Director of People and HR Strategy


Andy Ryan

Andy Ryan

Job Description

Director of People and HR Strategy has leadership responsibility for all human resources activities for the Media Lab.  Will work in collaboration with senior management to provide HR strategic planning and to develop, lead, and implement human resources activities designed to meet the Lab’s goals in accordance with its values.  

The Media Lab is a large, interdisciplinary research facility with a companion academic program. It is a group of over 500 people comprised of world-renowned faculty members and senior researchers, graduate students, postdocs, research and administrative staff and visiting scientists.


  • Serve as key member of the Lab’s senior leadership team and advisor to the Director on a full range of HR and organizational issues, with particular focus on administrative support, research, and other academic staff;
  • Collaborate with staff and others in the Lab community to devise and implement HR strategy that furthers the Lab’s mission, values, and goals; develop tools to measure progress and pursue continuous improvement;
  • Assemble and apply Institute- and Media Lab-wide workplace climate research and survey data to inform HR policy and procedures; 
  • Manage organizational change and related communications;
  • Foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment;
  • Coordinate closely with academic Program in Media, Arts & Sciences leadership team to align actions and communication;
  • Facilitate identification and engagement of top administrative and research talent, including oversight of search and visa processes;
  • Act as resource to managers and individual employees on job classification, hiring, compensation, retention, performance development and management, skill and career development, succession planning, and MIT HR policies and practices and best practices;
  • Ensure the Lab complies with applicable Institute policies and procedures and governmental regulations related to employment;
  • Work with Media Lab and MIT community to design and implement new and/or improved HR practices and processes;
  • Initiate staff enrichment, professional development, training, and team-building activities,
  • Resolve employee relations issues, including complaint handling and referral, dispute resolution, and mediation; 
  • Review outside professional activities reports for staff, visitors, and affiliates in coordination with Director;
  • Act as a liaison to the School of Architecture Dean's Office staff, MIT HR, and other Institute offices;
  • Serve on various School or Institute committees and projects;
  • Oversee HR budget.

Job number:  19406


  • Required
    • Bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of progressively responsible HR generalist experience;
    • Ability to provide collaborative leadership and generate creative, effective solutions to complex problems;
    • Understanding of formal and informal organizational structures and relationships;
    • Good judgment, tact, and discretion with sensitive and confidential matters;
    • Ability to prioritize multiple and often competing demands under deadline pressure in a fast-paced environment;
    • Demonstrated strategic planning and change management experience;
    • Strong problem solving, team building, and supervisory skills;
    • Effective facilitation, mediation and conflict resolution skills;
    • Excellent communication skills with particular ability to listen carefully and communicate openly and with empathy;
    • Ability to function effectively in a highly diverse, constantly evolving research environment;
    • Knowledge of federal and state employment laws and current HR business trends and practices.
  • Preferred
    • Graduate degree;
    • Higher education experience strongly preferred; MIT experience a plus;
    • PHR or SPHR certification;
    • Experience with personnel performance, training, and assessment tools;
    • Organizational innovation experience demonstrating enhanced workforce climate and culture.

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