Cengage Learning Vice President, HR Strategy in Boston, Massachusetts


Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Cengage creates learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. The company is headquartered in Boston, MA with an office hub in San Francisco. Employees reside in nearly 40 countries with sales in more than 125 countries around the world. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

This VP, HR Strategy role is an exciting opportunity for a high caliber strategist and operator with deep business operations experience. This individual has a passion for helping to build best-in-class support functions. This role comes with senior exposure – working hand in hand with the Chief People Officer (CPO) & General Counsel as well as his HR leadership team (HRLT) and other senior business executives. This position will be instrumental in defining and tackling HR critical issues and operations that ‘move the needle’ for Cengage overall and specifically the HR function.

This position will facilitate the HR Leadership Team’s framing and development of the multi-year functional strategy and drive operational planning and excellence in support of the strategy. HR strategy will be in direct alignment with the Cengage business strategy and growth. This role will assist in translating this strategy into annual objectives, goals and metrics to cascade and monitor on behalf of the HR team. The desire is to further propel the department to best-in-class, with consistent, measurable and executable approaches to position our operations, products and services in support of our business partners. This role will focus on HR strategy and overall HR operational effectiveness while assisting with scheduled, recurring needs as well as ad-hoc needs of the CPO.

This position will work together with senior HR and business executives to drive a culture of metrics-based decision making, tailored messaging, and continuous improvement. By instilling sound business practices and decision-making, we will realize improvements in key business metrics and employee satisfaction.


Strategic and operational planning - Lead the ongoing strategic and operational departmental level planning effort across HR. Drive key strategic and operational initiatives in support of the CPO’s short term and long term objectives for HR.

  • Coordinate and drive HR business planning and goal setting, both multi-year planning and annual operations plans.

  • Ensure coordination of strategic initiatives on a fiscal year calendar.

  • Calendarize work, manage to multiple deadlines and push accountability for overall HR delivery.

  • Work with key subject matter experts and internal teams to analyze current trends, new opportunities, competitive practices, and make recommendations.

  • Build and cultivate direct relationships with clients, vendors, and partners as appropriate.

  • Lead operational efforts and projects; some small scale and some large scale.

  • Analyze current business processes, recommend improvements, and lead change.

  • Ongoing deep dives into driving improvements in overall operational effectiveness.

  • Using the HR Strategy as foundation, partner with CPO and HRLT to determine the optimum HR operating model to align with evolving business. This will include how the different functions work together, how roles and responsibilities fit together across all facets of HR and what work can be better served using partnerships.

  • Responsible for detailed, time-bound project based work on critical, large scale transformational topics like organizational and operational changes to drive efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Assist in managing HR budget and providing transparency through regular updates and check-ins with stakeholders.

Communications Delivery

  • Partnership with Communications to set the Strategy, Development and Execution of communication plans. This individual will partner with internal communications to ensure delivery of a variety of communication activities in support of CPO and HR.

Chief of Staff Responsibility

  • Project Management – He/she will oversee the management of multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring that goals and strategies are stated up front, all requirements are fully understood, materials are prepared and distributed on-time and on-budget. Additionally, this person will ensure that all efforts meet high standards.

  • Expecting to lead initiatives and explore topics of strategic importance to business

  • Obtaining background information on emerging issues

  • Interfacing closely with other internal and potentially external stakeholders to gather information or critical details related to project content

  • Influencing and gathering resources for initiatives needing additional support

  • Relationship Management – He/she will develop and maintain ongoing relationships with divisional leadership, partnering closely with Center of Excellence and divisional HR leads, to regularly assess needs and create appropriate programs to meet those needs. This includes working with all levels within the division, partnering across groups, and in some cases across Cengage.

  • Managing the Leadership Team interface and Leadership Team meeting agenda

  • Creating the HRLT governance framework to enable an efficient cross functional decision making process

  • Working with the CPO to set HR Leadership Team meeting agenda and other HR related agendas

  • Participating in any relevant HR Leadership Team sub committees and interfaces with decision bodies as needed

  • Attending HR Leadership Team meetings and Secretary of HR Leadership Team responsible for minutes



  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree preferred.

Skills and Knowledge:

  • Minimum 10 years’ experience strategic consulting

  • Track record of achievement in delivering large, complex projects and influencing business outcomes.

  • Ability to influence in a highly matrix-based organization in the absence of line authority.

  • Demonstrated success in maintaining perspective and focusing on the key priorities

  • Proven record as a good team player with an understanding of how to deliver both personal and team goals

  • Strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence

  • Highly developed analytical skills and data savvy

  • Capacity to work independently or as part of a team with a “roll up your sleeves” approach

  • Prior experience leading successful operations and organizational projects

  • Thought leader who is creative and innovative in identifying solutions and persuading others to a course of action

  • Excellent written, oral, presentation, and facilitation skills; exceptionally strong knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint. Ability to produce clear reports and presentations

  • Articulate communicator with the experience and confidence to provide daily counsel to senior leaders

  • Strategic mindset – can tell a story through analysis, develop innovative strategies and drive value add throughout each project

  • Defines, acquires, and allocates budget, staff, and other resources necessary to accomplish the goals and/or objectives of an initiative


Job Locations US-MA-Boston

Posted Date 2 months ago

Requisition ID 2017-3516

Job Function Human Resources