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Director HR Services, Systems & Payroll – McMaster University


McMaster University, located in Hamilton Ontario and is one of only four Canadian universities ranked in the world’s top 100.  It has also been recognized as being the number one university in Canada and the second highest university in the world for impact.  It’s Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) has long been recognized as a global leader in education and research. *With a student enrollment of over 30,000 from across Canada and around the world and approximately 1,000 faculty, McMaster is dedicated to providing the highest quality teaching and learning experience and is well known as a leading medical-doctoral, research-intensive university.

McMaster is proud to note that it has 112 endowed chairs, 70 Canada Research Chairs, 13 endowed professorships, six Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Industrial Research Chairs, two Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chairs, two Ontario Research Chairs and one Canada 150 Research Chair. It is also the only university in Canada to serve as host to the United Nations University through the Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).

Home to more than 70 research centres and institutes, McMaster is comprised of six Faculties: Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and the DeGroote School of Business. Employing approximately 14,000 individuals annually in more than 20 unique employee groups, McMaster is recognized as one of the top employers in the Hamilton/Niagara region, and one of Canada’s Top Diversity employers in 2019.

In addition to McMaster’s impressive students, faculty and alumni, it enjoys 300 acres of scenic property. This includes a 30-acre central core designated for pedestrians and bicyclists and the McMaster Forest made up of  115 acres of natural lands in the Dundas Valley. Explore the natural beauty in McMaster’s own backyard at Nature@McMaster.

At McMaster, people are its most valuable asset.  A diverse and complex institution, the University strives to attract, develop and retain the best faculty and staff, and to foster an inclusive community which values the strengths, perspectives and contributions of each individual.

McMaster continuously strives towards innovation across the entire institution. Faculty and administrators are continuously looking for new and innovative ways to drive excellence in research and teaching. As an employer, McMaster seeks to provide a work environment that enables its employees to be innovative, creative and excellent.  As such, the University has recently embarked on a number of initiatives to increase its administrative efficiency, and thereby improve services to faculty and staff. Increasing efficiency is expected to enable faculty and staff to focus on the research and academic mission of the University as we seek to build a brighter world.

*Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2019.

The McMaster Mission:

At McMaster our purpose is the discovery, communication and preservation of knowledge. In our teaching, research and scholarship, we are committed to creativity, innovation and excellence. We value integrity, quality, inclusiveness and teamwork in everything we do. We inspire critical thinking, personal growth and a passion for lifelong learning. We serve the social, cultural and economic needs of our community and our society.”

For additional information about McMaster University and its commitments to employees, faculty and the larger community please visit these following:



Job Title:Director HR Services, Systems & Payroll
Reports to:Assistant Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Direct Reports:2
Indirect Reports:30
Location:Hamilton, ON



McMaster has begun an exercise of renewal and realignment of its institutional efforts and focus to support its mission. As part of this renewal, McMaster recently completed a comprehensive enterprise-wide HR services review which has demonstrated the need for transformation of HR service delivery to meet the evolving needs of the University community.

There is an urgent need for more advanced and coordinated HR payroll policy, processes, technology and organizational structures throughout the University. This will address critical transactional pay processing, recruitment and client service needs. Principal among these recommendations is the need to focus on payroll and systems to increase administrative efficiency, reduce the potential for errors, reduce duplication, and enhance service delivery both to faculty and the administration.

Reporting to the CHRO and working closely with HR colleagues in central HR, the FHS and other Faculties, the new director will lead and collaborate with teams of colleagues, direct reports and key stakeholders to develop and implement solutions which will increase efficiency, timeliness and accuracy, and will reduce redundancies and eliminate the need for “work arounds”.  Success will require close collaboration with Finance and University Technology Services to create or improve processes and systems that meet both current needs and future strategic initiatives in HR.


The new role of Director HR Services, Systems and Payroll  will have significant responsibilities for pan-institutional processes, leading the development of new services and standards.  The incumbent will promote improved alignment of the HR Service Centre  with the  mission  of the University and the operational needs of all Faculties and departments. This high-profile role is foundational to the success of the HR transformation and is critically important to all members of the McMaster community.

In a collaborative team environment, which embraces the values of teamwork, respect, and service, the Director will:

 Lead the transformation of processes, structures and service delivery models

  • Leveraging available and emerging technologies, enable Human Resources to effectively deliver pay and transactional HR services within McMaster’s complex decentralized administrative infrastructure

Be accountable for the University’s payroll (Faculty, Staff and Affiliates)

  • with an estimated annual gross dollar amount of $550,000,000 is responsible for overseeing the timely and accurate processing requirements

Review, redesign and implementation of efficient and effective HR administrative and payroll processes,

  • meets legislative and contractual requirements including eleven (11) separate collective agreements, McMaster University Faculty Association agreements and other compensation related guidelines

Oversees all financial, tax, and audit functions for payroll, benefits and pensions;

  • including remittances in excess of $120,000,000 annually and the associated reconciliations; accurate reconciliations to corresponding pension and benefits plans; meeting appropriate audit requirements.

Operational administration of the benefit and retirement programs;

  • including health, dental, group life, out of country, accidental death and dismemberment, retiree benefits, defined benefit pension and group RRSP programs


  • Building trust in payroll accuracy and processing by ensuring regulatory compliance on matters related to pay processing, taxation, benefits and pensions.
  • Partnering with administrative leaders across the University to deliver integrated services, including University Technology Services, Financial Services, Graduate Studies, Institutional Research and Analysis, Faculty Directors of Administration, as well as research and student offices
  • Developing relationships with all Faculties and understanding of each of their specific requirements, including the unique and complex needs of the  Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Developing successful relationships with employee and retiree groups as part of McMaster’s people-centric vision
  • Directing the costing, modeling, reporting and implementation support for collective bargaining, and other compensation related projects
  • Working closely with the HR senior leadership team and University leaders and their respective teams to champion HR service transformation and the delivery of enhanced HR services, systems and supports to achieve efficiencies and improved service levels


  • Demonstrable consultative skills at an Executive level; experience working with highly engaged and articulate stakeholders
  • Proven leader with a track record as a trusted advisor
  • Experience in gaining consensus through influence in a highly decentralized environment
  • Is a “listener” who has the capacity to understand the evolving needs of the various faculty groups especially the research community, and engage them actively in projects and service standards
  • Is seen as a change agent who has led transformation projects and understands the challenges inherent in migrating from legacy systems and processes
  • Understands the need for/of complex employment arrangements for both academic and clinical environments
  • Has senior level experience in developing new business requirements, process redesign, training and change management
  • Recognizes the need for and values partnering with a wide variety of stakeholders to ensure a consistent and cost-effective approach to the delivery of HR and payroll programs and services
  • Has a visible customer service mindset which will permeate all aspects of the transformation
  • Strong systems knowledge. McMaster University utilizes Oracle PeopleSoft as its ERP (and HRIS) and Aon’s PenProPlus for pension administration


  • University Degree with a focus in Business Administration or Human Resources (Master’s degree in a related discipline a benefit) coupled with progressive responsibility within a Human Resources function
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership at the senior management level
  • Significant experience leading HR Operations and Payroll at the executive level
  • Certified Payroll Manager, with advanced accounting knowledge (up to and including CPA designation) preferred
  • Completion of an HR Certificate program, Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) or Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation an asset


A competitive compensation package will be offered to the successful candidate.


McMaster University is located on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and, within the lands protected by the “Dish with One Spoon” wampum agreement.

In keeping with its Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose, McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity, and has a strong commitment to employment equity. The diversity of our workforce is at the core of our innovation and creativity and strengthens our research and teaching excellence. The University seeks qualified candidates who share our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of visible minorities, and LGBTQ+ persons.

Brief Diversity Survey Statement

As part of McMaster’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity, applicants will be invited to complete McMaster’s confidential diversity survey.

Job applicants requiring accommodation to participate in the hiring process or who wish to communicate accommodation needs should contact Optimum Talent at

How to Apply:

Please send your resume in Word or PDF format to: Copy and Paste the following job title and code and place it in the subject line of your email so we can identify the job and confirm receipt of your application:
A016209 Director HR Services, Systems & Payroll – McMaster University - ON - Hamilton (OTIAPPLY)

Please note that only those candidates meeting the selection criteria, established by our client, will be contacted further. Although we may not contact you directly for this particular role, all applications will be reviewed as we would like to consider you for future opportunities that may be appropriate. We encourage you to continue to visit our website at as our opportunities are updated on a regular basis.