Senior HR Manager

Application deadline closed.

Job Description

Better Cotton Initiative

  • Starting Date: As soon as possible
  • Contract type: Permanent, open-ended
  • Salary: from £67,000 or CHF 107,000 (commensurate with experience)
  • Location: London, UK or Geneva, Switzerland
  • Application closing date:  Midnight 02.05.2022 GMT


Better Cotton is the world’s largest cotton sustainability programme. Our mission: to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. In challenging times, we are meeting the challenge head on. Through our network of field-level partners we have trained over 2.5 million farmers - from the smallest to the largest - in 23 countries in more sustainable farming practices. A quarter of the world’s cotton is now grown under the Better Cotton Standard. We have united the industry’s stakeholders behind our efforts, from ginners and spinners to brand owners, civil society organisations and governments. Everyone who cares about cotton and its sustainable future can now be part of something better.

About this role

Better Cotton is seeking a highly experienced HR professional to lead and develop the HR function of a fast-growing international mission-driven organisation. Better Cotton has staff presence in 15 countries and seen an exceptional staff growth of 30% per year in the last 3 years, now totalling 160 employees. The organisation has four offices (London, Geneva, Lahore and Delhi) and is looking to expand in more locations.

At Better Cotton, a passionate and dedicated team of co-workers drive relentlessly towards our mission. We are now looking for a dynamic, people-focused and highly communicative individual with a strategic outlook, who will thrive on working in a fast paced and dispersed environment. Working at Better Cotton means working towards impact, staying aligned internally, and engaging externally with lots of different partners, to find the sweet spot where interests align.

We need effective and efficient internal systems to support working on our ambitious programme of work. The position holder would be excited to define and shape our working culture to keep alignment with our mission and team. With staff based in many different countries, challenges inevitably arise in relation to HR, both in terms of fostering a common culture and in terms of ensuring that we offer employments terms of equal value between countries. We have a pragmatic, positive and industrious working culture. We want to continue developing tools to support line managers help their reports to blossom.

With strong generalist experience in a comparable HR Function with international teams, the ideal candidate will be able to help guide the organisation into a post-Covid working culture, with clear and efficient processes to ensure engagement, consistency and fairness. A strong grasp of introducing and managing change will be necessary to succeed. S/he will bring knowledge of current HR trends and the commitment to managing a modern HR service. The position holder would plan to continue efforts to professionalise and develop all HR related policies, processes and practices as well as help define and embed a collaborative, people orientated and dynamic culture.

This position reports into the COO and works closely with the Executive and Leadership teams. The position will manage a team of 3 staff based in London / Geneva and provide matrix management to country specific HR roles. The HR function in Better Cotton is a service function, providing structure, guidance and training to line manager and employees alike. The role offers excellent opportunities for personal and professional development, together with a competitive benefits package.

For the right person, this role offers plenty of opportunity to shape what HR should look like in a growing mission-led organisation. In December 2021 we launched our 2030 strategy, and we now need to take a step back to consider how we can develop as an organisation to create the best possible pathway to success. People are our asset, and how we nurture, challenge and empower our staff will be critical for delivering on our targets.


Strategy & delivery

  • Ensure that the daily work experience at Better Cotton post-Covid is attractive and positive, while enabling all to work effectively towards our strategic goals
  • Develop and implement HR strategy and workplan to position Better Cotton as Employer of Choice in all relevant locations, while supporting organisational strategic goals
  • Develop and lead on appropriate change management activities to adequately support staff, team members through challenges from growth
  • Advise Better Cotton Executive Group on HR best practice and make recommendations on improvements for BCI practices
  • Ensure Better Cotton’s global structure is fit-for-purpose and supports effective collaboration between functions and country teams

Culture setting

  • Lead on a refresh of organisational values that support with the 2030 strategy, mission and vision
  • Develop approach to mainstreaming Better Cotton culture, in the context of rapid growth, global team and hybrid working
  • Assess and plan activities and approaches targeting staff motivation and opportunities for engagement, team building and maintaining team spirit and motivation

Labour Laws, Legal Compliance and HR Policies

  • Be accountable for compliance of global HR administration in relation to Better Cotton internal policies and local regulations as applicable.
  • Oversee accurate and up-to-date maintenance of employee files and HR databases according to legal requirements, including relevant regulations on data protection.
  • Ensure Better Cotton HR policies, procedures and tools are appropriate, complied with internally, deliver legal compliance and help the organisation perform at the highest level.

Compensation and Benefits, Budget Preparation & Monitoring

  • Make recommendations to the Executive team to ensure that compensation and benefits packages are attractive for new joiners and existing staff
  • Manage the relationship with external payroll providers, ensuring that staff are enrolled under all compulsory and BCI optional benefits and that salaries are processed in an accurate and timely manner for both headquarters offices (London and Geneva).
  • Provide guidance to Country Directors and HR functions in Better Cotton locations on research, design and implementation of benefits and compensation schemed per location ensuring staff have access to equivalent pay and benefits.
  • Provide first line advice on current and existing benefits for employees and managers
  • Develop and be accountable for development and management of the HR annual budget and three-year forecasts.
  • Ensure employment in remote locations is compliant with relevant regulations

Recruitment, Staffing and Exit

  • Ensure that the recruitment process is successful in bringing the right talent into the organisation.
  • Ensure employee on-boarding enables a smooth and efficient transition into Better Cotton employment.
  • Advise managers on the terms and conditions of employment and knowledge share best practice with them.
  • Define HR KPIs and ensure regular reporting to the Executive Group and Finance Committee, in collaboration with the Better Cotton finance team

Training and Development

  • Ensure employees at Better Cotton has the opportunity grow and develop in their jobs
  • Provide line managers and employees with HR guidance and support for performance reviews and for skills and competencies assessment to ensure consistent and fair application
  • Liaise with country teams and functions to propose internal training and in house skills sharing
  • Ensure the performance management system is effective and user friendly for all staff members and supports the development and retention of staff
  • Equip line managers with relevant skills and tools to deliver their duties well

Employee relations

  • Ensure there is an effective employee engagement programme in place, ensuring staff feedback is heard and duly considered.
  • Facilitate effective communications within the organisation using the adequate platforms (Staff Meeting, BCI Pulse, 1-1 with admin officers from the country programmes offices).
  • Ensure Better Cotton has the appropriate set of HR and business ethics policies in place (grievance, disciplinary, whistleblowing, safeguarding, anti-discrimination), that they are up to date and monitor appropriate application
  • Address employee relations issues and casework including dispute resolutions, disciplinaries, grievances, absence, retirement and redundancy.
  • Identify trends in employee relations and make recommendation to COO on how to address these


The selected candidate will have the following skills, knowledge, and experience:

Skills, Knowledge and Experience            
·       Solid experience of managing HR function in an organisation with entities  and staff in several countries and matrix reporting structures
·       Proven experience of line managing and developing others
·       Previous involvement in the development and management of a successful learning and development function
·       Track record in supporting line managers in effective performance management
·       Strong experience in managing employee relations and supporting line managers in dealing with emerging issues
·       Experience leading process revisions and ensure they are fit for purpose
·       Strong project management skills and ability to deliver and prioritise multiple concurrent projects
·       Proven experience of influencing colleagues and stakeholders at all levels of the organisation
·       Proven skills in delivering change management
·       Commitment to delivering an excellent HR service and closely working with other teams to continuously improve function
·       Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft 365 package (Outlook, Word, Excel, Sharepoint) or evidence of picking up IT programmes and systems quickly
·       Proficient in English with well-structured oral and written communications skills.
·       Interest in and commitment to sustainability
·       Experience of working with and adapting HR IT Tools and Software
·       CIPD Level 7 qualification (or Brevet Federal in Switzerland) or equivalent work experience
·       Proficiency in languages other than English


Working arrangements

The position is full-time (40 hours per week) and will be based in either London or Geneva. Better Cotton offers flexible working, with core hours being 10am – 4pm and the option to work from home one day per week.

Travel will be required (10-15% of the time).


Interested applicants with the required attributes are asked to send, in English, a detailed CV and a brief cover letter (2 pages maximum) to Better Cotton by applying via this link.

Application deadline:  02.05.2022

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only candidates short-listed for a telephone interview will be contacted. Better Cotton is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to good practice and transparency in the management of natural, human, and financial resources.

Better Cotton has a zero tolerance approach to any attitudes or behaviours that put children or adults at risk of harm. Safeguarding incidents are acts of serious misconduct and are grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including, dismissal and referral to relevant authorities for criminal prosecution.