Reporting to: Chief Executive

Direct Reports: People and Change Business Partner (Interim), HR Manager, Learning and Development Manager, Senior HR Advisor


£64,557 - £71,880 per annum (inc. London weighting) + benefits

Location: London, with some travel within the UK as required. Requests for home working or to be based in an alternative Friends of the Earth office location will be considered.

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

Friends of the Earth is an equal opportunities employer. We aim for our staffing, including our Senior Leadership Team, to broadly reflect the demographic diversity of society, including gender and race diversity, and welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates from all sections of the community. We are especially keen to encourage applications from people currently under-represented in the environment movement including: black and minority ethnic people; disabled people; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; and women in senior positions.

Purpose of the role

As a core member of the Senior Leadership Team, you will lead and inspire the Friends of the Earth movement towards its vision and manage its strategic direction and delivery.

This role has lead accountability to deliver a step change in the performance, engagement and diversity of people at Friends of the Earth.  

You will develop and implement a transformative people strategy for Friends of the Earth covering attraction, engagement, performance, development and the organisational culture of our workforce, volunteers and the wider supporter and activist network. 

+ Key Responsibilities

  1. Develop and implement Friends of the Earth’s people strategy.
  2. Promote a clear and inspirational vision for people which aligns with our values and strategic aspirations.
  3. Design and lead the delivery of culture change and organisational development so that our ways of working enable us to effectively achieve our vision and strategy.
  4. Work with SLT and across the organisation to shape a culture of co-creation, ambitious innovation, risk taking and testing of Friends of the Earth’s campaigns, always striving for greater agility, reach and impact.
  5. With the CEO, SLT colleagues, and the Boards when appropriate, develop and review Friends of the Earth’s strategic direction, ensuring alignment and integration between objectives, strategies and plans.
  6. Provide effective, hands-on leadership and management of the people team, at both a strategic and operational level, to ensure implementation of the people strategy.
  7. Lead an overhaul of Friends of the Earth’s approach to performance and management, focusing on inspiring, equipping, empowering and rewarding staff to deliver and exceed expectations.
  8. Sponsor and lead the learning and development strategy, supporting the development of an organisational learning culture.
  9. Develop improved internal communication and engagement programmes to promote an inclusive and involved culture.
  10. Deliver a step change in Friends of the Earth’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, ensuring that we are fully representative of UK society in its broadest sense.
  11. Deliver best of sector volunteering and paid internship and apprenticeship programme.
  12. Act with lead accountability for safeguarding and ensure people policies, processes and practices are designed and operated to provide effective risk management.
  13. Champion digital first transformation up and down the organisation.

Leadership and management

  1. Deliver a step change in Friends of the Earth’s approach to performance and staff management, from one that has perhaps at times appeared transactional, bureaucratic and about ticking boxes, to one that is focused on inspiring, equipping, empowering and rewarding staff to deliver and exceed expectations, while dealing with poor performance swiftly and fairly.
  2. Transform leadership and management skills and expertise including in decision making at both project and team level, encouraging the distribution of decision making authority throughout the organisation.

Change Management, Culture and Engagement

  1. Support the CEO in ensuring our organisational culture is aligned with delivering objectives and step changes identified, encourage innovation, champion disruption in the way we do things, value determination, flexibility and risk taking and place a strong emphasis on the people skills of empathy, listening, inspiring, organising, collaboration, leadership and learning.
  2. Work with SLT and others to shape a culture of co-creation, ambitious innovation, risk taking and testing of Friends of the Earth’s campaigns, always striving for greater agility, reach and impact.
  3. Develop internal engagement programmes that promote an inclusive culture, and monitor and evaluate the performance of engagement activities.
  4. Promote improvements in the culture, skills and practice of internal communication, ensuring staff, volunteers and interns are well informed of organisational developments and have opportunities to express their views and concerns.
  5. Play a leading role in the development and implementation of internal change management strategies and plans.

Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Deliver a step change in Friends of the Earth’s approach to diversity, involving more people from underrepresented groups such as BME, as well as promoting greater gender equality, and attracting people from a wide range of professional and political backgrounds.
  2. Deliver a best of sector volunteering and paid internship and apprenticeship programme, to increase the effectiveness of volunteer capacity but also to provide entry level opportunities especially for young BME people.
  3. In time, seek to grow, develop and access talent, not just among our staff but also across our wider supporter and activist base to enable a greater contribution from every friend of the earth.
  4. Ensure the effective use of the insight, experience, skills and expertise of our existing supporters and activists, previous staff, volunteers and Board members.
  5. Support other Directors in partnering with BME organisations on shared projects and campaigns, and in working with existing BME supporters to understand what we can do to broaden our relevance and remove barriers to their engagement.

Performance and Learning

  1. Ensure that learning and development initiatives support Friends of the Earth's strategic needs as well as individual needs, implementing effective processes for performance management and ensuring staff are trained in agile and matrix management.
  2. Ensure learning reviews are undertaken on priority projects and campaigns as standard, and that learning is shared internally, promoting a culture and mechanisms for review, open reflection, evaluation, improvement and innovation.
  3. Ensure effective mechanisms and processes are in place to promote a culture of performance management, effective objective setting, development of skills and knowledge, and monitoring to achieve increased agility, efficiency and impact.
  4. Develop and improve utilisation of the skills and experience in our wider supporter and activist network.
  5. Contribute to the development and application of clear, consistent and effective approaches to network management, and to specific management tools such as Agile project management.

Staff practices, policies and procedures

  1. Ensure that Friends of the Earth’s people strategy supports delivery of organisational objectives and that working policies and practices, rewards and benefits, and employee involvement processes support business improvement objectives.
  2. As a first priority overhaul policies, rewards and benefits, as well as skills and learning to align with diversity, leadership and cultural objectives and succession planning.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

  • A proven strategic, creative and flexible leader, able to identify and implement new ways of working, seize unexpected opportunities, and encourage and develop these skills in others.
  • Ability to champion determination, flexibility and risk taking and place a strong emphasis on the people skills of empathy, listening, inspiring, organising, collaboration, leadership and learning.
  • Experience of successfully leading and delivering a step change in organisational performance and meeting strategic goals in an organisation undergoing change.
  • Demonstrable ability to build a performance culture, ensuring effective understanding and skills development at all levels.
  • Excellent working knowledge of employment law and practices.
  • Demonstrable experience of overseeing the development and implementation of strategic plans and organisational change processes.
  • Demonstrable ability to assimilate and analyse information quickly and accurately, formulate decisions and develop innovative solutions to problems.
  • Excellent facilitation, negotiation and relationship management skills; able to motivate and inspire colleagues.
  • Demonstrable commitment to the vision, values and organisational behaviours of Friends of the Earth.
  • Ability to frequently travel in the UK on a planned basis, and to travel outside of the UK occasionally, as well as working outside of office hours occasionally to meet the demands of the role. 


  • Experience of working in a campaigning organisation, understanding the dynamics of rapidly changing policy environments.
  • Experience of Agile project management techniques.
  • CIPD qualified.

How we work: Organisational Behaviours


We demonstrate integrity through everything we do, internally and externally.

This means we all: 

  • Are honest and fair as we honour all the work commitments we make.
  • Use supporters’ money wisely through a strong work ethic.
  • Speak up openly, directly and truthfully in a timely, appropriate way to hold others to account, highlight risks, and solve problems.  
  • Listen to and respect others inside and outside of the organisation, valuing other people’s different opinions, contributions, backgrounds and perspectives. 


We make the biggest impact we can through good analysis and judgements, insight, regular feedback, and focus.

This means we all: 

  • Prioritise and focus our effort on the work that will have the biggest impact.
  • Regularly and frequently measure the impact of our work, including through seeking honest feedback from others, and responding accordingly.
  • Adapt plans and priorities if they are not having the desired impact or in response to changing circumstances, consulting with others as necessary. 
  • Identify and form the purposeful working partnerships and relationships needed in order to deliver organisationally agreed objectives, both inside and outside of the organisation. 



We motivate others through our individual and collective actions, our compelling vision, and our clarity on what work needs to be done.

This means we all:

  • Bring ambition, rigour, clarity and pace to own work and the whole team, which includes the volunteers, activists and partners we work with.
  • Support, coach, empower and enable others to be leaders in their own right, expecting and trusting them to contribute to the organisation to the best of their ability.
  • Make or enable swift, bold, well informed decisions (and communicate these clearly and compellingly).
  • Commit to decisions once they are made.
  • Proactively seek, welcome and act on feedback from others on our own strengths, weaknesses and behaviours, and consistently provide feedback to others on theirs in a timely and appropriate fashion.
  • Look out for our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, alerting colleagues as appropriate.


Focus on our Friends – current and future

To build our power and influence we put the new ‘friends’ we want in Friends of the Earth at the heart of our work, as well as existing ‘friends’.

This means we all: 

  • Tailor our work and approaches based on an understanding of the motivations, desires and needs of new and future ‘friends’ in the UK and internationally.
  • Explore new and inclusive ways to engage and welcome the more diverse people we need to succeed, including BME people, young people, businesses and other allies.  
  • Use feedback mechanisms to continually improve the experience of the people we work with in order to encourage and enable them to contribute as fully as possible.
  • Seek out opportunities to meet and experience our fellow ‘friends’ in order to increase understanding, including through volunteering to help out at events locally, nationally and internationally when we are able.



We hold ourselves and others to account for our work and how we work.

This means we all:

  • Are accountable for prioritising and delivering a sustainable work plan in line with the strategy.
  • Are accountable for our own successes, failures and behaviours and the impact of these on others. We report on these in a timely fashion, and support others to do so through contributing to safe spaces for sharing feedback.
  • Collaborate fully in project work, team work and across the organisation by identifying solutions to problems and identifying when and where we can contribute and add value.


Learning mind-set

We learn continuously, challenging our own assumptions and habits while expanding our horizons to enable us to improve the impact of our work.

This means we all:

  • Actively seek to learn from our everyday work and make space to do so (looking out for opportunities to develop our own and others’ skills, knowledge and experiences).  
  • Proactively keep up to date with developments in our own areas but also seek to cross-fertilise ideas with other areas in order to identify new ways of creating more impact more rapidly.
  • Explore new ways of doing things, including through setting-up experiments with the potential to increase organisational impact. In doing this we use the insights, tools and approaches used by digital start-ups.
  • Share our own failures to enable learning by self and others.