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Human Resource Director - Walker Art Center

Minneapolis, Minnesota

POSITION PROFILE: Director of Human Resources – Walker Art Center     

LOCATION: Minneapolis, MN


This Director of Human Resources is an innovative, strategic and hands-on position. This leader is responsible for the tactical management, oversight and alignment of talent management, total rewards, compliance, culture building, payroll and risk management, in support of the Walker’s mission and priorities. The HR Director partners with key stakeholders across the organization, to effectively design, develop and implement strategies, programs, systems, and tools to ensure the organization has the talent and operational capability it needs to execute its strategy and work plans.

This director oversees all human resource activities and initiatives to ensure a continued dedicated emphasis on our people and our culture; serves as thought leader on organizational culture matters; leads efforts for operational process improvements and performance enhancements to ensure a strongly aligned, sustainable, employee-centric operation. Board committee interfacing with this role includes the Talent and Compensation Committee.

Stewards the full range of HR-related functions for the Walker, including recruitment and staffing, organizational design, talent management, access, equity and inclusion initiatives, compensation, health and retirement benefits, management and leadership development, and succession planning. The Director of Human resources will frame and interpret the “cultural big picture” with senior leadership, guiding the HR team and their efforts relative to employee engagement and performance to achieve desired results and support the Walker’s strategic and mission objectives.


The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.

One of the most celebrated art museums in the country, the Walker Art Center is known for its innovative presentations and acclaimed collections of contemporary art across the spectrum of the visual, performing, and media arts. Over the course of more than 100 years, the Walker has evolved from a privately held collection into an internationally recognized institution and civic resource.
The Walker Art Center is committed to taking a proactive role in improving and promoting inclusion in our workplace and into all our work practices:

  • to seize opportunities to ensure our current methods and actions reflect our commitment to cultivating a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • to provide an inclusive visitor experience for diverse audiences
  • to provide programming that engages with and is relevant to our diverse community

The HR Director will have 2 direct reports, a payroll specialist and a Human Resources Generalist.  

Talent Management
  • Navigates organizational and culture change and the impact on people, policies and systems.
  • Ensures that goal setting and performance evaluations processes continues to support the institution’s strategic plan and the continued professional and personal development of staff.
  • Oversees all employee relations activities including investigations, addressing grievances, and providing advice and counsel to managers to ensure a positive work environment.
  • Design and implement a succession planning strategy and evaluation process that identifies risk and untapped potential for the organization.
  • Oversees the talent acquisition strategy (sourcing and recruitment) to ensure diverse and qualified candidates are attracted to the institution.
  • Collaboratively develops and drives an organizational DEI strategy that tracks and has proven results against the execution of the WAC goals on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Total Rewards
  • Oversees the design, negotiation and implementation of appropriate health and wellbeing benefits plans and programs with Benefits Brokers.
  • Partners with CFO and advisory firm to provide oversight and management for the 403(b) retirement plans.
  • Leads the annual compensation and promotion review process ensuring equity and- retention.
  • Payroll
Compliance and Risk Management
  • Oversees annual employee training and policy acknowledgements for key policy review and safety training.
  • Worker Compensation and OSHA Administration and Oversight
  • Develops, reviews, and implements progressive human resource policies, best practices, and procedures to maximize organizational effectiveness, retention and employee satisfaction.
  • Ensures compliance with all relevant state, federal, and local labor laws and reporting requirements, including MN Affirmative Action Plans and EEO-1.
Culture and Community Building
  • Drive understanding of our values, our leadership philosophies, and alignment to our organizational objectives; ensure that they are lived and understood by all WAC members.
  • Proactively develop a best-practice understanding of the museum/cultural arts world in general to ensure the Walker stays at the head of the pack strategically and organizationally.
  • Maintain an external profile with civic and peer institutions to facilitate communication, benchmarking, and potential collaboration; serve on civic and/or external committees as representative of the Walker, as appropriate.
  • Create strong mechanisms that support and bring priorities and philosophies to life through active discussion that connect-the-dots and allow for appreciative inquiry.
  • Contribute as a member of Walker’s senior management team; participates on Walker committees as needed
  • Serves as an advisor and sounding board for the institution’s senior leaders, providing guidance on human resources and workforce management issues
  • Supervise, mentor, and oversee direct reports on a day-to-day basis, including oversight of special projects, staff and budget management to ensure the effective and efficient operation of all assigned activities and responsibilities and accountability for results; facilitate strong performance and achievement of key metrics; and provide on-going feedback to address, resolve, and/or encourage performance and/or engagement-related matters
  • Serve as staff liaison for the Talent and Com Committee, including establishing and monitoring timeline of Committee activities, developing agendas and talking points, taking minutes and maintaining all Committee records and documents
  • Build and maintain internal relationships across the museum to allow for effective partnerships that help advance strategic, operational, and people-related goals; set and maintain high standards for integrity, accuracy, productivity, professionalism and cooperation in the workplace
  • In consultation with Executive Director, provide tactical leadership and direction to all Walker departments/leadership, in accordance with the strategic plan, while focusing on the continuous enhancement of operational proficiency and productivity.
Strategic Planning and Execution
  • Lead the planning and implementation of new HR initiatives.
  • Develop and recommend specific plans to align HR activities with Walker’s strategic plans and policy objectives.
  • Measure the effectiveness of HR activities on the organization. Provide information and statistics to Walker’s senior management team as requested.
  • Provide proactive, creative and effective leadership around people activities of the Walker to promote operational sustainability through effective management of resources, in alignment with overall goals and objectives, and reflective of the institution’s mission and high standards; in doing so:
  • Work to ensure the Walker has proper, best-in-class administrative procedures, and people systems in place;
  • Identify priority opportunities for improvement and develop comprehensive, thoughtful, successful strategies to improve such controls, infrastructures and systems;
  • Build greater integration and optimized collaboration between Operations, Artistic, Communications and Public Engagement departments to achieve goals;
  • oversee and/or participate in vendor / contract negotiations as appropriate.
Qualifications, knowledge, skills, and abilities    
  • Five or more years human resources leadership experience overseeing the full scope of human resource management functions, with proven experience in recruitment, benefits management, and training and development.
  • 8 or more years progressive career experience including experience in complex institutions with a variety of operations
  • Experience working in an organization with union and labor relations
  • Strong project management skills and ability to lead multiple, high-profile projects forward and effectively leverage available resources and/or creatively identify new resources as necessary to drive results.
  • Presents information in a clear, confident fashion to a range of individuals with varying levels of expertise.
  • Leadership, influencing, entrepreneurial, decision-making, and people management skills
  • Ability to foster trust and collaboration among team members at varying levels and manage through change with flexibility and poise.
  • Maintain effective working relationships with representatives of public and private organizations, Board members, vendors, and museum staff.
  • Can communicate successes and opportunities with passion and intensity, in written and verbal formats in both formal and informal situations.
  • Problem-solver with excellent reasoning skills, the ability to understand and deal with complexities with ease and bring teams together to overcome obstacles to achieve goals.
  • Ability to foster confidence and lead with decisiveness.
  • Curiosity and drive to stay ahead of trends in the museum world in order to identify new and unique opportunities to serve the mission.
  • Self-motivated and able to determine best course of action in an autonomous manner.
  • Ability to delegate authority combined with a willingness to work in a “hands-on” manner and as part of a team.
  • Ability to prioritize and adjust heavy workload, manage a variety of tasks, and meet various deadlines with changing priorities, frequent interruptions, and conflicting deadlines.
  • Unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; proven ability to be trusted with highly confidential and sensitive information.

How to apply: The Walker Art Center is partnering with kp companies in this search. Applications can be submitted ONLINE HERE or if preferred, resumes and cover letters can be emailed to terra@kpcompanies.com. Please include Walker – HR Director in the subject line.

The Walker Art Center is an equal opportunity employer and encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, orientations, and communities to apply.

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