Job Title: People Operations Director, East Africa
Job Ref:
Employer: Bridge International Academies
Job Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Closing Date: 26/08/2016
Job Description:

People Operations Director, East Africa


People Operations | East Africa

Who We Are

Bridge International Academies is the world’s largest and fastest-growing chain of primary and pre-primary schools with more than 400 academies and around 100,000 pupils in Kenya and Uganda. We democratize the right to succeed by giving families living in poverty access to the high-quality education that will allow their children to live a very different life. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to standardize and scale every aspect of quality education delivery, from how and where academies are built to how teachers are selected and trained, and how lessons are delivered and monitored for improvement. We are vertically-integrated, tech-enabled, and on our way to profitability. Bridge expects to continue rapid expansion in East Africa, and we continue to launch more operations in Uganda and Nigeria, with new launches scheduled for India later during this year.

The Bridge Offer

Roughly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2/day. In their communities, there is a huge gap between the education offered and the needs of the population. Too often t20he schools available to them fail. The quality offered is poor, teachers are unresponsive and occasionally abusive, and fees are expensive. Even “free” government schools can cost anywhere between $2 and $12 per month after all of the additional fees (some sanctioned, some not) are added up. 55% of families end up choosing private schools instead, but then fear for the stability and sustainability of their choice as many schools close after only a few years of service. Both the government schools and the private schools tend to lack well-conceived curriculum, student achievement data, and the capacity to react to that data. 

Families are actively searching for a better academic alternative. Enter Bridge International Academies. As of January 2015, Bridge operates more than 400 academies, serving roughly 100,000 pupils in Kenya and Uganda. 

Bridge utilizes a scripted-learning education methodology coupled with 'big data' (all teachers have tablets for instruction, assessment, and data-gathering) that allows us to make curriculum a little better every day. 

With plans to enroll ten million students ten years from now, Bridge International Academies offers a tremendous opportunity to grow with one of the world’s most exciting, ambitious, and socially conscious companies, with leadership roles available across a number of competencies and geographies.

People Operations at Bridge

People are at the core of what we do, from the teachers in our academies to software developers building our tech platform – and we do it at massive scale with rapid growth. The People Operations team is the key in unlocking “people potential” towards achieving our company’s goals.


We believe in:

  • The People function being, foremost, a service delivery function, with a positive bias towards analytically thinking through People problemsand executing in an inclusive, fair, transparent & strategic manner.
  • Strongly aligning the People function with the company’s customer. We do what we do for making the Bridge Offer a reality for around 100,000Bridge pupils and their parents. Cost consciousness is critical to spreading the reach of the Bridge Offer to more children across East Africa.
  • Striving for excellence in execution of all people operations processes – for ALL employees.
  • Using analytics/data to drive key decisions and continuous improvement - across core People competencies like compensation, performance, talent, we believe that an analytical approach will enable us to attract, reward, and retain top performers, and ensure that we are true to ensuring a fair and transparent People function.
  • Empowering our managers to become leaders.
  • Driving People engagement in innovative, authentic ways to improve and enhance employee satisfaction and productivity.
  • Aligning with the company's strategic objectives across multiple functions, including finance, operations, and legal to ensure that our solutions bear the results that we are aiming for.

Position Overview

We are looking for an operationally focused, self-driven leader who has consistently delivered on high quality execution to lead our People Operations function for East Africa. This is a high-impact role for someone who loves taking on challenges in large scale - we employ 5300+ employees, with additional expansion and growth planned for Uganda during 2016. 


The ideal candidate comes from a strong retail/commercial background, with exposure to high-growth environment. You have experience in operations management, with a strong track record leading teams to provide high-quality services in very fast-paced environments. You are energetic, tireless and persistent. You thrive in critical thinking and problem-solving and enjoy engaging and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. You understand the strategic importance of the People function and how it can be at the core of driving high businessgrowth for any organisation. You believe in driving People initiatives with active engagement of business leaders and understand the importance of supporting them to inspire, motivate, develop and retain talent. You prefer to rely on data to analyse People problems, provide innovative solutions and care about objectivity and empathy in equal measures, whilst resolving People issues and/or executing People processes and initiatives.

You will:

  • Be a custodian of employee experience for a diverse workforce: academy staff, corporate office staff and related field teams.
  • Promote employee satisfaction by creating authentic avenues for critical engagement between/among employees across functions and continually find ways to align Bridge core values with those of our employees.
  • Execute people life cycle processes efficiently and in a fair and transparent manner, underlined by empathy.
  • Ensure smooth operations within the Administration team and continuously improving efficiency and service delivery of this critical function, with a critical eye on costs.
  • Align company processes and policies with best practices and employment/labor regulations to minimize exposure to litigation.
  • Empower business leaders to lead, mentor and inspire their teams to perform better.
  • Execute strategic talent acquisition and talent management.
  • Leverage technology heavily to improve employee experience around life cycle processes.

You should have:

  • A graduate degree in business management or allied field
  • Minimum of eight to ten years of experience
  • Minimum of two to three years of leadership experience leading diverse, large teams
  • Experience of at least 2 years in high-growth environment (emerging markets experience a major plus)
  • Should have had an operational role in a company before (revenue-accountable) or, reported to the managing director / chief executive officer
  • Should have worked in retail sector or any other sector with strong culture of aligning business needs with end-consumer.
  • Strong analytical / critical thinker.
  • Self-starter; highly driven individual that will take ownership from the get-go and proactively look for improvement.
  • Strong leadership skills and has demonstrated ability to work with a very diverse workforce

You’re also:

  • A detailed doer – You have a track record of getting things done. You’re organized and responsive.  You take ownership of every idea you touch and execute it to a fine level of detail, setting targets, engaging others, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done.  You can multi-task dozens of such projects at once and never lose sight of the details.  Likely, you have some experience in a start-up or other rapid-growth company. 
  • A networking mastermind – You excel at meeting new people and turning them into advocates.  You communicate in a clear, conscientious, and effective way in both written and oral speech.  You can influence strangers in the course of a single conversation.  Allies and colleagues will go to bat for your ideas. 
  • A creative problem-solver – Growing any business from scratch comes with massive and constant challenges.  On top of that, Bridge works in volatile, low-resource communities and runs on fees averaging just $6 a month per pupil.  You need to be flexible and ready to get everything done effectively, quickly, and affordably with the materials at hand.  Every dollar you spend is a dollar our customers, who live on less than $2 a day, will have to pay for. 
  • A customer advocate – Our customers – these families living on less than $2 a day per person – never leave your mind.  You know them, get them, have shared a meal with them (or would be happy to in the future).  You would never shrink back from shaking a parent’s hand or picking up a crying child, no matter what the person was wearing or looked like.  Every decision you make considers their customer benefit, experience, and value.
  • A life-long learner – You believe you can always do better.  You welcome constructive criticism and provide it freely to others.  You know you only get better tomorrow when others point out where you’ve missed things or failed today.