Current Job Openings

Head of People & Culture

London, England, United Kingdom
Requisition ID: 3083

We’re excited to be looking for a Head of People & Culture to join our London team! In this role, you’ll act as a strategic business partner to drive and implement key HR initiatives and support business operations across 6 agency brands. As part of the UK Leadership team, you’ll play an integral role working in partnership with our agency leadership teams on local HR initiatives, as well as collaborating with the Global SVP, People & Culture, on global HR work-streams and projects.

Working with our leadership teams, you will agree and develop the HR strategy through a solid understanding of our agencies, goals and strategies, and proactively identify key areas where HR can support and add value, with the ultimate goal of developing and engaging our talented team, whilst nurturing and building culture within the agencies.

You’ll be responsible for overall management of all HR programmes and initiatives, and all HR operations, supported by a junior HR team and IPG DXTRA Shared Services teams. This position will also have significant involvement with our Inclusive Diversity strategy and execution, in close partnership with local and global leadership.

We’re looking for a self-starter who is a natural leader and communicator, a consummate professional, and eager to make a positive impact. You’ll have managed and mentored a team, knowing how to keep them motivated and on track, as well as having extensive experience collaborating with senior management. Our ideal candidate is a strong HR generalist, happy to lead and advise across all aspects of HR, and will be equally comfortable operating strategically, rolling up their sleeves to get into the detail and everything in between.


  • Build credible, trusted relationships with senior leadership and managers, working to understand their business needs, challenges and objectives, and providing advice to support these
  • Partner with senior leadership and Global SVP, People & Culture to design, plan and implement creative, best-in-class HR strategy, initiatives and solutions
  • Work closely with the Global SVP, People & Culture and global HR colleagues on a variety of global initiatives, including competency frameworks, global values and Inclusive Diversity projects
  • Drive annual and mid-year Performance Review processes, refreshing the process as required and working with leadership and senior management to ensure delivery of effective performance and career conversations at all levels
  • Work with the leadership team to build effective talent management processes, including talent mapping, career pathways and succession planning
  • Partner with the leadership team to drive the annual pay review process, working to build a competitive and fair reward structure linked to performance and potential
  • Drive Learning and Development activities, work with leadership and manages to identify key training and development needs, effectively manage the training budget to have the best impact, consider how to maximise training and learning opportunities available internally
  • Take overall responsibility for the operations of the People & Culture team, ensuring an effective, seamless and timely delivery of all day to day aspects. Working with the junior team to handle their workloads, providing them with guidance as required to support their responses and interactions with the wider agency
  • Responsibility for oversight and sign-off the monthly payroll
  • Oversee and manage end-to-end employee relations issues, with the support of the HR Advisor where appropriate. This will include (but is not limited to) performance management, restructures, redundancies, settlement negotiations, flexible working requests, mediation and parental leave requests
  • Resolve employee relations issues thoroughly and compliantly to protect the agency from risk, whilst ensuring employees are treated equitably and with empathy at all times
  • Keep informed of updates to employment law, assess potential impact on the agency and take proactive steps to mitigate risk, maintain and review policies in line with any developments
  • Act as the agency IR35 Officer, providing counsel and direction to our freelancer operations to maintain legal compliance at all times, sharing knowledge with key agency contacts as required
  • Manage and provide overall direction for our recruitment strategy, focused on finding high calibre diverse talent; work to ensure an effective and positive recruitment process for hiring teams and candidates at all times, identify and refine recruiting processes and strategies, strong management of recruitment costs and budgets
  • Provide sound line management to your team, acting as a strong role model, providing mentorship and development opportunities to support growth in roles
  • Identify and constantly redefine HR processes for areas of improvement to drive operational efficiency
  • Work to drive employee engagement through the delivery of culture and wellbeing initiatives, with the support of employee working groups
  • Active participation to drive strategic and tactical ID initiatives and programmes that will help us meet our D&I targets and objectives to drive real change within the agency.


  • Experience of leading the HR function and operating alongside an executive leadership team
  • Significant experience gained within a fast-paced agency environment, ideally within creative, entertainment, or sports sponsorship
  • Solid understanding of UK employment law and experience of handling a range of complex employee relations cases
  • Experience in developing and successfully implementing a broad variety of HR strategies which have had tangible value and impact
  • Proven track record of building rapport and establishing trust with senior leaders and managers – comfortable to challenge, with the ability to influence
  • Experience of managing, mentoring and developing junior HR colleagues
  • A consultative and considered approach, balancing the commercial needs of our business with the needs of our people
  • A flexible approach – you’ll need to be fluid and adaptable to our company’s changing priorities and needs
  • An expert communicator; you are a confident, articulate and persuasive speaker, as well as an empathic listener
  • A collaborative team player, with a willingness to pitch in when needed on various initiatives and projects
  • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent
  • Some knowledge of Greenhouse and PeopleSoft would be useful
  • Whilst not crucial, experience of working in a matrix and global environment would be advantageous.

Octagon is proud to be an Equal Opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability or protected veteran status.

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