EF Education First: Employee Relations Specialist

Employee Relations Specialist
EF Education First
Cambridge, MA

Are you a creative problem solver with a knack for coaching managers through tricky staff challenges? Do you thrive when consulting with staff as a trusted advisor and subject-matter expert? Are you passionate about providing best-in-class service to staff as they enter, grow with or leave the company? If you answered yes to these questions, we want you on our team!

The role of Employee Relations Specialist at EF Education First will provide exposure to all aspects of the HR world in a fast-paced, challenging and rewarding environment in one of the most exciting places to work in the greater Boston area. As a member of the Recruitment and Employee Development team, you will partner with management who work in schools and offices throughout the United States on their most interesting and challenging employee relations matters. This unique position will allow the right candidate to hone his/her coaching skills while creatively working to resolve employee issues in a corporate setting with a start-up feel. As an objective and trusted advisor for new and seasoned managers, the Employee Relations Specialist will seek to resolve matters quickly and, effectively while preventing escalation or the risk of potential liability. This role is based out of our beautiful US headquarters in Cambridge, MA and reports to our Employee Relations Manager.

Requirements: In the role of Employee Relations Specialist, you will have the following essential responsibilities:

  • Act as liaison with and trusted advisor to EF employees at our US locations, address general employee-related questions and respond to daily inquiries regarding policies, procedures and programs
  • Partner with line managers to resolve employee issues such as performance concerns, absenteeism, leave requests and policy enforcement
  • Provide counseling and coaching to managers and provide guidance related to employee conflict resolution, disciplinary action and/or termination
  • Work with management on transitioning employees out of their role or the company
  • Design exit packages and facilitate negotiations with interested parties
  • Schedule and participate in employee exit meetings
  • Regularly report on and analyze employment data
  • Conduct fair, neutral, timely investigations while applying company policies and federal/state regulations and procedures
  • Coordinate with the Legal team on employee-related claims and escalated investigations
  • Investigate, process and coordinate workers compensation claims with carrier
  • Facilitate employee ADAAA accommodations and meetings
  • Oversee employee disability and FMLA leaves
  • Navigate employee leaves and accommodations per FMLA and company policies
  • Maintain knowledge of legal requirements and employment legislation affecting human resources functions and ensure policies, procedures and reporting are in compliance
  • Occasional travel to US office/school locations


  • Creative approach to problem solving
  • Strong organizational, analytical, and negotiation skills
  • Superior interpersonal and strategic communication skills
  • Able to build credibility among senior management and peers
  • Entrepreneurial attitude, spirit and drive
  • Talented multi-tasker with ability to work in team and independent settings
  • Strong attention to detail and consciousness in managing confidential information
  • Expertise in, and proven experience and working with, FMLA, COBRA, HIPAA, PPACA, ADAAA
  • Capacity to work in a timely and organized way to meet mandatory deadlines

Education and/or Experience:

  • Bachelors degree in human resources, business administration, or related discipline from four-year college or university required
  • At least 3-5 years of relevant employee relations/work experience in human resources role or legal firm
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and HRIS systems
  • Experience and knowledge of HR operations and administration required
  • Knowledge of HR-related state and federal regulations required (multi-state preferred)
  • Knowledge of California HR-related state regulations strongly preferred
  • PHR/SHRM-CP or SPHR/SHRM-SCP preferred

Why EF?

We believe that happy people do great work. What makes us happy? Things like:

  • Three weeks of vacation in the first year; increases to four weeks the second year
  • 25% match on employee contributions to 401(k)
  • Heavily discounted travel with our products
  • Market-leading benefits package including top of the line health coverage
  • Free in-house language classes
  • On-site restaurant and bar

About EF Education First

Were 52,000 small. Were teachers and students, creatives and analysts, visionaries and doers. We are 120 nationalitiesand counting. Together, we break down barriers of language, culture and geography and we do it all over the world. Over the past 50 years, our mission has grown to include a diverse range of programs that give students of all ages the freedom and confidence to explore the world through language, travel and academic opportunities. Follow us on LinkedIn or check out http://careers.ef.com to learn more about our amazing team, products, and customers.


Employee Testimonials

Helene Vincent
Manager of Product Innovation, Language Immersion Tours

It's a big university town so there are always concerts and cultural events. There are also people from all over the world so you can hear all kinds of languages. It's large enough to be exciting, but small enough that we have a real sense of community.

Kate Berseth
Executive Vice President

I was used to a fast-paced and informal environment in previous companies, but I think what sets EF apart is the physical office space – light, open, minimal, elegant, fun and happy. It sold me the first time I walked into the Boston office.

Angela Xu
EVP, Recruitment and Employee Development

I love the fact that there are so many universities in Boston, a city of culture and intelligence. There are so many meet ups you can join, to meet new people.