The uncommon agency for the common good

People Operations Manager (San Diego Office)

Who You Are
You’re knowledgeable in multiple human resource disciplines, including employee engagement and retention, organizational development, employee relations, and performance management. You’re a people person known for your productive and harmonious working relationships. You’re capable of flying high and being a strategic player in one breath and flying low and diving deep down into the nitty gritty in the next. You thrive in a creative, fast-paced, team environment, and you are able to juggle multiple, competing priorities and switch gears quickly. You are a strong problem-solver and builder of new programs and thinking that will contribute to the growth and success of the company. You are highly self-motivated and are looking to further your career while making the world a slightly better place.

Who We Are
Civilian is a different kind of marketing communications agency. From our headquarters in San Diego to our offices in Sacramento and DC, we are dedicated to improving quality of life for our employees, clients, and the world. We are a purpose-driven certified B Corporation focused on tackling challenging issues, creating positive change, and strengthening communities. We do this by working with nonprofits, government agencies, and purpose-driven organizations to promote environmental sustainability, advance public health, and support economic development.  

We are a dedicated group of innovators and problem solvers who come to work every day grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. We support our employees’ professional and personal development with a rich set of benefits, humane working hours, and a culture that rewards embracing challenges and having a great time doing it. The success of our approach shows in our average employee tenure of nearly five years (vs. the industry average of 2.5) and in the number of Civilians that return. We offer a truly unique balance of professionalism and heart—and an office full of free snacks, a dog or two, and the occasional afternoon happy hour.

The Job
The People Operations Manager is responsible for championing the people, the policies and practices, and the professional development to maintain a high quality, supportive, and legally compliant work environment. They will support the Director of Operations in managing employee benefits evaluation and implementation, agency policies and procedures, legal compliance, employee coaching, conflict resolution and disciplinary action, employee life-cycle management, recognition and retention, and professional development.


Human Resources (75%)

  • Serve as a trusted best practice advisor who provides a full spectrum of expert advice and guidance on all HR matters including company policies, terms and conditions of employment, employee relations, benefits and legislation
  • Evaluate and coordinate agency benefits package and open enrollment, and manage internal and external benefit commitments, policies and procedures
  • Manage relationships with external partners or vendors
  • Maintain company handbook and HR policies; lead implementation of new benefit programs for employees in multiple states
  • Develop job descriptions
  • Support the recruitment and hiring of new employees, to include posting job descriptions, completing I-9 information, e-verify, and background checks as needed; and ensuring appropriate information is distributed and filed appropriately
  • Support the Director of Operations with onboarding to ensure new employees have a consistent, smooth, and positive experience
  • Facilitate, check, and supervise the timely processing of all employee changes (promotions, approver changes, titles) and serve as the primary liaison with the payroll department to ensure these changes are completed properly
  • Execute termination paperwork and offboarding process tasks
  • Guide departmental hiring managers and teams through effective hiring and interviewing practices
  • Provide compensation research and benchmarks to the Director of Operations to inform salary offers for new hires and salary increases for current employees
  • Lead development of a compensation review process and coordinate with the Director of Operations and (when needed) the Leadership Team to ensure equity internally and externally
  • Ensure accuracy of employee data, document management and that all personnel files are up to date (filing and ongoing compliance)
  • Manage employee requests/changes for time off, leave or needs within the payroll/HR systems (iSolved/Ease)
  • Coordinate with Finance lead prior to payroll each pay cycle to ensure correct processing of new hires, terms, leaves, benefit deductions and other changes in employee status
  • Manage workplace issues to include disciplinary actions in compliance with applicable federal, state and local employment related regulations
  • Assist in handling employee relations issues including investigation of employee complaints, resolving employee conflicts and advising department managers on appropriate remedial actions. Ability to properly document all such issues.
  • Serve as lead for complex employee relations cases (disciplinaries, grievances, capability management, absence).
  • Foster a culture of equity, support the design and implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives/programs across the firm, such as trainings, employee engagement, and more
  • Assist in leading or securing harassment prevention and other trainings to protect the company and the quality of the work environment
  • Champion and embody the agency’s culture, mission, and values
  • Contribute to improvements in departmental and agency processes, including employee onboarding and offboarding
  • Provide insightful HR and industry data to guide decision-making and offer proactive solutions
  • Provide recommendations on professional development and learning at the agency level, including DEI, feedback training, interview training, and management/leadership trainings; manage portions of the implementation

Employee Development and Retention (25%)

  • Oversee the research and implementation of employee training and professional development opportunities
  • Support Leadership team and supervisors with employee professional development and goal setting, performance, career paths, and compensation review process
  • Provide education and support to supervisors on best practices and firm processes related to feedback, performance evaluations, promotions, and discipline
  • Coach managers and leaders to navigate and resolve employee relations and performance issues, and establish a path forward to reach the desired outcome
  • Design and execute strategies and programs that celebrate/engage our people, build positive workplace culture, foster a collaborative environment, increase employee motivation and improves retention
  • Contribute to a climate in which people want to do their best; can motivate many kinds of direct reports and team or project members; can assess each person’s hot button and use it to get the best out of him/her; empowers others; invites input from each person and shares ownership and visibility; makes each individual feel his/her work is important; is someone people like working for and with.


  • 10+ years of experience with human resources and/or business operations
  • Must have an understanding of employment laws and statutes pertaining to equal opportunity employment, ADA, FMLA, etc.
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Experience developing and implementing processes, systems, and tools that create and sustain a positive organizational culture
  • Experience collaborating with business leaders to create staffing plans, solve problems and influence change
  • Possesses a strong understanding of skills, expertise, and behaviors needed for different positions; is able to accurately and efficiently assess if employees and/or job candidates meet needs
  • Can effectively cope with ambiguity and change; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; isn’t upset when things are up in the air; doesn’t have to finish things before moving on; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish rapport and build trust
  • Ability to confidently assert authority when needed to ensure the right course of action is followed to both protect the business and serve employees
  • Strong ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and logically
  • Outstanding written, verbal, and presentation skills
  • Proven track record of sound business judgment to make decisions in the best interest of the business that uphold the highest standards of integrity
  • Problem-solver with excellent attention to detail
  • Exceptional interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Able to cultivate optimal interdepartmental relationships
  • Good listener who includes and engages others
  • Exhibits professionalism, initiative, and commitment
  • Must possess a valid CA Driver’s License and pass all applicable background checks


San Diego, CA

Full-time with flexible hybrid in-office/virtual schedule plus full benefits

Let’s Get to Know Each Other
Are you the one? Are we the one? If this sounds like a fit, let’s talk more. Please email to tell us why we absolutely, positively need you on our team. Don’t forget to attach your resume. And check out and our Glassdoor reviews for more information on how talented, smart, and delightful we are.

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