EIT Climate-KIC team members
  • Provide formal and informal support for personal and team development and organisational-wide capability building initiatives in partnership with the Learning Services team and Performance Developers

Talent Attraction and Retention – in partnership with Learning Services

  • Support development and implementation of an open and transparent framework for talent attraction, retention, management and development aligned with EIT Climate-KIC’s impact objectives
  • Provide leadership support and sponsorship for strategic talent scouting and recruitment from a wide range of experiences and sectors, paying attention to diversity and boundary spanning capabilities.
  • Ensure dedicated focus on systems and mechanisms to enable team members to fully utilise their skills and experience, work in highly agile teams and leverage our work to fulfil their aspirations and potential.
  • Introduce succession planning for critical roles to support internal mobility, encourage longer term resource planning and enable the internal assignment board
  • Ensure skilled management of the Associate Pool, nurturing strong relationships with professionals who are set up to work for EIT Climate-KIC on a project basis and permit flexible resourcing.
  • Generate further solutions for agile resourcing and cross-pollination: fellowships, associates, secondments, alumni, community placements

Performance – in partnership with Learning Services

  • Contribute to development and implementation of an effective performance management approach and set of practices for EIT Climate-KIC, using the capability framework developed during the blueprint process
  • Co-design with the Learning Services team to connect performance assessment outcomes and performance management with learning and development actions
  • Ensure People team support for coherent integrated workflows and feedback loops between EIT Climate-KIC’s performance framework and development planning and actions so that user experience is smooth, reassuring and motivating


  • Review and calibrate EIT Climate-KIC’s salary framework regularly to ensure that it is coherent with the business identity of the organisation as a not-for-profit and remains current with market norms
  • Design and implement a total reward framework for EIT Climate-KIC
  • Develop and implement a clear and transparent process for annual reward review for all team members in EIT Climate-KIC together with proactive expectation setting and support from the People team
  • Ensure maximum synergies in development and reward opportunities that are part of the work that EIT Climate-KIC delivers or supports, e.g. post-graduate education, summer schools

Business Partnership

  • Oversee provision of HR Business Partner support to teams across the organisation, liaising with the point persons, and provision of support to individual with specific personal requests
  • Lead employee relations, including conflict resolution and disputes resolution when needed, working in partnership with Legal
  • Partner with Learning Services, Operations Team, Finance Team, Project Fitting and Team Fitting Lead, and the Performance Developers to anticipate business needs, plan and prepare for them and execute smoothly and empathetically.

HR Operations

  • Develop competence and confidence of people team members, to create an agile team that maximises utilisation of skills and is able to respond effectively to a diverse range of business needs
  • Provide oversight and guidance for HR Operations
  • Ensure robust and reliable data on all things People as inputs into EIT Climate-KIC’s enterprise resource planning platform (ERP) and other corporate platforms
  • Oversee implementation and evolution of HR modules in the ERP to ensure that they are fit for purpose and able to sustain the mindsets, processes and practices of a deliberately developmental organisation
  • Provide oversight of core HR processes, including payroll and timesheeting, in partnership with Finance and Operations
  • Provide oversight for management of all forms of contracting and subcontracting, in partnership with Procurement and Legal, with a focus on responsive and timely service for teams seeking to procure, balanced by agreed cost disciplines.


  • Climate-KIC International Foundation Supervisory Board, Climate-KIC Holding B.V. Supervisory Board
  • Management Team
  • Teams: Learning Services, Finance, Operations, Performance Development, Future Funding, Portfolio Orchestration, Social Activation and Community Mobilisation, Communications
  • Community Desk and Partner Contact Points
  • Climate-KIC Partners and community members
  • EIT Climate-KIC suppliers
  • EIT and other funders



  • Relevant post-graduate degree or qualification


  • A strong track record of leading an HR Function/People Team at a senior level in one or more complex, multinational organisations.
  • Solid experience (at least 15 years) in some combination of HR business partnership, employee relations, organisational development, learning and development, and performance and reward, including responsibility for budget, financial administration and line management.
  • Personal or professional interest in and experience of ‘new’ organisational forms and ways of working – e.g. holacracy, team of teams, teal organisations, agile organisations.
  • Experience of both public and private sectors, ideally in agencies handling public funds and/or in innovation-related or education-related undertakings.
  • Experience with data-driven and technology enabled (platform) organisations, ideally with experience in a range of cloud services and online collaboration platforms.
  • Proven track record of successfully developing high-performing teams, leading, managing and motivating others, especially in change and transformation.

Key skills

  • Fluency in English language combined with outstanding written and verbal communication skills; knowledge of other European languages highly desirable;
  • Proven success in working with board members and other senior management to deliver strategic objectives;
  • Highly effective engagement with internal and external stakeholders
  • Experience and proven success of negotiating and influencing in complex governance structures;
  • Ability to work with an international team and community in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural context – cross-cultural competence essential;
  • Familiarity and proficiency in coaching others; able to build capacity by investing in the development of others;
  • Familiarity and proficiency in programme management;
  • Familiarity and proficiency in systems thinking and in working with complexity;
  • Empathetic and innovative thinker, familiar with human-centred design thinking, and able to translate a deep curiosity and understanding of needs into dynamic and entrepreneurial action.

Qualities, Personal Style, and Approach

  • Articulate and dynamic, with highly developed interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively, inspire and motivate people.
  • Growth mindset; highly adaptable, flexible and resilient: able to work effectively in ambiguity and complexity and to respond dynamically to change.
  • Customer service ethos and commitment to continuous improvement
  • Solutions focused, with a “can do” attitude.
  • Proactive, commercial approach, entrepreneurial


Please note that candidates must have the right to work in the EU prior to applying for the position.

Our application and recruitment process

Climate-KIC values diversity and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background.

Your application should be written in English and consist of:

  • a full curriculum vitae
  • a covering letter describing briefly how your profile, skills and experience meet the criteria outlined in the person specification, and outlining your interest in and vision for the role.
  • your current salary
  • where you saw this role advertised.

Please send your full application using the “apply now” button above. You should state your full name, followed by the role for which you are applying for in the subject line of the email. The deadline for receipt of applications is 23.59 GMT on the date published on the job advert.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email.

Your application will be reviewed on or around the closing date for the vacancy for which you have applied. If your application is shortlisted for interview, you will be contacted directly by Climate-KIC.

Candidates invited to a first interview, will be notified of the outcome and informed about next stages if they are successful.

NB/ This advertisement will be taken down from the website after the closing date so it is a good idea to copy and keep the text for reference to use should you be invited to interview.

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