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Head of Organisational Development

As a driver of cultural change for our university, you will be responsible for developing and driving the implementation of our corporate organisational development strategy, from strategic development right through to delivery.

At the very heart of England, the University of Derby transforms futures via industry-relevant, expert teaching, from foundation and undergraduate degrees through to postgraduate study and research. With some 34,000 students, including more than 1,700 from overseas, we’re going from strength to strength – and we want you to take us to the next level.

Driving profound organisational change, you will intensely examine the way we think and work to deliver substantial improvements in performance and better outcomes for our students and staff. Translating our corporate organisational development strategy into projects, policies and initiatives, you will actively drive delivery whilst providing expert advice to the senior management team in order to realise our vision.

Your impact on our development will be enormous, so we require an exceptional professional. With a proven track record of initiating far-reaching change in similarly large and complex organisations, you will be a naturally gifted communicator and relationship builder – and you’ll possess the personality to bring diverse stakeholders round to your way of thinking.

Whilst a conventional HR background is by no means essential, chances are you will hold a relevant professional qualification – and you will certainly be adept at managing programmes, people and budgets. Fully familiar with operating at a senior strategic level, you will bring a skill set that extends far beyond Learning & Development, as we will look to you to articulate a clear roadmap for change and then accelerate our transformation.

In return, you can expect a competitive salary and an excellent package of benefits including generous holiday entitlement and a contributory pension scheme. Prove you can make things happen and your career with us could take you almost anywhere.

Principal accountabilities

  1. Shape, steer and deliver Organisational Development strategies that enable the achievement of the university’s strategic aims and objectives.
  2. Provide a comprehensive and congruent development offer to the university to satisfy general as well as specific academic requirements in relation to teaching, research and income generation activity.
  3. Monitor and review OD processes and activities to ensure alignment and relevance to corporate aims as well as to comply with corporate reporting cycles.
  4. Lead cultural change programmes designed to ensure that services are developed and delivered in accordance with the strategic aims and values of the university.
  5. Act as the university’s ‘environmental scanner’ to provide innovative and proactive advice and solutions to senior management teams on all organisational development matters and the effective management of change.
  6. Develop leadership and core competency capacity and capability at all levels of the organisation for individual staff, teams and management groups.
  7. Initiate, develop and implement major new initiatives working in partnership with colleagues within the directorate, Colleges/Directorates or the Vice Chancellor’s Executive and Performance & Governance Board in areas such as workforce development planning and performance management.
  8. Lead the transition of the university to a Learning Organisation.
  9. Develop improvement strategies that anticipate and respond to the changing HE landscape, particularly the commercialisation of education.
  10. Deputise for the Director of Human Resources.

Person specification

Essential Criteria


  • Masters or equivalent professional qualification in HR or a relevant management subject, or equivalent demonstrable experience.


  • Evidence of having successfully delivered corporate change and improvement activity in a complex organisation.
  • Significant experience in staff development, sufficient to oversee a corporate development plan as part of strategic workforce planning and sufficient to coach, mentor and train the team and fellow managers as appropriate.
  • Budget and resources management.
  • Experience of advancing equality, diversity and inclusion outcomes for staff/stakeholders.
  • An experienced line manager who has operated as part of a senior team.
  • Experience of leading / developing OD and Development Strategies with personal expertise and experience in organisational design and/or leading business process improvement activity.
  • Experience of developing positive relationships with relevant stakeholders (governors, managers, unions, employees, partners etc).

Skills, knowledge & abilities

  • Excellent knowledge of Organisational Development (not only learning and development) and change theories with experience of application in previous experience.
  • Networked internally and externally so that knowledge is constantly growing / being refreshed.
  • Digitally literate, with demonstrable experience of leading projects with I.T. deliverables in an HR and corporate context.
  • A positive, inclusive and collegial leadership style, and the ability to inspire, motivate and develop others to achieve results.
  • Demonstrable ability to lead, motivate, performance manage, guide and appraise a group of professional staff.
  • A high level of impact and influence on a local and corporate level.
  • A leader of change and able to encourage, instill confidence and inspire others.
  • Strong and confident oral communicator with both an engaging speaking style and the ability to brief, present and train.
  • Ability to receive, understand and convey ideas and information clearly and accurately which may at times be complex, highly detailed, technical or specialist, both in written and verbal form and prepare reports and project briefs.
  • Skills and experience in coaching and mentoring.
  • Drive, delivery focused and a completer finisher.
  • Commitment to organisational excellence and continuous improvement.
  • Strong project management experience with impact at an organisational level.
  • Strong organisational skills with demonstrable impact.
  • Ability to think strategically and to translate into operational plans and objectives.
  • Able to provide a service to a diverse range of people to promote good relations and equality.
  • Understand confidentiality and the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations.

Desirable Criteria


  • Qualified Prince or Managing Successful Programmes Practitioner or equivalent.
  • Accredited coach.


  • Experience gained within a public sector/HE role.
  • Experience of working collaboratively with other functions to support strategy development and delivery and oversee corporate change and transformation programmes.
  • Experience of positive action programmes to improve diversity of representation in decision making.
  • Experience of leading successful equality initiatives with external benchmarking success.
  • Experience of handling conflict and managing sensitive issues to achieve positive outcomes.
  • Experience of developing and leading programmes to improve employee wellbeing and working collaboratively to provide a holistic corporate approach to wellbeing.
  • Experience of business process improvement and leading programme to change ways of working to support business and wellbeing benefits.

Skills, knowledge and abilities

  • Knowledge and experience of working with the public sector equality duty and on HE and or external charter marks associated with furthering equality goals.

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