Director of People Operations

Location: San Francisco, CA

Department: People Operations

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Experienced


The Director of People Operations guides the people strategy and manages the Human Resources functions, services, policies, and programs for all entities of Burning Man Project. The Director of People Operations originates and leads practices that provide a people-oriented, high performance culture that emphasizes inclusion, empowerment, quality, productivity, and community building. This role advises senior management on critical issues and topics and leads the ongoing development of staff. It will be your role to balance long-term strategy planning with the ability to create practical, scalable and actionable plans that are understood by all stakeholders    

The Director of People Operations will provide early visibility and advisement on all employee relations and bring these to the attention of the Managing Director.

The deadline to apply for this role is 6:00pm PT on Friday, March 30, 2018. 


  • Create and set the People and Culture strategic direction for the organization in collaboration with the executive leadership.
  • Work with executive leadership and department managers on organizational and staff development, succession planning, resource assessment (management and allocation), performance and compensation management.  Advise and assist with organizational and departmental planning.
  • Oversee all people-related compliance, keeping all entities of Burning Man Project in legal compliance with state and federal posting requirements, SF ordinances and initiatives, OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, etc.  Keep up-to-date as new laws get passed and keep the organization in compliance with San Francisco, CA, NV and Federal laws.
  • Assess and forecast future staffing and organizational needs.
  • Oversee the “employee lifecycle” including attracting, recruiting, onboarding, development, retention and separation.
  • Oversee titles, levels, and compensation strategy, research, standards, ranges in conjunction with job description creation and updating.
  • Responsible for workforce performance improvement including interventions such as leadership development, coaching and training. Oversee needs assessment, design, development, implementation and assessment of performance improvement initiatives.
  • Staff relations, performance issues, disciplinary action, terminations and investigations – actively work with all staff, managers, and executive leadership on issues as they arise, i.e. coach, mentor and counsel.  Engage and work through a mediation and conflict resolution process when needed. Work with legal counsel to advise and execute on appropriate processes, actions and documentation.
  • Ongoing advising of staff and executive leadership on matters of employment law and HR/Industry standards. Oversee process and policy development and documentation.
  • Manage and develop direct reports i.e. coach and mentor, oversee projects & workflow, set deadlines, conduct annual employee evaluations.  Engage in positive leadership development with team to further align with Burning Man cultural fundamentals as a great organization.
  • Budgetary Oversight: creation and management of annual budget.  Monthly tracking and management of budget to actual process. Decision-making or participation in decision-making for requesting, assigning, and carrying out spending related to said budget.
  • Support facilitation and content creation for trainings.  Collaborate with the Education Director as needed on other trainings.
  • This role requires participation in after hours meetings, occasional weekend meetings and trainings, on call availability for counseling, advising, and assistance in problem solving issues, and consistent availability and in-person support for the on-playa duration of the Burning Man event.


  • Learning – Pursues ongoing learning in your area of expertise, working to stay current on emergent knowledge, skills, and processes. Participates in conferences, forums, and networking events, where appropriate.
  • Teaching – Takes a leadership role in the acculturation and training of staff and volunteers. Teaches live or e-learning classes, as requested. Promotes a culture of teaching and learning throughout the community.
  • Documentation – Drives the creation, publishing, and maintenance of process documentation related to assigned duties.
  • Mentoring – Mentors subordinates in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and experience that will allow them to advance in the organization.
  • Training development – Collaborates to develop training materials.
  • Speaking – Represents Burning Man as a subject matter expert and culture-bearer, as requested.



  • 10-15 years of progressive HR experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in HR or related field such as Psychology, Sociology, Business
  • Working knowledge of and training in California, Nevada and Federal employment laws and compliance
  • Excellent communication skills and leadership qualities
  • Strong presentation and facilitation abilities
  • Understanding and support of core Burning Man philosophies, in order to effectively uphold policies related to the maintenance of these principles and philosophies.
  • Must be a creative thinker and team player with strong emotional intelligence
  • Must have excellent initiative and possess solid negotiation skills
  • Extensive experience with conflict resolution, coaching, and counseling of staff
  • 4-5 years of experience in management, including working knowledge of developing budgets and personnel management.  Ability to supervise and mentor others to foster a cooperative and collaborative work environment.
  • Experience with latest HRMS capabilities.
  • Extensive experience with and knowledge of the principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, interviewing, selection, training, performance management, compensation and benefits, and personnel information systems.
  • Knowledge of and experience with business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, org development and structuring,, and coordination of people and resources.
  • At least 1-2 years participating in Burning Man or in a similar, philosophically aligned environment.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects at once, thrive in ambiguity, and be flexible and adaptable about numerous and frequently dynamic sets of priorities. Self-motivated. Able to effectively delegate responsibilities.
  • Dedication to organizational, legal, and interpersonal confidentiality in all applicable matters.
  • Technical proficiency and aptitude
  • Strong social, networking, and interpersonal skills.


  • Valid Driver’s License and Clean Driving Record


  • Off-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary in nature, no special demands are required.
  • On-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary but will also include the need to find and meet with department representatives who may not be in the vicinity therefore this could include walking or using some form of transportation.  Some of the work will be in outside weather conditions and will be exposed to fumes or airborne particles as well as possible extremes in temperature.


  • This is a regular, full-time position eligible for benefits, working out of our San Francisco office and in Black Rock City, Nevada.
  • Burning Man is an equal-opportunity employer.
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