Website innocence Innocence Project

Assistant Director, Employee Relations & Engagement

The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Our work is guided by science and grounded in anti-racism. Since our inception, the Innocence Project has used DNA and other scientific advancements to prove wrongful conviction. To date, we have helped to free or exonerate more than 200 people who, collectively, spent more than 3,600 years behind bars. Our efforts have led to the passage of more than 200 transformative state laws and federal reforms. Today, the Innocence Project continues to fight for freedom, drive structural change, and advance the innocence movement. To learn more, please visit

The Human Resources team delivers programs necessary to develop and maintain a high-performance and equity-focused workforce and a work culture which inspires and supports employees in meeting their mission-critical work. The Human Resources staff are stewards and champions of the Innocence Project’s values, particularly our commitments to dignity and respect of all staff, and inclusion, equity and belonging, and must hold these principals as foundational to the work.

The Assistant Director of Employee Relations and Engagement is a seasoned, empathetic, and data-driven employee relations specialist who shares responsibility with the Director of Human Resources for responding to a wide range of employee needs. The ADER will partner with the Director of Human Resources on much of the employee-facing work including one-on-one coaching with employees and managers, as well as behind the scenes data collection and analysis to enhance the employee relations practices of the organization. The ADER also has significant responsibility for ensuring timely, effective and transparent communication with employees on a wide variety of topics.

This position works closely with the entire HR team which currently consists of 2 HR Managers (HR Manager of Recruitment and Systems, HR Manager of Payroll and Benefits), an Assistant Director of Learning & Development, and an Employee Engagement Coordinator. The Human Resources team delivers programs necessary to develop and maintain a high-performance and equity-focused workforce and a work culture which inspires and supports employees in meeting their mission-critical work. The Human Resources staff are stewards and champions of the Innocence Project’s values, particularly our commitments to dignity and respect of all staff, and inclusion, equity and belonging, and must hold these principals as foundational to the work.

The Assistant Director of Employee Relations is a visible and accessible resource to all members of the Innocence Project staff, and handles day-to-day personnel issues with a high level of discretion, empathy and problem-solving, and therefore needs to be an expert employee relations and coaching specialist and “people person” as well as a polished project manager.  The ADER also needs to see and value the differences in identity and positionality that each person brings into discussions and interactions, and know how to balance those dynamics.

All Innocence Project employees must embrace, respect and value the rich diversity of perspectives and experience of a diverse and heterogeneous staff.  We recognize and appreciate that our work is better for having varied participants and thought partners.

We are interested in every qualified candidate who is eligible to work in the United States. However, we are not able to sponsor visas.

While the Innocence Project has supported remote work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently committed to a hybrid workplace with mandatory three days per week in-office. The number of required in-office days is subject to change.

The ideal candidate is an expert in employee relations, coaching and mediation, and collaborative problem solving, and exhibits a high degree of emotional intelligence. They also bring an analytical mind and appreciate the value of data collection and analysis as part of maintaining a responsive approach to employee needs. They are an enthusiastic and highly personable team player who understands how to adapt to different personalities and work styles, and hold multiple perspectives. The ideal candidate is also extremely organized and knows how to prioritize assignments in a high-volume work environment. A background in the nonprofit sector, specifically in a social justice organization, is strongly preferred.


  • Alongside the Director of Human Resources, serve as a primary, available and approachable resource and coach for all members of the IP staff on a wide range of employment issues. Provides consultation, guidance and coaching to employees and managers.
  • With the Director of Human Resources, develop and implement an organizational conflict management and resolution plan, lead mediation sessions between colleagues, and work with the AD of Training and Development on communication and conflict resolution skill-building programs for staff.
  • Shares responsibility with the Director of Human Resources for receiving and investigating any workplace complaints and finding resolution.
  • Works closely with the Assistant Director of Learning and Development on progressive discipline procedures and PIP processes, and is an available coach and resource for employees and managers as part of that process.


  • Project-manage the employee engagement survey process from start to finish, including convening listening and feedback sessions with various IP committees, appropriate status meetings with the Director of Human Resources and other senior and executive leadership, ensuring robust organizational communication on the process, scheduling meetings with all staff for results report, and managing formation of any ad-hoc working groups which come out of the results.
  • With the Director of Human Resources, conduct initial analysis of survey responses, draft reports for stakeholder groups, and participate in presentation of data to various audiences.
  • Conduct exit interviews, analyze results, identify trends, report findings to the Director of Human Resources, and revise and implement programs to address identified needs.
  • Serve as a thought-partner to the Director of Human Resources on programs and initiatives to address trends identified through the data collection and analysis. Develop metrics for monitoring progress.


  • Develops targeted, robust and proactive communication with various project stakeholders and employees at large about HR initiatives and programs through staff-wide emails, staff meeting reports, individual conversations, and visual presentations and reports.
  • Partner with the Director of Human Resources and HR team on the development of a range of written guides and visual tools for HR programs that can be shared with staff and managers. Resume HR newsletter.


  • Support the IP’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including potentially serving on the internal DEI committee, partnering with DEI subcommittees and the AD for Learning and Development on training initiatives.
  • Serve as the HR representative on ad-hoc working groups and committees as necessary. Examples of possible working groups include: organizational values steering committee, “holding space” subcommittee, affinity group support committee, return to office advisory committee, and similar groups.


  • Minimum 7 years of progressive responsibilities in generalist human resource functions, with at least 5 in employee relations work required, social justice workplaces preferred
  • One or more of the following:
    • Masters Degree with a concentration in Human Resources, Labor Management, Nonprofit Management, Social Work, or related field
    • or SPHR or SHRM-CP/SCP Certification
    • or equivalent additional directly-related work experience
  • Significant professional experience and/or training in investigations required
  • Significant professional experience and/or training in coaching techniques required
  • Experience with data collection and analysis strongly preferred
  • Experience with conflict mediation models a plus
  • Proficiency in Google suite a plus.
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S.


  • Strong interpersonal, diplomacy, and communication skills: the ability to interact effectively and sensitively with a wide variety of people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.
  • Ability to maintain strict confidentiality; ethical, represents the organization and the department in a way which is consistent with IP organizational values.
  • Positive attitude and sense of humor.
  • Solutions-driven orientation
  • Superior skills in organization, planning and attention to detail.
  • Self-motivated with ability to work under minimal supervision.
  • Must be able to work with groups of diverse individuals in respectful, equitable, and inclusive ways.
  • Enthusiasm for the work of the Innocence Project and for social justice, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest

The salary for this position is highly competitive and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including fully-paid individual health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with 6% company-match, paid disability and family care leave, adoption and fertility expense reimbursements, and company-paid transportation benefits.

The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission.  We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply. Individuals with personal connections to the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law.

To apply, please visit JazzHR. Upload a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name (last name. first name. cover letter/resume). Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email.

**Applications for this position will be considered on a rolling basis until the post is filled.** 

$95,625 – $112,500

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