Start-date: As soon as possible  

Location: Remote, with preference for CET time zone 

Hours: Full-time 100% (80% is also a possibility) 

Deadline for application: 14 March 2021 


The New Humanitarian puts independent journalism at the service of the millions of people affected by humanitarian crises. Our journalists report from the frontlines of conflicts and disasters in some 70 hotspots around the world to drive more effective prevention of and response to crises. Our on-the-ground reporting and expert analysis and commentary inform policy-makers and practitioners, amplify the voices of those at the heart of crises, and act as a watchdog to hold the aid sector accountable.

While the COVID-19 pandemic posed an existential threat to many newsrooms, The New Humanitarian is surviving the crisis with minimal disruption – thanks to our agility and nimbleness; our diversified funding; and our decentralised structure – and if anything, we are emerging from it stronger, thanks to an increased recognition from both readers and donors of the importance of reliable information about crises. 

Over the past five years, since our spin-off from the UN in 2015, we have built strong foundations in non-profit management: we have matured our financial management and reporting; established due diligence processes; and developed HR policies, from a compensation framework, to a system for objective-setting and to a more robust recruitment process. From that strong foundation, we are looking for someone who can help us invest in our culture and our staff. 

In so doing, you will help us achieve our vision of providing the world’s best journalism about the world’s toughest crises; and setting the agenda in the interest of those most affected. 

The role 

The first-ever Head of People and Culture will lead efforts to further develop and nurture the organisation’s culture, bring its values to life, and ensure that staff find connection and fulfilment in their remote work environment. 

In short, your mission is to attract, build, motivate, and retain great talent.

You will identify ways to attract top talent at speed at a time when TNH is growing; increase diversity and inclusion within our staffing; build an employer brand for The New Humanitarian; and be responsible for immersing new staff in TNH’s culture and values. 

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, you will both strategise and execute on areas within your portfolio. 

What we’re looking for 

We are looking for a people person who loves figuring out what drives people and forging connections between them. While HR qualifications are useful, what’s most important to us is that you are passionate about people and culture. 

You should be an excellent and clear communicator – able to present information in a way that excites and motivates teams. You should know how to inspire others and help them absorb and embrace organisational changes. 

We are looking for someone with excellent interpersonal skills and cultural sensitivity; able to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds and with different personality types and able to build effective working relationships between colleagues. 

You should be an inspirational leader who combines contagious enthusiasm with strategic insights into how to improve the staff experience. You should be bubbling with ideas of how to make The New Humanitarian an even better place to work and have the energy to execute such initiatives. 

We seek someone with an understanding of the news media and experience working in agile start-ups; and especially welcome candidates who reflect the diverse communities our journalism serves. 

As with all staff at The New Humanitarian, you need to be versatile, flexible to evolving demands of the role, able to learn new skills quickly, and aligned with our organisational values:

  • Commitment 
  • Humility 
  • Candour & Transparency
  • Constructiveness
  • Diversity 

The following are considered assets:

  • At least 5 years’ experience in an HR role 
  • Strong networks within international media circles 
  • Academic degree or training in human resources or related fields
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of cultural methods and strategies
  • Knowledge of the international humanitarian / development / aid sectors
  • Experience working internationally 
  • An understanding of Swiss employment law
  • Fluency in French 

We have described the qualities we are seeking in this position, but we recognise that there will be strong candidates who do not meet all the requirements listed here but have other important qualities. Thus, we encourage all interested candidates to apply. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Culture: 

  • Support the leadership in nurturing a culture of joy and innovation within the organisation and ensuring a shared understanding of that culture by all staff 
  • Identify ways to continually bring the values of the organisation to life 
  • Regularly measure and analyse the cultural health of the organisation and advise management accordingly 
  • Help maintain a positive and productive work environment

Staff experience and development: 

  • Regularly investigate what drives and frustrates staff and make recommendations on how to enhance the staff experience and improve motivation and performance
  • Conduct annual staff survey and analyse results for actionable insights 
  • Deliberately design and execute employee experiences 
  • Plan and carry out events, team-building activities and other opportunities for staff to forge connection with each other, with their leadership and with the organisation
  • Map competencies within the staff and identify opportunities for growth and development, including, where appropriate, training 
  • Identify opportunities to share, exchange, be heard and build trust across the team
  • Identify opportunities to recognise and celebrate staff achievements and to reward behaviour that is aligned with organisational values 
  • Monitor signs of burn-out among staff and advise management accordingly 

Recruitment:      

  • Identify innovative ways to attract more diverse talent to our team, with a particular focus on the communities our journalism serves 
  • Identify ways to speed up recruitment efforts globally and across different sectors, while maintaining quality and effectiveness of selection process
  • Stay abreast of recruitment best practice and continually improve recruitment process, including interviewing and assessment of soft skills 
  • Serve on the selection committee of recruitments 
  • Immerse new staff in the culture and values of the organisation and lead an orientation programme 
  • Build an employer brand that communicates TNH’s values to prospective staff 
  • Conduct exit interviews and draw conclusions for leadership 
  • Advise management on succession planning 

Organisational leadership:  

  • Support CEO and COO on internal communication; promote a shared understanding of organisational goals; and facilitate the exchange of information across teams
  • Support managers in connecting organisational goals with individual goals and encourage greater staff ownership over the targets we set 
  • Coach managers in how they run meetings, make decisions, review performance, encourage collaboration, manage internal conflicts and how they can more positively impact the culture 
  • Identify internal policies and initiatives that support the organisation’s brand and culture, including within the realm of corporate social responsibility 
  • Hold others accountable regarding employee interactions and cultural standards

About The New Humanitarian 

Founded in 1995 by the United Nations as “IRIN News”, as a result of the humanitarian information gap exposed by the Rwandan genocide, The New Humanitarian spun off in 2015 to become an independent non-profit media organisation, now headquartered in Switzerland. Over the last five years, we have constituted a legal entity with an independent board of directors, raised millions of dollars in funding from institutional donors, rebranded from IRIN to The New Humanitarian, sharpened our editorial voice under the leadership of a new Executive Editor from the New York Times, launched an investigations unit and a podcast, and begun a membership programme, which has attracted hundreds of paying readers.

Some 375,000 government officials, UN and NGO representatives, journalists, academics and wider audiences interested in understanding crises visit our website every month; 57,000 subscribe to our email newsletter; thousands have downloaded our new podcast, and millions more access our work through social media and replibcation in mainstream media, from the BBC, the Associated Press and the New York Times to regional media in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our journalism has prompted investigations into misconduct, changes in UN policy, and new aid programmes; it has inspired public petitions, donations, and charity telethons; and it has been used as evidence before the International Criminal Court and the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee. 

Amid an unprecedented number of simultaneous crises around the world and a media industry in financial crisis, our informed and independent lens is more needed than ever. Our reporting tackles many of the key issues of our time, from migration to climate change, from the war in Syria to COVID-19, from a multi-billion-dollar aid industry in the midst of soul-searching to emerging forms of solidarity. 

Our value proposition has become even stronger now that Europe has experienced an influx of refugees; climate change is resonated in the public’s consciousness; and the new coronavirus has spread around the world. We believe readers will increasingly seek out the kind of content we produce. This is a unique opportunity to work for one of the few non-profit media covering international affairs who have thrived at a time when most media are struggling. 

Our $2.5 million USD budget is mostly funded by a mix of governments and foundations. 

We currently employ 20 staff based in Geneva, London, Bangkok, Johannesburg and beyond, with plans to significantly grow our staff this year. We also work with a network of freelance journalists in some 70 countries around the world.

We are registered in the canton of Geneva as a non-profit association under Swiss law. 

Find our latest annual report here.  

How to Apply 

Send your CV to [email protected] with “Head of People and Culture” in the subject line, along with a cover letter outlining your relevant experience; your interest in working with TNH; and the single thing you find most important in driving organisational culture and staff motivation. 

Please note: Due to the high number of applications, applicants who are not selected for interviews will not be notified. 

Deadline for application: 14 March 2021 

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