Job Title
Director, Associate Relations-Retail HQ

Mid-Atlantic Market


Job Type
Full-Time Regular

Our well-known Retail grocery client is a public, $4B+ in revenue regional chain with 200+ stores.

The Position

The Director of Associate Relations plays a key strategic leadership role in guiding positive associate relations initiatives throughout the organization with a focus on building associate engagement, driving customer service and growing profitable sales. The position reports to the VP of Talent Development & Associate Relations.

More specifically, the Director of Associate Relations will:

  • Develop and recommend goals, objectives, policies, and practices consistent with the company’s mission, vision and values, including the HR policies & practices manual and associate handbooks. Ensure the integrity of the company’s code of conduct, issues resolution process, and Open-Door philosophy.
  • Develop and implement targeted communications around the company’s mission, vision, and values and associate value proposition. Focus placed on proactive, positive associate relations practices.
  • Provide input on the development of associate and management training with the objective of improving associate productivity and engagement. Partner with senior leadership and the HR team in developing and implementing ways to measure, report and improve associate engagement.
  • Consult with outside legal counsel where needed to resolve associate issues and to maintain a workplace free from outside third-party interference.
  • Keep up to date on changes in state & federal laws. Assure company policies and practices are in compliance with these laws. Assure managers are informed of related employment laws by using the company’s established communication vehicles and training methods.
  • Conduct periodic HR Audits and perform gap analyses. Prepare and present analyses, reports, and recommended courses of action. Recommend policy changes to the Human Resources leadership team.
  • Advise, coach, and counsel managers, supervisors and Field Talent Managers on human resource policies, practices, communications, performance management, counseling documentation, associate relations issues, and employment-related legal matters.
  • Respond appropriately and in a timely manner to discrimination/harassment complaints and associate relations issues. Oversee investigations and/or directly investigate associate relations and employment-related issues, such as: working conditions, disciplinary actions, and associate complaints. Provide guidance and recommendations to managers on problem resolution.
  • Track and analyze associate relations issues to ensure these are being resolved in a timely and effective manner; analyze issues on an ongoing basis for trends; report activity and make recommendations for addressing identified trends.
  • Review & evaluate employee performance evaluations; and, effectively recommend hiring, promotion, termination, disciplinary, and recognition actions.
  • Manage all aspects of the associate opinion survey process, including communication, survey administration, feedback and action-planning.
  • Develop and present operating budget recommendations for Associate Relations and, upon final budget approval, assure that all functions operate within appropriated amounts.
  • Manage the strategic partnership with the external EAP provider, including a variety of company-wide communications/activities that are designed to increase utilization, improve productivity, and reduce healthcare costs and absenteeism.
  • Perform other duties as assigned or as may be necessary

The successful candidate will have:

  • Ten years of experience in a human resources leadership position, three (3) years of which must have been in an associate or labor relations leadership position
  • Considerable knowledge of positive associate relations practices, principles, practices, and procedures of Human Resources Management.
  • Extensive knowledge of applicable state and federal employment and labor laws and governmental compliance requirements, and knowledge of immigration laws.
  • Considerable knowledge in the areas of merit systems; job content, job qualifications, educational and training requirements of a wide variety of occupations and wage and salary administration.
  • A sound working knowledge of statistical concepts, methods, and data collection procedures.
  • Ability to manage and administer a broad range of tasks including resolving complaints, coaching managers and associates around progressive disciplinary procedures and on the interpretation of policies, procedures and practices.
  • Ability to research information and analyze data to arrive at valid conclusions, recommendations, and plans of action.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills. Ability to prepare comprehensive written reports and correspondences, represent ideas clearly and concisely, and make presentations to senior leadership, as required.
  • Proven leadership ability; ability to plan, coordinate and direct the work of staff engaged in various professional, technical, and clerical functions.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and discretion in making decisions in a manner consistent with the essential job functions. Must be able to solve problems creatively and have the ability to influence others.
  • Ability to build and maintain positive relationships internally and externally.
  • Ability to think strategically and to establish self as a credible business partner.
  • Strong financial and business acumen.
  • Proficiency in the use of basic computer functions and Microsoft Office 365.


  • Strategic Thinker: “Thought Leader”. Big picture thinker who anticipates future trends and ensures associate relations strategies are aligned with organizational goals. Values innovation and creative problem solving. Effectively blends creativity with excellence. Not rigidly tied to one approach or philosophy.

  • Business Acumen: Builds effective relationships and influences others while navigating through the organizations formal and informal processes to get things done.

  • Results Orientation: Demonstrates a sense of urgency to overcome obstacles and achieve measurable results. Resourceful and driven. Willing to get hands dirty and personally drive projects and timelines. Strong planning, organizing, delegating and decision making abilities.

  • Financial Acumen: Demonstrates superior analytical skills and can evaluate numbers and situations for their strategic significance; able to conceptualize and analyze both problems and solutions, identifying key metrics that will help the department and entire organization improve performance

  • Self Confidence: Willing to take calculated risks. Offers a point of view, takes a position and challenges assumptions. Balances confidence with openness to others’ ideas; gives credit where it is due.

  • Superior Interpersonal Skills/Team Orientation: Ability to interact easily with all levels within the organization; tactful; mature; flexible. High level of collaboration and influencing skills. Continuous learner and promoter of HR profession’s best practices.

  • Superior Communication Skills: Written, verbal and presentation. Listens for understanding without judging; demonstrates empathy and emotional intelligence. Understands audiences’ needs and desires and can respond well on their feet.

  • Culture and Change Agent: Ability to translate the organization’s mission, vision and values into actions that help shape culture and facilitate change management.

  • Strong Business Results Orientation: Passion for the business and an intense drive to understand the goals, financial targets, deliverables and challenges the business faces to deliver results. Spends time “out in the business” shoulder to shoulder with the front line to ensure the voice of the employee is represented.

  • Character: Does the right thing. Highly professional and ethical with unquestioned integrity.

Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Business, Public Administration, Human Resources Management, or a closely related field.
  • SHRM-certification preferred (SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP, PHR or SPHR).

Apply With