The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which incorporates a comprehensive, integrated and universal approach to sustainable development, has significant implications for human resources management in the organizations of the system.
CEB Common principle n. 10 - Global UN System Workforce and Transformative Leadership, calls for the UN system “to develop a high-performing, diverse workforce that exhibits a “One UN” mind-set and is increasingly cross-disciplinary, mobile, comfortable working across UN pillars and skilled in leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships. A transformative, collaborative leadership model for both headquarters- and field-based leaders should accelerate this change, connecting leaders to knowledge, drawing on leadership innovations and providing the tools to better tackle multidimensional challenges”.
This principle is the foundation of HLCM’s human resources management agenda, whose overarching goal is the continued development of the international civil service as an independent, neutral and engaged resource to meet the requirements of the international community, a workforce that is agile and flexible to operate with diverse partners in cross-disciplinary and multi-sectoral environments, together with leaders that have the sensitivity and courage to lead Rights up Front, and have the skills to convene multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Building on ongoing efforts, HLCM will therefore focus on designing and putting in place the building blocks in order to achieve the goal of establishing a “global UN system workforce”, including mechanisms to support system-wide mobility and cross-fertilization of skills and to amalgamate specializations, expertise, and training opportunities across the entire system.
A “mapping of system-wide staff capacity so that strengths and gaps can be identified and assets be capitalized on” should be undertaken to support this goal, as provided in the outcome of the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system. Given the specific mandates of organizations, the variety of professional profiles needed across the System is the widest, and the approaches towards defining the optimal composition of workforce need to be folded into the discussions on mobility and global workforce planning.
Diversity and intergenerational aspects are key when assessing the fit of our workforce, at a time when a younger and more mobile generation is already filling our ranks. HLCM needs to consider what changes are needed to ensure gender balance at all levels, give proper attention to disability issues, and to how we can fully integrate diverse family relationships in our workforce. Increased staff diversity with regard to gender, nationality, age, and culture, is a matter of equity and also a programmatic enabler.
HLCM recognizes the delicate balance between staff conditions remaining competitive and attractive, and the need to simplify processes and reduce transaction costs. The efforts of the Committee in this area will therefore be informed by a concurrent set of objectives: improve and strengthen the conditions of service for staff while also driving cost effectiveness, simplification and transparency.
Effective management of staff is a crucial part of ensuring a competitive UN system, one with a culture of recognizing good performance, and sanctioning poor conduct or performance. Better management of staff skills and knowledge means better value for money, higher performance, and more informed decision-making.
HLCM recognizes the criticality of not only recruiting talent, but also retaining and developing it. As part of the cultural shift necessary for the Sustainable Development Goals, staff development and mobility will play a critical role in ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’. HLCM will promote the strengthening of linkages between performance and career development, instituting best-practices throughout the UN system, while promoting a ‘cross fertilization’ of approaches, ideas, and knowledge. HLCM will also support the UNDG to strengthen capacity where it matters most, within UN country teams, by providing tools and guidance to improve HR processes in the field, reduce agency silos in country teams, and strengthen the consistency of HR services provided throughout the UN system.