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Special Assistant to the Director, OHR

New York City (United States of America)


The United Nations Development Programme is the global development network of the United Nations system that is on the ground in nearly 170 countries, with its Headquarters in New York, USA.   The Bureau for Management Services (BMS) is a central Bureau which provides operational/management infrastructure services and solutions for UNDP to achieve programme and development results, safeguarding UNDP’s accountability vis-à-vis United Nations Member States and other relevant partners.  
The Office of Human Resources (OHR) supports UNDP in achieving its vision and objectives through enabling the organization to attract, manage, and retain staff with relevant technical expertise, competencies and skills, by providing strategic HR advice and creating an inclusive working environment where staff are engaged, continuously develop professionally and perform at their best. Operating within the Bureau for  Management Services(BMS), OHR’s key clients include UNDP CO and HQs leaders and managers, HR practitioners and individual staff members. 
The Special Assistant supports the Director of OHR and is chiefly responsible for the effective management of the Directorate. The Special Assistant coordinates the substantive flow of information to and from the Directorate, optimizing the Director’s interventions with external and internal management and individual staff. The Special Assistant identifies crosscutting priorities, activities and decisions within OHR and UNDP requiring action by the Director. She/he undertakes research and provides advice on strategic and policy matters that are often sensitive in nature and acts with authoritative knowledge on substantive HR issues bringing to bearthe highest degree of professional tact and personal discretion to ensure the Director’s work is prepared thoroughly and coordinated seamlessly with various partners throughout the organization.. The Special Assistant will build partnerships within the organization in order to liaise, coordinate, analyse, and integrate substantive inputs from the various OHR units into the work of the Directorate/She/he will provide oversight to the administration and management functions of the Directorate.  The Special Assistant works in close collaboration with OHR, the BMS Directorate and the Executive Office to ensure the implementation of managerial decisions.

Duties and Responsibilities

Key Functions:
  • Strategy, Policy Advice, and Support to the Director of OHR
  • Knowledge Management/Partnerships
  • Representational Activities
  • Special Projects
  • Management Functions  
Strategy, Policy Advice, and Support to the Director of OHR
  • Provides authoritative and strategic advice on a range of issues related to the Director of OHR’s priorities in the preparation, coordination, and development of documentation (including speeches) for the EG, OPG, and other corporate meetings and inter-agency presentations;
  • Serves as primary organizer of key task forces and special meetings. Drafts goals and objectives for ad hoc committees and task forces proposed by the Director.
  • Coordinates and prepares crosscutting HR responses to strategy, policy and procedural questions; and issues from senior management and donor groups as required.
  • Optimizes the contribution of the Director in inter-agency work (UNDG, HLCM and the HR Network) by ensuring that all preparations required from OHR are substantively appropriate and coordinated in a timely manner.
  • Tracks, monitors and follows-up on the progress of various initiatives, projects, action items, strategies.
  • Acts as the focal point for audit issues.
  • Advises and assists the Director in developing and implementing strategies to strengthen the focus and overall cohesiveness of UNDP’s HR management.
  • Identifies key issues for discussion and develops the agenda for regular senior management meetings, chaired by the Director.
  • Conducts research, substantive review and critical analysis of information and documents for the Director.
  • Supports the planning of annual or ad hoc staff retreats.
  • Briefs the Director on sensitive issues and provides advice and guidance on issues for the Office’s decision to enable the Director to take fact-based, well-informed decisions.
  • Supports the Director in implementing a vision for the Office and ensuring that OHR delivers on its commitments, following up pending issues with Senior Managers for response/decision
Knowledge Management/Partnerships
  • Keeps abreast of major events globally which are of interest and relevance to the Office of Human Resources and advises the Director accordingly.
  • Identifies where critical and intersecting HR issues within the Office occur, compiling  persuasive analysis and documentation to expand awareness of these issues among managers, while pointing towards innovative business solutions.
  • In coordination with the senior managers of OHR, ensures that the strategic guidance provided by the Director is taken into account in the conduct of HR management activities.
  • Prepares speech outlines, concept papers, aide memoires, memoranda and other substantive documents of a broad and complex nature.
  • Drafts correspondence as requested by the Director.
  • Monitors, analyses and reports on progress/developments of relevant international fora pertaining to matters of interest to the Director.
  • Prepares and coordinates succinct HR management reports and other documents for the Assistant Administrator of BMS, the Executive Team and the Executive Board; compiles and summarizes substantive documentation on the overall management of Human Resources in the organisation drawing attention to emerging issues and proposing possible recommendations; partners with relevant HR Clusters/Groups on reporting content that effectively and consistently communicateHR messaging.
  • Facilitates interoffice communications between the Director, the Deputy Director and OHR staff. Provides liaison and specific inputs for issues that should be brought to the attention of the Director or Deputy Director. Identifies and addresses communication gaps, if any, ensuring information flows within the Office/Bureau.
  • Serves as the key interlocutor for the Director with the Offices of high-level officials of the UN System and other external partners.
  • Provides inputs to the OHR Integrated Work Plan (IWP);
  • Serves as the focal point for specific topics / areas assigned by the Director;
  • Participates in knowledge management and practice networks.
Representational Activities
  • Ensures that OHR positions are well represented within the working process and documentation of the EG, OPG, and other corporate meetings.
  • Represents HR senior management, as required, in inter-agency fora as well as internal UNDP meetings to establish agreements within pre-determined guidelines
Special Projects:
  • In liaison with the Deputy Director/Senior Managers of OHR, has responsibility for the design, coordination, implementation, and reporting on special projects with an emphasis on ‘whole office’ impact.
Management Functions
  • Is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of the Directorate’s resources including:
  • People Management through recruitment, performance and career management of staff to motivate and promote organizational excellence.
  • Resource Management by providing strategic and data inputs into OHR’s budget preparation exercises.
Staff members may be required to perform other duties as assigned.


  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Adapts ideas to context
  • Interprets policy and applies judgment
  • Anticipates obstacles and applies practical solutions
  • Continually seeks to improve
  • Ability to persuade others to follow
  • Inclusive in decision making
  • Encourages dialogue and acts in accordance with team inputs.
  • Anticipates and resolves conflicts
  • Determines appropriate resources, methods, partners, information and solutions
  • People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Takes ownership of responsibilities
  • Involves team in different steps of the process
  • Seeks and values others initiatives and expertise
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Advocates, able to change mind of self, peers and partners 
  • Persuades others to embrace new ideas, even when controversial
  • Empathizes with client perspectives and needs
  • Prepares and presents authoritative advice
  • Represents team in formal settings
  • Expands expertise of team through sharing expertise
  • Ability to get things done
  • Makes new ideas work
  • Critically assesses value and relevance of existing thinking and policy
  • Embraces difficult obstacles that interfere with getting work done
  • Anticipates constraints and identifies solutions
  • Strives to improve team reputation with clients 
  • Expands capacity of team to deliver on time and on target
  • Accountable for project implementation and/or team deliverables
  • Human Resources Management (General)
  • Independently utilizes expertise gained from experience
  • Knowledge of Human Resources management issues and principles and the ability to apply them to strategic and/or practical solutions.
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Ability to manage multiple stakeholders and balance often contracting expectations, building and maintaining relationship.
  • Communication
  • Ability to effectively communicate intentions and requirements to internal and external stakeholders
  • Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced University degree in Business or Public Administration, Human Resources Management, Law, Economics, International Relations or Organizational Development is required.
  • 7 years progressively responsible professional experience in Human Resource or related field or must have held similar positions in other international organizations.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English with proficiency in a second UNDP working language, is an asset.


Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Scam warning

The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Managerial positions
    • Administrative support
  • Closing Date: 2018-08-02

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