Careers at UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all UMass Amherst employees. Individuals may apply for a religious or medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. More information regarding the University’s COVID-19 vaccination policies can be found at the UMass Amherst COVID-19 Information page or HR Fall 2021 website.

Human Resources Business Partner

Apply now Job no: 510504
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Human Resources
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: Human Resources

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

This position is directly accountable for developing and maintaining effective working relationships between Human Resources and the respective Vice Chancellor, Dean and Department Head areas of responsibility. Drawing on a broad range of expertise, the HR Business Partner (HRBP) operates as a business partner, management advocate, and employee champion for all levels of the University organization. The HRBP acts as a liaison between Vice Chancellors, Deans, Department Heads and their staffs and central HR staff for matters involving recruiting, employment, compensation, employee relations, labor relations and training and development. The HRBP will provide regular updates regarding personnel policies, processes and procedures, and new technology (software) implementations. The HRBP is directly responsible for the delivery of a full suite of customer-focused HR services to their assigned responsibility areas. All HRBPs will provide cross-coverage and back-up support for their counterparts serving other assigned organizations within the university community.


Essential Functions

  • Plan, develop, organize and implement HR business plans for university units that are aligned to both the overall University strategy and direction set by the Chancellor and to specific Vice Chancellor, Dean and Department Head area needs.
  • Develop human resources strategies to meet changing academic and business needs through assisting with organizational structure redesign, succession planning, creation of new positions and roles and the effective use of communication planning.
  • Provide direction and tools for Vice Chancellors, Deans and Department Heads to continually assess changing skill set needs, skill levels and skill gaps, overall team effectiveness and effectiveness of retention and performance management initiatives.
  • Build and maintain personal credibility throughout responsibility areas at all levels to effectively provide advice and counsel. Provide proactive guidance and coaching in bringing front-line employee relations and labor relations matters to successful resolution.
  • Partner with central employee and labor relations staff on complex matters.  Leads investigations related to such matters.
  • Develop partnerships with unit HR and Business leads to foster open communications and information sharing.
  • Assess training needs in assigned organizations and development of relevant training programs in conjunction with the HR Workforce Learning and Development and HR functional areas (Compensation, Benefits, Labor Relations, etc.).
  • Remain current on employment law and compliance and participate as required in MCAD and EEO issue resolution including the conduct of investigations.
  • Maintain membership in regional and national academic and professional HR organizations with a focus on leading, advancing and influencing the management of HR and widespread use of industry best practices.
  • Provide cross-coverage and back-up support for other HR Business Partners and their assigned organizations.


Other Functions

Perform other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor's degree in Business, HR, or other related field.
  • Seven (7) years of progressive HR experience in either Specialist or Business Partner roles.
    • A Master’s Degree in Business, HR, or other related field or a JD will count towards two (2) years of the required experience.
  • Ability to develop and execute talent management, performance management, employee relations and labor relations programs at every level of the enterprise. Ability to plan and implement major change initiatives for the enterprise or for the HR Function.
  • Executive presence, ability to formulate, present and execute complex strategies, policies and programs.
  • Excellent overall business acumen. Superior verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to be a collaborative HR professional and team player.
  • Knowledge and ability to apply complex concepts, practices and procedures within the general business, academic and human resources environments. Ability to promote ideas and proposals persuasively including with the use of data and analysis as appropriate.
  • Ability to cultivate influential and credible relationships with Vice Chancellors and Deans across the campus. Ability to resolve difficult and personal employee, student or leader (Vice Chancellor, Dean, Department Head, etc.) issues in a composed, professional and confidential manner.
  • Ability to assess and effect the balance required between University policies and practices, human resources operating principles, the identified business need and the needs of the staff member or student.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master's degree in Business, HR, or other related field or JD.
  • PHR or SPHR certification.
  • Experience in higher education or the public sector.
  • Significant experience with the design and execution of recruitment and hiring strategies.
  • Experience in designing and executing integrated performance management and employee development programs.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment.


Work Schedule

Monday – Friday, 40 hours/week.


Salary Information

Salary commensurate with skills and experience.


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with your application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references. The position may remain open until filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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