New York (USA): JPO

UN-Secretariat: JPO in Human Resources, Culture and Leadership

United Nations – UN-Secretariat

Junior Professional Officer Program (JPO)


I. General Information

Title: JPO in Human Resources, Culture and Leadership

Sector of Assignment: Human Resources Management

Organization/Office: UN-Secretariat; Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC), Office of Human Resources (OHR), Global Strategy and Policy Division (GSPD), Strategic Talent Management Service (STMS), Organizational Development Section (ODS)

Country and Duty Station: New York, United States

Duration of assignment: 2 years with possibility of extension for another year
The extension of appointment is subject to yearly review concerning priorities, availability of funds, and satisfactory performance

Please note that for participants of the JPO-Programme two years work experience are mandatory! Relevant work experience can be counted. In order to assess the eligibility of the candidates, we review the relevant experience acquired after obtaining the first university degree (usually bachelor’s degree).

II. Supervision

Title of Supervisor: Chief, Organizational Development Section

Content and methodology of supervision:

  • Establishment of a Work Plan: During the first month of the assignment, the supervisor and the JPO will work jointly to prepare and finalize a mutually agreed upon one-year performance work plan with clear goals and expected results.
  • The JPO will receive structured guidance by the supervisor, especially in the beginning of the assignment, with the purpose of gradually increasing the responsibilities of the JPO.
  • The JPO will be given continuous performance and development feedback, professional counseling and mentoring by the supervisor.
  • The JPO will have easy access to the supervisor.
  • The Director of the Global Strategy and Policy Division (GSPD) will hold quarterly meetings with the incumbent as well as the Chief of the Strategic Talent Management Service (STMS) and the supervisor to discuss the JPO’s performance and development.

An evaluation will be completed at the end of every year of service. The United Nations Performance Evaluation System (e-performance) will serve as a primary platform to evaluate of the JPO’s performance.

III. Duties, Responsibilities and Output Expectations

This is a unique opportunity, during a time of unprecedented UN reform, to join a world-class human resources team and:

  • Be involved in high-profile initiatives in human resources and contribute to Organizationwide innovation and development;
  • Gain valuable professional experience in human resources and particularly in the areas of culture and leadership; and
  • Be exposed to partners across the UN Secretariat and the UN System.

Under the overall supervision of the Chief of Organizational Development Section, the JPO will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Contributes to the design, development and roll-out of a new leadership and management model;
  • Coordinates activities related to the executive management development programme, executive coaching and senior leader mentoring;
  • Supports the leadership and management hub, senior leaders support programme and initiatives for emerging leaders;
  • Contributes to initiatives to build a culture of continuous learning, accountability, innovation and results;
  • Monitors and analyses specific aspects of programme or project development and implementation; reviews relevant documents and reports; identifies problems and issues to be addressed and recommends corrective actions; liaises with partners; identifies and tracks follow-up actions;
  • Liaises with colleagues in other entities to collect information on culture and leadership;
  • Actively engages in knowledge sharing efforts across entities; maintains a repertoire of good practices on culture and leadership; supports the development and implementation of new and improved approaches with the Organizational Development Section’s team members;
  • Supports the work of system-wide and Secretariat task forces and working groups on culture and leadership, and related initiatives;
  • Assists in the drafting of materials related to culture and leadership (correspondence, reports, presentations, background papers, analytical notes and others), based on quantitative research and analysis;
  • Conducts substantive research and analysis on performance and staff engagement; recommends new approaches and solutions;
  • Identifies trends, patterns and causal relationships in organization-wide data sets related to culture and leadership; makes recommendations and prepares summary reports;
  • Undertakes data mining and analysis of culture and leadership indicators;
  • Assists in enhancing and maintaining the Organizational Development Section’s database;
  • Partners with managers to understand their specific functional needs; plans and implements solutions to meet culture and leadership issues;
  • Provides administrative and substantive support to consultative and other meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.; proposes agenda topics; identifies and proposes participants; prepares, correspondence, background documentation, talking point, presentations, correspondence, reports; handles logistics;
  • Engages in learning activities to strengthen competencies in one or more areas related to human resources;
  • Contributes to efforts to innovate, modernize and streamline the work of the Organizational Development Section, including the use of technology;
  • Actively participates in strengthening internal and external communications related to the work of the Global Strategy and Policy Division;
  • Supports management in monitoring operational performance, with the aim of improving business processes, and reducing response times for clients; recommends solutions to address bottlenecks; and
  • Takes on special projects and performs other related duties, as required.

IV. Qualifications and Experience

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is seeking a passionate young professional who is an innovative doer and thinker interested in making a difference for a better world.

Master’s degree preferably in public or business administration, human resources management, psychology or related areas such as social sciences.

Work experience:
At least two years of relevant professional experience in human resources management, administration or related field required. Experience in international organizations/corporations or public administration is desirable. Experience working in organizational development is desirable. Project management skills and experience in employee culture and leadership initiatives is also desirable.

English and French are the working language of the United Nations. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN Language is desirable.

Other skills:

  • Solid computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power-point), Microsoft Outlook and Internet/Intranet resources are highly desirable. Good knowledge of legal and/or human resources database is desirable.
  • The selected candidate will exhibit a keen interest in the work of the United Nations and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as a strong commitment to the ideals of the UN Charter. The candidate will also have a demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, which include willingness to understand and express tolerance of differing opinions and views.

UN competencies:

Professionalism: Conceptual analytical and evaluation skills to conduct independent research and analysis. Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients" and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Technological Awareness: Keeps abreast of available technology; understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office; actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technologies.

V. Learning Elements

The United Nations Secretariat has 38,000 staff members representing one of the largest workforces in the community of international organizations. Working in the Office of Human Resources offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of implementing the Secretary-General’s vision and strategy for the Organization, including key high-profile initiatives in human resources.

On completion of the assignment, the JPO will have gained:

  • An excellent understanding of the UN Secretariat, its structure and its ongoing human resources management reform;
  • Valuable professional experience in human resources;
  • In-dept knowledge of the challenges of human resources management in a multicultural environment and in an inter-governmental organization;
  • A comprehensive knowledge of the UN staff regulations and rules, and human resources policies and procedures;
  • An in-depth understanding of culture and leadership issues;
  • Advanced drafting and writing skills in an international context;
  • Experience in project management; and
  • Extensive exposure to managers and staff members of the UN Secretariat and the UN System.

VI. Background Information

The new Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) was established effective 1 January 2019 with a clear focus on improving management strategy, policy, and compliance. DMSPC plays a critical role in the realization of the Secretary-General’s vision of a more agile, effective, and people-focused United Nations, that supports renewed vitality and innovation and that empowers management, staff and partners to better deliver on organizational mandates. As part of the management paradigm shift, DMSPC provides policy leadership in all management areas through an integrated global management strategy and policy framework and through strengthened monitoring, evaluation and accountability mechanisms.

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) in Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) provides strategic direction and policy leadership in all human resources matters. It aligns the Organization’s human resources capacity with its mission and mandates through the development and refinement of a global human resources strategy and innovative policies based on both organizational and staff needs.

The 2019-2021 global human resources strategy will create an enabling policy environment for people management, catalyse proactive talent acquisition and management and contribute to a transformed organizational culture. It will ensure that the Organization can retain and nurture staff with the skill sets and dynamism required to address the complex and changing nature of global challenges. Specific goals and strategic actions set out under three interlinked components in the strategy will transform human resources management practices across the Secretariat. Robust learning elements will drive the adoption of the proposed changes across the components.

The JPO post is located in the Office for Human Resources (OHR), which consists of:

  • the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources (OHR);
  • the Global Strategy and Policy Division (GSPD); and
  • the Administrative Law Division (ALD).

The Global Strategy and Policy Division (GSPD) supports the Assistant-Secretary General in representing the Secretary-General in strategic matters. The division ensures that the Organization can attract, develop and retain a talented and diverse global workforce, focusing on the identification, championing, development and promulgation of modern, innovative and enabling policies and standards. Responsible for strategic workforce planning and the further development of a knowledge management system. The division is composed of two services:

  • the Strategic Policy Development Service (SPDS); and
  • the Strategic Talent Management Service (STMS).

In turn, the Strategic Talent Management Service (STMS) consists of:

  • the Strategic Workforce Planning Section (SWPS);
  • the Organizational Development Section (ODS); and
  • the Staffing, Diversity & Outreach Section (SDOS).

The JPO would be placed in the Organizational Development Section and report to the Chief of Section.

The Organizational Development Section has been established in the context of the Secretary- General’s management reform to design innovative, UN-wide approaches, tools and solutions for developing staff talent throughout the entire life cycle, including learning, performance management and career development. Through Organization-wide change initiatives, the Section supports ongoing reform and transformation and nurtures a culture of engagement, leadership and results, based on the United Nations system leadership framework and organizational values and competencies. Through leadership development programmes, ODS ensures that the Organization builds a strong pool of leaders that demonstrate a high level of ethics and integrity a focus on results and reinforce staff engagement. ODS provides organizational tools for recognizing strong performance, providing honest feedback and addressing underperformance. The Section is also responsible for building a strong foundation of multilingualism and core competencies, ensuring that staff continuously develop and maintain the skills and knowledge they need to deliver results.

The Organizational Development Section is involved in the following high-profile and priority initiatives:

  • Development of an Organization-wide framework to develop staff talent throughout the entire employee life cycle, including learning, performance management and career development;
  • A redesigned performance management approach to foster a culture of continuous dialogue between managers and staff, promote collaboration and strengthen accountability for results;
  • Enhanced career development support, including increased access to opportunities by persons with disabilities.

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