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Manager, Research Design & Practice



Chicago, IL, USA · Chicago, IL, USA · San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Title: Manager, Research Design & Practice

Employee Status: Full Time-Exempt

Salary: Grade 4.

Starts at 70,600 | Chicago

Reports to: Vice President, Organizational Learning

Department: Social Impact Accelerator-Organizational Learning

Location: Chicago, IL

Department Function: The Social Impact Accelerator (SIA) develops and implements processes, systems, and structures to facilitate, coordinate, and hold IFF accountable for equity in practice, cross-functional collaboration, innovation, scaling of impact, and systems change. SIA comprises five interdependent functions: Strategic Insights; Strategic Response; Organizational Learning; Sector-Based Strategy; and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Organizational Learning leads the design, development, implementation, and continuous improvement of processes, systems, and ways of working that enable IFF to be an organization that shares and applies learning garnered both through our external research and our internal evaluation and reflection to ensure deeper, more sustained impact for IFF, our customers, and the communities we serve.

The Organization

IFF is a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant, and developer that helps communities thrive. Key to our success has been a deep sense of purpose, a broad perspective, and a relentless focus on achieving positive results. Across the Midwest we help clients from every sector, including human service agencies, health centers, schools, affordable housing developers, and healthy food grocery operators. Staff contribute extensive business experience and an unrivaled connection to the mission of IFF to the clients we serve.

IFF is looking for candidates with a commitment to the work we do who can demonstrate their creativity, diligence, enthusiasm, growth-mindset, thoughtfulness, and passion to make meaningful change in the areas of economic and racial justice.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Partnering to create thriving communities is at the heart of everything we do. We leverage knowledge, capital, and resources to advance equitable and transformational outcomes in under-resourced communities, guided by our commitment to be an inclusive, anti-racist and anti-oppressive institution that honors communities as asset-rich and as experts in their own stories.

Basic Job Function

The goal of IFF’s Organizational Learning team is to transform IFF into an organization that facilitates shared and applied learning and, through systematic evaluation and reflection, continuously improves in response to the needs of our customers and the communities that we serve. We do this by:

  • Guiding thoughtful design of strategic stakeholder research and learning plans
  • Evaluating results of projects and programs and recommending iterative updates to IFF approaches
  • Cultivating a learning and experimentation culture in IFF associates’ daily practices
  • Architecting and building shared knowledge systems across IFF
  • Gleaning insights and promoting best practices from IFF’s wealth of experience

The Manager, Research Strategy & Practice is an outcomes-driven learning strategist who creates thoughtful approaches to project- and organization-level insights, as well as promoting a culture of learning-in-practice across IFF’s teams and offices.


Job Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Consults with IFF project and program teams to design and execute outcomes-driven research & evaluation plans across the lifecycle of customer and community engagements.

2. Provides guidance, design, and execution of strategic primary research in support of both IFF customer projects as well as internal strategic insights (e.g. customer experience, product/marketing).

3. Serves as an expert advisor on research design across different modalities, including surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, online diaries, etc.

4. Centers the voices of the organizations and communities that IFF serves in the learning design and execution process.

5. Performs cross-project reviews of literature (internal and external) and data analysis to derive and share learnings that can be applied across sectors, geographies, etc.

6. Facilitates collaborative insights-into-action sessions with IFF teams to create shared understanding and translate it into applied learning.

7. Contributes to the creation and rollout of shared knowledge systems and practices.

Performance Measures:

1. Demonstrates excellence in leading the design and execution of primary research and evaluation plans.

2. Demonstrates an adaptive, rigorous, and outcomes-driven approach to answering customer and internal IFF questions.

3. Is clear in written and verbal communication of research design considerations, proposal details, and results and recommendations to both internal and external audiences.

4. Models and promotes equity in learning and research practice.

5. Models and promotes documentation and knowledge sharing best practices.

6. Cultivates a culture of openness in information sharing. Encourages open communication, cooperation, and the sharing of knowledge.

7. Models personal accountability that promotes ownership and engagement.

8. Builds and maintains effective working relationships with colleagues, peers and team members.

9. Values and supports differences in others, contributing to an inclusive work environment. Demonstrates the ability and willingness to communicate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences to create a collaborative, collegial, and caring community.

10. High level of satisfaction with both internal colleagues and external contacts.

Position Qualifications:

Education: Bachelor’s degree required

Previous Experience: Minimum of 5 years leading customer, user experience, and/or evaluation research, which may include surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, online diaries, etc. Experience conducting reviews of external sources (scholarly publications, news articles, external databases, etc.) and facilitating collaborative brainstorming and synthesis sessions.

Additional Requirements: Regular travel throughout the Midwest region; occasional evening and weekend work.

IFF does not offer relocation packages; must be authorized to work in the United States; IFF does not offer sponsorship. IFF, currently, works in a hybrid model; in office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and three days working from home.

We know the confidence gap and imposter syndrome are a real thing. This can get in the way of meeting incredible candidates, so please don’t hesitate to apply — we’d love to hear from you!

Application Instructions: Please visit our Careers section of our website to apply online. Both a resume and cover letter are required.

IFF values equity, diversity, and inclusion as part of its mission to strengthen nonprofits and the communities they serve. IFF is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.